Allowing Anxiety

I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday so thought I would share it here to…..Sorry if it does not appear correctly when I copy and paste it, it’s just easier then writing it all over again.

I was talking to a friend who suffers with anxiety and depression the other day and he said to me ‘When you first said to do nothing I wondered what the hell you were talking about, I wanted instructions how to get better, a technique, some A-Z plan on how to do it, but I totally get it now’.

It took me back to my years of suffering when I spent a fortune on so called cures and the latest method that would free me. It was only when I had hit a total brick wall with it all and realised that at best searching this way just carried on giving me hope and sometimes some temporary relief, but it certainly never went anywhere to solving the problem. It was at this time I asked myself what all this searching was about. Then it hit me that it was all about trying not to feel something. I then thought, ‘What if the answer is to feel this stuff that I have spent years avoiding, suppressing and fighting, what would happen if I stopped trying to constantly feel different than I do?’

This day was the day I started to see things from another point of view, that this was never about trying to feel any different than I did. That my suffering was my mind and body trying to take me back to balance by releasing all this stored up anxious/negative energy within me, it wanted to be free of me as much as I wanted to be free of it. But I would not allow this release to happen, I always had some method to try and stop this release, put the brakes on feeling the way I did, stay away from places that triggered this stuff within me. Everything I did was always about trying not to feel it. Even visiting counsellors was never about educating myself, it was all about wanting them to tell me how to get rid of it, no wonder I got nowhere for so many years.


Anxiety really is just excess energy trapped within the body, the next time you feel it, rather than be lost in it, just step back and observe it and you will see this for yourself. When this energy comes up to be released it does feel very uncomfortable and the reason people try to avoid or suppress, but this just keeps it trapped within and all that happens then is it will constantly keep coming up until you finally, like me, realise that there is no way to stop this release by will power or some technique.

I came to the conclusion that this was never about finding or executing some technique, it was about throwing every technique out and being fully open to what arose. As painful and uncomfortable as it was to feel this stuff, it was the only way to be free of it. It is like a tap full of dirty water and the clean water is underneath, the only way to get to the clean water is to turn the tap on and allow the dirty water to flow through for a while, there is no short cut to recovery.

Most people have the attitude of ‘I want this stuff gone, but I don’t want to feel it’ sorry, but this is what will keep you searching for the rest of your life, mostly likely spending a fortune on false promises. The truth is there is no short cut to being free of anxiety, trust me if there was someone would be very rich and we would all know about it, it would not be some hidden secret on the internet. You can either spend a few months allowing this stuff to come up or a life time searching for temporary relief.

This is not a way of feeling better, this is a way of releasing stuff and when you do so you may feel more anxious than before, you may feel more tired and confused as this energy being released can cause a lot of inner chaos initially. You just have to have faith that this is a good thing and no harm will come of this. Many people who initially feel worse can think they are doing something wrong and then go back to suppression techniques, but it just follows physics, the more open you are, the more you will feel.
Through this process of allowing you may also have moments of real bliss and freedom as a chunk of energy is released. This does not mean the release is over, it means that you have released a good chunk of energy or your body is giving you a break so you can recuperate, it does not mean this is the end of the release. The release will happen in stages with many ups and downs until you are free of this energy. When you are free of this energy then it is impossible to feel anxious for no reason again, you will just feel anxious when you should do, as there is no more excess energy to be triggered.

So the next time you feel anxious, see it for what it is, just old trapped energy wanting to be released. Don’t try and sort anything out, don’t try and put the brakes on anything, don’t identify with this energy, it is of no importance, just be fully allowing of it and allow it to be released. Feeling uncomfortable is not a bad thing, in fact it’s a good thing, as it’s the only way to release old stuff and recover. You can’t feel peace without initially going through some suffering, that is how balance works. Trying to skip this stage is exactly what keeps you in the cycle of suffering.


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358 Responses to “Allowing Anxiety”

  1. tony Says:

    I first found your website around 2010 and bought your first book soon after. You have helped me so much in my struggle with anxiety and depression. I still am bothered by negative thoughts and get anxiety when I am in situations where it would be hard to make an easy escape (during church mass, in a classroom during a lecture, stuck in traffic, etc.). I feel out of it and enter into an almost dream like state before and during such an event – like I am unaware of who I am, where I am and what time of day it is. After such an event is over and I am safe I feel some relief.

    And advice?

  2. Nick Says:

    Hope everyone is Ok, I’ve been anxiety free for 6 years I was on citalopram too, but I recently hit a setback then I had 3 weeks of normality then set back from saturday- but I’m coping and just letting the uncoftable and mind chatter sit. It’s the constant thoughts that is the hardest it’s a strange affair for sure. I just remember the other week I felt normal and the thoughts disappeared and I just laughed at any previous bad memory or thoughts that came and they where not frequent at all. I am going to tell people this tho , I personally think this is the best advice to get on here and Paul should even try and get people to help get the information out. My story is identical to Paul’s and I won’t mention the guy who claims to have the answer to anxiety but he provides a program and charges 150 pound but you get councililing support . It’s more or less a set of rules that is like the information here. I don’t doubt he’s genuinely out there to help but people get desperate and spend all kinds.
    Paul obviously is genuine and the best Info should be free and I hope Paul can make some money which he doesn’t push because people have took people’s money and recovery should be for everyone!

  3. Simon Says:

    I too would like to personally thank Paul for his help and advise over the years. I too had bad anxiety and depression 2009 to 2011 (Ish)…. it went away without me much noticing it to be honest that’s why I was 2011(ish). I remember Paul sending me a copy of his book after I had downloaded the PDF. It’s been in and out of the cupboard more times this last 6 months. I’ve had some real struggles on and off but truly believe in his method. But yes it takes time and you latch on to so many things on the journey to recovery. I remember having no sleep 6 months ago, now I get a good 6 to 7 hours a night, I remember waking every day with a banging head thinking it would never go away, my jaw was so tense I didn’t think I would smile again…. but as the months have passed, so have some of the sypmtoms, yes other symptoms come and go, but this truly shows you that the less you pay attension to it, the less it bothers you over time.

    I told myself 6 months ago when the anxiety re-appeared that I would not let it beat me, that I could do this and it would only be a few months at the most and I would be fixed!!! …… mmmmmmmm, big mistake, I put a time on it, I pushed myself so hard not to feel this way, I read and read Pauls books, listened to Claire Weeks audios on repeat and when I look now, all I was doing was TRYING TO FIX THIS FEELING…. a feeling that does not need fixing, I just needs to be left alone and to carry on the best you can. Yes I try to act as though nothing is wrong sometimes and people don’t notice that inside I am being eaten away…. but I know that the less attension I give it, the better I will start to feel. Ups & Downs, Highs and Lows, Good Times Bad times…. but patients is the way


  4. Anon Says:

    I too would like to thank Paul. I had EXTREME anxiety due to benzodiazepines withdrawal. This site was what got me through. His method is now confirmed by research. Look up meta cognitive therapy (met). It differs from cbt in that you take your attention away from thoughts and symptoms instead of examining them. 80% recovery rate from anxiety and depression. Much better success than cbt and the method is basically what paul teaches. It begs for our attention and we absolutely have to ignore it. It takes a long time but it works.

  5. Matt Says:

    Great post, Paul! Feeling everything is key. The only way to recovery is through it, not around it.

  6. alz Says:

    RICH .. hope ur well. U posted something for me when i was having self harm thoughts…. can you repost it ?? I can’t seem to find it .


  7. alz Says:

    i agree with Paul’s post 100 percent but (and theres always a but with anxiety sufferers :P) how do you function in the here and now when your mind is completely overwhelmed with all sorts of thougths. I mean theres a stream of anxious irrational thoughts running along with the rational thoughts which allow you to function normally so to speak. SO when there is such a turmoil i guess the depersonalization begins and then it leads to a floaty , dreamlike state. You think you’re functioning but not really and then the cycle begins again.. im starting to get it but it can get realy frustrating and disturbing… just go on with faith i guess

  8. Finley Says:

    Hey , Currently suffering DP and DR and have done for 2 years since I was 16. Took Paul’s advice and it is really helping with my social anxiety ( I have been meeting friends alot more , joined sports teams and no longer fear simple tasks like going to refuel car or even going to hairdresser!) . However in terms of my DP, I feel the symptoms have become a little worse . Only instead of spending hours thinking about my DP i have been just getting on with my day and keeping myself distracted.

    Is it normal for my DP symptoms to get worse after i stop “fighting it ” ? Thanks

  9. Sarah h Says:

    Hi everyone. I am so up and up and down with the anxiety. I’ve gone through all different stages with it. I still wander if it’s more than just anxiety like personality disorder ect. Having thoughts like do other people really think like I do. Now whenever I’m going out for drinks on a night out it just completely takes over and ruins it. I never let it bear me where I won’t go though. Shopping is a nightmare I have paranoid thoughts that staff will think I’m shop lifting. Can anyone else relate to me? I feel as though I’m just stuck and never feeling 100% ok. I allow myself to feel whatever the anxiety makes me feel. I go to event and parties but there is still always that thought of I wonder what it’s like to just enjoy yourself and be normal :(

  10. Matt Says:

    If your mind races and wanders, is full of anxiety or irrational thoughts, then so be it. It is what it is! Anxiety needs to be released. As Paul says in his post, you may feel worse at times, but this is just anxiety at play. Let anxiety do whatever it wants. Believe you me, I know how hard it is to think rationally or calmly when you’re trying to cope with anxious thoughts and feelings, but acceptance is the way through this. If your mind analyzes, let it analyze – what I’m saying is: don’t analyze, but if your.mind analyzes (which it often does out of habit) on its own avcord, then so be it. The way to recovery really is to just accept everything anxiety throws at you and do nothing more. If you feel like you can’t accept, then accept even this. Finally, be patient with time. In time things will get easier and easier.

  11. Matt Says:

    One more thing, and I know I found it hard to deal with.this at first, but.if you feel uncomfortable in social situations or that people’re acting weird or aren’t confident etc…, then accept this and don’t let this stop you.going out. The best thing you if you have anxiety is to get on with.your day as normally as possible, as if you were anxiety free. Go jogging, walking, watch a movie etc… There is a silver lining to anxiety I believe ~ you’ll be a more confident person than you ever were.

  12. Lata Says:

    Hi all…its been much time i have not been here…i m in confusion…i m not completely free from anxiety…but i dont get scared in social situations anymore…my biggest problem is that i have many scarry physical symptoms…i feel weak and empty in my body…and feel i m falling behind…i feel dizzy and vertigo…my upper body pains alot…i m confused…i have done blood test…my vitamin d is lowand cholestrol is on higher than normal…what should i do…any suggestion would be appreciated

  13. Toni Says:

    Hey guys,

    I can’t believe I am back on this blog :( I came here about 3 years ago. I was suffering from GAD then. The worst problem has always been my DP and my thoughts about existence. This page and blog helped me so much! After a year or so I felt completely anxiety free! There have been many positive changes in my life since then! Sometimes I thought, wow, this is it, my life is back!

    But now, here I am, back again. I can’t believe my anxiety came back. It was about 3 days ago when I started thinking about life again. I thought about dead and existence and questioned life and its reason.
    And Whaaam, anxiety hit me again. Everything feels unreal and I can’t stop worrying. I try to just let it be, but I mean, my thoughts are not irrational, they are FACT. I am not scared of dying tomorrow or having a brain tumor. I am scared of never existing again after I am dead. And this is not irrational in my opinion. This is fact and it is driving me crazy!

    Now, that I think back I am not sure If I ever felt completely anxiety free. Maybe my brain is already burnt down from all the anxiety. I remember when I was a child I really felt ALIVE. I could feel the sun in my face. I had lots of moments where I felt so happy for no reason. You know these “everything is perfect moments” ? I don’t think I actually ever had one of these moments in the past years.

    There were so many days where I did not even think about my anxiety. I literally forgot about it, but now that I think back life still never felt like completely real again or is it just my anxiety right now.

    I don’t know. I am super scared right now. I don’t want to be back to square. Can anyone help me? Maybe someone, who’s completely recovered?



  14. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve not posted in a while so just thought I’d give an update.

    I was doing very well until March when I hit a very nasty setback. I had some pretty unbearable days in that month but I just carried on despite how I felt. Towards the end of the month I decided to put my focus into finding a car for myself. This was a great help and things got easier for me towards the end of March. I even had a week or so where I felt completely fine and back to myself, work was easier, socialising was easier, happier, upbeat etc. I remember sitting at my therapy appointment bored because I wasnt anxious at all.
    A week ago I had a flare up of IBS, stomach pains, feeling sick etc. That passed but unfortunately I’m back to feeling awful with anxiety again. I feel rotten, lost interest in everything and the days are hard to get through again. I know from conversing with folk on the last post that it’s a storm and it will pass but man I’m feeling it and I’m at a very low ebb at the moment.

  15. Melissa Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Hope you’re all doing okay. I’ve been having a rough go at things. Struggling with the ‘mind pops’. I’ve had random words and sentences pop into my mind. When things are quiet mostly. Once I get busy or focused on other things they no longer happen. I am so scared. I’ve heard that this could be a trait of schizophrenia or psychosis. I feel like I can’t focus on things because I’m so tuned in to my thoughts and the potential of being psychotic.

    Please help. Do others have this too?

  16. Alz Says:

    Relax. It cant be psychosis if u understand it so well. Also stop listening to people or surfing the net. Being scared proves that you’re well aware that you are fearing psychosis or schizophrenia whcih means y cant have it. Also, just a couple of months ago, you were givign me really sound advice which no psychotic or schizophrenic person could prob give.

    Pls chill out. Ur fine :)

  17. Aj Says:

    Thanks a ton Paul, this blog and both of your books helped me come out of dark pit. I shared what I read with 3 of my colleagues suffering from severe anxiety and it helped them too. It’s a nice feeling to help someone, when you have applied and improved yourself. This method does work.

  18. Toni Says:

    Hey guys,

    I am also really struggling with thoughts about life, death and existence. These thoughts really drive me crazy, but I also try to just let them be there and to not entertain them. I also used to fear going crazy or having schizophrenia. i lost this fear completely, but the thing with the existential thoughts seems different.
    I mean, nobody can actually prove that this world is real. Nobody can tell me what happens after death.
    People can say ” you’re not going crazy” and I truly believe it, but nobody can say if this world is real or not, so nobody can really take this fear away.

    I felt pretty much recovered during the last 2 years and even forgot about my anxiety. Life felt awesome, but now this thought came back and I feel like it will follow me for the rest of my life, as nobody can prove that it is wrong.

    I really hope someone, who is already recovered could reply to this post.

    Thank you so much!


  19. Vadim Says:

    Let me tell you all something that might help you..
    This concept of allowing negative energy to rise up and do its thing until it runs out, its not just something that you will do regarding anxeity, once you master it – it will change your entire life.
    Allowing is a way of living, once you will let this chaos happen in you without any interference, then first you will be anxiety free, but than you will notice that many impulses and behaviors and insecurities which are “regular” are just this same negative energy,so you can release it in the same manner..this will make your life so much more complete and happier..

    I learnt all this from my anxiety, so i’m thankful for i live life fearless, in that im not avoiding anything that can trigger any negative emotion in me, because when something triggers a negative emotion in you it just means you need to completely allow this pain and your mind’s reaction to it to overcome it.

  20. Roman Says:

    Motivation post…

    Hi to everyone!

    I dont know English very well cause Im from Ukraine so sorry if it would be a lot of mistakes :)

    I live in Ukraine.

    Im now 26 years old.

    I suffered from anxiety for about 3 years and now I realise that even more cause all my lifestyle from 19 was leading me to that state.

    I was a serial worrier.

    I used to live with hard symptoms for about three years. Last year I read Paul book at russian language but I dont get the whole point. It makes a little relief, but…

    This December was really awful for me… I lost my business and I lost my girlfriend (she lest me). I was worrying and depressed in my flat.

    And I was thinking about it all the time. At 8 January I felt a real strong panic at night. I was trembling and a full of scare.

    I knew what was it… To that time i have already read Pauls book, but nothing in it seem to help in that state.

    Than its like in Rocky film with Silvester Stallone )))

    I want to know more. Yes my English is not so perfect, but I found Pauls blog and begin to read. From that moment everything started…

    I had another awful night at 9 January 2017… But I was with new knowledge and started to get a new attitude. When I felt real real bad that night I closed my eyes and said: So what? Is it the all you can do to me, anxiety? I want more!!! Show me what you got! 5 minutes later I felt real calmer…

    Next day I threw all my self pitty… I started to go to the gym like 2 years before.. Oh now Im in really good shape.. 100 kg with barbel lying on the bench for 8 times. I started running too.

    I used to lay in bad after work but I realised this was a kind of safe behaviour and it respected my self pitty.

    I started to cook for myself.

    I started to go to dates with girls. 10 or 11 new dates for 45 days…

    Someone will say: Oh yes, you dont than fill as bad as me if you go dating…

    Damn in some of it I was trembling when I set in my car and waiting for a new girl…

    I was only meeting them. Yeah with some of them things went more closer if u understand what I mean 😉

    Dont think that Im a pick-up master I only wanted my life back.

    In some days I felt very awful.. Sometimes I came back to fix mode… I know what youre filling..

    But even whan I was damn bad I took myself to see friends and I realised that in hour or two I felt more calmer…

    Three months from that 8-9 January went far away. Three months when I started to make my life and not waiting someone will do it for me.

    Now I feel real calmer. Many of anxiety came out. I do have setbacks I do feel worse when the weather is awful… but there is no worry about it… I realised all what Paul told in his blog…

    Oh yeah I have to say Im still smoking and drink 3-5 cups of coffee everyday I will make a deal with it soon. It doesnt really metter the problem in our habits, lifestyle, attitude.

    Yeah, smoking is bad. Coffee too! But there are a lot of people who smokes and drinking coffee and doesn’t have anxiety. But its very bad habbit I know.

    So… dont be pitty for yourself.

    Excuse but get your as* out! Stop living like a vegetable! Start to live your life! Let that anxiety thoughts, headache, panic be!

    I read there a lot of self pitty comments (I was like you 3-4 months ago but Im enough of it).

    Someone told here: I realised that gym and weight makes anxiety… pffff…

    Someone starts to say: My eye, head or something has ache, do someone has something like it? – Its the question of people who havent yet realised nothing… Read Pauls blog…

    Its Roman from Ukraine. Thanks to everyone for reading. Paul – my respect to you!

  21. 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. I had never experienced long term or persistent anxiety until February last year. Post a flu I had ongoing fatigue and this lead to health anxiety. My sleep became poor and broken, I noticed sensations in my body, I had fasciculation’s, struggled to be present in conversations and extreme mental fatigue. After a number of clear blood tests I was introduced to 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 don’t feel 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. Overall I feel like this mental fatigue drives my anxiety not the other way around. Has anyone experienced something similar? Did you just soldier on and it eventually went away?

  22. Phil Says:

    Having being an anxious very self conscious person from high school age and shying away from a lot of situations and stressors it was almost inevitable I was to be diagnosed with GAD.
    This was triggered one morning after a heavy drinking session night before. A small panic attack led to depersonalisation and high anxiety. Meditation and CBT have not proved very effective and I believe Paul’s method is the only way home. It’s very hard to see past these awful feelings and thoughts 24/7 but when u experience brief moments/ minutes of clarity, it’s testament to Paul’s approach; the old self coming back through!
    After a lot of years of avoidance/ drinking alcohol, I know it will take time for the energy to be released. Dealing with the setbacks and knowing you’re not moving backwards is the hardest thing if anyone has any advice that would be great, thankyou!!

  23. Simon Says:

    I have just written how I am feeling right now and page crashed whilst trying to save it….. I really can’t write it all out again about my thoughts, feelings but I am in such a low place at the moment, crying beyond control and I am a 48 year old man….. why can’t I get a grip onmyself.

  24. Simon Says:

    I am constantly dropping on this blog to see how others are doing and wondering why no one has posted for days….. to me this means everyone is doing the right thing and getting on with their lives…. so it’s just me that is struggling with my feelings. I have had reasonable moments in the last 7 months but truly I amm struggling with all the negativity in my thoughts…. constant bombardment of negativity all day….. I don’t know what I need from you all, but I just need to tell someone how I am feeling other than my wife..

  25. Aj Says:

    I too am 47 years old man and just last week I had crying spree, but, I just cried and let it go. Last evening I was feeling stressed out and low but that too is part of life. I am learning still, but what Paul says is spot on. As I said I cried a lot last week, however I attended my work, I went out cycling and did other stuff. On one particular day a colleague said that look stressed and low, I replied I am right now, no hiding! If people are not posting doesn’t mean all are “cured”. I too am visiting the blog after a long long time. One thing I can say is I am much better than I was last year same time

  26. Simon Says:

    Thank you AJ,
    Knowing I am not alone is reassuring and I am also doing things I should be, working, bit of fitness and DIY. I just struggle with the feeling of emptiness and like I can’t breath..,, it’s a struggle but thanks for responding – it does help

  27. Mark R Says:


    I’m 36 and last month cried on my dad, I felt pathetic at the time but its completely natural. It’s not about getting a grip, it’s about coping with very difficult feelings and crying is an expression of that.
    Just because people aren’t posting it doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. I’m struggling at the moment as noted in my post above. Like you I have had some good times but these last 2 months have been very rocky, but I know its temporary. Easter was very tough for me and couldn’t have come at a worse time. Whilst everyone else was enjoying their break I was struggling to get through the day. I still did stuff although not even one ounce of me wanted to. I find it very difficult to face these feelings after I’ve had a ‘good spell’ too.

    Sounds like you’re on the right path, just let it express itself as it needs to. You certainly arent alone mate.


  28. Simon Says:


    This sounds so selfish of me but It’s good to know that I am not alone. I too found easter very difficult very much like Christmas. When I am working and have a routine I don’t feel so bad and I do look forward to a couple of hours infront of the TV before I go to bed. The majority of the day I am constantly analysing how I am feeling, when I don’t have too much to focus on I get realy lost in my head with so so much negativity. I have everything I want in life, I look at myself as a lucky bloke, there are people with real life problems that seem to be able to handle life, this is what frustrates me.

    The pressure to feel good for myself and my family is what hurts the most. I want to be around for them all but feel like I am on the verge!!! I can cry at the most trivial things out of shear frustration I think.

    Again I am sorry if I sound selfish, but if does feel reassuring that someone else is feeling the same things as I do. I am not really going mad!! am I ??

    Thank you

  29. Bryan Says:

    Hey Simon,

    48 here as well. Been at this stress disorder thing for about 7 years.
    I’m much better these days but still have storms roll through somewhat regularly. And I’ve had a cry a few times over the years when the suffering peaked. It’s a normal human response. But as I’ve learned to accept the storms, let them be and try to stay external… they’ve come less often and my overall baseline is much better.

    So hang in there and listen to the advice from the guys above. This takes time and real dedication to a new mindset. You’ll get there.

  30. Mark R Says:


    It’s so easy to look at others and think they are fortunate but the truth is you never really know. The amount of people who struggle with anxiety is absolutely staggering. I’d go as far as to say if you’ve not had a brush with anx/dep youre in the minority….I don’t give much credence to the 1 in 4 statistic.

    I think its helpful to step back and be objective too when you’re feeling crap. I’m guessing that you have good days/weeks/months and then not so good? When you feel down its so so easy to just assume it’s all been bad since this thing started, but it’s a mind trick, it’s just not true. Maybe that someone can remind you of this if you can’t see it yourself.

    Like I said I’ve been struggling with this bump lately and like you look forward to a few hours in the evening when I feel I can unwind. What has helped me is around 40 minutes of yoga in front of the tv after I’m back in from work. Takes me out of that ‘focus on myself’ mindset.

    It’s a storm/setback. Trust me and Bryan on this one as we’ve got the t shirt on them!!


  31. simon Says:

    Mark, Bryan & AJ

    Thank you all for being so honest with your struggles too, like I said it’s a little reassuring that I am not alone.

    Mark – like you said I have had good days (not yet weeks and months) where I’ve felt relatively ok apart for some small blips, and I do believe my mind plays tricks with me more when I am down. Frustrating thing is I have always had plenty of energy and enthusiasm towards life but at the moment the “Pushing” myself to do the most day to day stuff just drains me and I think that’s why most evenings I feel a little more relaxed.

    I did go a week without reading stuff, visiting this blog and I was quite proud that I wasn’t feeling to bad and tearful. However the last couple of weeks just don’t feel right, and then the spiral downwards seems to kick in and I feel the need to get back on here, write in my journal and although I need to take on Pauls advise about just letting it be, this I feel is where every blip knocks me back. Trying not to feel better is so not natural.

    But… I suppose this is my habit and hopefully one that I will get fed up of at some point.

    I wish you all better times ahead


  32. Nolan Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Just remember that the periods where the intensity of the anxiety is higher is perfectly normal.
    I would have a nice stretch of peaceful days where the thoughts and symptoms just weren’t there… but then that setback comes. It’s like the flipping of a switch: it effects everything. It effects how you view things. View them when you’re feeling more at ease and your mind has one conclusion… but view them when you’re in the storm and it’s an entire different conclusion your mind start drawing.

    Setbacks make you even doubt the truth of those good moments you had; all gains lossed (so it feels…. and so your mind seems convinced). But treat that storm the same by just letting it pass.

    I wouldn’t put too much concern on your tendency to want to feel better. Everyone wants that. But it’s how you react to that.
    If you find yourself slipping and going into the “I have to fight this mode”…. that’s okay. We all found ourselves there. But just don’t linger. My suggestion would be: remember the things that once made your life yours. Even if all of your passion for those things is dried up still fill your life with those things again. You’re going to feel like crap still, but the point is to show yourself that you can still live your life regardless of the storm that’s raging. And in time the storm will pass.

  33. simon Says:

    Thanks Nolan,

    Got a lump in my throat just reading this because on one hand I totally understand it but on the other hand I so think this is me forever.

    It is so true that when you get that peacful moment, which for me is probably an hour just watching tv before bed (this is actually annoying a bit too because I usually drop to sleep and then miss what I wanted to watch) I feel I can be normal and achieve the things I want. The mornings start horrendous for me, 4am wake up but don’t get up because I cant think of anything I want to do so I lay there for a few hours (weekday before work) and maybe 4 hours (weekends while the family are still all asleep) during this time I feel so alone. This isn;t a great start to my day and if I have a relitivly quite day it only gets worse. If I have something planned to do I usually find I am ok with it BUT I am always thinking about the evening and hoping for the relaxing time. (Gosh it’s weird)

    Can I ask you all, do you have like micro moments when you feel you can do something only to be followed straight after with a “can’t be bothered feeling”. This is where I battle against myself the most because I know I have to do the things I need to do?

    Sorry for the questions and thank you all so much for your support


  34. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Simon,

    For months I would wake up early in the morning too, and I’d look at my husband and daughter peacefully sleeping and I’d feel sorry for myself. I’d look forward to the evenings when I could feel relieved that I’d made it through another day. Finally I had to change my attitude and accept that this is just how things were for awhile. So I was waking up early and feeling horrible? Oh well. I was going to make the most of my day anyway. Then over time I stopped waking up so early. I started feeling more peace throughout the day. I stopped having to force myself to do every little thing, and actually started enjoying things again. This just happened naturally as I was just living life. This is not to say it was easy. I had plenty of moments of frustration and exhaustion. I did plenty of complaining. But I kept moving forward. The way I tried to look at it was this: time was passing no matter what I was doing, so I’d rather use my time being productive than just sitting around focusing on how I was feeling.

  35. Simon Says:

    I truly have to say that this blog and Paul’s advice is a life saver and I do not say that lightly. I am sure people who I have spoken to in the past about my mental health are sick of me praising Paul and the advice on here, but until you actually have a problem no one understands. I am not one for speaking out about my problems but if people ask I don’t mind sharing my experience.

    Stephanie, again it’s just a relief to no it’s not just me who has these issues, the comments from you all is what makes this site so special and what helps so many people. They may only be words, sometimes encouragement, sometimes advise, but they are words from people who understand what we are going through and that in itself can be calming even if very slightly.

    I have the habbit of looking at what I used to do and wonder if I will ever be able to do these things again (with the enthusiasm and interest).

    I would like to share something with all of you. I am a Fire fighter (Crew Manager) and yep my day is filled with all the dread and anxious feelings even to the point of I scare myself inside thinking I can’t do this job anymore…. but this is where I know it’s all a mind game because when we get called out my whole attitude, enthusiasm and energy is given to what ever emergency we come across. I could be in tears one minute and the next minute called out and focused and this is because I am focused on something other than myself and I don’t have time for myself. It’s only after I reflect and the dread starts again.

    So it just goes to show that we are all capable of doing and being the person we used to be if only when it’s really needed.

    Thanks again to all of you for your time to write and I hope what you write is also helping others.

