//Understanding the cycle of anxiety and what keeps you in the loop

Understanding the cycle of anxiety and what keeps you in the loop

Free from anxiety

Hi Everyone,

I recently wrote a tweet that ended up being one of the most liked and retweeted ones I have put together, so I decided to expand on it in the blog post. It will explain not only what causes anxiety but also what keeps you in the cycle of it.

Firstly the original tweet is below

Recovery is not just about going through a process of healing past suffering: it is also about truly understanding what created that suffering so that you no longer recreate it. You can’t recover while doing the exact things that caused you to suffer in the first place.

The point is pretty obvious, in that if you are going through a process of healing, yet still doing the things that caused you to suffer in the first place, then healing will not happen, as all you will do is keep recreating your initial suffering.

One of the main things I did through my recovery from anxiety was pinpoint the very thing that was causing me to suffer and then concentrate on that. I had no hope at all of recovering if I didn’t understand what was initially causing me to feel the way I did.

Eventually, I had zero interest in treating my symptoms; I just wanted to pull out the root. Going for massages, doing yoga, meditating and drinking chamomile tea is all well and good and I have nothing against it, but in most cases, it is to try and calm the symptoms and not eliminate the cause of the suffering. I know of many sufferers who go on relaxing retreats and while on them feel great, but yet come home and carry on as they were before. They often get addicted to how they felt when they were on the retreat and so continually book in for another. When they would be far better finding out why they felt the need to go on the retreat in the first place, what is the cause of their constant stress and discomfort?

Feeling normal with anxiety

The analogy below may seem a bit silly, but it was the one that I used because it made sense to me.

So let’s say I had this baking machine at home which made lovely cakes and as these beautiful cakes were being produced I started to eat them. The trouble is I could no longer eat the number of cakes being produced, so I began to store them. The only problem now is that they were taking up vast amounts of space in my house and I could barely walk around.

So to deal with this, I approached a local company who said they would transport the cakes to the local tip to be disposed of for a small daily fee. At last, I had found a solution to my problem. So each day as the cakes were being made, I would place them in boxes and load them on to the van. The concern now was that this was getting way too expensive and it was also very tiring work: I had not solved the problem at all! Then one day I realised that the only lasting solution was to no longer create the cakes in the first place, I needed to pull the plug from the machine and all my problems were solved. Why had I never thought of this before?

Again this may seem a silly way of putting my point across, but it is the same principle. If you are still creating your symptoms, then the problems will always exist.

So, in the same way, you can’t recover from the symptoms of worry and stress, while you are still worrying and stressing. You have to stop creating the worry and stress so that you can then go through a healing process of the symptoms that the initial worry and stress created.

I will give you some of my own examples from my days of suffering. When I was at my worst I used to worry and obsess daily about how I was feeling; I would spend all day continually trying to think my way better. This constant mental effort eventually pushed my mind beyond its limits, so it became incredibly exhausted, and so I felt the symptoms of this.

The outside world would look very grey and lifeless, my thinking became slow and laboured, and I had no motivation or interest in anything while also feeling detached from my surroundings. What I mistakenly did then is worry and think deeply about these new symptoms, which only served to exhaust my mind even further. This process is precisely what kept me in the cycle of mental exhaustion and why nothing ever changed.

To recover I had to realise what was causing me to feel the way I did, why did I feel so detached and confused? Why was the world appearing so grey and one dimensional? Why was my thinking so laboured?   Once I realised that I was mentally exhausted through over thinking, worrying and obsessing about how I felt, then I knew for me to recover that not only did I have to stop doing these things but that I also had to give space and time for the suffering I had created to heal.

So this is what I did, I just allowed my mind to feel as detached and as worn out as it needed to be. I no longer tried to fix the symptoms. I didn’t worry and obsess over how I felt, and so with the break my mind now had, this symptom of exhaustion healed. It didn’t have a prayer of healing before with the cycle I was in, as through a process of trying to fix myself I was creating the exact thing I was trying to get rid of.

Overcoming feelings of self-awareness

Self aware and anxiety

It was the same when I felt extremely self-aware, it was like I could no longer get my attention off the subject of anxiety or me. I had seemingly lost the ability to be part of the world around me. I would be talking with someone, and my thoughts would always be reverting back to me, which made me no longer feel part of the conversation. Even when doing everyday tasks I found I could barely concentrate: my attention would not shift from me and my inner space, it was terribly frustrating.