    I am at the moment in a calm place…. its evening and I chill better and am focused more. I wish you all a good weekend and hopefully the great weekends won’t be too far away.


  36. Jolene Says:

    I too suffered badly Simon. For years, with hardly any moments of peace, I was stuck in a cycle of severe stress. Labels that I received (depression, anxiety) made it ten times worse, as I started seeing myself as a sick person without any hope of recovery. I agree with the comment that the thing that hurt most is having to feel better for your family. I have a husband an two kids, and my responsibility towards them (I needed to be a happy wife and mom), made everything so much more more stressful. I couldn’t be given a break. I remember the early morning awakenings (day in and day out) so vividly. I remember feeling so alone, anxious and exhausted in those hours. I decided regular medicine couldn’t help me and I needed to find another way to come oit of this hellish cycle. I stumbled on Pauls book, and following this started reading a lot about Buddhism. Things started to make sense to me and slowly I started to get glimpes of peace, which increased over time. I still get anxiety flare ups, and in fact in those times the intensity may be as high as in my ‘bad years’, but I don’t let it bother me anymore, which makes all the difference. It’s still there, but the suffering is not.

  37. Anon Says:

    Simon, I don’t have anything much to add, but I just want to say that I admire you. From where I sit, I see that you are stronger than you realize, and I admire the work you do and thank you for doing it. My young kids ask if there are real superheroes, and I always tell them that firefighters are real superheroes. Have you tried talking with a counselor? There are some good ones online. Thank you for all that you do!

  38. Nolan Says:

    Hi Simon,

    You said, “I so think this is me forever”…
    My quick answer is: It’s not. It won’t be you forever.

    This is kind of embarrassing for me to do, but if you want to see how bad of a shape I was in back in 2013-2014 (posts starting around May of 2013…. when I first found this blog) find posts by a MikeStevens. That was one of the many handles I used back then. You’ll see a desperate, full of despair man posting the same types of questions many times a day….
    It’s crazy reading them now because I’m just not that guy anymore. I was certain I was broken for good. I was certain there was no hope for me. But still desperately seeking reassurance and hope.
    I would go for months upon months of no peace at all. Sometimes the storm would be alittle less, sometimes alittle more… but it was always there for me.

    I’ve told this story before in the past, but one day (in 2013) I was in my kitchen trying to keep busy and I was putting away the dishes. A glass broke and there were shards all over the place. Immediately and automatically my mind honed in on one of those shards and the first thought was “end it”. My son was not even half a year old at that point and my wife was at her wits end taking care of him pretty much by herself and wondering what happened to her husband. And there I sat only wanting to end it all.
    I was home by myself and I just collapsed on the floor, angrily crying.

    Now I can look back on those times and view them fondly. They changed me. They made me a better person. I never would have thought it at the time, but it’s what ultimately happened.

    I’m not trying to turn this into a competition of who had it worse… but when you say that you have maybe an hour an evening when the storm/torment loosens the grip on you… I went 8 or 9 months with the full intensity on, never abating. The storm, the torment, the doubt, the despair, the broken thoughts, the desire to end it all there for 8 or 9 months.
    My first break in the clouds came one evening when I was carrying my son out of my bedroom. It lasted for maybe 10 minutes. But that 10 minutes was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced. It washed over me and washed away the pain and the doubt, everything. I stood there dumbstruck but calm and peaceful. For those fleeting moments I could see beyond the storm. I could see that it would all pass, someday.
    Now, that moment did pass away and the doubt/despair came back.

    And when that torment comes back it erodes everything away with it. You’ll believe that that blip of hope you felt was just an illusion. That the true reality, the true nature of you now is despair and confusion. But that’s just the trick of anxiety/depression.
    It stains everything… it’s literally like a switch is flipped and now you view yourself and reality through this opaque lens. Arguing with it, fighting and struggling with it just plays back into it.
    The things that “just made sense” when your mind was calm and relaxed don’t make sense when the anxiety/depression are on high. All of the good/sound arguments as to why you’re really not broken fall flat when you’re in the storm. It’s like this horrid logic of despair that there’s no getting around. There’s no arguing your way out of. But that’s only because that’s not the way to redeeming your old self. You’re going to be convinced that you’re just broken and that there’s no peaceful harbor waiting for you.

    So, ride out the storm. Yes, it’s going to suck. The full brunt of it is going to be there. But live your life regardless. Not to chase it away, but just to make your life bigger than anxiety/depression again. To have other things to focus on and live for again. Peace will come back to you…. but you can’t chase peace down. You can only start to give peace alittle clearing in your life, alittle place where it might find a place to alight… even if momentarily.
    The storm will rage again but treat it the same way.

  39. Mark R Says:

    Seems very apt your post to Simon for me today Nolan.

    I was showering last night and had the thought “my life should be more than this”. I then felt very low and ending up sobbing on my living room floor for an hour. I’ve woken with no appetite, very anxious, depressed. I feel utterly dreadful and have no motivation to do anything.

    I am supposed to be going on a stag do for a meal and hotel stop over in a few hours but I just can’t face going with the long travel etc. Would be my ideal of hell being around drunk people feeling as low as I do.

    This storm has been almost 2 months now, barring a week where I felt absolutely fine. I agree Nolan it seems beyond thinkable that I ever felt or will feel any better even though it was only a couple of weeks ago.

  40. Mike Says:

    I’m reading some of your posts and all I can say is I’ve been there and know the terror this disorder can cause but as someone that’s been in and out of the cycle several times in life the only pattern I see is when I stop doing things I enjoy it simply gets worse. Thinking stress will go away but cutting things you enjoy out is a path to a relapse. I blamed my job, god, my family you name it but Imo humans weren’t meant to sit idle. We evolved from people that had to fight for their very lives daily so if you don’t do challenging things or keep the mind occupied the mind will create stress in it’s place. Anyways I wish all of you the best of luck.

  41. Stephanie Says:


    We’ve all been there. There’s no shame in it. But Nolan’s point is that your life CAN be more than this, even in the midst of anxiety/depression. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but that’s also why Nolan said you can’t try to argue or convince yourself, because you’re seeing through the lenses of anxiety/depression. That’s why it takes acceptance/faith to move forward regardless. Accept that you’re not broken; have faith that this is only temporary. And then go do something that proves it!

  42. Nolan Says:

    Hi Mark,

    It sounds like you’re pretty low right now. I know it’s hard to truly believe this, but I’ve been there and have faced the same insurmountable doubt that I would ever have peace again in my life.

    Just like with you, all of my hope for redemption had dried up and my life felt like it was laid to waste. I just wanted the clock on my life to speed up so that I could finally meet some end to this.

    Mark, I want you to carry all of that pain with you and still live your life. You feel exhausted, confused, lost, full of despair, angry, sad… so be it: live your life. I mean, all of those negative feelings… you’ll still be feeling them if you hide out in your house. One way you can still live your life even with the storm raging…. the other way you let it dictate to you what you’re going to do, letting it further impress you with its force.

    When we’re struggling we’re like a kid on the end of the diving board. Knowing that he should probably just give up the thinking and just get down to the acting… But we’re standing there running our mind in hundreds of different directions trying to think the right conclusion… trying to think the right thought that will make it just click for us. So that all of our fears and apprehensions will just evaporate in the presence of that one bright, burning thought. We eventually forgo action, come down off of the diving board, and think “I just need alittle more time to think this through… then I’ll get it. Not now, of course… but another time.” And we let our fears dictate our actions.

    Or, we can look down into the uncertainty of it all, let our fears bubble and agitate our mind, and maybe even with a smirk on our face say “F’ it”… and jump off of the board.

    It doesn’t pay to entertain too much thought at a time like this because you already know how, given the presence and intensity of anxiety/depression, it’s going to stain all of your thoughts and conclusions. Every thought avenue will lead to a dead end and every wall will loom higher.
    So, just act. Just live your life regardless. Because again, whether you hide out in the house or go out and risk it the storm will still be there. Then it’s just a matter of who’s telling you how to live your life? You or your fears.

  43. Lavender Says:

    Nolan, thanks for the postings – they are very encouraging and tell of the cold hard truth of anxiety. That there is simply no magic solution / switch to get out of it instantly. Indeed, to let the storm rage on and live life.

    To Mark, Mike, Simon : hang in there. It is a rough, crazy and horrendous ride. We all been thru it, and some of us still unwittingly landed on the ride again and again. That is me… However, eventually when we stop feeding the anxiety, the ride eventually stops and we are out of it. It will happen so gradually that one doesn’t realise it immediately. There will be such a sense of relief and peace. I crave for it in the midst of the anxiety storm and berate myself for falling again (and again) for the anxiety tricks. Over a long period, like a plant growing, we are slowly and surely going to get out of this period. You can’t see it happening but take baby steps daily.

  44. Shirley W. Says:

    Firstly, I discovered this wonderful website aid to recovery in 2006. I have managed to live a good existence for 10 years since. Various things have happened and keep happening that add to my current low level. This current situation started in 2016 and I despair at how long it has gone on for this time. I was also able to use Paul’s advice last time to get a hold of the ruminating and continual thoughts. Without sounding condescending it is nice to see the guys on here who are going through the same type of things. It shows a changing and nicely proportioned level world, lads/chaps who are not frightened to share their feelings. Anxiety does not discriminate. I always found that this was the most friendly website in the website world. It always made me feel part of a family. I have been ‘let go’ from a job that really wasn’t helping my anxiety but there was a chap there who often used to say to me. You can’t change the past, you can’t change what is going to come in the future. Live for the moment! I am trying to put this in to practice. What saddens me is the fact that all of these wonderful things are going on at the moment, Spring in particular, this time last year I never saw any of this happening. This year, I have noticed, so I feel I am improving. There are also so many people out there who have tougher lives than me, I feel I should be grateful for all the good things I have but it seems such a big hurdle. What Lavender says is true – it is baby steps. Trouble is – I want to take great leaps. I live on my own – as if anxiety isn’t isolating enough as it is. I have a few fair weather friends who pop up on text every now and again. ‘If you need to talk’ they say – unless they themselves have gone through anxiety it’s hard for them to understand – likewise after I improved the last time I didn’t want to come on here because I had moved on from that debilitating time and I didn’t want to be reminded of it. Now, what upsets me the most is that the morning is bad and as the day goes on I climb to a certain degree of level and in the evening can go to bed as if nothing is wrong, if I could do all of my ‘I should do that’ list then I would be well away. Part of me wants to stay up for more hours so as to hang on to that feeling but I know that I have to get into bed and sleep, for it all to start again the next day.I love to see darkness descending because night is nearly here which means ‘peace’ for my raging mind. I never took anti d’s in 2006 but after fighting to stay off them this time around gave in a few months ago. The one I am on at least gives me a peaceful nights sleep. I feel ‘weak’ for having given in to medical intervention and want to push them aside as soon as I can because the body is it’s own natural healer. Medications mask the problem ~ you still have to be weaned off them. I feel they do more harm than good. Especially as they take so many weeks to get into the system? Shouldn’t medical research have moved on a bit more by now? I have managed to pick up two past interests recently. Patch working (all sewn by hand) and reading. To someone who can do this without a blink of the eye it’s ‘no deal’ but to me it’s a landmark. Getting slightly better. I just need to reign my thoughts in now. I also feel sad that I was once an adviser to others on here who were suffering. Now I am back – it’s a bit like coming home……in a nice way of course.

  45. Alexander Says:

    Hello everyone. This is my first time commenting on this blog but I’m no stranger to anxiety. Currently im going thru a new type of anxiety/ symptoms that I have never had . It’s more of mental anxiety this time and I’m more scared than ever . Never have I’ve panicked this much in my life . I don’t know how this happened. I had all sorts of symptoms before they don’t scare me at all . I mean I had it really bad. Everything u can think I had it and conquered it . I had all sorts of irrational fears . Even some things I can’t explain. Thru all that suffering I’ve learned a lot about fear . Also Paul David big thanks to you . You have got me through some very very dark times . I eventually fully recovered. Thank god . I was at peace . For years I was fine until now . This is very heartbreaking to say . My anxiety is back much worse than ever . I fear so much that this is not anxiety anymore. I fear this something else. It’s taking over my life . Someone please talk to me . I’m mortified now . I’m very desperate! . I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just wanna cry all the time . I just don’t know how all this could happen . I want to be normal again . I miss my old self .nothing makes sense anymore .Someone plz reply

  46. Newbie Says:

    Hi guys,

    I’m new to all this. Basically I am by no means the worst sufferer of anxiety, not even close. Up until the start of March I was absolutely buzzing. I had been free of any anxiety symptoms whatsoever. Doing things I wanted and things I didn’t (which back in the day would have been a no no). I couldn’t even remember what it felt to have it.

    This past couple of weeks though its been flickering back up. I have been just doing what Pauls book said. However yesterday I had this brief irrational thought – “What if I never get relief again, and anxiety makes me do something really bad to myself”.

    First of, I am not in any way suicidal and would never ever ever ever ever ever harm myself in anyway. The thought just scared me. As I type now I’m in a good place. I spoke to my girlfriend and she agreed with me it was just an irrational thought. Usually my irrational thoughts back in the day were health anxiety related. I knocked these into touch. Maybe this is just the theme it took this time because there is nothing I’m afraid of apart from the feeling.

    Also I feel like talking about this contradicts Pauls approach to just accepting and letting go. But I wanted to write in a forum (I hate them because there so gloomy) lol

    Wishing you all success in your recovery.

    We were born knowing love – We learned fear.

  47. Alz Says:

    Hello all ,
    Iv realised writing here just sort of reinforces the fears until you get a reply which resonates with your current state and gives you some sense of comfort. Sometimes , writing , also makes you realise how silly your thoughts are even though in your head they are so REAL .
    Anyway I’m currently ( and it’s been a while ) hving scary thoughts of self harm and the fact that what if in my state of irrational thinking I do something ? I know I can’t translate my anxiety into words but the fear and thought seems so real – e.g. What if in that split second when my mind is so irrational I make that mistake ?
    I don’t know if anyone will reply .. I seldom wrote here now . Iv accepted almost evthing and resigned myself to this state but this sudden new obsessive thought is constantly nagging at me ..,

  48. Doreen Says:

    Alz – treat it like all the other irrational thoughts you have listed on here and kick it into the long grass by ignoring it.

    It is always the same method – the content of the thoughts are not relevant.

    You will really be on the way to peace of mind if you can just tell yourself that this is just one more irrational thought and you can ignore it like all the others.

  49. Alz Says:

    Thanks Doreen . It is def an irrational thought . However it’s v exhausting when ur mind is constantly running on a tangent and then U have to function in ur daily life and keep up with everything

  50. Simon Says:

    @ Mark R….

    Just wondering how you got on at the weekend with the stag do?

    I ask because I too am in the same predicament in relation to going on a stag do in a couple of weeks. I too am very anxious at the thought of people having fun and myself not feeling much like it.

    I honestly believe that I will probably have moments of feeling low, but I am quite optimistic that I will be ok.

    I have just had a couple of days where anxiety and depression seemed to have lifted enough for me to do things without even questioning myself or how I am feeling. It’s crazy!!! I can think and feel so positive when I get moments like this, but when it starts creeping back in (bit like that today) I start getting anxious and worry again.

    Anyway, thanks for everyone on here that gives their support, it’s a great tool.


  51. Anon Says:

    Keep going Simon! It is so gradual to go away as to be imperceptible. But you now have seen that it goes as well. The short periods of normal get longer. It is very gradual. Not the same type of improvement as we are accustomed to with illnesses. Very different type of recovery.

  52. Ves Says:


    We are continuously trying to improve ourselves. We are trying to be perfect, to have a perfect time, perfect job, perfect family, and perfect health. But reality is that incompletion is the way life is.
    If we accept the imperfections from where the problem come? When whatsoever happens to you say it is okay, then from where can the problem come? When we accept limitations, then from where can the problem come? The problem arises from out of our non-acceptance. You cannot accept the way you are, hence the problem.

    If you can imagine yourself someday accepting, totally accepting the way you are why don’t do it right now? Why wait, for what, for whom? Now is always available. But what we do instead of accepting it right now? We project in the future. Future is hope. Hope is imagination. There exists not.

    We are miserable here in present, but happy in future. So we always postpone our present. But future is only word in the dictionary. It does not exist in reality. Everyone who passed through anxiety will tell you the moment you lose any hope of getting better is the moment you had to live and accept the present. And that is the moment when you start coming home.

  53. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the post.

    I’ve mentioned this a couple of times on this blog and part of your post alludes to it. You say people that have ‘recovered’ / seen big improvements in their anxiety abandoned all hope of getting better. So for the majority on the blog that are struggling in the midst of anxiety (or maybe it’s just me) then will abandon all hope of getting better…… but with the objective of getting better because others have. Does that make sense ? This is the bit I struggle to get my head around.

    I totally get giving up the fight and accepting everything without question but you’re doing it with one eye on getting better as others have on this blog. Maybe it’s just me that has difficulty with this mindset ?

  54. Lavender Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I get what you are saying, and mildly amused becos it is exactly what goes on and on inside my head too! The part about “I get this”, followed by a “But…” and more questioning about how can all this make sense.

    The issue is : it does not make sense. And it is the same anxiety trick that keeps us trapped inside the cycle.

    It does not have to make sense. We don’t have to understand / comprehend it fully. Simply let it be.

    Like what Nolan had written before – it is the horrid logic of anxiety which has a stronghold over our mind (for now) and it is constantly questioning and wanting to engage our energies in this neverending loop of despair, skepticism at whatever “solution” we attempt to use to solve the problem.

    so in the end, it is simply to surrender and do nothing. Having decided upon this, I will still be questioning and struggling. That is ok. Cos Ms Anxiety isn’t giving up so easily yet. I also called her “Ms Self Critic”. I would gently remind her to please stand down, and I continue with my day. Still feeling terribly awful / tired and I still struggle through the day. Slowly but surely, she will slip away and the peace of mind which is our natural self will return. :)

    I don’t think I have ever ‘recovered”, but with each anxiety occurrence, I hope it is a practice in getting better (a bit each time) in learning to be kinder, more gentle to myself and to ppl / things around me.

    So, press on. Keep one foot ahead of the other. Keep moving. It will get better. Not today, maybe not tomorrow but keep the faith, and you will get there. You can’t see it yet, but you are already on the way.

  55. Ves Says:

    “but with the objective of getting better because others have. … you’re doing it with one eye on getting better as others have on this blog….Maybe it’s just me that has difficulty with this mindset ?”

    Hi Jamie,

    We have two centers: 1) thinking center – Mind and feeling center – Heart.
    You will never abandon hope if you are in thinking center because hope is just projection of Mind. You have to drop the Mind completely and move to the Heart – feeling center.
    Dropping hope means moving from Mind to Heart.
    When you say “you’re doing it with one eye on getting better” then you are still in thinking center. Mind is very cunning and very calculating. Mind always doubts. When you say “I get it. But ….” That is living in thinking center – Mind, intellectualizing. Drop the Mind.

    Through thinking Mind you will not solve it because there is nothing to be solved. You have to feel anixety and it will dissolve on its own. Be open, be vulnerable, be accepting.

  56. Dee Says:

    Jamie, I had the identical question and many others spinning through my mind. It went away without ever having been answered. the key is to recognize that all the questioning is a symptom of the anxiety and trying to address individual symptoms does not work. The condition can have endless symptoms and they don’t need to be addressed individually. Spinning thoughts and seemingly logical questions are actually symptoms. The answer is: I don’t know the answer and it doesn’t help me to know the answer. My brain is insisting it might help me but that is just more mind chatter. My mind can chatter away as much as it wants. I’m going to go do something else now and I am fine with feeling out of control.

    You keep doing that hundreds of times. The questions don’t get answered and after a while the questions disappear and you wonder why you ever thought it mattered at all.

    The way out of this is not by using logic. Trying to use logic to alleviate an inherently illogical condition is not helpful. Our tired brain insists that we need to make sense of everything. It’s wrong. Recovery happens without these questions being answered. Consider yourself like an actor but the audience is not other people. The audience is your own mind. Show your mind that things are ok by pretending. Your mind is your audience. You are the actor. All the questions are like annoying background noise in a large crowd. Or annoying music at a shop. Just let it be there and agree to feel awful for however long. It all is irrelevant but seems so real. Put your interest and attention elsewhere. Wake up and say: today is a relaxing day. And live as if it is.

  57. Jude Says:


    Your last two posts, absolute brilliance.

  58. Jamie Says:

    Hi Ves

    Your post is around abandoning all hope of recovery but Nolan says to someone, a few posts up “It’s not. It won’t be you forever”. This is what I find a bit confusing. Nolan has had massive progress too.

  59. Kathy Says:

    I am in the middle of reading Paul’s second book. I felt this would be the catalyst to get me closer to recovery. My anxiety has always been triggered by health problems, as far back as a child. Long story. Anyway, I have suffered for over 7 years with pretty severe anxiety, especially the first 5 years. Got Paul’s first book, read Clare Weekes and was well on my way, then seemed to reach a plateau. Got the second book, and, well, here I am. I went in for my physical last month. They found a lung nodule. Fast forward several tests and a biopsy and I have been diagnosed with early stage adenocarcinoma of my left lung. This was done just this past Monday. Out the window went everything I have learned and it’s as though I didn’t absorb a single word from the 2 books. I know most people would be all over the map, emotionally, right now. They would be anxious and nervous. Well, I sure am. I can’t think straight, my nausea is off the charts. Somebody smack me around and straighten my butt out. I am better than this. I know I am. But I sure am not feeling it right now.

  60. Anon Says:

    Jamie, I had the identical question and many others spinning through my mind. It went away without ever having been answered. the key is to recognize that all the questioning is a symptom of the anxiety and trying to address individual symptoms does not work. The condition can have endless symptoms and they don’t need to be addressed individually. Spinning thoughts and seemingly logical questions are actually symptoms. The answer is: I don’t know the answer and it doesn’t help me to know the answer. My brain is insisting it might help me but that is just more mind chatter. My mind can chatter away as much as it wants. I’m going to go do something else now and I am fine with feeling out of control.
    You keep doing that hundreds of times. The questions don’t get answered and after a while the questions disappear and you wonder why you ever thought it mattered at all.
    The way out of this is not by using logic. Trying to use logic to alleviate an inherently illogical condition is not helpful. Our tired brain insists that we need to make sense of everything. It’s wrong. Recovery happens without these questions being answered. Consider yourself like an actor but the audience is not other people. The audience is your own mind. Show your mind that things are ok by pretending. Your mind is your audience. You are the actor. All the questions are like annoying background noise in a large crowd. Or annoying music at a shop. Just let it be there and agree to feel awful for however long. It all is irrelevant but seems so real. Put your interest and attention elsewhere. Wake up and say: today is a relaxing day. And live as if it is.

  61. Anon Says:

    Kathy, I am sorry you are dealing with this. Those feelings are understandable and normal. Have you checked out the site called Chris Beat Cancer? He has so much encouragement there. Also Marty Rossmans downloads are good.

  62. Nick Says:

    Hi everyone, ok hopefully this can relate and move me past this block. I recovered from anxiety and was 6 years free, I was on citalopram tho and that helped a lot. I just stayed on a low dose eventually for that time. So I’m back on a different tablet now. I thought I recovered about 3 weeks ago.. well I was well on my way to.ok now I’m in set back but can someone relate to this.

    I feel actually ok just a little low maybe in interested in things but all I do from the start of the day to end is talk in my mind about anxiety and ask questions and discuss to myself. I’m told it’s a symptom.i just remember when I was recovered I didn’t even hardly think about anxiety and my mind was flexible to move on.

    So I’m in work now and even when I’m dealing with customers it’s like I’m just still discussing it and I can’t seem to get my thoughts not fighting it but feel drenched by it… the weird thing is I’m not really panicky or having adrenaline run through my body. The good news is I do have some good moments etc. I hope everyone here recovers and has the best life. If anybody relates to or explain that would be great.

    I keep thinking of the past where I recovered I just remember it came quick after so long suffering or atleast I think it did I just remember be able to concentrate on things and felt good and then after about 4 weeks of feeling good I didn’t even think about it and was more looking forward to my hobbies etc.

    Peace and good luck to everyone, if you have been suffering a very long time I do recommend maybe trying an anti depressant , just get some diazepam when u start it coz they seem to temporary make you worse.

    Also look up niacin it’s vitamin b3 and seems to promote some relaxing elements in high dose, also I take magnesium and krill oil and vitamin c basically all for health but you never know something out there might just help. Peace x

  63. Kathy Says:

    Anon, no I haven’t, but I will. Thank you!

  64. Tom Says:

    Hi everyone!

    I have a question regarding focusing on external things. If I get an anxious thought or sensation, should I consciously turn my attention towards something I am doing in the moment, for example the dishes, or watching a movie?

    I am a bit confused about the not-doing part of acceptance, since I often think of concentrating on something as an active response. Does intentionally focusing on something else count as trying to repress anxiety, or is it the right way to go?

  65. Jamie Says:

    Hi. I thought I would check as I haven’t for a while.

    I went to a BBQ with work colleagues yesterday afternoon and then on to town for more drinks. Although, I could feel myself getting anxious while I was travelling up there, which in turn reached its peak as I was about to knock on the door, it was not as bad as events I have been to before but it is all part of the process I suppose.

    When I first arrived and sat down talking to someone from work, I could feel the voice screaming for me to get out of there and telling me I was about to get panicky but I rode it out and it was fine.

    One thing I did not notice as they day went on and people had more drinks is something that I probably only thought about as a result of reading Paul’s books and this blog. While others really ‘let their hair down’, dance and talk to lots of people (some they know from work, some friends of friends or people they don’t know at all), I find all of these things hard to do, probably due to my anxiety.

    Really letting go is not really in my nature and I felt on the periphery of everything, is probably the best way of describing it, and quite self-aware. I think I have always been like this and just kept myself to myself really and mainly just spoken to people that I know. As I say, I think I noticed it yesterday just because of the reading up I have done on my anxiety. Right back when I used to go out with my friends (when we were all single), I was never very good at making the first move and going up to a girl and talking to her while some of my friends were much more confident and did a lot better with the girls.

    I did have a good day, don’t get me wrong and I am feeling the effects today from the drinking but it made me look at others and wish I could be like some of them. Will this change now I am understanding my anxiety a bit more or are some people a bit more confident / relaxed in social situations?

  66. Jamie Says:

    “Check in” not “check”…

  67. Anon Says:

    Jamie, you wrote: “While others really ‘let their hair down’, dance and talk to lots of people (some they know from work, some friends of friends or people they don’t know at all), I find all of these things hard to do, probably due to my anxiety.”

    I socialize with a lot of people all the time, consider myself fairly extroverted, and have to meet and speak with many strangers for the work that I do. I have exactly the same feeling each time I’m at a party of social event. This is normal, even for an extrovert. It really doesn’t need to be analyzed. Anxiety doesn’t make you feel that way. Anxiety makes you analyze it unnecessarily.

  68. Ves Says:

    Thanks Jude.

  69. Bryan Says:


    I think Nolan and Ves are saying the same things. Nolan answered your question directly. “No.” This is not you forever. He knows this from experience. This is simply not how it works. However the advice he gives, as Ves points out does mean dropping the analysis and moving from what Ves called the thinking space to feeling. I personally just call that acceptance of what is right now. Am I always great at it? Hell no. Lol. But I’ve improved greatly and have a great life again because of it.

    An analogy is going on a diet. If you’ve ever lost a few lbs you realize that it just happens once you accept that you will simply be hungry at times. You don’t sit and analyze the hunger and weigh yourself hourly. You eventually resign to the diet and the body, which acts on fixed principles, has no choice but to shed weight. You get on the scale and you are 4 pounds lighter and you aren’t sure when it happened but it just did. So in essence you achieved a goal by forgetting about the goal and resigning to what IS right now. (And moving on with life)

    Not easy. I always add the disclaimer that despite lots of progress I’m still working on this process when the storms do come and peak. But I can say with certainty the advice given by Nolan, Ves and others is the way forward.

  70. Steve b Says:

    Great post Bryan.

  71. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for the reply Bryan

  72. Ves Says:

    Thanks Bryan,

    Yes you are absolutely right in your reading of my post. It is the same thing just describing different ends. Yes, everyone will recover as Nolan and many others have correctly said. It is absolutely certain because we all belong to same existence. Biology and Chemistry is the same in all of us so if one can recover why cannot the other? It will recover, but that is in the future, that is one end. The other end is in the present. One should always stay in the present because misery is in the present. That is the end that we would like to forget and with help of hope we always get pulled in the future, into dreams. Acceptance means giving up on hope.

    Hope is just projection of the Mind. Anxious mind is projecting that Paul writes a third book about anxiety. But everything needed is already written in his first book. That is how hope works. Hope is always projecting future, looking for golden key hidden in words because we don’t want to live in the misery of present moment. But words are just words, ink on the paper.

    That is why I insist on dropping Mind and moving to the Heart. Book is not a solution, it is just a map. It is like a pirate map with a path to the treasure chest. We still have to walk that path.

  73. Jamie Says:


    Misery is in the present ? Mindfulness is all about being present, observing thoughts and focusing on your breath. A lot of anxiety is caused by constantly living in the past and future. I can kind of see the point you’re making but not this part ?

  74. Simon Says:

    I hate being a pain and I hate myself for having to keep asking questions (I feel I should be just accepting and getting on with life) however…..

    I’m on a real roller coaster at the minute, it is so true that when you feel ok it’s so easy to look back and think “what am i scared about, what am I avoiding”. When I am feeling “IT” usually depression and anxiety symptoms which is alot of the time, I can’t seem to just let it be.

    When I am low (at the moment), I see no way out, this makes me frustrated and I do all the usual stuff of trying to feel better only because if I continue to feel low and anxious will this create a habbit of always feeling like this?

    At the moment I am feeling bad and I keep having to tell myself “just accept… this is ok….” but at what point do I stop even trying to tell myself this?

    I feel exhausted and am sure this is because of all the overthinking I am doing.


  75. Alz Says:

    I compeletely accept my present state – it’s one of confusion , depersonalisation and irritation. I accept that it will be like this and that I will most probably be like this for sometime . I also accept that I will get the most scary self harming and self defeating thoughts . I accept that it feels like s___t and that sometimes I’m just so introspective that I feel like I’m not myself (dp) . So I accept and accept and accept and in accepting all of this and my battle within of not accepting vs accepting, Iv realised That I have made massive progress !! Whatever it is, being scared , bewildered or any negative term – continuing with evday life and just going on despite knowing acceptance is hard has actually made me achieve a lot ! I still feel zoned out and spacey but I accept that this IS anxiety and IS me . LEt me work alongside it and give myself credit for functioning normally on a day to day basis despite feelign abnormal and anxious :)

  76. Doreen Says:

    Alz – just so well done. I used to list my achievements at the end of each day and give myself a pat on the back. Feeling self respect is such a motivation

  77. Anon Says:

    Brilliant, Alz. So true.

  78. Lavender Says:

    Hi Simon, at the lowest point, i tell myself – ok, i surrender. and allow myself to just give in to the inner turmoil, all the horrid thots running thru. just let them run. I hope you may be able to find a safe place or point that you can truly just give in / submit to this (and not harm yourself). Of course, during the day, one still has to struggle to get on with life, with work. Perhaps at the end of the day, there is somewhere that you may find some respite and allow yourself to just feel all the turmoil and let anxiety run its course? For me, I take a very long shower…

    And totally agree with Alz and Doreen : no matter how hard it has been, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving each day. Press on.

  79. Jamie Says:

    I am not concerned by it as I know it’s just anxiety but does anyone get that sensation where it feels like someone is sticking hot needles into the top of your head (all over the top of it) ? As I say, I’m not bothered by it and I’m just letting it happen. We seem to have different symptoms.

  80. Eloise Says:

    Hi guys. This is my first post, but I’ve followed the blog for ages. I have pure o, ptsd, depression and general anxiety. Fun mix huh? Well, I started practicing Paul’s method a year ago, and wow was it hard. I really believe that anxiety sufferers share some common traits,
    Are you sensitive? Empathic? Analyzing? Black-and-whitey thinker?
    I know I am. I take EVERY though I have seriously, not because I want to, but my mind and my body want me to react. I’m like the hamster in wheel person, who is trying to not get involved in my anxious mind. I get so frustrated and angry when people say “just get over it”. If they really knew how an anxious person feel, they would regret it. Imagine living every second of your life with your most terrifying thoughts. No matter how hard you try to escape them, they are in your face. It’s like a living nightmare that never ends you want to scream and cry, but you try to keep your chin up. Trying your best, even thought some days you are to exhausted to do anything. That’s the best place, doing nothing. Not adding to the fire. We can and we will.

  81. Lavender Says:

    Hi Jamie, interesting symptom of needles into the top of head… I hope it is not painful. but nope, I haven’t experienced that. What I have is tingling sensation all over my face, mainly the cheeks during intense anxiety. It feels like I have a mask over my face. It is uncomfortable but not painful. The first times I experience it – it totally freaked me out. Bu now, when it comes, I just go “oh, okie, tingly face…” and like you say, dun let it bother me

  82. Anon Says:

    Jamie, I had burning skin sensation on my shoulders for a long time in the mornings. It’s all anxiety. The symptoms are so varied.

  83. carlie Says:

    I have only ever wrote on here once during a bad time and I can’t even remember what happened but I stopped coming on here I started a part time job and my daughter started school. I started forgetting all about it and living my life. I was still anxious at times but I was sleeping and waking up ready for the day. I caught myself feeling happy and it felt great. About a month ago I had a week of bad sleep which I hadn’t had in a while it set off my anxiety and I knew what it was so tried to get on with my day. But my brain has been thinking about anxiety non stop and that what has been bothering me and set me back up into the anxiety cycle. I am waking up feeling anxious and then I am constantly thinking about it. I was so happy I was working and was even going to start training to further my career. I know this is all anxiety as I wasn’t even thinking about it before but just the thought of it is bothering me. I also wake up feeling sad which starts it off and it feels like my body can’t calm down. I have been looking up how to feel good but I’m making myself worse. Also I feel sad when I see others happy. I know I just need to relax and wait for it to die down but I have no faith on myself and the constant chatter and negative thoughts are weighing me down.

  84. simon Says:

    Hi Carlie,

    I am sorry as I am not going to be much help at all other than to say I totally get where you are coming from. I went years feeling normal after a very bad time with anxiety and depression and I actually thought it would never happen again, but it did! When I first started to feel it again back in September I felt so confident that I could overcome it and that it would not be around for long, but day by day week by week it started to get on top of me and I too feel I have no faith in myself to recover. Some days are a bit better than others and evenings for me seem to be a little rest bite and I wake in the mornings feeling dreadful and longing for the evening to come again just for the rest. What you say about seeing people happy makes you sad hurts so much I know, but also seeing people unhappy makes me sad too, it’s like a no win situation. I find it so hard to do the things I once enjoyed, so much that I find myself talking myself out of them, when I do actually push myself to do stuff that I feel should make me feel better I am constantly battling against my mind that’s telling me not to bother. Like I said I am not much help to you only to say you are definitely not alone. I can read and read Pauls book over and over again, but I can’t pick anything else up and read, I just don’t want to and can’t do it…. my life is anxiety and this is what I am working on, even though doing nothing about it is so against what we are.

    Keep in mind that you did it before and you’ll do it again, but it will only go away when it’s ready to go I suppose. Like I said, I thought I had this covered after having it before, but when you are anxious and depressed it is so so much harder to understand.

    I wish you well in your recovery


  85. Bryan Says:


    Paul’s latest book has a terrific section on storms. (Setbacks)

    It’s a great reference if a flare up has you needing redirection. Highly recommend going back and checking it out so you can get back on track.

  86. Stephanie Says:

    Heya Carlie. Sorry to hear that. Aw do i know how u are feeling. Once you get back in the cycle it really is so hard to think about anything except how horrible you are feeling. Allowing it is so hard when all you can think of is wanting to feel happy and ‘normal’ I’m the same one bad sleep and it can set it all off. You just have to stay positive as poss and no matter how awful the thoughts they can’t harm you they are just thoughts. Obv don’t force yourself to feel ok jus keep plodding along. I’m so thankful for this site and the books xxx

  87. Kathy Says:

    Still feeling high anxiety since I was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and am approaching a surgery date. Not sure where to turn. I am doing a little better than when I was first diagnosed, but the worry over the surgery brings up the anxiety. Any suggestions? I also have anxiety induced nausea, which isn’t helping right now, as I am trying to get good nutrition and exercise for the surgery. Waiting for something like this is the worst. Gives your mind too much time to think of the “what ifs”. I’m not as bad as I once was, which is a surprise, given what’s going on, so I know I’ve learned a lot in 7 years. Just stuck right now. Any advice is welcome Thank you!

  88. Doreen Says:

    Kath – to be honest I think you doing remarkably well. Who wouldn’t be anxious with your diagnosis and impending surgery? Seems absolutely understandable.

    The only advice I can give is that ruminating over the ‘what if’s’ may be counterproductive as you really don’t know the answers.

    And not to let the understandable anxiety spill over into your everyday life and attach itself to other things so you are overwhelmed.

    Very best of luck

  89. Wendy Says:


    it’s just a setback! and having setbacks means making progress!:) I know exactly how you feel! Just don’t entertain your anxiety! If your mind starts racing then ignore it. Don’t entertain your thoughts. Once you truly understand the message it is very easy. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to work for feeling better. There is absolutely nothing that you must or should do to make it go away. Just live! Live your life, even if you feel like crap, just ignore it and move on :)

  90. Wendy Says:

    Hey everyone,

    I just wanted to share something that came into my mind and I think it is actually very true and maybe it helps someone:)

    I think you can compare recovery with getting over a heartbreak. Imagine anxiety is the stupid guy who broke your heart and left you feeling like sh**. A broken heart hurts! You cry and cry and think about what you could have done better. You imagine him coming back or you start thinking back at all the times you had together and your whole life is full of self pity and tears. Well, at least that is how my first heartbreak felt! It was really bad!
    But usually one day you decide that enough is enough! This guy isn’t worth it! You decide to don’t waste another minute thinking about the guy who broke your heart! You decide to move on and to live your life. You accept the fact that the relationship is over and eventually you get over it and start being happy again!

    I think this is exactly how you should treat anxiety! Anxiety is the stupid guy who isn’t worth it! You don’t have to analyze the broken relationship 24/7. All that does is making you feel more and more sad and angry and broken. Move on! There is a life waiting and you can have it right now! And if a thought of this guy comes back into your mind then just don’t entertain it! The relationship is over and yes, it still hurts and you still feel like crap, but still, don’t waste another minute analysing this guy who isn’t worth it!

    So, I am not sure if this makes sense to anyone 😀 Also I am no native English speaker and therefore I am very sorry for mistakes, but I hope it helps.

    All the best,


  91. Kathy Says:

    Thank you, Doreen, I appreciate your thoughts. Letting go of the “what ifs” slowly but surely, as I know they don’t serve me well. I will let the anxiety be there as it is bound to, right now, but will continue to enjoy the small things I am able to, at this time and concentrate on getting through the surgery and recovery. Thank you for just caring enough to answer. That meant a lot.

  92. Alex Says:

    Hello, does anyone else feel like they have been stuck in an anxious mind so long that they have forget what it’s like to be normal . I want to get better but it’s hard to motivate oneself when you don’t know what you are aiming for . Personally it’s been just over 2 years since I truly felt connected to the world , were everything made sense .

    I have been making strides to get better and have days were my mood is up. But the feelings of unreality , disconnection and loss of self still persist. Does recovery come at once ? Surely feeling real and feeling connected is a straight opposite to feeling unreal and disconnected, is there any inbetween ?

  93. Lavender Says:

    Hi Kathy! wish I could give you a hug right now! It is perfectly human to be anxious given the diagnosis. You are already doing very well in trying to exercise and eat well. Give yourself some time to accept. Take small and frequent meals as your body will need the nutrients. Will pray for the surgery to be smooth.

  94. Chris Says:

    This is a great post. I haven’t been in here in a while but I really have come a long way when it comes to anxiety considering how bad I was when I first started posting!

    I’ve been going through this process, but this time it’s not over anxiety. Me and my girlfriend recently split and I’ve been super down over it, however I’m treating it the same way that I did with anxiety in the past, I’m just remaining open to it and accepting it and living life as per usual. It’s brutal, but I’m doing a good job with it and I reckon it has to be the best way forward.

  95. Kathy Says:

    LAVENDAR, thank you. I can feel your virtual hug!!! And thank you for your prayers. I know they will help!

  96. Jolene Says:

    Hi everyone, I have been given the opportunity to take over a charity from my parents, and can spend the remaining funds (considerable amount) in whatever way I would like. Being an ‘anxiety sufferer’ myself I would feel most inclined doing something for fellow suffers, as I know how much we need an extra bit of support now and then. My questions is though, can anyone help me with ideas? I can’t think of any! F.e. during difficult times; what is it that you need the most, but is not available? What would help you ease some of the discomfort? Any idea would be helpful! x

  97. Sally Says:

    Hi Jolene lovely idea of yours I think some sort of drop in centre for anxiety sufferers to just go on a bad day to find someone to talk to who understands and meet people who have anxiety too who can support each other

    Kind Regards

  98. Jolene Says:

    Thanks Sally, that’s a great idea! Would have helped me tons in my bad days, which felt so lonely. When you mention ‘to find someone to talk to’, do you mean professionals, or not necessarily? Thanks again for your thoughts!

  99. Sally Says:

    Hi Jolene just others with the same condition to talk to and support each other X

  100. Anon Says:

    Hi Jolene. Some of the worst anxiety imaginable is caused by withdrawal from benzodiazepines and ssris. There are withdrawal charities that I’m sure would love such a donation.

  101. Doreen Says:

    Sally – nice idea (a drop in centre) but wherever it was sited would only cater for a few people lucky enough to live nearby.

    i would suggest a charity which is accessible to all, such as MIND.

  102. Jamie Says:

    I agree with Doreen. As we all live in different parts of the world, I’m not sure a drop-in centre would work but a nice idea.

    MIND is a good idea though.

  103. Sally Says:

    Yes Doreen good idea

  104. Nicholas Christelis Says:

    Please responde somebody. I just need someone to give me a bit of advice.

    I have had very bad anxiety for the past few years. One of the reasons is because I have always complained about blurry vision.

    This is my prescription which is very weak:
    RE: – 0.50
    LE: -0.50/-0.25 x15. ”

    Wearing glasses stresses me out, wearing contacts is really uncomfortable.. but the bluryness upsets me and I don’t know how much/how often to wear the contacts or glasses and I don’t want to worsen my eyes.

    So I’m pretty stuck because the bluryness has caused me anxiety for many years and now the glasses cause me anxiety.

    Thank you for your response in advance

  105. Jolene Says:

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts! I like the idea of a charity such as MIND and I did think of that before I reached out on this blog, but I wasn’t sure if it would offer anything new, as MIND pretty much covers everything already. What do you think? x

  106. Beth Says:

    I’m really “struggling” still with the whole allowing without fear concept. Next Wednesday I’m heading on an “outing” 2 hours away, on freeways, across 2 bridges and I’m. Freaking. Out. I haven’t been out of about a 10 mile radius in many, many years but I’m going anyway cuz I wanna see my daughter at college. :) I feel like I can handle the uncomfortable feelings, but the terror is a whole ‘nother story. Why am I not having this “aha” moment where I just get it. Frustrated…

  107. panicky Says:

    So you get feelings of guilt about past events. Things that didn’t used to bother me are now boring into my head and I can’t seem to rationalise them. People I know have said they are nothing to worry about but they have wrecked my confidence and make me want to hide. When I feel like this I can’t imagine ever not feeling guilty about them again. Is this another anxiety trick? When I rationalise them I get to the point where I think they are stupid but then they bounce back at me and leave me feeling wretched and ashamed.. any thoughts?

  108. Lavender Says:

    Hi Beth,

    How about allowing WITH fear? Not without fear? Just allow yourself to still do the things you want to do despite the fear.

    For now, it is still screaming at you that you have to freak out, have to be afraid. But just do it. just go on that trip and do it afraid. It will be ok. Yes, it is very comfortable, but go for it. Becos that is the only way out. Press on.

  109. Lavender Says:

    sorry, I meant it is very *uncomfortable.

    And the elusive ‘aha’ moment will come quietly and without much fanfare, when the anxiety also slowly creeps away without saying goodbye. The irony is that we can “will” this to happen.

    As what has been said before, live your life. Make it bigger than the anxiety.

  110. Vic Says:


    it also took me a while to totally understand Pauls message, but when you understand it it is actually very easy.
    You need to understand that anxiety is nothing that comes to you. You are the one creating your anxiety by fearing it and by constantly thinking about it. All anxiety ever is is your own thoughts. It’s only there when you focus on it, and if your mind’s on something else, it’s gone. All your thoughts and fears- anything going on in your mind – is completely insignificant. Your thoughts are not you! Even if your mind tells you ” You will freak out on the freeways, you may lose control or whatever” just don’t believe it! Those are thoughts! They are nothing, they are not reality and they are not real! :) There is no need to constantly entertain your thoughts.

    So, whenever you start fearing this upcoming event be like “Yeah whatever”. Worrying is what causes your anxiety! You can’t control things and worrying about this event will only make things worse so just stay in the moment an live you life :) I promise you nothing bad will happen!

  111. Beth Says:

    Thank you Lavender and Vic…your comments are much appreciated. And, for the first time EVER I had a few seconds today of “getting it”! I can do things and still be terrified. I can still operate a car and go on this 2 hour adventure…if im scared, im scared, right? Then, of course, i was overwhelmed with the catastrophic thoughts once again. It didn’t “stick” but I know it’ll be back and it was glorious. :)

  112. Beth Says:

    Heart’s beating out of my chest with fear…what a yo-yo ride.

  113. Lavender Says:

    Hi Beth, totally can understand the yo-yo or what I imagine as ‘roller-coaster’ ride… hang in there! The ride will eventually slow down and end when we choose to let the thots pass by and not entertain them further.

    Hi Panicky, yes, what you described is just another anxiety trick. She is just so good at different ways to question us, throwing up yucky thots / stuff in a different spin, luring us into this web of rationalization which goes nowhere. (yes, I imagine anxiety as a she.)

    The thoughts are not you. Be gentle and kind to yourself.

    The over-thinking or rationalization only draws us further down the slippery slope, so just pause, breathe and decide to step back and let these thots pass by. I imagine them like on a sushi conveyor belt – no need to pick them up, just notice them and let them continue on. eventually your mind will lose interest and move on.

  114. Beth Says:

    Lavender-Would it be inappropriate for me to ask for your email address? We just seem to be on the same wave length and your thoughts really make sense to me. Thank you!

  115. Vic Says:


    When my anxiety my biggest fear was getting a heart attack, lol. Today I completely lost this fear. I can even laugh about it now. Trust me, one day you will be able to look back on all the stuff you feared and smile about it. Let your heart beat faster if it wants, but just don’t question why:)

  116. Beth Says:

    Thank you, Vic…just will be glad when Thursday night is here and I’m back home. I honestly haven’t been this freaked out in probably 10 years. My body just doesn’t seem to want to believe that nothing catastrophic is going to happen. It will be wonderful when I get to a point where, as you said, you can laugh about it. I really do appreciate all the guidance-especially now.

  117. Vic Says:

    If your body freaks out then just ignore it. It’s nothing more than anxiety. It can never harm you. If your heart starts beating faster don’t go into the analysing mode and question everything. Just focus on what you are doing and let it beat as fast as it wants :) Don’t pay these sensations any attention! They loove attention, but they just don’t need it. They pass once you accept/ignore them:)

  118. Beth Says:

    Thank you…again. They are persistent little buggers, though, aren’t they?

  119. Lavender Says:

    To the moderator(s) : I don’t think we can share our email address here? Perhaps someone can advise how we may privately contact another one in this forum? Thank you.

  120. Jamie Says:

    You can post your email address if you’re clever Lavender. I know others have.

    E.g. the word “at” instead of the sign and abbreviate the email provider. I hope I’m not breaking the rules there…

  121. Beth Says:

    Sounding like a broken record here, I know…leaving on my “journey” early in the morning. Mostly I feel like I wanna lose my lunch cuz my thoughts are raging. I’ll be so glad when I reach my destination-in one piece, no less. Thanks everyone for your kind words of encouragement…it means a lot.

  122. Doreen Says:

    When I was moderating I was asked to advise people not to put their email addresses on this blog. Not sure if the advise still applies.

    But if you also post on the ANM Facebook page then your name will appear next to your post and you can then be contacted by private message. You can always alert the person on here and whom you wish to be in touch with that you have done that.

  123. Jamie Says:

    I have called in to work sick today as I have a very mad migraine. I suffer with migraines not as much as I used to but they are always caused by overthinking / worrying and this is the case again now (mainly trivial things too).

    Anyway, the reason I am posting is I have been beating myself up for 1) not going into work and for 2) taking half a diazepam to try and relax my head. A lot of the advice on the blog and in Paul’s books is not to avoid things / carry on regardless but also look after yourself and don’t overdo it. I have not been off sick for a long time.

    Do people not go in to work if particularly unwell with something stress related or do people carry on regardless e.g. go to work, socialise etc no matter how bad you feel ? Is it that bad taking medication to try and feel better ?

    I have spent most of the day checking in with my body to see if I feel any better, worrying if I still have a headache and worrying about whether I will be well enough to go in tomorrow. I have also done my usual and been constantly switching between mantras, saying and mindsets in an attempt to relieve the headache / fix it

    For example – “I don’t care how I feel”, “I will not waste my life worrying”, “let go”, “be calm”, “it will pass”, “do absolutely nothing”…..
    All of these little sayings make me feel better momentarily but they are not cures and more overworking of the mind cannot be good I guess. I was just wondering what people’s thoughts are on this ?


  124. Vic Says:


    you are still trying too hard to feel better! You don’t need to try.You don’t need to check if you already feel better.You will get better, trust me, just be a bit more patient with yourself:)
    You are doing exactly the the things that kept me in the circle for so long. I know anxiety sometimes feels like a crying kid and you always want to look after it and do things to stop it from crying, but the thing is you don’t have to do anything! Relax, drink some tea and then do what you love and go on with your life.

    It is totally fine to stay at home for a while if your headache is too bad, BUT don’t use your free time to question it all over and over again. There is no need to do that!!:DJust relax, go for a walk, get some fresh air or do a hobby.

    To your mantras: I also used to say all these things in my mind, but after I while I understood that I was just trying to “think my way out of anxiety”.
    Just be like “Whatever” if anxiety comes up. Ignore it, don’t pay it any attention. It does not need attention! 😀 Imagine anxiety is someone that broke your heart. You have two choices then: You can think about this person over and over again, feel self pity and cry your eyes out or you can be like “okay, I’m not going to waste any other minute thinking about this stupid person, that doesn’t love me. It’s a waste of time and it does not change anything, so I am going to live my life now without this person.”

    It is also okay to take medication in my opinion, but I never heard of anyone with anxiety being cured by taking pills. That is because there is no magic pill and no magic cure. You can take them, but in my opinion you just don’t need them:)

    I am very sorry if some things are a bit hard to understand. I am no native english speaker, but I’m going to spend some months in the states this summer so my English should be much better when I’m back 😀

    All the best,


  125. Beth Says:

    I. Just. Dont. Get. It. I made the 2 1/2 trip down to see my daughter at college. Now, I’m fixated on the drive back. How, oh how, does one just allow? How, when all I do is fear, fear, fear and listen to my heart race. Ignoring all those scary thoughts, symptoms, negative emotions absolutely terrifies me-it’s all I think about. “Just let the thoughts and sensations go by without paying them much attention…”…ignore them…How? I’m still glad I got down here, though, she was so happy. :)

  126. K Says:

    Dear all,
    Please let me know if you have seen symptoms like recurring headaches that feel like a burning dot or a line on top or back of the head and is present for 2+ days (nothing helps, tests normal). In addition, if I work on the computer or write, my right side hurts for a few days (leaving me sleep-deprived). I am definitely anxious and self-conscious and feel some sort of detachment, but I am not sure it’s anxiety of the type that Paul describes. I don’t know what causes what.
    Thank you,

  127. Doreen Says:

    Beth – your final comment is the one that really matters. Thats why even if you couldn’t ignore the symptoms it is essential that you keep on acting as if they aren’t there.

    “I’m still glad I got down here, though, she was so happy. :)”

  128. Beth Says:

    Thank you, Doreen. :)

  129. Lavender Says:

    Dear Beth, give yourself a pat on the back! Cos you made the trip down! :)
    It is ok to feel the fears, the racing thoughts – we can’t stop them. I’m also going through the same questions in my mind, alternating between trying to push them away, or trying to allow them to be.

    agree with Doreen on keep on acting. There is a saying – “fake it until you make it”. So although I’m feeling really anxious, I still put up a front and do the daily things.

    as at now, I’m at work – feeling rather groggy due to lack of quality sleep. But I know it is ok and this will eventually pass. Not today, maybe not tomorrow. Just have to take it day by day.

  130. Lavender Says:

    To Jamie, don’t be too hard on yourself… it is perfectly ok to take a day off due to the migraine. I have also taken medication before – it helps to provide temporary relieve. So it is like medicine for a bad headache.

    In current state, it is probably a lot of struggling, and doing whatever the mind throws up – the mind is trying to help but it is only making it worse. Regarding mantras, i find that if one keeps repeating it in the hope of trying to feel better immediately and afterwards, it doesn’t last. So once again, it is back to just letting ourselves get soak in the rainstorm. and wait for it to pass.

  131. K Says:

    Dear all:

    I understand the concept of not doing anything about anxiety, not paying it any respect and letting it release but I would like someone to validate if below is the right application.

    About me:
    I am a new mother working full time (with a supporting husband also working full-time and a nanny who takes care of the baby 5 days a week, including at night). I hate my job (trying to change it). I feel tired or in pain (headaches, muscle aches) most of the time, mostly due to losing sleep and anxiety (and because I have to do things for my family). When I come home from work, I just want to lie down (although I want to lie down during the day as well). I would love to take naps, but I am unable to. I am unable to go out during the day on weekends, again because I am sleep-deprived and tired. The only thing that brings me real joy is my baby’s smile and when I am able to get a good night sleep. I go swimming and do yoga.

    I had anxiety before becoming a mother. I was an introvert growing up. I did not end up in the profession that I wanted to be (although I am hopeful I can still change it).

    So applying the “not paying any respect to anxiety”:

    Should I ignore the fact that I am tired and go exercise/walk after work? Should I go out places on weekends despite losing sleep the night before?
    Should I let my husband arrange lunches with friends despite wanting to just stay home all weekend?
    Or should I really be a stickler about getting my rest and sleep – because that is the only thing that makes me feel better?

    Thank you,


  132. Felicia Says:

    Hey everyone! Just thought I’d stop by and say I’m FINALLY having pink days as scarlet would put it back then meaning days with no or little anxiety! I can truly say I’m on a whole other level with my anxiety in this healing journey.

    What helped me with irrational and scary thoughts is that regular human function wasn’t born to be this way and any weird stuff in my head would therefore seize funtion of a normal mammal or human way to live and survive. Thus concluding all these fears are opposite of what life is really about. Once I excepted that and relaxed all this common sense and normality flooded my life and mind and I’m so extremely happy. Sorry if that doesn’t make sense but it relates to the type of horrible anxiety I had ??

  133. Felicia Says:

    I don’t know why those question marks are there loool ?

  134. Bryan Says:


    I get migraines too and while rarely they are the one thing in my years of stress disorder that have caused me to miss work. It happens and like you I tend to overthink it. So I’ve made it a point to allow myself to just rest and recover when they come and attempt to not engage with the mental babbling about it. As for meds, how about Tylenol next time instead of the benzo since Tylenol is a benign drug? Just a thought.

  135. Fin Says:

    Hey guys , from reading Paul’s Books I have got the message that to free yourself from anxiety you just need to live your life as normal.

    When Paul says this does he mean live your life as you would of you didn’t have anxiety ? Because for me , anxiety is my normal life . I dropped out of University because of it , I hardly ever see my friends , I don’t participate in some of my hobbies like rugby and video games.