Again, I initially fought this feeling, trying to overcome it through more deep thinking and fighting. Going from trying to ignore it to trying to defeat it and yet nothing worked. Again I didn’t know that the very trying to get out of it was the exact reason I was staying in the cycle. Eventually, I understood that my awareness was always on me through a habit that I had created. All I had thought about for years was me so of course my awareness was always focused there.

I had not thought or been part of the outside world for so long, the only thing that ever concerned me and took up my attention was my inner world. So the desperate attempts to try and defeat this symptom just had me back on me, my awareness was on me more than ever, and this is why nothing was changing. Again, I initially failed to see the root cause of the problem and just kept trying to treat the symptoms.

So, I realised the only way out of this was just let go of obsessing about me and my inner space and shift my awareness to the outside world again. Of course, this would take time, and my awareness would still revert back to me for a while as the habit died down and this was absolutely fine. To recover from this was a slow process as my attention had been on me for so many years.

I just started engaging with the outside world more, shifted my focus on to other things and in time the habit weakened and eventually my whole awareness was back on my surroundings, and I hardly thought about me or the condition anymore. Again, I needed to find out what was causing this feeling to be free of it. It is amazing when we drill everything down and realise we are the creator of so much of our suffering.

Coming through anxious feelings

Anxious man on bench

It was the same thing my feelings of anxiety that I worried and fought with for years. My initial anxiety was brought on through stress and worry and then when the severe anxiety hit I had a new thing to stress and worry about and hence why nothing changed.

I had to realise that stress and worry was the initial cause of my anxiety and so find a way to cut right back on this and then allow the symptoms of my anxiety to heal. This is the whole basis of what allowing is about; you are not doing it to try and feel better, you are doing it to allow your mind and body to heal.

I took a while before I realised that I had created this anxious energy within me through stress and worry and me feeling anxious was just my bodies way of releasing what I had created. So the best thing I could do was to allow this anxiety to be present, it was the only way I could be free of it. Trying numerous techniques to suppress it was utterly pointless and counterproductive. No one has ever defeated anxiety through struggle, effort or through suppressing as it doesn’t work that way.

It is the same as someone who suffers from panic attacks: this is just a more intense build-up of this energy. Going through a panic attack is just your bodies way of releasing all this extra energy. It is the same principle as when a volcano explodes: it is just releasing all that excess energy within that it can no longer store and then when it has released it then goes back to being calm.

The reason many people who suffer from panic attacks continue to suffer with them is that they always worry about things or how they are feeling and so end up recreating the energy that has been released, again it is a cycle that continues until seen.

Recovery comes through understanding and not through fighting

Fighting anxiety

So as you can see, my recovery came through a deep understanding of what was causing the suffering in the first place. Realising I had to stop doing what was causing me to suffer and then going through a process of allowing my past suffering to heal.

There was no amazing realisation that made all my suffering go away: I had to go through a process of healing like everyone else. A big part of ending the constant search is to realise that there is no miracle answer out there or quick fix. You just have to be able to see the truth behind what is causing you to feel the way you do, cut out what is causing the suffering and then go through a process of healing. There really is no fight to be had.

When you truly understand the process, then you realise that all your attempts to get out of the condition were the exact reason you stayed in it.

Paul David
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Paul David

Paul David owner and sole contributor of this blog and https://anxietynomore.co.uk. Author of the best selling book on overcoming anxiety 'At last a life' and the follow up 'At last a life and beyond. Lover of all animals and the outdoors.
Paul David
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By |2019-01-10T22:28:04+00:00July 25th, 2018|Anxiety|187 Comments

187 Comments

  1. Clare 25th July 2018 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Paul, you’re brilliant. Thank you for amazing information on this subject.

  2. Paul David 25th July 2018 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Glad you enjoyed it Clare, thanks for the feedback

  3. Nicole 25th July 2018 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Once I realized I was stuck in an anxiety loop, creating anxiety because of my anxiety, I was able to stop. I let it be. I started doing things. Slowly I felt better. Dizziness, blurry eyes, exhaustion, stomach pains, jolting awake, it all slowly dissipated. My depression that came because I wasn’t living the life I wanted lifted shortly after. I was in essence cured. I now live every day and I never worry about weird feelings, the start of anxiety, or things I can’t help. Your books helped me see that no pill, meditation, therapy, exercise was going to make it better. I still do some of these things but just for my health and not to cure anything. I’ve never felt better. Thank you!

  4. Julibb 25th July 2018 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Nicole

    That’s amazing. Well done you. I posted yesterday on Paul’s last blog post about how I fear I’m the worst case and can’t ever recover so your post on this new thread has given me some hope during a very dark time. Thank you.

    Julie

  5. Paul David 25th July 2018 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    That’s great Nicole and I also exercise and meditate often, but I do it for me and not to control or get rid of anything. You truly got the point I was trying to put across.

  6. Teena 25th July 2018 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Great paul

  7. Tiffany A 25th July 2018 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I constantly need to re read this cause I’ve created so many symptoms im driving myself nutssss ! I try so hard to focus on other things and I always come back to me it makes me want to jump off a bridge! I know I should say that but I am not suicidal but I’m tired mentally and physically hoping to take in this info AGAIN and really start not giving a f about how I feel!!!

  8. Teena 25th July 2018 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Dear Paul

    I want to ask one thing that m in govt.job in India and I got it after very hard studies..my dream job in municipality..there is so much political involvement that’s y it’s very tough..problem is that m new in this job and first place I don’t about how to work in files..I can’t make mistakes in files..if you make you ‘ll receive any type of strict notice some times it ‘ll invite a suspension..I fear about it..how to work in that pressure..and nobody wants to teach me how to work..there nobody to help me out..I anxious at work very much..plzzz Paul reply..

  9. Martine 25th July 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul

    Nice post. Got your point. But I wanted a slight clarification. My main problems are panic attacks and I feel like I skip a heart beat sometimes. My symptoms are very intense and today I felt like I was going to lose control, but I didn’t.

    I wanted to confirm with you that when experiencing these feelings, I should feel them on purpose and allow them however intense they are. I don’t need to remind myself mentally what they are , because this is what I have been doing and I feel that I am a going wrong here and adopting a safety behavior.

    Your response would be like an autograph from a famous star to me ? and a big step in my recovery process.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    P.S. The volcano example was so true.

  10. Clare 25th July 2018 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Julie-

    I tried to reply to you yesterday after your post but for some reason it didn’t go through. So this is regarding your post from yesterday. I think, from what I read in this blog, anyone who comes to this site believes they will never recover, that they are worst case scenario. It’s the anxiety that fills us all with that doubt. I know I think that. While my particular symptom that I can’t move past is intrusive thoughts, yours is fear of panic. And both of us are not getting to the root issue like Paul describe above. We are trying to do more things to get rid of the problem without facing. For me, it’s getting a line of reassurance, for you it’s avoidance. What I would recommend to you is to set a timer, go into a room of your choice for 2 minutes a day, start small. Once you see that you are okay, hopefully your confidence will grow. But you have to make that first step, you have to find that courage if you want to heal- and I know you do. You are not alone- you are not worst case scenario.

    Xx
    Clare

  11. Martine 25th July 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    If anyone wants to respond to my question above. This is bothering me so much. Thanks

  12. Emma 26th July 2018 at 1:00 am - Reply

    Hi Martine,

    I also suffered from extremely severe panic attacks. I pretty much know exactly how you feel. I followed Paul’s advice about allowing yourself to just feel the attack and go with it, rather than trying to stop it or push it away as it is only pent-up energy which has to be released one way or another. Slowly I began to lose the fear of the panic attacks as I allowed myself to feel them no matter how intense. You feel so much stronger once you even let yourself feel a little of it! What I found extremely helpful was to hold someone’s hand while allowing myself to feel the full intensity of the attack. As you slowly lose the fear of the panic attacks, it’s as though they slowly dissolve away from your life, and the recurrence is less often. I still feel it sometimes, like on the underground, but now I can really just allow myself to feel it and ride through it. It took me about a year to come through this, along with finding ways to express myself to try and dissipate some of this pent-up energy, as not being able to express myself properly was one of the main reasons for my panic attacks.