    Under Paul’s advice should I try and live my life as if I never became stuck in anxiety. Im faily sure that If I’d never developed anxiety I would be in University right now , going to parties , meeting girls , playing the sports I enjoy etc . One final thing I’d like to note is that I’ve had social anxiety since I was around 14 , ( although was shy for as long as I can remember before that ), so my old “normal” wasn’t exactly anxiety free – should I aim to be even more anxiety free than what I was before my anxiety became really bad. Thanks

  136. Stephanie Says:

    Does anyone else suffer with paranoia or know if this is linked to anxiety?? I’m questioning whether it is something alot more serious and I will loose my mind!? :/ been here before but all feels so real. Any advice or experience of this would be wonderful. Thanks xx

  137. Vic Says:


    this is a very common fear of anxiety, but I promise you you won’t lose your mind and you won’t go crazy! It is aaall anxiety and because of your tired nerves it feels real. Trust me, once you give your mind the rest it needs you will be able to see things clear again and then one day you will laugh about this silly fears :) People who lose their mind don’t question it. The fact that you are on this blog writing about your fear shows that it is nothing more than a tired mind and you won’t lose your mind:)

  138. Anxious Lu Says:

    Hi everyone, I was wondering if someone please could help me. Im really in a bad place right now ive had constant derealisation depersonalisation for months now. I feel so disconnected from life myself and my surroundings that ive started to constantly obsess that im losing touch with reality because thats how it feels im honestly scared that im losing it and im going to end up in a mental instituation. My memory is all over the place im really scared that this is the beginning of phycosis or something I feel like im not really hereand have no emotion. Can someone please help me im so frightened im slipping into madness or something I cant stop thinking thats what’s actually happening. I feel so depressed. Just really need some reassurance feel like if I could lose this fear I could move on with my life but finding it so difficult at the minute. It really feels like im going to be the one that ends up schizophrenic or something

  139. Jamie Says:

    Thanks for your replies to my post.
    P.S. Vic – your English is fine. I understood you perfectly :o)

  140. Stephanie Says:

    Aw liv thank you. Anxiety is through the roof today !! Think it’s because I had a rubbish sleep last night. I know when I think properly it is only when I’m anxious that the paranoia really feels so real! Supposed to be at a family party tonight and so so tempted to not go and hide at home in my Pjs :( so hard when it’s so intense can’t help but just want to feel ‘Normal’
    Do you think it’s possible to suffer every type of anxiety?? Has anyone heard of HOCD or ROCD? Any knowledge people have would be great. Thanks

  141. Vic Says:


    I have suffered from every sort of anxiety 😀 It started with hypochondria, then I got panic attacks, GAD and finally dp. The thing is it does not matter what sort of anxiety you have! Put it all under the same umbrella, there is no need to separate everything.
    Also you should really try to force yourself to go on social events! If you want to feel normal again you have to add much more “normal living” into your life! Trust me, even if you feel horrible nothing bad will ever happen. I mean, what is the worst thing that could ever happen on a social event? Yes, you may feel anxiety but that’s it. It won’t harm you or anything and it will pass once you stop entertaining it :)

    Your nerves are tired and that is why you feel anxious about everything. Go out, talk to other people and give your mind the rest it needs. Don’t question everything. There is no need to do that. Accept anxiety, don’t entertain it and live your life. That is how recovery works and trust me, you WILL recover;)

  142. Stephanie Says:

    Vic I know you are so right. A few years ago when mine first started out bad, I couldn’t understand what was wrong but had time off work and didn’t go anywhere and spent the whole time worrying about why I didn’t feel right. Luckily came across Pauls first book. It helped massively !!! I really have jus got on with life but then it comes on all of a sudden again and it’s like I’m heading back to square one. When you say had every type of anxiety, do you not have any side effects now ?? It’s like I nearly am recovered but it doesn’t go 100% the breathing is the worst thing when i can’t get even sighs (as silly as it sounds) or when I go to bed and start worrying about not sleeping and then stay in this half asleep half awake zone all night. Sleep was a big issue a few years ago and definetly effects the anxiety massively. Went to the party even tho spent most of the time feeling weird and thinking other people can sense it! …

  143. Beth Says:

    Thanks to all who were so encouraging regarding my recent journey. :) Since my return, I have felt worse than I have in months-constant terror, fear, anxiety…all of it. Even been searching my area for someplace to check myself into. I know it’s “just” anxiety and negative energy waiting to be released. But, how does one get past the fear?! I feel as if I’m right on the cusp of “getting” this but it’s just out of my reach…

  144. K Says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I am dreading my negative emotions, lack of sleep and dragging myself to work while being tired, not being able to take my baby to the playground, and putting a smile on my face while all I want to do inside is lie down in bed and weep. And what helps me with fear is realizing that IT IS WHAT I AM FEELING. That is it, it is just fear, nothing more. It’s just something you feel, not something that is happening to or hurting you. The fear is the source that keeps all your issues going. Once you realize that, it eases up and if you stay with it (just facing it, being courageous and doing nothing about it despite still feeling like crap), it will ease up within a few hours. So next time you feel scared, just say: ok, here we go again, I am feeling [fill in the blank] and I am terrified about it, BUT DESPITE THAT — I AM OK. Your brain is sending you “worry” signals as if you were in danger, but you keep telling it: thank you so much for warning me, but I am ok. It works every time. The fear will probably come back again (because of the habit), but you do exactly the same. Keep practicing this response and you will change your body’s reaction.

  145. Karen Says:

    I just want to say that when I was 35 years ago I took infertility medications that caused me to start having panic attacks. I then started into the anxiety disorder. I was so anxious I could not even drive to the bus stop to pick up my daughter without having multiple panic attacks. I am a nurse and only called into work maybe 2 times because of anxiety. I don’t know how I made it through my work days. I had very bad anxiety for 7 years. I had the horrible thoughts about my family, I could not go into stores without panicking. I would come home from work and go to bed. I had the unreality feeling constantly. It was a really hard time in my life and I still feel guilty that i was not the best Mom or wife I could be during that time,but through it all I kept going and today am a very happy, confident Mom,wife and nurse. I can say that I love life!

  146. Stephanie Says:

    Karen, which medications was it ? I sometimes wonder if the imlanon effects hormones and makes anxiety worse..

  147. Lavender Says:

    Hi Beth, there is no direct answer to the qns – “how does one get past the fear”. Look at the fear right in its face. Acknowledge it. Just be with it. If it helps, you can think of the fear as a him/her – who is also part of you. How can you get away from something that is part of you? You can’t. And the resistance and struggle is only going to make you suffer more. When you are finally willing to address / acknowledge the fear / anxiety, then there is acceptance. With acceptance, you will eventually find back the peace there was there all along – just blocked off for now.

    And it is ok to look for help – you can look for a GP, counselor etc.

  148. Beth Says:

    K and Lavender-Thank you so, so much! I know at some point I will “get” this, but in the meantime I will just practice. Practice telling myself all the things you’ve suggested and keeping busy. I’ve been out of a job for 6 months, but doing odd jobs to bring in an income…too much time on my hands to think,think, think. This, above all, is probably my biggest issue at the moment. Thank you both again-have a wonderful day. :)

  149. Louise Says:

    Hi anxiouslu when I read your post just I could really see myself in that message, I was where you are at now and still are at times. When I forst began I thought had schizophrenia,mania even the start of dementia(as I work within that subject) I didnt quite understand anything that I was going through nobody did really until I came across this sight and bought pauls book. My advice would be to jus feel and get on with life as hard as it is an believe me I know like most people on here how it is when all you want is to be you again and you will be eventually it just take time like everything in this world. Iv gone from feeling like crap everyday over worrying to actually having some good days. You haven’t gor all the illnesses that you belive it is just thought, which you are over thinking. Read pauls book and you will see that it is all anxiety and ocwr thinking and over worrying. Lou ?

  150. K Says:

    Would appreciate it if someone could reply to my posts above about headaches and about applying the “not paying respect”.

  151. Anxious Lu Says:

    Thank you so much Louise for replying to me :-) Sorry to hear you’ve also suffered I wouldnt wish it on anyone its horrible. I started to have panic attacks as a child to the point that I became agrophobic but eventually got better. I got anxiety bad again when I was 18 and have had it on and off ever since. Im 27 now. Im a stay at home mom to 2 children. My recent boubt of this started after I gave birth to my daughter in january. The dp/dr came on so strong the second I had her it makes me feel so guilty as shes 4 months now and I feel like ive missed out on so much because I feel so disconnected from everything. Its just feels like the past 4 months havnt actually happened and if you asked me what I did last week or even yesterday for that matter id stuggle to remember as feels like im so fixated on anxiety im struggling to take anything else in. Honestly feel like ive lost the plot so scared of this happening as ive got my children to look after. Feels like im constantly watching myself life seems to be just passing me by and im stuck like this just want to beable to enjoy life again instead of waking up every morning feeling in a dream where everything seems meaningless and that constant feeling of dread. Im so fightened that im losing touch with reality as everything feels so unreal like its not actually happening.wish I could stop obsessing that I am its just so hard. Does this sound like dp/dr to you? or something worse? Im honestly scared to death that im slipping into madness.

  152. Doreen Says:

    K – I think your response to Beth is actually answering your own question

  153. Simon Says:

    Hi Anxious,

    All I can respond with to your post above is that you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination.

    Everything your saying I can relate too and I am sure so can many more. I have this before in 2009 and never expected it to go away back then, let alone come back to haunt me again.

    Yes it’s been a struggle trying (and this is the problem “TRYING”) to be my old self again, I thought because I went through it before and it disappeared that I would never get it again and if I did I knew what to do. However this is not the case and I think my problem is that I am wanting this to go away quicker than it did last time, but I don’t suppose putting myself under that pressure is helping in the least. I totally get that you can’t remember what you did yesterday etc, I can’t remember sometimes what I did 10 mins ago and then that sends my head into another fight.

    NOW…. this is where I am giving myself some advise as well as hoping to support others. Last week I got really into some problem solving software and I lost myself for a good few days, the mornings were and still are horrendous but during the day, only occasionally I had to re-focus on what I was doing and not on how I felt. Did it work….. YEP IT DID, did it come back…. YEP IT DID, do I now panic at the thought of I have to find something to do all day long to feel better YES I DO…. SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    I should just carry on regardless, if I have something to do, do it, if I don’t so what!!

    As time goes on with how I am feeling I always wonder if this is me forever…. but I suppose we have to go through all this to feel normal again. I hope and belive that if we continue to live with all these feelings and thoughts no matter how horrible they are, they must become less and less popwerful and althought I do doubt myself at the moment. I DID COME THROUGH THIS ALL BEFORE – so I and you will get throught it again.

    One thing I always remember after I recovered is that I wanted to help other people who suffer and I pushed Paul’s method at everyone who wanted help. When you do get better, you start to think “why did I think like that, why was I scared of this… gosh it was all silly”, but we can’t see this ourselves at the minute.

    Just hang in there, keep doing everything you would normally, even when your mind tells you NO….


  154. Anxious Lu Says:

    Thankyou so much for your reply to my post Simon.
    I completely get what your saying about when youve had it before you assume if it comes back youll know exactly what to do to get rid of it again but this is just not the case when your in the thick of it. This is the 3rd time ive had it this bad just feels as though im stuck in some really bad place that I cant get out of but reading your reply I know I must keep the faith that I can and will come out of it again like before and you will too. Its just so hard sometimes to believe as feels like ive completely lost myself to all this again and cant remember who I am anymore. I know I should just carry on as normal but the thing is I cant remember what normal feels like. I used to wake up having meaning to my day would be rushing around doing this n that…now it just feels like I dont want to do anything and im locked in my own mind. Just feel like im lost in this mindless pondering about my anxiety with thoughts racing round all day and everythings just passing me by.
    Think its so kind of you to want to help others I really wish I could get to a place where I can too. That would be the best reward coming through and being able to help others. I bought pauls book years ago its the only advice ive ever trusted as most other sites seem to just want you to part with your money and promise a instant cure that just doesnt exist. Ive tried medication in the past which just made me feel worse doctors just seem to dish these pills out but ive never believed medication was the answer. Really want to beable to accept all the symptoms but finding this feeling of detachment so hard to get past. Feels as though im just existing through the day. I feel empty.

  155. Beth Says:

    Lu-You just described me…to a tee. Please hang in there and know that you have the strength to carry on. :)

  156. K Says:

    Thank you Doreen. But my question is more specific. And maybe it is easier to give advice to other people than to yourself but I would like to know if other people are dealing with same issues. I am at a point where I don’t quite know whether I need rest as I normally would before anxiety or whether I need to get over the tiredness because it is just an anxiety symptom. And the headaches are just strange – the top of my head is hurting for 24-48 hours and tylenol or other things don’t help. It is very frustrating.

  157. Wendy Says:

    Feeling completely trapped today. My dp makes me question everything. I have these really bad existential thoughts like “who are we?” “is life real?” “What is the meaning?Why do we exist?”. These thoughts are freaking me out! Please Doreen or somebody else who is recovered could you please give me some advice? I feel like these thoughts are a completely new and higher level of anxiety and nobody can ever give me an answer to these questions so how should I not fear them?

    Thank you everyone!

  158. Alz Says:

    Hello All,
    I see new people posting here and in a way its really good that they are turning to Paul’s blog to find help because one honestly gets genuine help here.
    So I just shifted homes (last week ) and along with work it was quite a big task but it happened! Besides all of this , my husband has taken an unpaid leave for the past four months and I have had days where we have not been talking at all- fighting , arguing and then just not communicating. So with all of the action that has been happening , the dp and thoughts are sometimes really strong. Now i mentioned this before but the constant thought of just ending it all is continuously running in my head. Sometimes its extremely scary because i feel like maybe in the midst of the dp and overwhelmed thoughts , i do end up doing something.
    I just need some reassurance .. these thoughts have been there for the past one month or so . I think i did write about them before as well..

  159. Matt Says:

    Hey Alz,

    You described perfectly what I have happen too. I get the thoughts, and then after a while I start to worry if I’ll act on them because I’ll get overwhelmed. Definitely just anxiety, but feels scary!!! I still haven’t become rid of them, but one of the books I was reading said that when you just have the thoughts left over, you are very close to recovery!

  160. Stephanie Says:

    Hello K,

    I remember the days of having a baby and working – the exhaustion is no fun. I know having anxiety on top of all that can make it a confusing time. But it will get better! In the meantime, only you can determine the rest that you need. You should ask yourself, “If I didn’t have anxiety, how would I respond to the way that I’m feeling? Even though I’m tired, would I still go socialize, or would I stay home and take a nap?” Not paying attention to anxiety doesn’t mean being some kind of invincible superhero; it just means living your life the way you would as if you didn’t have anxiety. So take a nap…or go out…or stay home and cuddle with your baby. There are no rules. Just do what YOU want!

    And as far as the headaches, anxiety can cause pretty much any physical symptom, so I would just chalk it up to that and leave it be.

  161. Lavender Says:

    K, regarding the headaches, perhaps it is to look at it in a different way? To accept it as uncomfortable but not unbearable. It is likely just another anxiety symptom but if it does persists, do see a GP to check it.

    I don’t experience headaches during anxiety but have intense tingling sensation on the face. It is really weird and freaked me out the first times it came on. Gradually, I learnt to adopt a different attitude when it comes. Am I cured? No. I still get anxious and the tingling comes on. My attitude towards it is – yes, it is uncomfortable and distressing, but it is bearable. And gradually it will go off.

  162. Lavender Says:

    Lu, read your post. I can understand how u feel… My child was around 3-4 when I had a bad bout of anxiety and I felt so guilty too. It is ok – you are already trying your best. Be kind to yourself. When you are able to, try and let go. Just be with the kids – take a nap with them, enjoy little moments. You don’t have to wait till you are ‘normal’ again. Now is good enough. Focus on the little things that you can do right now. You are good enough right now.

  163. Fin Says:

    Hello. So for the past 10 days I felt like I’ve really been beginning to grasp Paul’s words. In moments were I would previously buy into an anxious thought and worry about it , my attitude has been one of ” Ok I hear you but Im busy right now and you aren’t going to help”. I have essentially stopped trying to recover and have been trying to enjoy doing things even in my current anxious state.

    However I still have the rubbish DP symptoms. Am I being a little foolish to think 2 years worth of symptoms are going to just disappear so quickly ?Also do you think it’s foolish if me to come onto this website again because it kind of counts as ” trying to get better ” Thanks

  164. Bryan Says:


    Dizziness and or DP symptoms take a while to lift in my experience and we do indeed need patience with them. Do your best to continue on. Thr path you’ve described and minimize the attention given, as hard as that may be to do.
    Just keep moving forward.

  165. Fin Says:

    Thanks for the reply Bryan. This blog is actually the first time I’ve told someone about my symptoms for 2 years. When I initially experienced these bad anxiety symptoms I did tell my parents and went to the doctor ( Doctor told me to just relax for a few days). After a week my symptoms lessoned greatly and for the next 15 months life was fairly normal for me, just didn’t feel completely removed right, so I have never bothered telling anyone since. Do you think it’s in my best interest to try and arrange some talk therapy just to let someone know in real life ? I don’t really want to tell my parents because they would be very upset to find out I’ve been feeling this way and would definitely overreact

  166. Bryan Says:

    Hey Fin,

    Paul has talked about therapy in the past but I’m not sure which blog that was. I believe essentially he said ifmtherapt represented a time to get things off your chest and unload, rather than an effort to find ways to rid and beat something that it was perfectly fine. And frankly I personally think regardless we all can hit a point where we need some kind of help or guidance.

    My erupt was targeted as to helping me reset my thinking and stop stewing or focusing on the symptoms. It was about learning to live with things as they are. So mine was a bit more focused. Whether or not that was the “right thing to do”… I needed it at the time.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with having someone to talk to. Either someone who can just hear you, or someone familiar with the type of mindset Paul teaches (and Claie Weekes etc) who can help you keep on the right path.

    I think for the most part as long as we do things without adding additional fear, fretting or expectations it is fine. The goal remains for us to be able to love the same as we used to, through the good and the bad the best we can.

  167. Bryan Says:

    (Sorry about the typos.)

  168. Stephanie2 Says:

    Hey I have changed my name as realised there was another stephanie in this blog. I like to come and check out the comments every now and then, usually on a night when I can’t sleep. Which is one of the massive triggers for me. Lack of sleep = DP through the roof! I still don’t understand is recovery when we no longer have any anxiety anymore ? I have gone through lots of bad patches and seriously feel like I spend 90% of my life in a state of panic and worry even when it’s not as bad as it can be. Even though I have got better in the past I’m scared it will end up being 100% and I not sure I could deal with that. I’m going on holiday in 4 hours and here I am laid here wide awake. Can’t help feeling sorry for myself that I can’t just enjoy life without this constant strain and heaviness on my chest. The paranoia is quite intense atm too. I also can’t feel anything towards my boyfriend who i know I love so so much and that literally breaks me. Can anyone relate to this. Thanks for reading ..

  169. Rosa Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I just need to vent a little bit. This is such an up and down affair! I started applying Paul’s method 3 years ago – didn’t notice hardly any improvements in the first year. Then got a bit better in the second. And have had some quite good times in the third. I have been trying to live normal live with work, child, relationship, friends etc. However, I have had to deal with pretty hard stuff – had a miscarriage last August and last February and my husband has been diagnoes with MS. Some days life still feels ok and I get a sense of peace or at least an ok-feeling. And I think I am much more able to deal with difficult situations and just get on with my life. But today is just horrible. I am super anxious and confused. And everything seems highly important and dangerous and catastrophic – it’s just yak! It’s just hard to be at peace with all this inner turmoil.

  170. Bryan Says:

    Rosa you’ve been through a lot. Do you have a good church near you? Or even a group of friends or family you can spend time with? You need some support through these times. You’re doing an excellent job putting the mindset in place and have improved because of if. But for many of us tnis is a longer term process. So don’t feel like you’re weird because it’s taken a long time to stabilize. It did for me too.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and perhaps see if you can find a support system for what you’ve been through. It’s no surprise the mind and body would protest some. But as Paul explains it is energy leaving… not entering. That’s a nine’ll for me to remember. So do your best to let it flow through you and out.

    Keep at it.

  171. Debbie Says:

    Hi bryan did you have strange dreams that scare you or words that just pop in your heard that dont make sense i feel so scared today.

  172. Bryan Says:


    Of course I did and we have talked about that here for many years now.
    Those are common anxiety symptoms.

    But repeating that you don’t like a symptom over and over will not make it stop.

    We have to put the mindset in place that Paul and others teach us.
    If you’ve had enough of feeling how you do, at some point you have to take a different approach.

    Paul lays out how in his many writings.

  173. Debbie Says:

    Thanks bryan

  174. Nolan Says:

    Hi Rosa,

    Those are incredibly rough situations to be through… no sensible person would say they’re not.
    So you’ve got this stress in your life, and they’re big things too. You’re going to have that immediate feeling of intense desperation and strong urge of your mind to try to ‘work it all out’. But there’s nothing to work out. The simple fact is that these are very rough cards to be dealt.

    However, there is this new sense growing in you. This strength that didn’t use to be there. If all of this came on you when you were in the throes of anxiety it probably would have crushed you even further.
    But, it came to you alittle later; after you were able to start seeing the proper way to respond to anxiety and stress in your life. You saw the impact an accepting mind can have on anxiety. You know it isn’t as quick as flipping a light switch, but that in accepting it and in making your life bigger than the ‘screaming fears and doubts’ that you can still make a clearing in your life for peace to land. Even with this storm going on you can still have peace in your life.
    The things you’ve been through would crush many people. So don’t feel like you’ve lost it all because you find yourself in a bad way: doubting again, flooded with fear and despair, longings for different expectations you had. These are completely understandable. But now it’s a matter of who’s going to dictate your life going forward? Those things above? Doubts, fears, longings…. Or you?
    Don’t beat yourself up or get down on yourself if you have a bad day. We grow stronger by how we respond to those bad days. You might not see it immediately…. just as you didn’t see immediate improvement in following Paul’s method. But you start making a clearing in your life for peace, calmness, understanding to come back.

    I feel terrible for you having to go through the miscarriage. But remember, Rosa; though it was a short life, that’s still your child. Live your life as a testament to your child. You might not feel the immediate presence of your child, but I’ve little doubt that he’s not all that far from you. So show him what kind of mom he has with how you move forward in life.

    It’s never bad to fall down. We all do it. Just remember to begin again.

  175. Julie W Says:

    I barely come on this blog anymore, as I am feeling almost normal. Hope that encourages some of you out there, as I NEVER thought i would feel normal again. Still get intrusive thoughts which I have learnt to just accept, but other than that i feel fine.

    I always thought I’d be so happy when I felt pretty normal, but I find that I don’t feel at peace with feeling normal. It’s almost like living with this for 3 years has taken my sense of normalcy away. I’m still carrying on with everything I do, but just wondering if this is common? It’s almost like I’m trying to analyse feeling normal. I’m assuming it will fade too, like all my other symptoms. Does anyone have any comments?

  176. Doreen Says:

    Julie W – just accept these thoughts like you have all the others. You have got used to being introspective and it will take time to get out of that way of being.

    I tend not to think in terms of normal/not normal. Rather just enjoy life being ordinary.

    You will realise over time that you are looking outward rather than inward. And that life is good enough.

  177. Rosa Says:

    Nolan, Bryan

    Thank you for your kind words. I am trying my best to accept what is and to make room inside me for all the painful feelings. Sometimes I struggle and can feel self-pity arise within me – Why me? I don’t want this! This is unfair!

    But this doesn’t get me anywhere, but deeper into despair. So I am trying to live with it. I have found a lovely quote from Elizabeth Kubler Ross:
    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

    So I am trying to become a beautiful person. I tell myself that I can learn from this and that one day I will find peace again inside me despite all the difficult things outside me.

  178. Sam Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’ll apologise now for the long post.
    I’m new to the blog and wanted to leave a comment with a bit about my anxiety and the journey so far.

    I first experienced severe anxiety at 11 when I was in my first year of high school. I had a phobia of being sick and of course I associated the butterflies in my stomach as feeling sick. I struggled to eat for a couple of months and it was a battle to get me into school (my mum has always been my safe person and i hsted to be away from her) but saw a councillor and felt better. I was fine until a couple of years ago when I went on my first holiday abroad without my mum. Again the sick feeling happened and I barely ate in the week I was away. When I came home the anxiety again resolved itself. Last year again I had the same issue going on holiday without my mum and struggled to eat. This time the anxiety continued on and off for a couple of months and I struggled with depression alongside the anxiety. I was prescribed fluxotine but found the tablets made me feel worse and councilling has always helped me more.

    I am now 20 and have been struggling with anxiety and eating again for the last couple of weeks. I can’t identify where the anxiety started again as things have been good however I feel I am getting worse rather than better. I understand from my past experiences that my thoughts are keeping me in a negative cycle however this unfortunately doesn’t make it easier to get out of the cycle!
    I had been managing to eat 3 small meals a day plus snacks but the last couple of days I have really struggled. My throat feels like it’s closing and I chew small amounts for ages. I am slim anyway so it is difficult to not focus on losing weight. I am focused on food and when I can’t eat I become more worried that the negative cycle will continue.

    I started seeing my councillor yesterday from last year and the main point was as per the blog, to accept the anxiety rather than fight it. I am finding this difficult as I feel that if I accept the anxiety I would stop trying to eat.

    Due to the anxiety returning over the last couple of years I also worry that I will never be without it and will never have a “normal” life. Will I ever be able to live alone without my mum, go abroad on holiday again and not be anxious etc.

    Any advice available would be greatly appreciated?

    I also want to thank Paul for setting this blog up, I am sure it will help myself and has helped many others.

  179. Nolan Says:

    Rosa I’d say you’re most certainly on the right track. Considering what you’ve been through you’re admirably handling it.

    Regarding those moments of intense despair and hopelessness:
    You’ve probably realized that we have little immediate power over those. Those things just wash over us and our immediate/automatic reaction is to recoil from them, to start frantically running through the mental maze of making sense of it or pulling ourselves out of that pit.

    We have little immediate power in the sense that it’s not as simple as flipping off a switch. That pain reverberates through our minds and bodies…. we can keep that reverberation going by focusing all our efforts on chasing away the bad and wrangling in peace.

    “Accepting it” is a loaded term and a lot of people conceive of it in different ways. In one way you’re accepting it regardless of any decision you make, because that pain/torment/despair will simply still be there… whether one says “I accept this!” or not.
    Accepting has to boil down to moving on with your life while that pain is still there. It’s making your life as big as it used to be, prior to the impact of anxiety/depression.

    I’ve used this example a few times. It was the way I would conceive of my torment: I was in a small boat lost at sea… no sight of a safe harbor to drift into and no sign that this storm would ever end. I could stay up on the deck cursing the storm, wondering “WHY ME!?!?!?!”…. exhausting myself. Or, I could go back down into the cabin, maybe straighten up a few things that have fallen, maybe read a book… but whatever I do, I’m done with trying to make sense of the storm, yelling at the storm.

    Find the things that used to make your life yours and do those. With no expectation that this storm is supposed to end at a given time and date.

    You’ll fall and all of this will knock you back down, but be patient with yourself and simply begin again.

    Don’t put too much thought into how to make room for it…. because that room has already been made and the despair is currently occupying it.
    In living your life with that despair, doing the things that used to be you, telling yourself “oh well…. I feel like poop…. so be it” and moving back on with your day holding no expectations as to what should happen… you’ll start giving peace a place to occupy.

  180. Julie W Says:

    Thanks very much Doreen for your reply. You are bang on with how I feel! And i like your concept of not thinking in terms of normal/not normal and just getting on and enjoying life. That i will do!

  181. Fin Says:

    Do you guys think that in order to feel normal again it’s essential to participate in certain aspects of life.

    For a few weeks now I’ve been “living my life as normal ” as Paul says but I’ve just kind of realised that my Normal is shit. I work Monday to Friday , play tennis a couple times a week and maybe see a friend every once and a while.
    The amount of worrying I do is down substantially, my social anxiety is improving yet I still feel empty.

    Do you think it’s essential that in order to feel real freedom you need to be socialising as much as possible , exercising , going to different places , learning new things etc ?

  182. K Says:

    Thank you for your replies, Stephanie, Lavender and Doreen. I was very busy with work, did not have a chance to post sooner. I hope to look back at all of this one day. I am still thinking I am supposed to learn something from it. Maybe it is patience.

  183. Bryan Says:


    Your life sounds normal to me. Most of us have jobs, kids and a few things we get to do outside of them each week. I wouldn’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Just enjoy your day to day the best you can. Before stress disorder you didn’t likely worry about your schedule. Try to adopt that attitude.
    Live in a healthy way that you would if you felt fine, to the best of your ability.

  184. Sam Says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’m new to the blog and have struggled with anxiety since I was 11. I first experienced anxiety in my first year of high school, my anxiety causes me to struggle to eat which is difficult as I am already slim so the focus becomes about food and a fear if losing weight.
    I am now 20 and the last couple of years the anxiety periods have been much worse.
    I feel as though I will never be able to live a “normal” life, move out of home etc
    I understand that a huge part of dealing with anxiety is acceptance however I am finding this difficult.
    I do find however that keeping to a routine helps, continuing to go to work and keep busy though I can’t help but worry about my future.
    I often compare myself to others who look happy and healthy, they go on holidays, have families and I can’t help but think why can’t I be like everyone else?
    Does anyone else struggle with this?

  185. simon Says:

    If I look back on how I have been, I shoudl say that I have improved of late, not as fast as I wished I had but had gained some interest in live again, did things without having to push myself too much, still very anxious and quite low sometimes but all in all I think I was improving.

    Then….. I had to visit my GP last week to review my meds, I was put on 50mg of sertraline after citalopram didn’t seem to be helping. I mentioned to my GP that if I could have got an appointment with her a few weeks ago I was going to ask if I could come off sertraline as it didn’t seem to make me feel any different however I was feeling a little more positive at the time of the appointment. She suggested that instead of coming off them, she would increase this to 100mg to help try and improve my mood a little more. She said that if I started to feel over high, wanting to spend money ect to lower the dose. This thought excited me…. I thought if I feel that good then thats great!!!!