    I hope this was helpful – best wishes to you!

    Emma.

  13. Emma 26th July 2018 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Hi Martine,

    Hopefully this will post as I’m having trouble getting through on here!
    I also suffered from extremely severe panic attacks. I pretty much know exactly how you feel. I followed Paul’s advice about allowing yourself to just feel the attack and go with it, rather than trying to stop it or push it away as it is only pent-up energy which has to be released one way or another. Slowly I began to lose the fear of the panic attacks as I allowed myself to feel them no matter how intense. You feel so much stronger once you even let yourself feel a little of it! What I found extremely helpful was to hold someone’s hand while allowing myself to feel the full intensity of the attack. As you slowly lose the fear of the panic attacks, it’s as though they slowly dissolve away from your life, and the recurrence is less often. I still feel it sometimes, like on the underground, but now I can really just allow myself to feel it and ride through it. It took me about a year to come through this, along with finding ways to express myself to try and dissipate some of this pent-up energy, as not being able to express myself properly was one of the main reasons for my panic attacks.

    I hope this was helpful – best wishes to you!

    Emma.

  14. Twyla 26th July 2018 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Hi Paul,

    I had done well for years with your method/Claire Weeks but about 1.5 years back I had a muscle injury then I was recovering from this then had a car accident….both issues left me sitting at home with lots of pain and time. I worried about myself so much. My illness came back bigger then ever as I worried about my back pain and when/if I would be better even though I was told I would. I had/have to do lots of strengthening exercises and body scan to know how to pace my recovery BUT this has set of the fear alarm.

    Please tell us how to apply your method to illness, injury where one has to pay attention to symptoms.

    I am getting better but really lost it. I was pretty good for a long time, now this.

    Thanks..

    Twyla

  15. Julibb 26th July 2018 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Clare

    Thank you so much for replying to me. I thought now there’s a new blog post noone would see my post on the last blog post. I appreciate you replying.

    Your words are really helpful and I shall definitely start doing that. Since this heatwave I’ve been stuck in one room mainly its really knocked me off my feet more than usual. It’s been tough having panic all the time and the heat to deal with.

    I just fear I’ve lost myself, and I can’t ever recover. I feel broken all over, mind, body and spirit. I feel like the worst mum ever like this. My husband supports me but I know I must be getting him down too. I have a couple of close friends but I’ve even stopped talking to them about this as I fear they will get fed up of me and i dont want to push them away. It’s so isolating.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Julie x

  16. Martine 26th July 2018 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Hi Julibb

    I can feel your pain.

    You must really make some important changes in your life.

    It seems that you need a break from this blog in order to recover. Please don’t Mind but this is the way forward. Stop seeking for reassurances.

    You will recover. I am sure you will. You will see from my posts That I am slightly stuck, but we need guidance from time to time, but do not dwell on this blog too much otherwise your anxiety will longer.

  17. Julibb 26th July 2018 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Hi Martine

    Thank you for replying. Yes you’re totally right of course, I just feel I need some guidance before I can take that step on my own, if that makes sense. I posted on a Paul’s last blog post just 2 days ago about how much I’m struggling. My life feels completely broken and I’ve no idea where to start recovery feeling this ill.

    I hope things improve for you soon.

    Julie xx

  18. Julibb 26th July 2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Hello, I hope its OK I repost my post. I posted it before this new blog post so I apologise for the duplicate but I really could do with any extra advice before I go it alone and do the work needed. Right now I feel completely lost and very fragile.

    I apologise for posting again and for the length of my post but I’d appreciate anyones advice.

    I fear I can’t recover. Its the worst I’ve ever felt. I don’t go out since this bad setback 7 months ago. Think I’ve been out 4.times in that time. I just feel too fatigued and drained. I wake every day surrounded by bad memories of a panic attack in each room and the memories of yesterday and my stomach clenches tight. . My days feel so long and I get overwhelmed at the long day ahead which in itself can trigger bad panic. My whole house reminds me of these bad 7 months. I just don’t know how to cope with this each day. I wake scab day with memories of panic attacks in each room and how awful I felt the night before.

    I feel a terrible mum because I hide away and rarely even see my children these days as I don’t want them to see their mum panicky and my stomach clenches tighter around them which leads to panic. I feel lonely, isolated and overhwlemed. Aswell as clostraphobic from rarely getting out of the house. . This isn’t me! Every day my stomach clenches tight (the squishy central area just below the chest area if you see where I mean lol) It clenches tight, my breathing becomes shallow and often leads to bad panic or for hours the breathing thing rules me. It can even last all day and it terrifies me incase I faint. I’ve woken with it today and i had it all last night. It’s the worst symptom for me.. Has anyone else had this? My mind keeps worrying its not anxiety. When it hits I’ve no idea how to respond to it when it makes me feel so ill and feel i cant breathe. It’s so new to me. My attacks were so different before.

    I’ve constantly got a tight stomach and feel I can’t take a breath which triggers panic often. I just feel each day is the same hell and I dread each day as this tight stomach is all day, it triggers panic, I live in dread of it all. I feel. So overwhelmed and even struggle around my family when I feel this tight and exhausted inside. My daughter is a teen and she lately can be quite stressed and hormonal and even I absorb that, I can’t handle any stress at all, my stomach clenches and I can’t breathe. I feel useless.

    This is why i fear I am the worst case and unable to recover. I know my symptoms are anxiety but I still fear them especially the tight stomach as that causes me to breathe shallow and triggers panic.

    My hubby takes care of the house after work because I spend each day so so fatigued, tight stomach with shallow breathing and that limits me so much. I feel I’m useless to all my family.

    Sorry this is such a self pity post, I just feel so lost and don’t know how to been get through each day lately. I don’t know what to do to even start recovery. I fear I’m the worst case and can’t recover so I just isolate myself even more and find it hard to even type this out as even discussing this causes me anxiety. I feel in the last 2 weeks DP has started, bad brain fog and i feel so broken in mind and body. My body feels weaker than ever and I look so tired when I look in the mirror. I feel I’ve lost Julie. I’ve bene in this major setback for almost 8 months but the last 2 weeks I feel I’ve had another breakdown and I feel so lost.

    I feel my mind and body have completely broken and I fear I’m beyond recovery. Has anyone felt this bad? Housebound, fatigued, weak, mentally feeling unreal and detached and just generally hugely overwhelmed and unable to get through each day without panic hitting at some point? I fear I am the worst case and can’t recover. I had some small improvements a few months ago the recently we’ve had a huge heatwave in the UK and my anxiety went wild and I feel I’ve had a breakdown. This is so hard for me to post about. I am crying typing this. I just need some hope. I feel the worst wife and mum ever right now. I sat sobbing this morning with huge overwhelm for the day and week ahead. I’m having constant anxiety and at least 1 bad panic attack a day.
    I don’t know how to recover in this house full of memories of this tough time.

    Thank you

    Julie

  19. Teena 26th July 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Plzz somebody give any guidance for my earlier post..it ‘ll be very very helpful..

  20. Scott 26th July 2018 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I know now that feeling is healing but some days are very tough, unbalanced, nausea, fatigue, sheer terror doing basic daily things, I keep doing them with ridiculous symptoms but I don’t quite see the improvements other do………is it just a case of repetition and patience as 18 months into the allowing path has not seen the progress I read others had experienced sadly.

  21. Nazrin 26th July 2018 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Hey Julie.

    I’ve read through your post and this is my first time ever commenting on this blog. I just want to say my heart goes out to you because it sounds like are going through a lot of emotional turmoil and pain.

    There are a few things I would like to suggest. If you haven’t done so already, go to your general practitioner or family doctor and get a checkup. Make sure your body is functioning as it should and rule out any health concerns. It sounds like your only issue is the anxiety but it doesn’t hurt to get that reassurance from a doctor.

    The next thing I would like to suggest is to follow Paul’s advice. And commit to it. Every single day. No matter how you feel from morning to night – accept your feelings – all of them, the worrying thoughts, the strange sensations, the panic attacks, etc. Allow them to follow you through the day, wherever the day takes you. It will feel extremely uncomfortable. It will feel terrible and that’s okay. In order for the fear and discomfort to go away your mind and body will have to SLOWLY disensitise to it. Allow it to take as long as it needs to. It might take some time, as you’re struggling a lot emotionally. It won’t be an overnight sucess. Accept that.