    ERmmmmmm…. nope, since taking 100mg I have felt alot worse, I don’t know where to put myself, any interests I had started to get back has totally gone, all the sudden depressive surges and anxiety has increased which as obviously started me back on the cycle of searching and trying to figure it all out.

    Of course I have been on google!!! and obviously the majority of blogs regards this med is mainly negative, no one realy writes possitive stuff.

    My dilemer is do I stick at it or do I just lower the dose to what it was. On one hand I am chasing that dream that 100mg will help improve my mood enought to get stronger in recovery, but I can’t take feeling this way much longer, or do I go back to 50mg and hope these symptoms subside to something I can manage again.

    Any advise would be great


  186. Doreen Says:

    Hi Simon

    Think if you felt you were getting better on a lower dose you should maybe stick with that feeling.

    Don’t forget pills may alleviate some of the worst symptoms for some people but the real improvement is the one you are making for yourself.

  187. simon Says:

    Thanks Doreen, I feel like they don’t seem to work for me and at the back of my mind I think are they actually making me worse. I decided to go back down to 50mg a few days ago and some of the excessive symptoms I was getting have subsided – maybe coinsidental but never the less i’ve donw it.

    I have just read Pauls book again (how many times!!), when I am realy engrosed in something I tend not to feel any of the symptoms and feel quite normal, but one thing I find very very hard is something to take my mind of myself. I am a guy who just potters in my spare time, don’t really have any great interests, and that worries me because that gives me time to think. So now I’m not sure if I should push myself harder to do something to take my mind off myself or just to potter like I do and try to accept me for me?


  188. Lavender Says:

    Hi Simon, just to share about med. I also went on similar meds a few times before. Firstly, the anti-depressant pills take weeks to take effect so by the time I got better, I cannot be sure if the reason was due to the meds or simply that the anxiety had worn off thru acceptance. During the worst periods, the fast-acting benzo can help a little, but it is just a crutch – to help temporarily but the long term is still back to true acceptance. Of ourselves, of anxiety. Learning and re-learning not to struggle against myself, anxiety and the thoughts.

    I also worried incessantly about lack of hobby, activities etc. Cos friends would advise -oh, why don’t you take up a hobby? do this, do that. Or they go like – “oh, when I’m stressed, I will do this or that. You should try it”. Then I felt worse, becos it increased my anxiety that I should be trying this, doing that, trying to ‘solve’ the anxiety problem.

    In the end, this is all part of the anxiety symptom and vicious cycle again. I think you already are seeing this. So go ahead and just potter around and accept yourself for who you are. You already know this. :)

  189. Bryan Says:


    Won’t go into great detail but in short medication also delayed my improvement to say the very least. Was an absolute negative overall when talking about “anxiety” meds. I did take a low dose beta blocker for a while that may have provided a little physical relief. But that’s not really a psych med.

    My 2 cents would be to avoid the pitfalls of meds Ana continue on with what we know works and is long lasting. (Paul’s methods etc)

  190. Joey Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Im just wondering if you’d be available to chat privately. Much of what you’ve wrote about your anxiety/depression sounds very similar to mine.

    Take care,

  191. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Been a while since I posted, about a couple of months in fact. The last time I did I was having a very rough time but I just reconnected with life and saw it out. I was due to go on a stag do with friends and after feeling very low I decided to go against my instincts and go anyway. It was mega tough but I’m glad I went.
    This brings me back to where I am at the moment which is that I’m doing very well overall, getting weeks without a sniff of anxiety. I’ve just come back from Barcelona and after initially worrying about it I had a great time. The place and weather were stunning and I didn’t want to come home. I had a minor stomach issue on Monday and since then my anxiety levels have cranked up. Any kind of stomach complaint seems to be a pretty cursor for anxious feelings for me. I seem to have a very rough time once a month now. Last night I could feel myself drifting into that ‘doom state’ where nothing makes sense at all and its just a case of getting through the hour in front of me.
    I’m doing my usual of encompassing it into my day and not adding to it but it’s a nasty shock when you feel like you will never be anxious again to feeling the feelings in full whack again.
    Anyone in a similar position?

    Many thanks


  192. Mark R Says:

    Hi all,

    Been a while since I posted, about a couple of months in fact. The last time I did I was having a very rough time but I just reconnected with life and saw it out. I was due to go on a stag do with friends and after feeling very low I decided to go against my instincts and go anyway. It was mega tough but I’m glad I went.
    This brings me back to where I am at the moment which is that I’m doing very well overall, getting weeks without a sniff of anxiety. I’ve just come back from Barcelona and after initially worrying about it I had a great time. The place and weather were stunning and I didn’t want to come home. I had a minor stomach issue on Monday and since then my anxiety levels have cranked up. Any kind of stomach complaint seems to be a pretty cursor for anxious feelings for me. I seem to have a very rough time once a month now. Last night I could feel myself drifting into that ‘doom state’ where nothing makes sense at all and its just a case of getting through the hour in front of me.
    I’m doing my usual of encompassing it into my day and not adding to it but it’s a nasty shock when you feel like you will never be anxious again to feeling the feelings in full whack again.
    Anyone in a similar position?

    Many thanks



  193. Fin Says:

    Hi all , in recent weeks some aspects of my anxiety have improved greatly. For the first time since I was a kid Im not letting social anxiety get the better off me , feeling much more confident speaking and socialising. I’ve also not had a panic attack for a while and some of my irrational fears are fading.

    However the feelings of DP persist. A particularly bad feeling is the one of unfamiliarity, the feeling that I don’t quite know people I should, places like my own home feel like a foreign country. For people who have come through DP, do these symptoms go away once the underlying anxiety is gone ? , Do they go away instantly, E.g Every thing will suddenly feel real and familiar again .


  194. simon Says:

    Lavendar / Bryan

    Thanks both of you for taking the time to post. It’s reassuring if nothing else that you Lavendar had similar though patterns about hobbies ect, I do find it difficult still as before I would just DO THINGS and not think about it, whereas at the moment I am questioning why??

    Bryan – I decided to go back down to 50mgs last week and I feel much better (not 100% but better). I am going to give it a couple of weeks and then start tappering off it all together, it’s the only way I will know if it’s working or not. I don’t think the meds are helping so if I don’t feel any different after coming off them then I will stay away from them altogther and just keep practicing the method from Paul

    Thanks again for taking the time


  195. Sue Says:

    I’m having problems with not analysing/overthinking/adding fear well that’s where I’m stuck I’m Instantly drawn into it like a compulsion, maybe I’m not getting it this time but the more I try to stop doing it the more entrenched in the habits I am, I’m now left in a high state of sensitisation.Is there anything I can do to not get involved with it? I don’t know why this is harder for me this time round, I seem to have so much resistance.

    Also my reactions to stress is extreme where it feels urgent.

    Your books are amazing I was cured before but need help getting over this obstacle.

  196. Sue Says:

    I also can’t seem to stop worrying how can I implement what Paul preaches if I’m doing the opposite.
    Will this work for me?

  197. Doreen Says:

    Sue – I think what you call compulsion is what I refer to when I say I used to revisit the anxiety provoking thoughts to see if the reaction was still ‘live’. And of course it was because i was doing the very thing that added the second fear to the original first one.

    I likened it to scratching an itch when knowing really I should leave it along and then making the sore place worse.

    However once I accepted that I was in that mode of behaviour my responses to it started to lessen. I was just say to myself ‘here you go again you silly woman’ and try to get on with the day despite the unpleasant feelings.

    And you are right to call it a habit cos thats just what it is. But the more you fight it the more stressed you will get.

  198. Sue Says:

    Thank you so much Doreen that’s very helpful, so let the thoughts be there and tell myself that it’s not necessary to scratch that itch. Even if I have to tell myself a hundred times a day.

    So accept that I’m in a analysing state or whatever and this should help lessen my response to it. Really it’s this simple and I’ve been getting myself in a right state over this, feeling hopeful about recovery now, thank you.

    Would this work for the worry habit too?

  199. Kit Says:

    Hi guys,

    I have followed this blog for along time! Just in the background observing..3 years ago my mum passed away in her sleep and I found her 3 weeks later my uncle lost his very short battle with lung cancer .. then a year later my 25 year old sister died of a massive stroke.. following this I had a panic attack – looking back now it was exhaustion of being in the intensive care and lack of sleep all piled on top of worry. I went to the doctor to just let her know what had happened and make her aware my sister had passed away. Trusting her she put me on venaflaxine (sp) this caused major major issues! I had a panic attack after panic attack and ended up in an after hour medical clinic and was then put on lorazepam 3 x a day as well..before this I had not ever had any problems or any anxiety to say the least I was very drugged and sedated this lead to full blowen anxiety along with suppressed grief. I lasted a week on them before I begged to come off it.. I have slowly been recovering over the last 18+months using Paul’s method.. it’s been working well slowly but surely things started to unravel.. I started seeing an osteopath who said my body was full of toxins and he’s been helping me undo the suppressed grief .. things were going great until recently .. I found out I was pregnant and now at 29 weeks I feel like I’m starting to get depression/ more anxiety. I’m 23 and would love to avoid medication at all costs I also gave up smoking which i very much used as an aid to relax even though it was always doing the opposite.! My question is can I continue to use Paul’s method of just letting it be no matter how dark or bad it gets or is it different now I’m carrying a baby and there’s prenatal depression involved? do I continue To follow this method or do I need to contact my GP about doing something else? Thanks in advance!

  200. Nolan Says:

    Hi Joey… Definitely.

    Doreen, is there a way we can share email addresses?


  201. Louise Says:

    Hi im writing to see if anyone can give advice. Does anyone else have really bad anger. I feel like im comin to terms with the whole anxiety symptom but I seem to get angry quite easily lately and I im just wondering if anyone else has been through this also I have a fear of drinking alcohol and get angry and ancious wen ppl drink around me so I do try to avoid this has anyone else been through this or could somebody give me advice plz thanks

  202. Doreen Says:

    Nolan – I am assuming the question relates to you and Joey being in touch. I know David used to counsel against people putting their email addresses on here.

    However, if you go onto the FB page and add a comment to a thread there
    (supposing you both ‘do’ FB) you can then send each other your contact details by private message.

    Perhaps if you set the ball rolling and post something on the FB page, then alert Joey that you have done so, then he can click on your profile and send you a PM.

    Hope that makes sense. Good luck

  203. Lata Says:

    Hi all..i want to know that how do we know that anything which is happening is an anxiet symptom…for eg…i neck pains allot and i get clicking sounds from neck and head when i sleep…i also get dirreah alot..basically i get confused that is it anxiety symptoms..should i go to doctor for dirreah…i mean should v take medicines…what to do that time…pls advice…thanx

  204. Nolan Says:

    Good advice, Doreen.
    How about that Joey?

  205. Joey Says:

    Sounds great to me, thanks!
    I just left a comment under Paul’s most recent post. My fb name is Joseph Gustav Pipkorn.

  206. Jeb Says:

    Hi All,

    New here. Seeking some advice if possible.

    I have anxiety/depressions spells and it’s a bit chicken and egg. Don’t know if anxiety drives the depression or vice versa. Will this ‘technique’ only be useful for those with anxiety led?

    I do tend to go in and out of these spells pretty regular. Like I’ll have a bad week or two where I don’t function that well and can’t see how I will get better this time and then a good 2-4 weeks where anxiety level is very low and controlled and no depression at all. Can anyone relate?

    My what-ifs centre around my mental health. What if I don’t get better? What if it’s depression and therefore this technique won’t work? What if I have bi-polar because of these spells (even though I’ve never had a manic spell)?

    Any feedback / thoughts / encouragement would be appreciated.



  207. Nolan Says:

    One of the biggest things that kept me back was trying to find my old self.
    When you’re struggling with anxiety and depression it’s amazing how much you miss your old way of thinking and feeling. How much you miss the old things that used to make your life yours.

    Everything that you once took for granted when you weren’t suffering now seems like the most valuable thing in the world…. if only you could obtain that peace and calmness of mind now you would forever cherish even the most mundane thing of your old life.

    We struggle with a lot of things when we’re in a spell of anxiety and/or depression… but that specter of our old selves can haunt us. It can bring you to new depths of despair when you reflect on how far you are now from where you were then. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that you were once capable of obliviously happy moments; able to lose track of your self and your thoughts while watching something like a sunset or the waves at a beach.

    Wondering how far you are from your old self, how long will it take to reclaim it, how much further a given setback may push you in the opposite direction. It’s like the mental version of thrashing away at water when you feel yourself in depths greater than your height.

    I’ve told this story before:
    But once I was on here venting about how I’m certain I’ll never regain my old self again. It was autumn, a season I am particularly fond of, and I was in my bedroom staring out the window not able to enjoy any of it. As a matter of fact it was almost like torment. Something out of an old Twilight Zone episode where the bad guy at the end gets a punishment that leaves you hollow in the stomach just thinking about the twisted nature of it.

    After posting my woes a lady on here pretty much said, “good, now you can finally give up trying to fix yourself… now you know that you’re broken for good and won’t ever reclaim your old ways… so go do something else with your life.”

    I hated that response at first, but it was true. If I really gave up hope and was certain I was broken for good with no chance of redemption of my old self what does it pay to struggle so much to obtain the unobtainable?

    That comment played a big role in my recovery, because I was no longer trying to recover.

    you’re going to have ups and downs…. big steps forward and huge setbacks that will erase all of your hope and seemingly wipe away all of your gains. But through it all: stop focusing so much on your own wellbeing, or how close or far you are from your old self.

    We say “accept” so much, but you’re already accepting it. If someone wanted to pin you down and put a hot branding iron on you what good would repeating “I’m accepting this! I’m accepting this!” bring for you? You’ll be ‘accepting’ it regardless if you want to or not.
    That’s not to say “acceptance” is a bad term. It’s just that some think it almost like a counter-spell to chase away the anxiety.

  208. Fin Says:

    That comment really resonated with me Nolan. I’ve been guilty of longing for my old self lately. I really miss just being present , not thinking about thinking if you know what I mean

  209. Sue Says:

    I have woken up with a thick head and feel out of it, my stomach feels hot and I feel riled up, I’m doing my best to not add fear to this and under-react to it but it’s really uncomfortable, I’m allowing and dismissing the what if thoughts but not sure what this is, I know it will pass and it’s just part of anxiety but has anyone got any tips to cope with this feeling, I’ve had it for 3 hours. I also feel like I can’t think if that helps.

    Thank you I’d appreciate any advise so I can accept it.

  210. Bryan Says:


    You’re expecting the physical effects of anxiety. What you describe is common and expected for the condition. It’s not pleasant but these are basic symptoms.

    Refer to Nolan’s post above for now to approach this. Paul also talks extensively about these things in his latest book. Have you read his books?

  211. Louise Says:

    Hi im jus lookkin for advice really Im alot better thn I was last year but the last few days iv been very quite, tired have the tingling sensations and adrenaline rush but I also feel calm about it. I.m Just wondering if this is normal and has anyone else felt like this. I feel not empty but very confused if someone could shed some words on this id be able grateful

  212. Louise Says:

    Hi im looking for advice really I am a lot better thn I was last yr n have been putting into practice pauls advice but for the past few days I have felt adrenaline rushes an dtinglings and feel like in standing on a boat but were I would ususally panic I feel calm I did have 3 days of a very stresfull situation but im jus wondering is it normal to feel calm an relaxed or have I gone worse im confused I dont feel empty of emotions but I do feel tired all the time and like nothing bothers me can someone please give advice id be grateful

  213. Jeb Says:

    Hi All,

    New here. Seeking some advice if possible.

    I have anxiety/depressions spells and it’s a bit chicken and egg. Don’t know if anxiety drives the depression or vice versa. Will this ‘technique’ only be useful for those with anxiety led?

    I do tend to go in and out of these spells pretty regular. Like I’ll have a bad week or two where I don’t function that well and can’t see how I will get better this time and then a good 2-4 weeks where anxiety level is very low and controlled and no depression at all. Can anyone relate?

    My what-ifs centre around my mental health. What if I don’t get better? What if it’s depression and therefore this technique won’t work? What if I have bi-polar because of these spells (even though I’ve never had a manic spell)?

    Any feedback / thoughts / encouragement would be appreciated.


  214. Jamie Says:

    Hi all. I have not been on for a while but week by week, I am slowly feeling calmer and more confident so I think I am heading in the right direction.

    I have a question. Does anyone have an opinion or know if it is ok to take herbal remedies for anxiety at the same time as taking antidepressants ? I am taking Mirtazipine at the moment and I have heard, for example, St Johns Wort is good for stress/anxiety. I am just wary of taking something from a health food shop at the same time as GP prescribed meds. Something from a health food shop is simply a side measure I might add and is not my ‘cure’ or ‘fixer’. I would be interested to know if anyone knows the answer to this.


  215. Belgian Says:

    Hi All,

    just a quick word from me.

    It has been quite some time since I was on here.

    Three years ago, I suffered a major panic attack that changed my life. It is impossible to summarize the past years in just a few words. I was home bound for months, lost my job, got married, found a new job, bought a new house and so much more.

    I had very rough times and painful setbacks but over time the good periods came sooner and stayed longer.

    The message Paul gives in his books, has stayed with me all of this time. I now need it again. There is currently a lot of stress in my life and I notice that anxiety is near. I have less appetite, I am hyperventilating a bit causing me to be a little bit out of breath and most of all I am falling back into the spiral of negative (over)thinking.

    The tendency to control the uncertainties of life is at the root cause of this state. The inability to accept and let go. To see the space around my fears.

    I am so thankful that I see this now. It is easy to make the same analysis and say ‘well just let go’ whenever we are feeling good. It is much harder to do when we are in a bad spell.

    And yet, this is the time we have to practice what we’ve learned the most. To accept whatever anxiety is bringing me by understanding that all of this are just symptoms of stress.

    I am posting this not to seek confirmation whether or not the things I’ve learned are true. I know they are. I post this for two reasons.

    The first is to tell you that – even if you have recovered – anxiety is still part of you and when it comes you’ll have to treat it always the same. By accepting it and letting it go. Time and time again. It is important you know this so that you don’t let yourself go with each and every setback.

    The second is to find comfort in my discomfort. To find comfort in the knowledge that I am not alone. That WE are not alone. I don’t need to be wished anything. I know I’ll be okay. And so will all of you. I do think that as human beings we look for ways to be heard and understood. That this understanding by the other can help you to find your way to acceptance.

    We are not alone..

  216. Mark R Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    I know a few people who take St John’s Worth and swear by it and don’t think it would do any harm. Saying that if you are recovering well as indicated by your post do you really need it? If it was me I would just carry on any you are.


    Sorry to hear you are struggling a little. What is important is that you have been objective about it and have identified it as the stress in your life at the moment. I was pondering the other day whether I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life and pretty much came to the conclusion you have. It will always be at part of me. What pleases me is that each time ‘it’ returns I am more adept at dealing with it. Although my brain screams at me to find a solution and to make the feelings go away I know the less attention I give it the more it will shrink down. When I focus more on my life I find that the anxiety is in the background and forgotten about. Of course it always resurfaces but each time gets the same treatment.
    I have to say though that the amount of advice and wisdom you have given on this blog is immeasurable so you certainly are not alone.

  217. Nolan Says:

    Hey Belgian, hope your days are getting more peaceful.

    If you don’t mind the asking: what kind of stressors is it for you that can start driving your body to gear up?

    For me my anxiety came on after a very lengthy period of poorly handling stress. It actually progressed from poorly handling stress to terribly handling stress in my life. My world was closing in on itself with respects to any place where I could find peace and to let my mind calm down (this was all before the anxiety flared up).
    Poorly handling stress in one situation seems to beget poorly handling stress in other situations. Like a dark dye that bleeds from one sheet of paper to the other layers of paper underneath… give it enough time and a constant presence of that dye and soon enough all the sheets will be stained by it. And then one unexpected day anxiety and/or depression comes to make our acquaintance.

    I don’t doubt you know what you need to do.
    But if we could back it up a bit and go to the question: what are the kind of things in your life that prime your mind and body for being more ‘welcoming’ of anxiety?

  218. Nolan Says:

    Hi Louise,

    What you explained sounds quite a bit like what I would get…
    Your mind would feel fine enough but physically there’s this occasional ramping up of the physical effects that anxiety had on you at one point.
    For me that would be physical agitation, dizziness, and a ‘hum of energy’ that I could feel throughout my body.

    I wouldn’t pay any of that too much extra attention. To your question: it was something that happened to me too. I just would carry back on with my day. If you find yourself starting to dwell on it… be patient with yourself and move back on.

  219. Nolan Says:

    Hi Fin,

    It’s understandable that you want that back. No one here would fault you for that.
    Do I think you can recapture that old self of yours? Which I would assume you just mean a self in which your mind is calm, your body feels at peace, your thoughts are yours…. and you don’t feel like a puppet to this anxiety anymore.

    Yes, I’m certain you ultimately will. But, it will come to you when it’s ready to… you can’t force it. It doesn’t even make sense to think of forcing peace into our minds and bodies again…. the notion undercuts itself.
    It’s in relinquishing that desire and effort to obtain it that will give you deliverance from this and bring peace back to you.

  220. Louise Says:

    Just a quick thank you to Nolan for replying to my message. I feel a little more confident now so thank you so much for takin the time to reply ?

  221. Belgian Says:

    Thank you Mark & Nolan!

    @ Nolan.

    There are several stressors that can bring me to this state.

    It can be a health issue which easily results in hypochondria. I have currently an issue with my neck.
    It can be an emotional issue. My wife and I are having a serious issue regarding whether or not to have children. Evidently this is causing a lot of stress for both of us.
    It can be a fear that people close to me don’t love me.

    Anyway, it has taken me a lot of years of experience, healthy internal introspection and therapy to understand the following. What I really do with my anxious brooding is trying to run away from the truth that not everything in life is under your control. That sometimes there are no quick solutions and no immediate answers to some questions. My anxious brooding only provides me the illusion to have everything under control. The irony is that while I designed it to protect myself, it only makes it worse.

    But I’ve learned not to focus too much on the content of my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t run away from the stressors in my life. I know anxiety is a warning signal. It’s my body telling me something. But somewhere in the translation, the initial message gets magnified and becomes overwhelming. It makes it impossible to think of these things with a little bit of distance and in the right perspective.

    Does this makes sense? :)

  222. Rosa Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel I am such a mess. I can’t feel any peace, only anxiety and depression. I am on holiday in Italy with my lovely son and my husband. Everything could be good. But I can’t relax. I can’t be in the present moment and enjoy what I have. I am constantly thinking about the things that are not so good. We have been trying for a second baby for 16 months now and it just doesn’t happen. I know that I should let go and that I should be grateful for our wonderful son, but I can’t. I really struggle to accept that we won’t have another one. But it is not just this, it can change almost daily what bothers me. It’s like my mind is constantly looking out for things that needs to be improved/that are dangerous. I am so tired of this. I have been applying Paul’s method for over 3 years now and it feels as nothing has changed. I feel I am wasting my life. Sorry for this negative post, but I have felt really desperate for the last weeks.

  223. Doreen Says:

    Been away for a while so responding to a post by Nolan vis a vis ‘finding your old self’.

    Many years ago I was really in the depths with anxiety following great family stresses, having spent years being active, political, hard working, and full of life.

    I had a new GP who was very kind and supportive and I said to her one day that I had lost everything I valued in myself.

    She responded by saying that ‘Some of those things might not come back but they will be replaced by stuff that is just as valuable’.

    I will never forget her saying that – it was probably one of the best and most helpful things anyone could have said.

    Some time after she died from a brain tumour aged about 30 if I recall. I organised a memorial service for her in my town where she had been a doctor (she had moved on to London by then). Something I would never have imagined being able to do and a legacy to her help.

  224. Anon Says:

    Hi Doreen. I love your posts but just don’t understand this one. What is left? What is the more valuable replacement for those things. It seems like a downer to me to think of not getting those things back. How was that helpful?

  225. Ves Says:

    @ Rosa

    Life is uncertain. Life is insecure. Life is such. You understand it and through that understanding you transcend it. That is the way. That is the only way.

    Life is in constant struggle, constant conflict. But we ask for more safety, more certainty and at the same time we ask for freedom. We ask for freedom from unpleasant thoughts, freedom from unpleasant feelings, freedom from unpleasant conflicts in life. This is paradox of mind. We go asking for safety and at the same time asking for freedom. Both can not go together.
    If someone wants freedom will have to lose safety, certainty, security. And in any case safety, security are just illusory, it is not really there. We don’t know tomorrow.

    You are not wasting your life. That is just you mind projection. Don’t trust your mind. You are maturing, you are growing. It is like a tree that continuously grow. As long it grows it is alive tree. The moment tree stops growing it is dead tree. So you are not wasting you life.

  226. Melissa Says:

    Hello everyone,

    A quick question to anyone who is almost recovered or already recovered…

    I am finding that my emotions are really up and down. Some moments I feel free of anxiety and I feel great. Almost euphoric and excited. Other times I find that my anxiety just overwhelms me and takes over. Would you all say that this is a part of recovery? Trying to see if I should be worried about being bipolar…


  227. Doreen Says:

    Anon – because we are changing and evolving all the time and without even being aware of it we move on with things still mattering and others less so. Our priorities change and we find ourselves taking on new challenges and goals – it is all very natural.

    Everything what is in fact quite natural become tightened in anxiety and we may feel that we have lost everything when in fact we haven’t.

    We may all come out the other end with a slightly or even greatly changed look at what really matters to us.

  228. Rosa Says:

    Thanks for your replies.

    I am not sure how I will be when/if I come out the other end, but hopefully I will have grown. When I have better days, I can already notice that I react differently to life than I did before. However, at the moment this feels like far away.

  229. Lavender Says:

    Melissa, recovery is about accepting that anxiety is a part of us. So it is ok to be excited and euphoric, and then anxious again. There are ups and downs.

    To answer your qns, I could say yes, this is part of the recovery but it is not the full answer. But I’m very sure you are not bipolar. :)

    My experience was that when I rebounded too quickly from an anxiety episode, it lulls me into a false sense of security that I have ‘conquered’ anxiety and all is well and it is never coming back again. Then when I had a relapse, I felt much worse and tormented.

    So I would like to say – accept all. In good moments, when you are at peace and free of anxiety, embrace it. in bad moments, when anxiety returns, accept that it is not permanent and let it be as it is – for now.

  230. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Havent posted for a while but felt like I needed to. I’m still suffering with this and I am currently feeling as low as I have for a long time.

    I’m in an unfortunate position where my anxiety and depression seem to take turns at bullying me. So I’m either mega stressed and cant stop worrying or I am so low that I dont know what is going on. I have been medication free for well over a year now but sometimes wonder if that was the right decision. Do I need a boost to pick me up? The way these conditions make you feel are horrific. I literally havent had one full days peace in years.

    I have recently finished seeing my sixth counsellor and still feel no further forward. This time it was regarding OCD and intrusive thoughts. A lot of it felt like using evidence against the thoughts rather than accepting. I am so tired and so confused that I dont really know how to apply the techniques. The whole thing has got me so tired and I’m really starting to lose hope.

    I know I have read this site many times and know I should just be getting on with my life, but can people explain how they are able to maintain any kind of hope when there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel? Every day just feels like its getting worse and saying ‘I dont care’ seems to be detrimental as it makes my mood even worse.

    Sorry for the hugely negative post, but I really need a boost.



  231. Nolan Says:

    Hi Andy,

    I first would like as honest as possible an answer to this: have you sincerely had no good or at least very manageable days during this entire time?

    I’m not asking this to call you out at all. It’s just that when people are in an especially bad spell they tend to entirely block out any day with a hint of promise.

    I’m not asking if you had a day completely free but a day where you felt more positive than usual and where it was livable.

    when I was in a big setback I forgot about all of the good. I developed a narrative where I was actually never good at all… and that any good I did feel was completely an illusion.
    Anxiety and depression can do that to a perspective one has. But then when the storm lifts you’re no longer as easily convinced that it has been only darkness and despair.

    But you can still be honest with yourself: were there any moments when the anxiety and depression were turned down a bit? Where you could live your life and at least slightly enjoy things.

  232. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thanks very much for responding to me. Yes, there have been days or parts of days where I have been anxiety free. I have been able to do things still, such as going to the gym, going on days out etc.

    I think that is one of the reasons I am so down. I really struggle with the ups and then the downs. It sometimes feels like you have cracked this thing and then wham, its back again to grind you down.

    I suffer from really horrific intrusive thoughts which have plagued me for over three years now. I have been working with a therapist to try and manage them, but I still have severe anxiety around ‘not feeling right’.

    I just get so down in the dumps and wishing it would end is now a daily occurrence. I think I have read your posts before where you have said similar. You’re an inspiration and I really hope I can follow the path that you have to recovery.