    The last piece of advice I would suggest which is exactly what Paul advises is to focus on things outside of your anxiety. Do the things you used to do before your life was plagued with anxious thoughts. Be it hobbies, chores, work or your family or whatever else. Even with the anxiety running in the background. Slowly and gently shift your attention toward those things. Also do this every day no matter how you feel.

    And remember you are not alone. There are many people who struggle with anxiety to varying degrees, myself included. We all have hard days and days when we feel stronger and more optimistic. No matter how far down the anxiety rabbit hole you go, there is always a way out. Never lose hope in that.

  22. Clare 26th July 2018 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Martine-
    I think I know what you mean with the confusion of feeling it on purpose vs just letting the feelings come. I did this with my intrusive thoughts when they first started. I was so confused if I should just let myself think anything but not react but then I had a whole new host of thoughts I was dealing with. Because my mind was purposely making new scary thoughts because I was focusing on allowing myself to think anything. Now that I am passed that point I see that it was just my high anxiety state confusing my interpretation of letting any thought come. I think what Paul means that if you feel panic just let it wash over you. Obviously you will notice those symptoms but when you stop freaking out about the panic itself your anxiety will lower and then you will start realizing the panic itself is harmless. Seems to me you’re doing a great job- it’s okay to know that it’s panic and you’re purposely letting it wash over you- just don’t care that you do. Hope that makes sense.

    Clare

  23. Clare 26th July 2018 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    Teena-

    I also work in a high stress job. I think Paul mentions in one of his books to take a step back and evaluate if your job is hurting your mental health. I had to take 3 months off of work, and at the time I was so down about it but I’m so glad I did. Stress, especially in the workplace is so hard on you. I would say that if you can find ways to make it less stressful would be helpful. Whether it’s taking on less hours, making sure you’re taking care of yourself on your days off, etc. if you cant, I think it’s the same as anything with anxiety. Feel your fear of failure and keep going to work every day and doing what you do. Anxiety loves to fill us all with self doubt. Maybe you will see your confidence will grow as you continue to prove you can go to work and accomplish all those numbers successfully.

    Clare

  24. Clare 26th July 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Julie-

    You haven’t lost yourself. If you had you wouldn’t be getting anxiety about it. You know who you are, that’s why these feelings are so distressing. You want so badly to feel the way you used to feel. I was there. I still am there sometimes on the bad days. I feel like I’ll never be free of these intrusive thoughts and I’ll never enjoy my daughter like I did prior to having the one that took me down the dark road of obsessive thinking. I’m 10 months into this now, and it has been a slow process but it has gotten easier. I think the difference between you and I is that I am not letting the anxiety keep me from playing with my daughter, making dinner, bathing her, hanging out with friends, swimming, even if the thoughts are roaring. There are times where I get so pulled in by a thought that it will bring me to my knees and I just start sobbing, praying to take this from me (all while knowing in the back of my head I’m not supposed to do that, haha). I just wanted to share a little this bit of what i experience on a weekly basis to let you know that you’re not alone. But julie, you have to take small steps forward if you want progress. Just tiny things. Then the tiny things will turn into small, then big. You have to give yourself enough love to try. Step out of your house today and to get the mail. Do something nice for your family. You are loved, show yourself some of that love and compassion. You can do this.

    Clare
    Xx

  25. Julibb 26th July 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Claire

    Thank you for replying to me.

    I had intrusives for 18 months about 4 years ago, they were mainly about my child and they were awful. They didn’t cause fatigue issues so I could keep going physically and living life out and about. I know how hard they are but trust me it does get easier. I never thought I’d be free of that thought but I am now completely.

    I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome last year and I have an underactive thyroid so I do suffer fatigue daily. Since the breakdown these 7 months its caused the fatigue issues to worsen dramatically and yes I’ve become far less active than I was, to the point I’ve been almost bed ridden for months on end. The breakdown absolutely floored me. So sadly it’s not as easy to just get out again, I’ve barley been out during this setback because of how drained its left me.