    I just severely doubt it, given the length of my struggle.


  233. Nolan Says:

    I’m having some problems with my reply posting…
    let me see if this works:

  234. Nolan Says:

    Part 1

    Andy, what you’re typing now could be something I would have typed word for word 3-4 years ago.

    When the downs come on they do seem to wipe out all of the good moments you had. They stain your view of things to make you think that there never really was any true peace in your life.
    I’m sure that at times when you felt some calmness of mind you could have read a hopeful story of recovery and glean, to at least some degree, the truth of it and see some hope out on the horizon for you.

    But, when you’re in a storm those same stories just fall flat. They don’t engender hope but only more torment…. because at that moment when the storm is raging you see no way how there could ever be any peace in your life.

    That intensity of anxiety and/or depression bring a certain twisted logic with it: it only makes sense that you are broken and that you’ll remain broken. Anything that may have instilled hope in you when the storm was abating now does absolutely nothing (aside from torment you a bit more).

  235. Nolan Says:

    Part 2

    You said:
    “I really struggle with the ups and then the downs. It sometimes feels like you have cracked this thing and then wham, its back again to grind you down.”

    Exactly. The cycle of ups and downs are a struggle…. but they’re really a struggle when you’re on the downward slope (or drop) of that cycle.

    When it’s on strong all hope feels like it’s gone… but then at some random moment you might feel the weight lifted from you a bit and things become clearer. You can see that there actually is some hope (however slight) for you and that there will be an end to the storm.

    Why did that moment of peace come on? Did you present to your mind a knockdown argument that the anxiety and depression just couldn’t answer? More than likely not. Did you wallow in enough pity to make it feel bad for you that it decided to give you a reprieve? No.

    Like Paul says: “Your body and mind know how to heal itself”.
    These rough cycles (the one you’re going through) are just part of the arrangement. But it’s in how you react to them that provide that clearing in your body for peace to land for awhile. That doesn’t mean that they still won’t hurt you… they will.

  236. Nolan Says:

    Part 3

    Think of two guys that both lost vision in 1 eye: One guy is solely thinking about how this will change everything in his life, how everything will become more of a burden, how he can’t see how he’ll ever feel normal again….. the other, going through the same struggles (because some of those struggles are very real), fills his life with other things, “Sure it’s going to be different, but I can still do the things of my life.”, “Sure it’s going to be a struggle… but what do I focus on? The fact of the struggle? Or the actual forging ahead with my life? The forging ahead.” One of those will find peace sooner than the other.

  237. Nolan Says:

    I’m sorry Andy…
    This blog is just really buggy at times…
    It didn’t let me post the whole reply. And now it’s not letting me post the final portion of it.
    It’s just one last paragraph but the blog is blocking it for some reason.

  238. Nolan Says:

    Well that’s annoying… I tried it again and it just isn’t letting me post it.

    If you want to talk outside of this forum just let me know.
    Like Doreen had mentioned we can meet over at Paul’s facebook page. Just let me know.

  239. Andy J Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

    Its the whole low of it. I’ve been through huge periods of anxiety before and never felt this bad. Its like whatever I do at the moment, I know that tomorrow I will feel like this again.

    I have tried to live my life since having anxiety, I’ve still worked, exercised, travelled etc. But I still always come back to feeling this way. To looking at others and wondering why that cant be me. To always being stressed. I feel like the only peace I get at the moment is sleep. Thats when the questioning stops. When the wondering about how to accept stops. When I actually begin to feel sane again.

    I have a six month old daughter and I feel so guilty for not being able to spend all the time I have with her. Instead everything just feels grey.

    I’d love to speak on Facebook at sometime. Unfortunately I cant access at this moment in time. But would love to later.



  240. Lucy Says:

    Hey Andy,

    I feel the same as you right now. Feel like I spend every day going through the motions, getting on with my day as best I can, accepting and ‘letting it be’ to the best of my ability, and yet every day is just HORRID. And I’m not even sleeping properly either – I’m awake at 3.30-4am every day with a surge of intense dread. It’s so frustrating because I understand this whole thing inside out on a rational, intellectual level, and yet can’t seem to get it to integrate emotionally. I still go to work, see friends, go to yoga classes. Every few days I end up having a meltdown because it gets too much, and then I feel like I’m failing! It’s such a vicious cycle. I just want to live like an normal human being again, with ease and some level of contentment. And yet I’m sitting here at my desk feeling like I’m being pulled through the eye of a needle the anxiety is so intense. Ugh.

    Sorry, that turned into my story…just saying I’m empathising and you’re not alone.

  241. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    you are right: there is a cycle to this.

    For me it was helpful to realize that the good moments come on their own accord (to a large extent)…. you can’t force them. Which is essentially the same as saying “you can’t force peace into your life”. When you think of it it’s logically obvious since “to force” and “peace” are opposed to each other.

    When we’re feeling more peace (when the anxiety or depression are lessened) things just make more sense with respects to the transient nature of the storm of anxiety and/or depression.
    When we’re in the storm the reality of the storm and the sense of a finality to it seems obvious… despite that we still struggle against this.

    I’m not into mantras but many times I would have to remind myself “It’s okay, Nolan… it is what it is. Just carry back on with your life again.”

    The difference between that and a mantra was that I wasn’t uttering it to chase away the anxiety or any of its symptoms; but simply as a gentle reminder that there are more things in my life than just the anxiety and that it’s good time to refocus back on those other things.

  242. Lucy Says:

    Thanks Nolan,

    I think the hardest part of this is having faith that what you are doing is moving you towards recovery. When you see no progress and you’re really just trying to get through each day without going under, it’s hard not to start questioning it all, and going through the ‘there MUST be something else wrong, this can’t just be anxiety’ rigmarole.

    And yes – when you have a clearer moment, in the evenings usually – you can think, ‘This is so obvious! I know what to do, what a load of rubbish this condition is, of course I’ll recover!’, and then the next day wake up back in the thick of it, trying so hard not to despair, not seeing recovery as remotely possible.

    I’m finding exhaustion from poor or no sleep makes the road much harder because my resilience is on the floor. But I can’t force that either! Such a frustrating condition.

    “It’s ok Lucy, it is what it is…just gently carry on.”

  243. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    Sleep was one of my biggest issues. At my worst I was going a week with little more than 3 and a half hours of sleep.

    My advice with the sleep is have no expectations of how much sleep you should get. Go to bed with the thought that “if I can’t get to sleep, or if I wake up very early, so be it…. no more complaining. If I want to just lay there while my mind races then that’s what I’ll do. But I’m no longer going to have intentionally emotional reactions to this.”

    I say intentionally emotional because there will be that automatic emotion you’ll feel. Don’t feed it. If you’re feeling scared when you can’t get back to bed… don’t feed it with any pity. If you’re feeling angry when you can’t get back to bed…. don’t feed it with any extra ill will.

    If you close your eyes and your mind starts to race dispassionately lay back and watch it; like you’re watching a movie that you have little interest in.
    Let your mind go where it wants to go. If it wants to bubble up some of the most upsetting thoughts possible: Let it. If you have to remind yourself “oh well… I’m done struggling with this”…. then do that.

  244. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan – thanks so much for responding.

    I actually get to sleep, out like a light – but I’m awake at 3-4am and that’s it. And it’s the physical symptoms that wake me – a surge of dread/doom/agitation. It’s extremely difficult to lie there and let it all rage, although I do my best. I eventually get out of bed at around 6am and get on with my day feeling like hell. I guess I just adopt the same attitude as you mention above? It’s very hard not to become interested/involved with something that feels so dreadful :(

  245. Nolan Says:

    “it’s very hard not to become interested/involved with something that feels so dreadful.”

    I very much agree…. but it is possible.
    At first I would have laughed at someone who gave me the advice that I gave you.

    If you want to get up when the intensity of the doom and despair rage then get up. But do it all dispassionately. If you need a little statement to remind yourself to maintain that attitude just say “Oh well… it is what it is.”

    If you fall and you find yourself really struggling against it… that’s fine to; but just remember: begin again. Pick yourself back up start over with that sentiment of “oh well, so be it”.
    That as much respect you need to pay this.
    Trust me, Lucy (ha! that’s what my wife and I are going to name our daughter that will be here at the end of August)…Trust me, I get the pain and fears that go along with this. Every thought that you’re probably having when you’re both flooded with anxiety and worked up to great stress over being unable to sleep I can assure you that I was there too.

    Don’t hesitate to ask me anything…. more than happy to help.

  246. Beth Says:

    I’m still (wrongly) fighting this and retreating further and further into my home. Just can’t seem to just “allow”, the fear feels so profound. And now, it’s not just the few times I go out, it’s while I’m at home as well. How in the world does one just let this release happen…?

  247. Nolan Says:

    Hi Beth,

    When the intensity of the anxiety or depression is high for anyone it can be very hard to allow it to be there. “Allow” is a bad term because it’s going to be there regardless, right? It’s like you don’t have to allow a virus to invade your body… it will do that whether your allowance is granted or not. But what’s at issue is your attitude towards the anxiety.

    It might be easier to conceive of it in terms of: do you let the fear dictate what you do or do you override your fear and tell yourself what you’re going to do?

    “how in the world does one just let this release happen?”…. if you mean “release” in the sense of draining it all out of you, like draining dishwater from a sink, I think you’ll just run into more and more frustration.
    It’s your attitude towards this fear. Sure, you’re going to feel the immediate effects of it: it’s going to speed up your pulse and heart rate, it’s going to knot up your stomach, it’s going to make your mind spin with thoughts (mainly thoughts that only increase the despair and fear)…. You don’t need to tell yourself to “accept” that stuff, because that stuff is simply going to be there.

    But how do you react to that stuff? You find yourself going into fight and retreat mode? That’s okay…. be patient with yourself. Just remind yourself to “begin again” and go back to telling yourself something along the lines of “oh well, it got to me and I reacted a bit poorly…. that’s okay. All that matters is that I start back again with making my life bigger than anxiety. Making my life one that is dictated by what I want to do, not my kowtowing to message this fear/despair keeps screaming at me”.

    It is hard, Beth…. so be patient with yourself when you fall.
    I say it’s your attitude towards all of this, I learned that from Paul…. and it’s true. That’s not to say that you won’t feel the immediate (and many times prolonged) impact of the fear/anxiety/despair, because you most certainly will; but keep on reminding yourself “So be it”. There once was a poster here named Dominic who said “Turn your ‘what ifs’ into ‘so what’s'”…. and that is the advice that helped carry me through.

    peace will come back to you, Beth…. but it will do it on it’s own accord. In taking an attitude of “oh well, I can handle this” to this intense storm you’re in you’ll be getting your mind and body more prepared for when calmness and peace come back to you.

  248. Lucy Says:

    Thanks nolan, very kind of you – and I much approve of naming your baby Lucy – great name :)

    It is encouraging to know you went through all this and suffered all these horrible symptoms and yet here you are, recovered! Did you also wake up (if you slept!) feeling this utter dread/impending doom/awfulness? It’s such a difficult way to start the day, especially at 4 in the morning… some days I just completely despair (like yesterday, I went to pieces, couldn’t bear it any longer, wanted to die etc etc), today I have a better handle on it. Doing the ‘It is what it is, just let it be’ thing, despite my body raging at me. Just got to quite fighting myself and leave it alone. But man it’s hard when you’re sitting at a desk in a quite office with not much distraction…

  249. Paul Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    I have never posted on here and am weaning myself off the internet and the pointless research I do on Paul’s advice but I just wanted to say your posts are inspirational!
    To see someone who is recovered taking so much time to advise, reassure and guide those of us who are still struggling is nothing short of incredibly selfless. I am just so pleased for you that you are recovered and you found the way to live again and I am so pleased for us that you have stuck around to tell your story and pass on your advice.
    Its people like you that make this a forum of hope rather than the usual spiral of “Help I feel terrible………..please, any advice?) NEXT POST “I feel worse……….can any one help me??” that can take and anxiety sufferer deeper into despair.
    Truly, thank you Nolan. You’re a Legend!

  250. Beth Says:

    Nolan-Thank you. As always, your insight and kind words really resonate. I actually have been practicing the “so what” attitude and have had brief seconds of respite. I wish my mind could comprehend that there truly is NOTHI NG in my environment that’s dangerous, i.e. saber-tooth-tiger. :) But therein lies the crux-it’s not my job to convince it. Oh the fear, the fear, the fear…of absolutely nothing. Even after all these years, I find it-almost-comical. Thank you again, your words have proven time and again to be a momentary calm in the storm.

  251. Paul Says:

    Hi Nolan,
    Tried posting this earlier but it didn’t feed through. I am trying to stay off forums as much as possible but just wanted to say it is due to people like you (The recoverers!) that this forum is so uplifting and positive.
    You don’t pull the drawbridge up behind you, you stick around to help us with our recoveries and it is an absolute credit to you and your fellow Recoverers that you have time and care enough to keep pushing us to follow Paul’s words.
    I am a first time poster on here but I just thought I would weigh in with my thanks for the way you respond and help us all with our anxiety recovery.

  252. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lucy,
    Yes… with sleep I was hit from all sides.

    Many times it was just in falling to sleep.
    Or walking up early and not getting back to sleep. Fear, dread, despair were the themes in my mind when this would happen.

    The despair and fear of it shoves itself in your face so profoundly that it’s almost impossible to just “ignore it”. Telling someone to “ignore it” is almost setting up an impossible task.

    Because automatically you find yourself paying attention to it. You’re attention is drawn to it like metal to a magnet.
    To a large extent your mind is the unwilling, yet captive audience to this storm of anxiety (and all of the torturous thoughts that go along with it). Forcing and straining your mind to shut it out only really leads to more exhaustion and more mental importance that you’re placing on those thoughts…. Exactly what you don’t want.

    That immediate attention and importance have been mentally stamped on those thoughts and feelings…. struggling to shunt them out only puts that “IMPORTANT” imprint deeper into them.

    It’s a slow process (that many times comes with profound, yet temporary, breaks in the storm) but you first have to start with not adding extra importance to it by not being so impressed (as Paul would say) with what it’s showing you. Sure, you’re going to feel the full intensity of it, but you’re going to start acting different. And you’ll be acting different by how you behave: determining your behavior willfully and not based off of “what impact will this decision have on the anxiety I’m currently living with”.
    To use an example from my life:
    I was terrified of not being able to sleep at night and I let that fear dictate everything I did. One night I had the opportunity to go out with my wife and another couple for food and drinks. I was set on not going “what if it gets me too worked up and the little sleep I might have got now I don’t get at all?!”.
    The fear was screaming intensely at me to “PLAY IT SAFE!”, but I didn’t; I went out… stayed out late, had spicy Mexican food and drinks. The fear ebbed and flowed. But I told myself I was going to make my life bigger than this and it was about time I start doing that…. so I did. And it was small steps like that that started to remove that stamp of “IMPORTANT” from those thoughts, because now they weren’t dictating how I lived my life.

  253. Nolan Says:

    Hi Beth,

    It sounds like you’re on the right path. “So what?” thought and acted upon (acted upon by you being the decider in what you do, not the fear of future fear).

    You said:
    “I wish my mind could comprehend that there truly is NOTHING in my environment that’s dangerous.”

    Time and patience…. and having no other expectation from what you’re currently going through. We expect things to be one way and they turn out to be another. That can lead to frustration, impatience… and those can lead to anger.
    It’s a long process (but very rewarding). We can’t ever truly be patient with others until we’re patient with our own faults. Because if we can’t be patient with our own faults and flaws…. then any patience we have towards others is cardboard thin and probably only the product of ingratiating ourselves to that person. I don’t know, maybe for the purpose of winning affections… but whatever it is, it’s not because we’re truly being patient with them. One way to gauge that is “would I be this patient if this were a person who’s affections I cared little for… if they were of no immediate or long term benefit to me.”

    I think that’s getting a bit too far off point… to shore it up: Just remember to be sincerely patient with yourself at any stage of this.

  254. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan, I can’t seem to stop the ‘it must be something else’ thing, in other words ‘how can this just be anxiety?’ And sometimes I can’t believe anyone else felt the way I feel but still recovered! I think that’s common though, to think you’re worse than everyone else. So I woke up this morning, like every morning, feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck, exhausted, with this deep feeling of dread. And this hangs around all day. Does this sound ‘normal’?! This is just part of nervous illness right? My spirits are flagging :(

  255. Teena Says:

    Hii guys, m Teena from India. M an ex anxiety sufferer.i suffered from anxiety in 2012 to 2014 ..was there any cure or treatment for anxiety this was a main question that destroyed my 3 years of life.. Y did I say that this question destroyed my years. Bcoz guys I was instructed to the wrong path by my anxious thoughts.i took every treatment n every therapy.. What I found there was no relief.. I cried a lot. I was unhappy with my family with these shit thoughts.. On day I googled for the last time I saw this site n very surprised to read all the lines. What is this how it can be true.. Even nobody said to me this.even doctors.. I cried souted beat myself. How ll I start again.. It ll not be helpful for me. Negative thoughts poped up. After all this I started the path of nothing doing abt anxiety. It was very painful to me to leave all the things which I did in past.. I read all the posts of David Paul.i follow every little thing that told by Paul.
    Now I m free of anxiety many time anxiety thoughts are chasing me but I dnt care abt this.. These thoughts mean nothing to me.. M more stronger more powerful n more minded now.. M very thankful to my past years my anxiety.. Anxiety was not my enemy it was teacher for.. It taught me a lesson how to live life..

  256. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    That’s very common.
    With my sleep I was certain I was different than everyone else… and that my problems were uniquely different from what others were talking about with their anxiety. I doubted that it could even be anxiety that I was suffering with because it seemed so intense. Selfishly (but understandably) I was certain my issues were worse than everyone else’s.

    Lucy, it’s not easy either way: whether one decides to do the might (yet misguided) act of putting up a good fight in attempts of overcoming anxiety and all of the symptoms by force of will…. or whether one decides to let it be there, giving it less respect, while still living their life as if they didn’t have anxiety. Either way you’re still going to feel the anxiety. The former option leads to a madness and further exhaustion; while the later allows peace to come back to your life. Maybe not immediately, but eventually.

  257. Belgian Says:

    Nolan, any comments on my last post?

  258. Paul Says:


    I have tried to post this before but it has not appeared. As a first time poster and being half way through Paul’s book I just wanted to say thanks for all the posts you have put in this forum. Your insight really helps and gives me hope I can bounce back from this.

  259. Nolan Says:

    Hi Belgian,

    Sorry for missing that post of yours.
    What you typed does make sense.

    Now there’s the stress (which isn’t necessarily bad), then there’s our bad reaction to it where we find ourselves a bit more geared up, then there’s full blown anxiety where we don’t have much of a choice regarding putting it in the background of our life… it’s going to be loud and we’re going to notice it.

    Where do you think you’re at right now? And if it’s as bad as it can get…. does it seem related with respects to timing on how you react to those stressful situations?

  260. Lucy Says:

    Hi Nolan,

    Many thanks for your response, it’s appreciated. I seem to be able to deal with anxiety symptoms better than the depression/despair…they are even more convincing. With anxiety I can usually at least manage to remember that there isn’t actually anything to be afraid about, which separates it from you a bit. But waking up this morning I was bombarded with the ‘I can’t go on/don’t want to live/this is hopeless’ brigade. How does one deal with this? I’m at work but feel like I want to go home and just cry. Man this is hard. Lack of sleep is the culprit for much of this I expect – it’s very difficult to get my attitude right when I’m so chronically exhausted.

  261. Anon Says:

    Are we all talking about the same feeling–what we are calling doom or despair? For me it is like intrusive thoughts out of nowhere telling me everything is dark and frightening, then I get the stomach lurch , that feeling in my gut, in response to these thoughts–I guess that part is the dread. And then the despair part is like being put in front of a deeply disturbing scene and being forced to watch. It’s like a combo of a sinking feeling, sadness, and panic. Is that what everyone is feeling too?

  262. Lynn Says:

    I understand the concept of letting the adrenaline be there and run it’s course, to not be afraid of it. But today I was in heavy rush hour traffic driving to pick up my son from camp, and was late getting him. The normally 35 minute drive took an hour. There was really nothing for me to fear except the fear of having a panic attack and not being able to get my son. Well, within a mile of getting him I had to pull over and take half of a xanax as my hands were going numb and cramping up from holding the steering wheel, and they were shaking. I know my thoughts caused this to escalate, but how, when driving in heavy rush hour traffic, and your son is waiting on you, and you are already very late getting there, are you supposed to just feel the feelings until they pass? When you are scared you might pass out while driving, and everything feels like it’s in fast motion and you can’t really focus attention?

  263. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lucy,

    “‘I can’t go on/don’t want to live/this is hopeless’ “….

    Just live with that too until that storm passes.
    I had both anxiety and depression.
    Same with depression, it’s just not something you can think your way out of, because everything only convinces you of the ‘truth’ of depression: that there is no hope, that there is no point, that all is ultimately hopeless.

    Let it be there, don’t get too wrapped up in arguing the contrary point because it won’t work.

    To all of the doubt and hopelessness and pointlessness that depression offers up to you, respond back with a “so what, I’m moving forward with my life whether you want to come along for the ride or not.”

    It’s going to grab ahold of your attention and scream at you…. let it, but move back on with your life offering little to no resistance to it, while always answering with a “So what” to the despair that it presents to you.

    I don’t think it helps to force yourself to fake being happy. Most of the times when a person does that it comes across as being maniacal. But, maybe you start small by being grateful to little things in your life. But don’t over do it to the point of that weird fakeness. Even while the storm is raging, occasionally pay a hint of attention to something good: regardless of how big or little it is. Not with the intention of “hmmm, maybe if I stack up enough of these I’ll really chase away anxiety and depression”. But just to sincerely acknowledge that “despite all of this… there is still some good in my life… regardless of how faintly I can perceive it.”

    – Don’t struggle with the negative thoughts and feelings
    – Let them be there and if they want to grab you attention offer little resistance
    – Respond to their intensity with a “oh well…. so what”
    – Try to sincerely and subtly paying some notice to something good in your life for not other reason than acknowledging the fact of it.

  264. Nolan Says:

    Hi Anon,

    To a large extent that’s exactly what I had.
    Intrusive and repetitive thoughts were a big one for me too.

    Early on I would struggle against them or try to drown them out. But it just never worked. It only lead to me fearing them more and paying more respect to them. You’re greatly respecting something when you’re struggling against it or trying to block it out of your mind.

    But if you can let it stare at you, grab your attention, while you reply with a “oh well, have at it” and let it do what it wants…. that’s the beginning of taking the steam out of it.
    Again, if you find yourself back into the mode of struggling with it just be patient with yourself and start again with that attitude.

  265. Nolan Says:

    Hi Lynn,

    You said:
    “I understand the concept of letting the adrenaline be there and run it’s course, to not be afraid of it.”

    I wouldn’t say “don’t be afraid of it”… if you’re feeling fear that’s completely fine.
    A brave person isn’t one who feels no fear; because then it wouldn’t be a question of bravery. If I’m truly not afraid of spiders it’s not courage or bravery if I pick one up… no more than it would be courageous of me to pick up the mail that fell to the floor.

    You can feel the fear and even acknowledge that “yes, I’m afraid”… but the difference is now that you’re adding an extra response along the lines of “yes, there’s fear there… but so what, it can be there as long as it needs to, and it’s going to start having less pull at dictating my actions.”

    If you need to pull over because you’re feeling very jittery, then do that… be patient with yourself. When the fear has a strong impact on your actions (like pulling over) use it as an opportunity to be more patient with yourself and to not get extra down on you.

    You’re starting a new way of reacting to all of this… it takes time and the bedrock of any healthy minded person is a sincere patience with themselves that reaches out (in a sincere manner) towards others.
    Whether it’s fear or anger let it simmer as long as it wants to while you reply with an “it’s fine by me… leave when you’re ready”.

  266. Lynn Says:


    Thank you so much for your helpful reply. I really appreciate every word you took the time to write, and it all seems like very wonderful advice which I will use.

    A follow-up question: if I ever do have to pull over, what do I do when pulled over? Try to regulate my breathing? Or sit in my car and try not to let the physical symptoms scare me? Distract myself somehow? Just don’t know how long I’d have to wait while pulled over.

    Thank you!


  267. Anon Says:

    Nolan, really appreciate it. Good to know someone can relate. I get what you are saying. One blessing about anxiety is it gives a perspective that can be communicated to kids. My daughter was afraid of going into the water at the beach. I got her to go, despite her extreme reluctance. I particularly wanted her to go in WHILE she was freaking out about it. Once she was in and calmed down, I told her: don’t let fear make your decisions. You get to decide what you want to do, not fear. She was fine in the water for the rest of the trip. She is 6, so I don’t know if she fully understands, but she did at least to some extent. Without anxiety, I could not have helped her through that situation in quite the same knowing way.

  268. Lucy Says:

    Thanks Nolan, that’s a great help. So it’s a kind of:
    “Hello, I see you…welcome. You can do what you want, I’m just going to get on with what I’m doing with you there”?

    Anon – that was a very good description of the feeling – yes! Ugh!


  269. Lucy Says:

    Just one other thing, and then I’ll go away and get on with it…

    So this morning I was awake at 3am with the intense surge of dread. Firstly, this is just anxiety right? Secondly, what do I do at that time in the morning? I already know there will be no more sleep and lying there ‘letting it be’ becomes unbearable. Thirdly, I can recover from all this can’t I?! Oh and fourthly (!) Did you also stop reading about it, talking about it, trying to find success stories, reading Pauls book/other anxiety books. This is what I end up doing in the morning when I’m feeling so awful and seeking reassurance that I’m going to be ok…

    Thanks Nolan,

  270. Paul Says:


    Really interesting posts……….there are elements of Paul’s book that I am struggling with a little and like you did, I think I am falling into the trap that I feel I am different and that some aspects of what Paul writes about don’t relate to me directly and so I can’t fully recover!

    So………..I feel dread about the future like if I book a holiday to go with my wife and daughter there is very little point in going because I am not going to enjoy it and I will flip out or something. I just can’t get those feelings of excitement that I used to have back and I don’t think I ever will.

    I feel that my anxiety has anchored itself on to my relationship which I rationally know isn’t the reason I am suffering. We have had ups and downs in the past, arguments and huge disagreements but none of that has made me feel like this. Anxiety however (And my relationship wasn’t the trigger) has made me focus on my relationship. When I do have good days I realise this is an anxiety lie but even on good days, I’ll be feeling great and then BOOM!! An overriding feeling of dread comes over me and reminds me “HA, you thought I was gone!!” Then I fall back in to doubt, worry, dread and depression.

    I feel a real sense that I can’t cope and a fear that it will never end and that I will never, ever enjoy things again. That I will never get that feeling of excitement, of fun, of deep love for my family, of happiness when hanging out with friends, of anticipation……….its all just MEH! at the moment.

    Do I just accept those feelings? Because sometimes I feel I am almost searching for them and then relating to them rather than just letting them come…..
    they aren’t as clear as “Run away from everything”…..they are more subtle than that……….I can’t truly grasp the key message from my anxiety that I am trying to say “So what!” to. I am struggling a bit with some of the concepts I think.

  271. Anon Says:

    Lucy, the same happened to me. My sleep slowly returned over time. I would lie in bed and surf my phone for reassurance at all hours. It was awful. This is not ideal but things improved anyway. Yes, you absolutely can recover. I had all the same as you. The dread and despair slowly siminish by being acknowledged and then just going about things as best you can. Being outdoors helps tremendously. It seems that this problem can develop due to too much sitting around and/or running around. I found that uplifting podcasts before bed were helpful. Ultimately the need to control what is happening is part of what fuels this condition, as does subsequent fear of the condition itself. The feelings are horrible and we just want to escape.

  272. Lucy Says:

    Thank you Anon, that was really helpful. I’ve just had the worst night of pretty much no sleep at all and severe agitation. I’m utterly exhausted and have no idea how I’m going to get through the day. Did you also have nights like that? I’m full of despair today :( I just can’t believe I’m ever going to recover from this.

  273. Anon Says:

    Yes, I almost every night for nearya year was like that while taking care of 2 young kids and dealing with the morning dreads. Last summer I felt irrationally anxious and afraid just drooping off my daughter at summer camp. Can you imagine? One thing that helped me was forcing myself to stay up later so I could wake up later. When your body adjusts you go to sleep 15 minutes earlier and so on. I believe it’s called sleep compression. I thought I would die or go crazy from lack of sleep but learned that if we stop getting in our own way, our bodies are resilient. Believing you won’t improve is one of the symptoms. It seems rational but it is nonsense. There is no basis of any kind for that thought. It’s just an obsessive scary thought. Once you realize the only thing anxiety can do is frighten you, and it has no other power, you are on your way to getting your mind around it. If it tells you that you won’t get better, just say that’s fine thanks for letting me know. That is all that is needed, but you have to do that hundreds and thousands of times to create new thought habits.

  274. Anca Says:

    Hi guys,

    I am ashamed to say I did not read the article before starting to write my comment here. I googled “sharing your anxious thoughts” and this was one of the first google results… so here I am.
    I was diagnosed with mild anxiety and depression some years ago and I have been seeing a therapist on and off ever since. My anxiety is something constant but the intensity it hits with is not. Recently I have begun understanding what triggers it and am pretty good at identifying the thoughts that will bring a downward spiral, but today is just not one of those days and I would really need a hand to deal with everything. I am at work and I have no one I can talk to here… I don’t really have anyone I could talk to about this in general.
    I think this spiral started this morning when I could just feel something was off… Then I forgot my phone and keys at home and spent about five minutes knocking at my own door to get them and i just wanted to scream… I knew the reaction I was having is not something normal, but at the same time I just wanted to hide in a corner and scream and cry. I still want to cry.
    I got to work and felt so afraid that I am not enough that nothing I will ever do will make me happy… Started browsing for an apartment because the people I am living with are just awful for my mental well being, realized I don’t have enough money to move… realized I should pursue a different career… realized I cannot do this with my education (not finished)… prepared myself a magnesium hoping to feel better afterwards… neglected all of my tasks in the meantime. I AM A MESS!!!
    I keep hoping to get better but I am afraid I never will. I’ll never be enough for me, let alone anyone else…

    I just want to sleep forever.

    I don’t know why I am writing this, I was hoping to feel better if i just get everything off my chest, but i feel like my brain is spaghetti and all of my thoughts are just a big mess and I can’t focus on just one at a time.

    No one will probably read this anyway…

    I hope you guys are better at dealing with this than I am, I’m gonna read the article now and really hope to find some inspiring story of someone who overcame this. It could make me feel better or much worse…

    Take care!

  275. Faye Says:

    Why won’t my comments show up on the blog?

  276. Faye Says:

    Hello guys,

    Really need a bit of reassurance I haven’t been on here for years as I have been anxiety free for 3 years they was amazing! Now I feel like I am back to square one?! I didn’t think I could ever fee like this again I have been like this for 2 months I litreally thought it go away by now? Is it even possible to have a setback 3 years later? I think it was an article I read about tinnitus and depression and it sent me into a spiral then I started hearing the ringing in my ears and realising people do kil themselves because of it – so I’m suffering from that and insomnia because of it I feel like I can’t relax because of this noise will drive me mad – even though I wasn’t bothered about it for a few years? I feel so sad that I was recovered and now I’m back feeling like this – has anybody else been recovered to feel like this again? Desperately need some advice – also what has freaked me out in Paul’s book it’s says once you recover you can never suffer again – I litreally was thinking last year how I never thought I could be so happy and how far I had come – I litreally can’t belive I feel like this again – any advice from someone that has experienced this after recovery would be amazing – I feel so sad cause I was loving my life and now back to feeling like this again xxxxxx

  277. Faye Says:

    Nolan I would love your help or anybody that’s has been recovered and found themselves in this position thank you xxxx

  278. Bryan Says:


    This is why I’m not a hug fan of the word “recovered” because it sets us up to feel almost guilty when we have a storm roll through after we’ve managed to find a normal track for ourselves. In,just have gone through what you describe 50 times. And while things are much better these days, I still get popped with the odd storm, bad day, bad week here and there. Perhaps one day I won’t see the difficult times anymore and that would be just fine by me.

    But what has helped me is trying to be ok when those storms do roll through.
    Admittedly I almost always react poorly at first. Most of us do. But then my focus shifts to getting on with life and carrying it with me. Sometimes I need to read a few blurbs from Paul’s book or a post by someone like Nolan to help me reframe those times. But I do manage to get back on with things.

    Life is good for me now. It’s not perfect but that’s ok. Things keep improving and I believe it’s due to implementing a mindset – making it part of me and trying to be ok with the fact that stress manifests itself in nasty ways for me at times.

    When I read your post I hear a lot of black and white extremes. (“Recovered…. Freaked out… Square 1…. Desperately….amazing….”)
    Do you see how some of that language and thinking might set you up not only for potential pitfalls but for difficulties handling them when they arrive? Perhaps a less stark, more patient approach is in order. (See Nolan’s posts above.)

    What you describe is completely normal for those with stress and anxiety issues. The good news is you’ve regained normal functioning once already. So you know you can get back on track.

  279. Faye Says:

    Hello Bryan

    Thanks for taking the time out to reply to me, yea I deffo get what your saying I think it’s just difficult when you have been loving life litreally and this comes and smacks you round the face – especially the ringing ears as this symptom. Terrifies me as it ruins people’s life and there is no control over it – I have been loads better and haven’t let it stop me doing anything it’s just I thought I could never suffer again and be scared of my own mind again I run my own clothing line and it’s just got into topshop so I have been dealing with high stress but I just thought I was so strong – it’s also brought back memories of past suffering and I just want it all to go! I kno that’s the worst attitude to have but it’s just hard when I thought I had recovered now in question everything and traumatising my self on the bloody internet about my ears!

    Thanks Faye

    Any other advice would be lovely so thankful for this blog


  280. Faye Says:

    Hello Bryan

    Thanks for taking the time out to reply to me, yea I deffo get what your saying I think it’s just difficult when you have been loving life litreally and this comes and smacks you round the face – especially the ringing ears as this symptom. Terrifies me as it ruins people’s life and there is no control over it – I have been loads better and haven’t let it stop me doing anything it’s just I thought I could never suffer again and be scared of my own mind again I run my own clothing line and it’s just got into topshop so I have been dealing with high stress but I just thought I was so strong – it’s also brought back memories of past suffering and I just want it all to go! I kno that’s the worst attitude to have but it’s just hard when I thought I had recovered now in question everything and traumatising my self on the bloody internet about my ears!

    Thanks Faye

    Any other advice would be lovely so thankful for this blog I think I’m still fighting the symptoms and thoughts but it’s so hard to let them be cause
    It’s a constant battle


  281. Faye Says:

    Hello Bryan

    Thanks for taking the time out to reply to me, yea I deffo get what your saying I think it’s just difficult when you have been loving life litreally and this comes and smacks you round the face – especially the ringing ears as this symptom. Terrifies me as it ruins people’s life and there is no control over it – I have been loads better and haven’t let it stop me doing anything it’s just I thought I could never suffer again and be scared of my own mind again I run my own clothing line and it’s just got into topshop so I have been dealing with high stress but I just thought I was so strong – it’s also brought back memories of past suffering and I just want it all to go! I kno that’s the worst attitude to have but it’s just hard when I thought I had recovered now in question everything and traumatising my self on the bloody internet about my ears!

    Thanks Faye

    Any other advice would be lovely so thankful for this blog it’s just hard to feel this way again and feel everything again


  282. Faye Says:

    Hello Bryan

    Thanks for taking the time out to reply to me, yea I deffo get what your saying I think it’s just difficult when you have been loving life litreally and this comes and smacks you round the face – especially the ringing ears as this symptom. Terrifies me as it ruins people’s life and there is no control over it – I have been loads better and haven’t let it stop me doing anything it’s just I thought I could never suffer again and be scared of my own mind again I run my own clothing line and it’s just got into topshop so I have been dealing with high stress but I just thought I was so strong – it’s also brought back memories of past suffering and I just want it all to go! I kno that’s the worst attitude to have but it’s just hard when I thought I had recovered now in question everything and traumatising my self on the bloody internet about my ears!

    Thanks Faye

    Any other advice would be lovely so thankful for this blog it’s just hard to feel this way again


  283. Steve b Says:

    Faye. I was worried about that. When I stopped worrying about it, the ringing ears went away. I did what you did, read websites about people suffering terribly with it. The thing is, you are just creating a tiger. Meaning, in the old days a tiger would appear and the fight flight system would switch on in a nano second to tell you to run. Creating all the anxiety symptoms. Now, there is no tiger so we need other stuff to scare us. In your case, the tiger is ringing ears. It’s a very typical anxiety symptom and millions of people will get it. Only a few will get it so bad that it causes severe problems. Often those people have diagnosed problems. They have, for example, spent many years listening to very loud music and have damaged their ear drums. If you haven’t done anything like that then I think you should be fine. You are just getting anxious about it which is exacerbating the ringing. That’s it.

  284. Michael Says:

    Hi guys,

    A handful of you might remember me, but it’s unlikely, given that all you have to go on is “Michael”. This time last year I posted a few times as I was in the depths of despair and trying to get some answers from somewhere. I interacted with a well-known poster called Belgian and I think I may have spoken to Nolan once or twice.

    In any case, it’s a year later now, and I am a success story. I just wanted to share it with you all, because if I can get better, then anyone can. I had a breakdown in January of 2016. It was completely unexpected and began with a panic attack out of the blue. To try and cut a long story short, I didn’t realise that I’d had a panic attack and ended up assuming it must be my heart or my brain. I thought I was going to die. In my own shattered mind, the fact I was likely to drop dead any moment scared me to the point that I decided to take my own life. The fear of what I thought was imminent was so overwhelming that I decided to take matters into my own hands and just end it all.

    As you can tell, I’m still here. I rang an ambulance that night instead, and here I am. In my case, I found therapy and medication useful. I took sertraline for 13 months and I can’t pretend it didn’t make a difference. It helped to save my life, I feel. But the most important thing was finding Paul’s book. I remember reading it during a period where I felt too scared and too ill to leave my bedroom, and I just stood up and went for a walk. My legs felt like jelly and the world was wobbly and strange, but the fact I could suddenly do it was really significant, and it was because Paul (and Claire Weeks) told me I could do it, that I did it.

    Once you really get the message in the pages of Paul’s books, it begins to seep into every aspect of your life. You find a new ability to challenge the silly things your mind throws up. You start to realise how much of what you feel and what you fear is created out of nothing within the walls of your mind. This doesn’t mean that you never experience unpleasant thoughts or feelings. They’re a fact of human life. But you react to them differently.

    Sometimes things still go wrong for me. I recently started a new job, but walked out after a couple of weeks because I couldn’t handle it. I’m having to learn to forgive myself for this. Much as I feel I understand Paul’s message, sometimes your mind gets tired, and mine simply wasn’t ready to be put to the test all day, five days a week. But I do have full confidence that I will get there. It’s just about being accepting and welcoming to all thoughts and sensations, and experiences of course. My next challenge is to get a job and make it stick this time.

    In terms of my breakdown and suicidal illness, I consider myself fully recovered. I experienced depersonalisation and derealisation, although I struggle to remember if this was before or after going on the antidepressants. If it was after, they could have been the cause, but I’m sure it began before. It doesn’t really matter, though. I no longer fear any of the old anxiety sensations. In my case, my recovery has been pretty steadily upwards. I haven’t had anything I’d characterise as a full-on setback, although I do have depressive periods. I don’t personally believe I’ll ever have another breakdown like the last one. I don’t believe it’s possible for it to happen to me again because of what I now know. I don’t mind if you think that’s naive. I know how I feel. I’m too in control of myself these days and too able to rationalise physical and psychological sensations.

    The point of all this is simply to let you know that you can get better too. There’s nothing special about me that allowed me to recover. If you’ve found Paul’s books, then you already know everything you need to get better. It’s all there, and your recovery is just waiting for you.

  285. Lucy Reid Says:

    Great to read your story Michael, many thanks for sharing, it’s always really encouraging to read a success story. I wish you happiness and peace going forward.

  286. Belgian Says:


    good to hear from you!

    It is great that you have recovered.

    I will not wish you never to feel anxiety again nor would I wish you to never have a panic attack again.

    To be alive also means to endure pain and hardship from time to time. So by wishing you only the good things, basically I would have wished you a good afterlife 😉

    Instead, as a gift, I would like to give you one piece of advice from Claire Weekes: “the person who eventually recovers is the person who has learned to disregard failure”

    These last couple of years, I have lost and found the way to recovery time and time again. Currently, there are a lot of stressful events going on in my life. Stress means stress symptoms and I can’t help but feeling anxious about them from time to time. Heck, I even felt panicky last night.

    But, Weekes was right. Once you have found the right path towards recovery, you will be able to find it back. One can dwell away from it, but the memory of success can serve as a guide to the right track again.

  287. Louise Says:

    Hi I just want some advice really on anyone who has had setbacks and how they felt as I dont know if im having a setback or im just not gettin better. I mean I do have a lot more good days but the intrusive thoughts and feelings always come back I feel like im doin something wrong. Any advice please

  288. Belgian Says:


  289. Belgian Says:

    Hi Louise,

    Read the post I wrote just before you posted yours.

    Recovery doesn’t mean not to experience anxiety in all its forms never again. Intrusive thoughts and anxious feelings are part of our human nature.

    It is our reaction towards these thoughts and feelings that define whether or not we get caught in the anxiety trap again.

    Having good days and bad days therefore is perfectly normal. You are not “doing” something wrong.

    There are two possible reasons why you asked this question.

    1. You didn’t know that setbacks are part of the way to recovery.
    2. You were looking for reassurance.

    If it is number 2, I might have reassured you. And I really don’t mind doing that. But be aware. If at every step on the road you come back to this, looking for reassurance, you are giving yourself the message that the thing that made you feel better was exactly this: reassurance.

    You do not need reassurance to get better. I don’t want to say to you that you never have to reach out for help or support. Quite the contrary. Nobody has to go through this alone. What I am saying is that in the end, you will have to do it by yourself.

  290. Belgian Says:

    I remember myself being a child learning to swim. There I was, at the edge of the pool wearing all kinds of stuff that had to prevent me to sink to the bottom. I had my teacher in front of me in the swimming pool, encouraging to jump in. My parents and grandparents were rooting for me at the edge of the pool. I was literally terrified and stood there for an eternity. Contemplating whether or not to actually jump.

    Now, someone could have picked me up and just throw me in the pool. But everyone there knew that this would not help. Everyone, including myself, knew that I had to take the leap myself if i wanted to conquer my fear. Eventually, I jumped. The fearful anticipation, contemplation and outright panic disappeared. Now, decades later I am still not a big fan of water. But I do get into the water and can jump in it without really thinking it through. I have conquered my fear.

    Believe it or not, I see a parallel between standing at the edge of that pool fearing the water and me fearing my intrusive thoughts / feelings.

    Anxiety and fear don’t reside in the water or the thoughts. Water in itself is not scary. A thought by itself can’t be scary. Anxiety lives and fuels itself in the distance between ourselves and our thoughts. It is in our interpretation, the story behind the thought and the way this makes us feel that anxiety is born.

  291. Belgian Says:

    Consider my situation as I stand before the water. I know I have to get in there. There is pressure. Everyone is waiting for me to do it. But, the unknown scares me. What if i get water inside my mouth. What if I drown. Oh no, i will not be able to breath…Adrenaline kicks in. Our body goes into fear mode. Running away is not an option. I can’t even run on this stupid wet floor. So, I freeze. I hear the voices of my parents rooting. I am going to disappoint them. God, I am such a loser. Please, help me out of this. I don’t want to do this. In my world, there is nothing but fear.

    Meanwhile, in the real world. Nothing has changed. The water was not even deep enough to drown into. The instructor was ready to pick me up as soon as i would land in the water and even if that all went sour, I would still float the minute i’d land because of all the stuff hanging around my waist.

    It was normal to experience fear. After all, it makes sense not to simply jump into the unknown without a minute of thought. But what did I gain by getting stuck in my fear? What did I gain by freezing at the edge of the pool? Absolutely nothing. I only prolonged my suffering.

    What could I have done? I could have faced my fear. Not run or freeze. But accept my fear as normal in the circumstances. With acceptance my fear would not take a hold of me and I would be able to reason with fear. After all, I had enough rational arguments to jump. Knowing this, I would not have to wait for my fear to subside before I jumped. I could have loosened my body and jumped in anyway.By hitting the water, fear would subside and confidence would have been built.

  292. Ryan Says:

    @ Nolan,

    Read a lot of your advice to others in the past, and I would just like to commend you on your efforts to those in need.

    I have DP, but have had some success in the past with he anxiety and depression. I’m currently back in the throws of what seem like the worst its ever been (obviously subjectively).

    my main issues are existential/ontological in nature such as: What’s the point in life? Am I real? Death… etc.

    I know these are not uncommon in DP, but how can I make recovery form this burden be possible if they are rational fears?

    Thanks in advance


  293. Belgian Says:


    I agree with you fear of death and purpose in life are not irrational. Everyone who is alive fears, to some extent, death.

    If I were to give you the advice not to fear death, I would give you an impossible task indeed.

    Luckily, as said time and time again, recovery is not about denying fear. It is definitely not about fighting fear. Recovery comes from accepting fear and living our lives regardless of it.

    In fact, I am sure it is not the content of your fear that is the cause of your ‘burden’. It is your reaction to it. Your response to the fundamental existential and ontological question that define our humanity, apparently is to worry about it.

    Ask yourself: what do I get by worrying constantly about these questions?

    It is okay to reflect on life from time to time. In fact, I think some of us should do it more. But it is not okay if your reflection prevents you to live your life.

    I have read some very interesting books on the topic of death by a psychiatrist called Yalom. I recommend it to everyone as they give an extraordinary insight into the matter. It is an existential psychiatrist who is also an expert in philosophy. Some of his books describe the lives of very well known philosophers such as Nietschze from an interesting point of view. The view of the philosopher himself. That way you have an insight in the psychology of the philosopher and through that a better understanding of his theory.

    I hesitated to recommend it to you as the risk is that you plunge into them as some kind of cure. They are not. But they will help you to understand and accept your fear more. In the end this is the goal. The goal is not to find the answer for life.

    If you do find it, be sure to post it here 😉

    Good luck!

  294. Ryan Says:


    Thanks for this, I will certainly look at the book with an open mind.

    It’s strange because before all this I could think about these things, then just get on with my day. They cause me no real issue; I think the anxiety/DP has a way of latching onto uncertainty about anything, and these are the biggest uncertainty’s. I suppose not wanting to think about it and feel these feelings is what is exacerbating it (I see the obvious answer, but hard to practise myself).

    I feel I could write a book about how to recover from all this without being able to follow the advice myself; I’m sure that will resonate with a lot of people.

    I hope you are well, and I will progress regardless of these fears/thoughts


  295. Nolan Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I had a lot of those thoughts when I was struggling with depression: what’s the purpose of anything, am I annihilated entirely upon death? And variations to these. But the theme was always: Nothing matters, nothing could possibly matter.
    It leads to almost a profound resignation to the pointlessness of any and everything.

    I don’t want to delve to deeply into the arguments to the contrary of this…. arguments stating that: Yes, there is purpose and meaning to life – a fundamental meaning that underwrites all that happens.

    Now, I believe that to be the case… but when you’re in those throes of despair it’s not really the lack of a good argument that led you there.
    Now, hearing a good and convincing argument to the contrary might give you that momentary respite from the torturous despair…. but then the logic of depression seems to start winning out again. You find yourself simply convinced that all of this is just pointless. It’s like a stain that bleeds through to every layer of you.

    The undefeatable logic of depression reminds me much of a Chesterton quote:

    “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason…. I mean that if you or I were dealing with a mind that was growing morbid, we should be chiefly concerned not so much to give it arguments as to give it air, to convince it that there was something cleaner and cooler outside the suffocation of a single argument.”

    When our minds are taxed to exhaustion and this despair overtakes us, it does little good to jump into the fray with more “trying to make sense of it all”, or “mentally arguing to the contrary”. Because at that time we just simply feel convinced by this dreadful reality.

    I treated my depression (which came and went on cycles that some times corresponded with or without my anxiety) exactly the same way. I offered it no more extra attention. It could suck all of the life and joy out of everything I was doing and that was fine. I essentially followed Fr. Zossima’s (The Brothers Karamazov) approach: live my life like it actually did matter…. love others with an indefatigable love (or at least as close to it as I could) with little concern over how I felt. Decrease in the focusing on myself so as to let my focus on others and their concerns increase.

    I’m prattling on quite a bit.
    In short: don’t pay it any extra importance. If it’s there, so be it…. move on with your life holding those feelings of despair and doubt to no timetable in which they must be gone. Be at peace with the lack of peace… and maybe start putting the needs of others before your own (that’s no indictment on your character… just advice that helped me).

  296. Nolan Says:

    Hi Michael…. great story.
    Glad to hear that you’re back from the brink.

    I know what you mean about job stress.
    I had been with Chase for the past 14 years. In November 2016 my job moved from Wisconsin to Arizona. I didn’t follow it to Arizona.
    I was unemployed from November 2016 until June 2017 when I got a job with a small regional bank. The job is very stressful and I’m struggling with making sense of all of the new information thrown at me.
    I might have to quit because my father (who lives a little over an hour north of where I live) is dying and wants to stay at home. I want him to have his wish to be able to die there. My mom is already deceased so it falls on my sister and me. I’m in the awkward position of asking my new employer if I can have 2 days a week off to be able to be with my dad (spending the nights there). Tomorrow I should find out if they’ll “yes” or “no” my request. If they “no” it, then I’ll simply have to quit.
    My wife is pregnant with our 2nd child (due the end of August)… so there’s a lot going on.

    The good thing though…. I’ve no spikes in anxiety at all over any of this.
    I thank Paul for that. Back when my anxiety was full-on… I think this would have sent me over the edge. Now, I actually find a lot of blessings in all of this: I get to have another child. I get to be there for my dad…. I get to let him die peacefully in his home. I get to grow closer with my sister (we haven’t been close through the years). There are so many blessings that I can now glean from all of this that in the past I would never have been willing or able to notice.

  297. Nolan Says:

    Hi Faye,

    Don’t get too freaked out by it. I had setbacks after I was certain I was completely over it.

    Setbacks have the unique quality that they convince you that your good moments were illusory… that the anxiety finally figured it all out and now you’re gotten for good.
    Also, setbacks (for me) bring the full intensity of the despair back on…. like an unwanted house guest: you quickly realize what you didn’t like about them and their current presence has the absurd ability to bridge the gap from the current to previous time… almost making it seem like they never left.

    Treat it all the same. Be patient with yourself if you find that you’re reacting poorly to the intensity of it all. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want this in your life. But, remember to begin again with the mindset of turning the “what ifs” into “so whats” (thank Dominic for that one). If it grabs your attention with all of its might offer it little resistance, but still live your life. That might sound like asking a lot. But is it any more exhausting than constantly arguing with it? Or attempting the impossible task of ignoring it like it’s not there. Notice it, add little extra importance to it, and move back on with your day.

    Regarding the insomnia…. don’t struggle with it. If your mind starts racing with panic, let it. Just lay back, close your eyes, and let it take you wherever it wants to; like you’re dispassionately watching a crappy movie.
    If you get minimal sleep: “Oh well… I get what I get”.
    If you get a lot of sleep: “Cool… now back on with my day.”

  298. Ryan Says:

    Thanks Nolan,

    I think that’s the difficulty when your feeling depressed/depersonalised/anxious; there is a strong urge to not feel like this which leads to all sorts of compulsive behaviours.

    the DP is by far the worst for me, as the depression and anxiety have been and gone but the DP never has,

    I suppose its the same for everyone just not maybe the same way around, and treat it all the same…


  299. Andy J Says:

    Hi guys,

    Im struggling again. I really am having a hard time with intrusive thoughts. Does any one else worry that the thoughts arent actually anxiety and are actually a true representation of who they are? I know that should sound ludicrous given they only started taking effect after years of Generalized and Health anxiety, but I cant shake them off.

    I’ve seen a load of therapists, taken medication but still cant deal with them. It sounds perverse but it feels like worrying about them proves that I dont like them and so generates anxiety, rather than not being bothered by them.

    My life is truly awful and each day feels a lot like groundhog day.

    Any advice would be great.



  300. Stephanie Says:

    Hi Andy,

    You already know that the thoughts aren’t the problem. It’s the added meaning that you’re giving to them: “What if these thoughts mean I’m a horrible person?” So now you’ve created a nice cycle for yourself: you get the thoughts, you don’t like the thoughts, and so you keep having the thoughts.

    We already know you can’t prevent the thoughts. And you probably can’t even stop yourself from having that secondary reaction to them. But what you can do is keep living your life, thoughts and all. So you’re going about your day and bam! a thought pops up. Then you get the fear – the pit in your stomach, the conviction that there’s something horribly wrong with you. What happens after that is up to you. You can either say to yourself “Oh it’s just another one of those silly thoughts. Back to what I was doing!” Or you can do whatever it is you normally do that reaffirms the fear: stop what you’re doing, chant some mantras, call your therapist, pace, google if other people have those thoughts, etc. etc.

    Just because the thoughts keep popping up doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. You don’t need to “shake them off” or “deal with them” anymore than you need to shake off or deal with the hundreds of other thoughts you get in the course of a day.

    I have a three year old daughter, and I get some horrible thoughts about her. Does that make me a bad mom? Am I one day going to act them? No and no. They’re just thoughts that I get – I’m sure we could analyze why I get them, but it doesn’t really matter. Same for you. Your thoughts don’t define you do. It’s what you do that defines you.

    I know the advice always seems so simple in theory and extremely difficult in application. So be patient. You’ve built up a habit of responding to the thoughts a certain way; that’s not going to just suddenly change. But every time you choose to simply continue on with your day with the thoughts screaming at you and the fear churning away, you are (as Nolan always says) creating that space and the environment for peace to return to you.

  301. Shirley W. Says:

    Paul David recommendation.

    Good evening to all. I haven’t posted lately and hope that this is acceptable. I have today discovered David Daith on youtube. He has a good number of postings. A very comprehensive guide to all aspects of anxiety.The episode I have been listening to is ‘Dealing with the physical symptoms – further help.’ This particular episode in one of his first lines he mentions Paul (our Paul) and his book……he recommends the book and carries out the practices of Claire Weekes and Paul. If like me you can’t always retain the written word but can relate to a physical oration or feel that this may help you during the small hours his postings are all based on the accepting strategy.

  302. Shirley W. Says:

    Sorry, should be David Daish.

  303. Shirley W. Says:

    Apologies – that should have been David Daish!

  304. Alz Says:

    Heylo All!!
    It’s been ages since Iv written ( or so I think it’s been that long ) and while my friend anxiety has come in many shapes and forms , Iv not let it pull me down . Reading spirituality has HELPED a lot in terms of realising that it’s all thoughts ! And now that I try to notice my thoughts,it’s a constant chain ! When I give the thoughts too much importance , it becomes an emotion and a fear . Don’t get me wrong here – I am not anxiety free as I hv yearned to be after being struck with the strongest dose of it a year and a half ago .i tried accepting , not accepting , I went fr accupincture , reiki and spent soooo much on therapy when I was in the throes of anxiety . I won’t say therapy didn’t help and I can’t say if the medications I still take hv helped me gain some level of control but at the end like Paul says, there’s NO cure . Healthy habits follow once you give up and just be. Again , I can’t stress how when ones suffering from anxiety u get these divine glimmers of hope and then u get back up and trudge along .i must say ppl who have anxiety are super strong and hv a will power that can’t be compared because they JUST DONT GIVE UP in trying to feel better although again , anxiety takes its own sweet time to heal . With all the positives I now want one of the experts to tell me whether this current happening is dp: when I talk to my husband or anyone I’m literally hearing myself talk and wondering how the words are coming out and how I’m making sense ( obviously because anxiety makes u lose all sense of surety in urself ) . So it’s like the talking is happening naturally but I am watching out while I’m talking .how in gods name does this happen and again .. it’ll go in time? The hyperawareness of what I say is quite irritating . I say it right all the time thank god but that also amazes me “how am I making sense ?” But watching myself talk puts a lot of pressure on the mind . Any advice?

  305. Andy J Says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks so much for your reply.

    Its just so hard reversing the thought>meaning cycle.

    I am attempting to pay them no attention at all.

    Thanks again.

  306. Anon Says:

    Alz, I had the same. I don’t know the exact name of it. It went away after a while. I just chalked it up to adrenaline coupled with overthinking. It was very unsettling. But it went away without any special effort.

  307. Bryan Says:

    Shirley – good recommendation on David’s videos. He was smart, kind man who helped many people. His videos are great.

  308. Shirley W. Says:

    Bryan – he was very methodical in all of his presentations and explanations. I have saved several of his videos for future reference. He had the knack of telling a story too which wove very nicely into his message. Considering he was himself in the throes of anxiety he gave a very reassuring message of acceptance.

  309. Rybonn Says:

    Haven’t posted here in a very long time, as I’ve been doing fairly well… but now back in a really bad setback and could use some advice on medication..I normally don’t take anything but the occasional ativan for plane travel and panic attacks.. but with this lat setback, I’ve been taking one milligram of ativan a day for about two months… I can’t stop thinking about the fact hat I’m addicted and will end up in a terrible place from this drug with all thre bad press it gets…causing people to harm themselves .. etc.. really freaking out as it’s the only thing that calms me when I get really panicked… any thoughts on how I can get over this mental block and cause of stress? Feel like I’m back to square one after all these years again… sigh..