    I feel this 7 months has broken me and it’ll be little steps to build my fitness again along with little steps to face the anxiety itself. I was having panic attacks 12 hours a day when this first began around Christmas time, totally drained. I couldn’t function and it was then I started walking about less at home and that’s when the fatigue worsened as did my fitness. Its why I think I’m a complete mess and worst case because of how much its knocked me off my feet. The physical issues it’s caused along with facing the anxiety itself make this feel like one huge mess I cant recover from and I’ve never read of anyone here suffering with such fatigue. Having the 2 issues to work on its hard. 7 months of becoming very unfit I fear I can’t rebuild that. Anxiety has swept me off my feet.

    I’m pretty sure the cfs is actually caused by the mental health issues I’ve had, the anxiety and panic. I’ve had anxiety on and off for 6 years since my brother attacked me but it’s never been as debilitating as this latest setback. It’s all been very stressful though as I lost my mum, siblings as a result of me not forgiving him so I’ve had a lot to cope with. I’m fine with all of that now, totally moved on but still here I am suffering anxiety setbacks lol.

    Julie x

  26. Clare 26th July 2018 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Did your intrusives spread to other things? I had one initial thought that spiraled into other things and i find it going back and forth. I never imagined I would suffer from something like this. My love for children and people and life itself and these thoughts make me question my entire being sometimes. It has gotten easier, as before I was crying every day and always thinking about thinking. I just haven’t had a day free of a thought since this started and that is what’s disheartening. I guess I’m worried the memory of having these thoughts will stick with me forever and I’ll never be able to truly let go and trust myself. It’s hard.

    Are you on medication for your thyroid? I do believe anxiety makes you super tired.. definitely draining physically and mentally. But just like you didn’t think you would be free of the intrusive thoughts, you did overcome them.

    I am so sorry you are going through this. But like Paul says, the self pity exacerbates everything. But, I do have to say I like to have myself a pity party every now and again and just cry it out. It feels good. I try not to stay there though.

    Also, focusing on two issues (thyroid and anxiety) can seem like a bigger hurdle to climb. Just try to focus on small things you can do. Like, getting out of your bed and making it. Opening your windows and letting the air in. Going into a new room and sitting there while the panic roars.

    You can do this! I’m here for you!

    Clare
    Xx

  27. Julibb 26th July 2018 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Hi Clare

    Thank you that means a lot.

    Yes I’ve been on thyroid meds for 2 years now.

    Yes my intrusive started about myself and then they spread to my children and I became afraid of being alone with my children etc it was really difficult. I thought I’d never trust myself again and I’d never be able to be alone with my kids ever again but now I don’t have any of those thoughts. You will get there too I promise.

    Ju x

  28. Paul David 26th July 2018 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Martine you say

    I wanted to confirm with you that when experiencing these feelings, I should feel them on purpose and allow them however intense they are. I don’t need to remind myself mentally what they are, because this is what I have been doing and I feel that I am a going wrong here and adopting a safety behaviour.

    Yes, you should allow the feelings when they arise as it is just stored energy within you and it wants a release. This energy we create mainly through stress and worry, the body is just attempting to release this energy when it hits a threshold.

    The trouble is that a lot of people don’t allow this energy to release itself, they will try and suppress it, run away from it or avoid places that may trigger it.

    When people go into the outside world and their panic/excess energy is triggered, they blame it on the place or situation. Let’s say it is a supermarket and so they blame that place and so then they think they should avoid the supermarket and they will be fine.

    But the truth is that the supermarket was not to blame, there was no danger there, the next place triggers it and they blame that and before you know it they can hardly go anywhere. So it has nothing to do with the situation or place and everything to do with the energy that has been created within. The event/situation just triggered the energy release.

    So recovery will never come from avoiding life, life is not to blame. Whats inside needs releasing otherwise it just builds up further and at some point, even at home where you feel the safest, it will eventually come up and you will feel a massive rush of this energy. And this is what people name a panic attack. The simple truth is it is just an energy release, which if used, would be a far less scary label.

    And yes this release feels scary, it is meant to do in case you are ever in real danger. So it also about getting to know fear so that you lose some fear of it and are more able to allow its presence. So you learn to have a different relationship with it. To truly see it as just an energy release and something that needs to come up if you want to be free of.

    The reason I have no anxiety and no episodes of panic now is that there is nothing left inside me to trigger as I released all that energy. It wasn’t pleasant and it was a challenge at times, but I totally understood the process and understood deeply what was happening and why. The basic truth is that this energy release feels very uncomfortable but it is utterly harmless, it always hits a peak and then dies down.