  310. Alz Says:

    Thanks anon!

  311. Fin Says:

    Hey , got a question . Would I be right in thinking that people who dont have bad anxiety , do not have a habit of remembering what they were thinking at a particular time? For example when I think back to my memories before I had bad anxiety , I just remember being there, whereas when I think back to memories I have had since having anxiety I remember what I was thinking at that time . Is this just down to me being stuck inside my head all the time ? I do have a habit of being stuck in my mind rather than living in the moment . Ive heard mindfulness is great for this but I worry that If I started doing it then it would be seen as “trying to get better” , aka going against Pauls advice .


  312. Bryan Says:


    Throwback to a post from a while back – but wondering if you moved forward with your idea of s charity? Just curious where you landed on that. It’s a great idea.

    My 2 cents… always thought some kind of archive would be great for newbies. One archive that saves articles, posts and resources from greats like Weeks and Paul’s blog for those new to the challenges of stress disorder. There is so much misinformation out there that makes it hard for those new to the journey. Anyway just wondering if you had an update on your ideas.

    Btw – your own journey sounds inspiring as well. I hear very verbalize the experience that you can have days as bad as hi ever did but flow through them with grace so there is no suffering. That’s the final stage IMO… and where my work has been as of late.

    Be well.

  313. Wayne Says:

    Hi there, this is a bit of a long drawn-out one so please bear with me.

    I take it we’ve all been there when it comes to leaving the nest — moving out of your parents’ home and finding a first home with your significant other. Well I’m in that situation now, or rather I will shortly, and I can’t help but find the situation gives me an underlying stress, like an odd limbo period before actually moving. I feel it’s half-change, half-other stuff which I’ll explain.

    My girlfriend currently lives a good while away and she’s moving to my town to be with me, so she’s looking for a job here and once she gets it we begin the flat hunt. The only thing at the moment for me stress-wise is that if it takes longer than we think, she may have to stay with me and my parents for a short while. And while my parents are caring, lovely people, they’re not that keen on the idea of her technically living here till we don’t know when. I understand that they’re rather private people who are set in their ways and that it’s “their house”, but it still feels kind of selfish on their part to not want to adapt a little for a short while, especially if it’s out of our control. My girlfriend felt kind of hurt when I told her, but it’s awkward because as I said they’re not bad people in the slightest, they’re just so set in their ways of how the house “should be”. Also because her family are completely different — they’d let ME stay over if I was moving to her town. And I feel I’m trying to please both sides and that’s putting more stress on me. Now the move is looking more likely and more soon, I’m kinda worried about talking to my parents about it again, because I’m someone who prefers to avoid negativity and drama altogether and try to make everyone happy.

    Can anyone else relate to this or have a similar story? Thank you for reading.

  314. Lavender Says:

    Hi all,

    Just to share – hit by anxiety again but it wasn’t unexpected. Was letting the anxiety and negativity crept up on me when I was busy with work, and taking on a friend’s issue (she is having problems with marriage). The familiar yucky thots and sensations arose and I found myself in battle mode once again. And starting the horrible cycle : anxiety, self-blame, looking for a means of escape…

    But wait… I have been thru this before. Like what Nolan wrote before abt the horrible logic of anxiety. It is trying to convince me that this is it, I will never recover, I keep failing, I have to start doing something to cure myself…

    No. I’m hitting the pause button. It is ok. It is ok to have that awful crushing feeling within it, and I will still do my usual things. It is ok that I don’t sleep well and look awful today cos this will pass. I know this will all pass. I know I have been thru this before and come out of it. I know the way.

  315. Jamie Says:

    Great post Lavender. A great mindset. I wish you well.

  316. Char Says:

    Hi I was on here 12 months ago as I had a setback then. I have been so good and am now back in a setback. Anxiety has flooded me again and I can’t stop feeling like I am letting myself down as I am here again. I’ve had councelling and still do and understand it’s just anxiety as I have read all the books and I do accept it – but maybe I don’t accept really and that’s why it has got me again.

    It’s so hard as I am finding it hard to function especially in the mornings and I have two young ish children who need managing, a stressful job and it sjust feels overwhelming.

    Any help or advice welcome

  317. Char Says:

    Belgian I read your post to louise and above and it really resonated with me . I think I am guilty of both – not accepting set backs and looking for reassurance .

    I very much fall into the “I think I have done/ am doing something wrong” category. I keep thinking I haven’t learnt anything from my previous episodes when I was really bad – off work / crying etc.

    I’m now blaming myself for taking on a promotion at work and getting so stressed by it , and not setting proper boundaries as I been taught in councelling and not taking breaks and taking work home and not keeping up with my meditation. I feel I’m letting everyone down.

  318. Lavender Says:

    Hi Char, if it helps, we are all the same. Anxiety does this to me too. I piled on a lot of guilt and blame e.g. “why didn’t I manage better? why do I let this affect me? There is something wrong with me again! What went wrong?”. And it goes on and on. Then we go around whining, looking for assurance etc.

    Yes, mornings are especially tough. There are a lot of expectations that we put on ourselves.

    Pls be kind to yourself. It is a tough period sitting it out… but that is the only way. There is no quick fix as we know. The more we struggle, the more we get entangled in it. Take little breaks during the day to time-out and remind yourself that it is ok to pause a bit, slow down and take breaths.

    Remind yourself – the thots are not true. gently let them go…

  319. Char Says:


    Thanks so much for your reply. I understand everything about acceptance and yet I still don’t seem to get it either – if u get what I mean! The mornings are so hard as the nausea is so intense for example. So my natural instinct is to not want to move or get up as the movement makes it worse. I feel weak so the thought of getting thebkids up seems to go against the weak feeling and so I just lie there paralysed by this fear.

    I know I should do the opposite ie say ok this is hard but tough luck anxiety I’m gettImg up and doing my stuff today – and I do – but all the time the physical and mental symptoms are raging.

    Not sure what my point is really just that I can’t seem to get this acceptance / carrying on right.

  320. Andy J Says:

    Hi Guys,

    Still having a rough time.

    I feel like I have a lot of issues going on at any one time. Some days I feel so low that I really dont want to be here anymore, and other days I am full of anxiety. I am no longer on any medication and was discharged from my therapist over a month ago.

    I have posted on this site for a couple of years now and find it hard to accept that I am still no further forward. When any thoughts or moods crop up, I find it hard to put in to practice the stuff that every one preaches on here. I automatically go in to fight mode and panic. I then have so much going on in my mind that I cant work out what is going on in my head or what I’m actually worrying/down about.

    These times seem to come on when I am at work, where I have a job in IT, meaning I work alone in front of a computer screen for large amounts of time.

    I just keep having the thought that I will always be like this, which has been evidenced with how long I have been in this state. Whenever I seem to have good days, I’m always reminded of being this way by something else.

    Sorry for a bit of a rant, but felt I needed to get it off my chest.


  321. Char Says:


    Snap ! I’m exact the same – couldn’t say it anymore similar . I’m still on meds and had my first anxiety in 2008 so have also been at it for ages but I do have periods of completely free anxiety and then boom it comes back. I have a similar job in that it is at a PC and at the moment I am checking this blog as I’m panicking I can’t focus on work.

    not much help I’m afraid but I am her and also struggling

  322. Char Says:


    I also in the past had the worst intrusives and I had a lot of councelling and understanding of them – esp the bit from Paul book – it was a life changer. I also had exposure etc – found it a waste of time personally but we all are different. Bottom line is they are nonsense nothing more than that – but please contact me on this if I can help

  323. Alz Says:

    If it helps , I’m with you in the setback . I’m still moving on as best I can . I was ok about three weeks ago ! I don’t know what led to this .. now it’s like ‘ can I read ?’ , ‘why can’t I play sudoku properly?’ ‘ I’m losing my mind’, ‘ my thoughts are taking over ‘ etc etc . It’s full throttle! I k ow they are just thoughts but when I’m reading – they’re saying ‘ y can’t read’ , when I’m playing sudoku ,they’re saying ‘y can’t play’ .. it’s JUST thoughts but again the feeling that I’m being overwhelmed by them and won’t be able to function ‘normally’ are engulfing me.
    Anyhow I would need some words of support and help . It just makes me realiSe that with such a mindset maybe I can’t ever have a child again . It’s so depressing . I don’t go for counselling but I do take meds which I feel just help me sleep and eat ; the thoughts are mine to deal with .
    I can see myself completely lost in them . All these thoughts are anxious negative ones but how r they possibly protecting me??

  324. Char Says:

    Hi Alz I remember you as we were on here this time last year !

    Ah gosh it is so hard once we are caught up in it isn’t it – and I am so sorry u are also having a setback. Please be assured I was like this and did have children – I remember you had a very sad loss last year.

    Lovely to hear from you

  325. Alz Says:

    Hey CHar!!
    Thanks a lot ! Feels good to know that people are there who understand and know of my loss . CHar you’ve had anxiety since a while ? When y were expecting as well?
    Yes it’s all nervous energy and it is really scary but it’s anxiety and it will go . Can someone tell me however , why it makes you think you’re losing ur mind? Is it the chaos in the mind because of the thoughts ?
    Also when I am facing my fears I should just go on .. I have and I still am but how do I actively do them while the thoughts are still going on – the self defeating thoughts ?

  326. Char Says:

    Hi Alz

    I have had anxiety on and off for a number of years. More off than on but when I get it then in my head I get it worse than anyone else ??.

    I had anxiety after both of my children were born.

    I think the losing mind association is because it is of course all connected to the word mental health which has in the past been a mis used term and most certainly for anxiety . Also maybe it the first time we have thought about our own mental health and when we experience intrusive thoughts orind chatter it feels like we don’t control it – which we don’t ! And then we have to educate ourselves that no one controls their thoughts but that they can control their reaction to them.

    Not that I can take my own advice at the moment !!!!

  327. Anon Says:

    Aj, you are not to blame. Sitting in front of a computer plus sedentary lifestyle causes anxiety in people. Do you have a way to get out into nature on a daily basis? Our bodies need to move.

  328. Nolan Says:

    Hi Anon,

    Not trying to be petty… but, I don’t know if just “sitting in front of a computer plus a sedentary lifestyle” causes anxiety.
    I know many lazy people who have no anxiety in their lives…. I also know people who are physically infirmed where sitting in front of a computer is one of the few things that allows them contact with other people in the world.

    And on the other hand: I know a lot of people who go outside regularly and work out vigorously who do have anxiety.

    Nothing wrong with promoting an active lifestyle. I take no issue with that. But, anxiety (from my experiences) seems to be much more related to how one responds to stress in their life. Just because one may be more sedentary and one may be more active doesn’t necessitate that one will be more or less a victim of anxiety.

    My main point in saying this is that in a fearful and agitated mind a person can put much value in simple fixes (just work out more, just do breathing exercises, just get more sunlight, just eat more vegetables)… and also, a fearful and agitated mind can also put too much importance on something that wasn’t even an issue for them before (“Oh no! I don’t get outdoors enough…. I better fix that now”).

  329. Lavender Says:

    Hi Char, Alz, AJ,

    Big hugs! I so wish I can hug each of you tightly and whisper – It is ok… It will all be ok…

    It is ok to be right in the midst of the raging storm now. I am right now. Let the storm rage on. Let’s continue to live our lives. Make it bigger than the anxiety. The thots are not us.

    Don’t lose hope. Even though we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, just keep moving.

    Doesn’t matter what happened and how we fell into the same trap again. The way out is still the same – acceptance. Never easy but press on.

    I’m praying for all. The peace that we all crave – it is still there. just covered up now by clouds. The clouds will pass eventually. Keep the faith. Press on.

  330. Anon Says:

    Good point Nolan. Didn’t mean to sound so simplistic about it.

  331. Melissa Says:

    Dear all..Nolan, Belgian, all friends…

    I need help.

    I am having a hard time with how the OCD/anxiety morphs its intrusive thoughts. Just now I was in my kitchen, and I had this really weird thought that I was standing in my parents kitchen (the layout is similar)…then I immediately thought I was going insane which brought on immense anxiety. Started being scared I was dealing with hallucinations…although I was totally with it and aware I was in my own apartment.

    Should I be worried…? It was like I had a strong feeling that the fridge was behind me..etc. So scary.

  332. Lavender Says:

    Dear Melissa, it is another anxiety trick of the mind. Ground yourself by taking deep breathes. It is ok. You are not in any danger, although your senses are telling you so. It is ok.

  333. Alz Says:

    Thank you so much . Its that faith that one requires to know that everything will be ok! Its that utter conviction sans the fear.
    One thing though, is it setback season? 😛
    I keep on telling myself it is all anxiety and will pass.. the thoughts , the fears, the emotions – all a mix of memory and imagination. At this point if i cant centre or ground myself, its ok . I do get moments of clarity like right now when i can just see the thoguhts as thoughts from my inner self. when i can connect with my breath and then just pause . Whn that doesnt happen whcih is the predominant phase , i get scared. I pray for faith in myself and pray for everyone like you.
    Onde other thing tht i am doing (like Paul said ) is that im not being conscious of my anxiety when im aroung ppl. im being the way i am . I dont care.

  334. Daryl Says:

    Great site this although I feel I visit too often for my own good! Support from everyone on here is great and it’s much much better than the usual forums of despair that I often get stuck on.
    I’ve been battling for about 8 months with my own issues…….initially a seemingly unsolvable problem set me off on a spiral of worry, fear and despair that resulted in me basically flipping out……..I confessed all to my wife but quickly replaced the anxiety for fresh guilt and a new seemingly impossible problem…….I spiralled again…….confessed again and got respite again until I replaced that guilt and anxiety with relationship anxiety…..that I need to get out……it’s the cause of my problems……if I could just walk away from everyone I would be cured!! Currently i am fighting that irrational thought (although I don’t always see it as irrational!!) but it scares me and makes me so scared I will confess it and then lose everything!
    Paul’s book and the DP chapter have helped and Nolan’s advice from a time back have also helped but God it’s tough, I can’t stop the thought and I can’t think it as is always advised because I might confess it…….then I might do it!! Such a delicious web my mind has weaved……Anxiety must be very proud of itself!!
    Any advice, gratefully received!

  335. K Says:

    Very upset this week. Quit my stressful job a couple of weeks ago. My husband is supportive in my decision to take a break, I am so thankful for that. Fixed on my symptoms and future again. Feeling disabled. Cleaned my place on the weekend. Then was in pain for two days. Didn’t sleep well as a result. Not taking any meds anymore as they don’t make a difference. My jaw pain was very intense for two days. Today jaws do not bother me at all, but I feel pain in my hips and legs. Frustrating. Mind is going in circles — what doctor to go to. My labs are normal. They even ruled out fibromyalgia. I don’t know if anyone here experiences this (physical pain in various places of the body – constantly changing), but I am staying strong for all of you and for my family. I am sticking to not making a big deal about symptoms and will go on with my day as if everything is fine. Crying is ok as long as I keep my head up. Maybe my body is throwing out excessive anxiety. Please let me know if anyone’s experience is close to mine. It feels lonely.

  336. Debbie Says:

    Melissa i get the same thing i can be driving and i feel like iam somewhere else because it reminds me of something familiar another example i was drying my hair and saw an image of a street in brooklyn and felt like i was their that set a panic attack off and puts me in fear the whole day i was wondering if its dp or ocd . Your not alone . I i feel like iam going insane or been drugged . We must focus on something else. No matter how hard.

  337. Char Says:

    I get the same . I have moved around the country a few times and sometimes I can think I am still in Cheshire but I’m in London and I get really freaked out . By a few of us having the exact same thing it’s another confirmed anxiety trick !

  338. Jeb Says:


    Wonder if anyone can help with a couple of questions.

    I’ve been suffering on and off for many years (around 10 in total) with a 4 year break in the middle. Has anyone successfully overcome anxiety/depression with this sort of timescale?

    Another question I have is what if my depression is now deep rooted and therefore I can’t overcome it?

    Finally, by accepting should I accept rot the internal dialogue my mind has with myself to the what if statements? When a what if I never get better statement comes along and feels real, what’s the approach here?

  339. Andy J Says:

    I know every one says to throw it all under the same umbrella but I suffer really bad with intrusive thoughts. They occur in certain situations with certain people. How do I actively overcome them? I’ve tried exposing myself to the worries but it still keeps them coming back.

    I said on a previous post this, but I’m really doubting whether my thoughts are intrusive or not. I’ve been plagued by them for over 3 years now and in the 28 previous years had never had them. I just don’t understand how they mean so much and have so much impact on me now. Has any one had anything similar and had success?

    I try not to avoid people/places as I know it isn’t natural but sometimes for temporary relief it’s the only option:


  340. Michael Says:

    As you know, Andy, everyone gets intrusive thoughts. I know I do. You can make a case that all thought is intrusive, bar those things we literally choose to think. The brain is a thought factory that never stops. The only difference between you and me is that your thoughts have taken on a greater meaning to you than mine have to me. I did struggle with intrusive thought for a period, but I was luckily able to overcome them rather quickly once I had someone explain what was going on to me.

    You say you’ve “tried”exposing yourself to the worries. You ask for a way to “actively overcome” this. But I know that you know that you’re barking up the wrong tree there. There is nothing to try. You don’t need to actively overcome anything. This is just useless mind chatter, and it’s currently distressing you. Think of it as energy in the brain, looking for an outlet. You can give it that outlet by observing it, recognising it for what it is, then letting it go. And it won’t go, you’ll carry on letting it be there until it does. I mean, how many thoughts have you had over the course of your lifetime that you’ve let go of and couldn’t even recall if you wanted to? Millions? Billions? A lot.

    The fact that your intrusive thoughts bother you is a sign of who you really are underneath. The part of your brain that deals with inhibitions is freaking out because of what the more primitive part is coming up with. But it’s those very inhibitions that tell you who Andy J really is. The real Andy J wants nothing to do with the primitive overhang of his evolutionary past, and he knows it.

    As I always say, if you’ve read Paul David, you know everything you need to know in order to get better. Start letting these thoughts be there. Try not to judge them. Treat them the way you would the trees in the street or the cupboards in your kitchen – they’re just there to be seen, recognised, understood, allowed to exist and then moved on from.

    Some CBT may help you learn to challenge the thoughts if that’s a route you want to explore.

  341. James Smith Says:

    Hiya, can anyone help me. Iv read pauls first book and have just started reading his second. I think I could really make huge progress if I could fully buy into and believe his method could help.

    Im getting stuck because I can’t find any examples or success story’s of people who’ve had anxiety from being a child. My mum was very anxious when I was a toddler and I learned my behaviours from her.

    I keep thinking that I’m the exception to the rule as pauls books give lots of examples of people suffering life events in later life and not people who’ve struggled since childhood.

    I want to believe and use this one method. Anxiety for me didn’t become problematic until I was 18 and I’m now 35. Any success stories or thoughts would be really appreciated.

    Im also a perfectionist and I wonder if this also makes me an exception to this method. I keep thinking I need to fix my perfectionism before I can fully embrace this method.


  342. Andy J Says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks very much for replying. I know I just need to treat them as every one else does and that I am no worse off than any one posting on this site. I just feel a bit sorry for myself sometimes and feel like I need a bit of reassurance.

    Thanks again

  343. Tom Says:

    Hello everyone!

    I have posted here a few times before, mostly regarding the right way of putting acceptance into practice. Although I seem to grasp the concept rationally, I can’t seem to get on the right track.

    During the past few years since I discovered this blog, I was able to intentionally let go of fighting with my thoughts a few times, so I have experienced the anxiety building up and having a release, followed by a couple of days of peace and clarity. Somehow I could never follow through with acceptance after the inevitable setback hit me, so I returned to the old patterns of thinking for months/years.

    I am still figuring out what I am doing wrong, and can’t seem to pay attention to the present moment while not feeding the intrusive thoughts. The very act of trying to force my attention on what I am currently doing seems like a burden, like a fight in itself, which in turn makes me even more confused about the whole concept of not fighting my thoughts. Is forcing my attention the right thing to do, and will it get easier with time, or am I doing something wrong?

    I would greatly appreciate some insight on the mistakes I might be making.

  344. Lavender Says:

    Andy J, each of us are ‘fighting’ anxiety – yes, you are no worse off and each of us are not any better off than you. Press on with living and accepting anxiety as it is.

    Alz, I just love and savour those moments of clarity too. When the mind fog lifts, when the weight is lifted. I just experienced it last night and it felt wonderful. It didn’t last, but I know that we press on, keep the faith and the peace is always there – just round the corner. :)

  345. Lavender Says:

    Tom, don’t figure, don’t analyse. Like the analogy used in Paul’s book, if your leg is broken, will you keep poking the leg, questioning why/how it got injured? No, just let it rest and heal.

  346. Char Says:

    Hi Andy

    I had very specific intrusives about specific people . They caused me great distress at the time. A few years later and I can’t recall the actual nature of them – I just know what the theme was. So I have gone from being so upset by them that I now genunienly can’t remember what they were .

    A councellor explained that often they are just the opposite of who you really are. I would say that when anxiety in general comes down then u have some space to see them for what they are. But because u are anxious they bother you. Don’t be hard on yourself you are doing your best and are managing them well.


  347. Char Says:


    I will be following any responses you get as I could have written that post also. I am trying mindfulness and doing apps etc but I don’t get it I can try to focus on my surroundings but it lasts for only a few mins and then my mind reverts to anxiety.


  348. Alz Says:

    I think it’s v important to practice mindfulness even for a few seconds – what works best for me is my breath . I was reading a post about how you are not your thoughts and anytime some thought weighs heavily upon u , u must let it be but say that you don’t need it anymore . Just thank it for protecting you and let it go . ‘ I don’t want you anymore anxiety, thanks ‘ . Also it’s ur mind doing all the thinking and talking not u . Ur inner self is safe . So just know that ur mind is talkig, not you . ITS not true! It can’t be true . Rationalise with the twisted thought . And det face your fears so that anxiety slowly dissipates . So I have thoughts like I won’t be able to read or write – crazy right ? But it’s happening because I have a lot of work ahead of me and my mind is comign up with this thought . ITS JUST A THOUGHT. Lots of energy comign out as fears , thoughts and negatives .

  349. Mark M Says:

    Good evening guys,
    I find myself back on this blog after a long absence. I overcame anxiety 3 years ago, in that time I’ve thoroughly enjoyed life again, something I though I could never do again. I was really as bad as it got. I managed to help many people through anxiety too, by telling them about Paul’s method, and by the support of this community.
    In January, seemingly out of the blue, I developed severe Rosacea on my face (Large red lumps covering my face). I stressed, I cried, I researched day and night to try cure it naturally…nothing worked.
    By the time I took antibiotics in April and the Rosacea start clearing, it was too late. I had become so stressed/anxious/sad that on 2nd of May, I felt dizzy, dazed and think with DP.
    Since then, I have managed to overcome DP and the dizziness, but the symptoms I still have terrify me…I have blurry vision, muscle twitches in my legs, shaking hands, and worse of all, my head feels strained all the time, like I can’t feel or experience a nice sunny day etc. I’ve been to three doctors, all doing clear blood tests, all telling me it’s not MS or a tumour, but somehow I can’t believe it.
    I guess my question is, please, has anyone else experienced these symptoms? Paul’s method truly works, but I guess I feel like I need support and reassurance right now. Any response greatly appreciated.

  350. Tom Says:


    Thank you for your response, I often think about the broken leg analogy, hopefully with time I will be able to let myself heal without making things worse.


    It does seem very hard to keep the attention away for more than a few minutes, my only guess is that it gets easier with time.

  351. Victoria Says:

    I have been going through anxiety now for about 3 ½ years. The last 3 years I struggled with health anxiety to the point where I thought every pain was cancer or a blood clot. I went to the hospital several times for heart pain or flutters. Everything came back good and I even saw a cardiologist and wore a heart monitor for 24 hours and everything came back fine. After that I had a good 6 months where my anxiety was much easier to deal with.
    Which brings me to this May I had a panic attack at work. Before this I only had about 6 panic attacks the year prior and they always happened in the middle of the night. So, having this panic attack outside of the home freaked me out. I had to have my husband come pick me up from work because I couldn’t drive. Ever since this panic attack I have been suffering from a panic disorder and my Generalized Anxiety Disorder has gotten worse. I can no longer go anywhere or drive anywhere without my husband. Unless its around 10 miles from home and even then its really hard. Even when he is with me I still get panicky and anxious going into public places or going around family/friends. Usually the fear subsides in 20 minutes or so if I can stick it out that long. I get so anxious during these times that I gag and sometimes vomit so I carry around a plastic bag in my purse in case I need to vomit. I am now a stay at home mom and my husband works from home, when he does leave to go to his office I freak out the whole day he is gone. I feel like I could die.
    Also since this panic attack I have been experiencing bad depersonizlation. I have dealt with this on and off in the past 3 years but never this bad. I also have bad days at home where I feel like I can’t breathe most of the day, like I’m suffocating. During these breathing difficulties and in general I feel dizzy and lightheaded. It gets to the point where I feel so bad I could fall to the floor. When these breathing/dizziness happen I find it really hard to believe that it is anxiety and not some other medical condition. I think the worst feeling for me is the feeling of strangeness. It’s hard to explain but I just don’t feel like myself/weird/not comfortable in my skin. These feelings make me hopeless, especially the weird feeling. Its gotten to the point that when I wake up I dread the whole day. The day seems so long and I can’t wait until night time when I watch shows with my husband, that seems to be the only time I feel somewhat normal.
    Its hard for me to believe that all these feelings are actually anxiety. Any tips/advice or even just words would be helpful.

    Thank You

  352. Jeb Says:

    With this method should you engage in self talk when you get negative self talk or should you listen, discard and move on?

  353. Anon Says:

    Victoria I understand what you are going through. One way to know it is anxiety is if it follows a pattern. If it is waxes and wanes repeatedly at certain times of day or with certain activities then it is anxiety. Even reading over your post a pattern is clear. It increases when you drive, increases when your husband leaves, decreases when you are watching tv, increases each morning. Etc. other non-anxiety conditions don’t follow that pattern. It is hard to accept because you are really feeling real symptoms. But it is safe to ignore these symptoms. The other thing is that if you take medication on an ad needed basis, interdose withdrawal can also cause these symptoms.

  354. Victoria Says:

    Thank You Anon for your words. I think what you are saying totally makes sense. I feel like the whole entire day I have severe anxiety and that I’m always in my head checking in or trying to figure my way out of it. Sometimes through out the day I get so sick feeling, like I have all this heat in my head but my husband reassures me I dont feel warm. I just feel like sick. The breathing part is really hard to accept because it happens like 6 times a day with no reason behind it. I have read pauls book/websites and I know I am failing miserably at following what he says. I am hoping in time I just give up the fight and accept it all. Its just so hard with these new feelings.

  355. Anon Says:

    Hi Victoria. Yes, that’s how it is. The feelings always change. When you get used to one symptom your body starts trying to scare you with new ones. Someone called it a variety of horrible symptoms. Non-anxiety illnesses don’t involve such a bizarre variety and do not happen on a regular schedule. It’s not brain tumors plus heart disease plus arthritis and Ms all at once. But anxiety will have you asking if it’s each one of those within a ten minute span. Ridiculous right? anxiety creates real symptoms that are very upsetting and also harmless. That’s why it’s a bluff.

  356. Lucy Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I’m usually never one to ask for it but I wondering if anyone can help me. I’ve been having obsessive, ongoing existential thoughts (what’s life? the universe, what if I end up ending it all? etc) for weeks now. My mind is so fatigued that when the thought pops up I feel a rush of shock/fear as if i’m lost. I’ve been just letting it float in and out as best I can but it makes me so scared i’m going to get incredibly depressed and see no meaning anymore etc.

    It’s just so scary because other than this one thought, my life is really nice and enjoyable. I guess i’ve put so much mental pressure on wanting these thoughts to go away that i’m scared I won’t be able to be “not scared” of them. Sigh

    I’d really love to know if anyone has been through this and if there is hope. It just feels hard to see it as anxiety sometimes because it’s so all encompassing xx

  357. Lucy Says:

    P.s. Even if someone just had some advice about obsessive thoughts it would really help me so much to know my perspective won’t be like this forever xx

  358. Jolene Says:

    Hi Mark M, these are all symptoms of stress. The more you worry about them, the worse they get, and tricking you into thinking it something serious which it’s not. I know this cycle all too well, as I have suffered fron health anxiety for years. Rosacea in itself is actually a symptom of stress, so you may have been stressed before developing it. Trust in the fact that it’s ‘just anxiety’, nothing serious. Go back to studying Paul’s method, and be kind and patient to yourself. And remember, that you were anxiety-free for a long time, and you will be again soon.

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