    One thing I found very helpful was to realise was that everyone has the capacity to feel fear, everyone has the fight or flight system within them, so it could never be harmful and nothing bad could ever happen. We were created perfectly and this was just another part of our creation. Our creator (whoever you believe that to be) would not be so cruel as to allow something that is part of everyone to harm us in any way.

    But mainly I just saw the fear response through that many times that I realised it followed the same pattern and what happened when I became defenceless and allowed its persence within me when I saw it through? Zilch, nitto, nothing at all…….This led me to be able to release all this energy and the response just weakened and in time I would go places and there would be no fear at all, it just wasn’t there. This came because there was nothing left inside to trigger, it didn’t come through any technique or by avoiding life.

  29. Alan Church 26th July 2018 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Paul,

    Please helpe.get over this awful DP/DR and checking in, ive read so many anxiety sites, books and explanations and totally understand why i feel like this but i cannot cope with it.

    Ive been here so many times im fed up, 22years of suffering from anxiety off and on and i keep having to deal with it, im tired of it. You’ve helped .e so.much through your books in the past but the last 2 weeks ive been as bad as ive ever been. Please help

  30. Teena 27th July 2018 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Thank you so much Clare..

    I can’t take any break bcoz of my family condition..not economically so strong.my whole anxiety based on my office work..my intrusive thoughts are based on it.i always think that there may be something gonna wrong by me in work n bcoz of that I ‘ll loose my job..I fear it so much.if I want to break this fear..whatever comes in my way I have to deal but the fear comes to me in very scary form..there is no body in the office to teach me how work..if I don’t work my high authority ‘ll suspend me..if I do there a lot of chances to loose my job bcoz of wrong work..how to handle all these happenings ..M facing very very tough time..

    Clare plzz response

    If I take a break from it it ‘ll trigger my fear a lot bcoz intimately I have to do my job any way ..

  31. John 27th July 2018 at 2:33 am - Reply

    Hi Paul, first thank you for all that enlightening information that really helped me. it cured me from my panic attacks and constant anxiety. But i still got one problem left,it seems that after the anxiety problem was solved, depression came up, sometimes i get depressed for days then i feel fine for days, then it comes back again. I’m trying to apply the same rules but it seems a little bit confusing since it’s not the same symptoms, i worry about my depression and i feel detached from the outside, like derealization. The depression is like a lack of joy, and it does not come like a energy to release like when i had the anxiety, it just comes and stays and goes away until it comes again. Should i allow it to be and stop worrying about it or since is another thing, different from anxiety, i would need to take a different approach?
    Anyone that have experience on that and could share some wisdom, i appreciate.

  32. Nazrin 27th July 2018 at 4:56 am - Reply

    Hi Paul. Was there an issue with my comment earlier? I tried to reply to Julie but it never went through.

  33. Belgian 27th July 2018 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Repost (as it was posted at the end of the thread of the last one)

    Hi all,

    I have written a lot of posts in the past and I am pleased to say to all of you I am fully recovered. I will share with you some of the most valuable lessons of my journey:

    1. Accept

    In Paul’s book as well in the teachings of Claire Weekes, acceptance truly plays the most important role. Accept your feelings, accept your anxiety. It’s so simple and yet at times so difficult to practice. Acceptance will offer your mind and body a chance to recover whereas worrying, looking for answers, fighting will only drain you even more. Practice acceptance as much as you can until it becomes a habit.

    2. Trust in time

    It’s not your job to make yourself feel better. Your body will do that for you if you let it. As you practice acceptance, know that time alone will make you feel better. Time is your biggest ally. Accept and smile in the face of panic as you know you’ll always live longer than your panic.

    3. Setback Crossroad: Always take Acceptance Street

    Whenever anxiety pays you a visit – and it definitely will – try not to panic because you are panicking. Or do panic, but know that it doesn’t serve any purpose. It’s the thought “oh no, there is “IT” again” that serves as fuel for your expanding panic. With it comes the memory of your past suffering, your past pain. In reality this too is only just a thought and like always you have a choice. It’s a fork in the road. You can choose panic lane which is basically a never-ending roundabout. Or, you can chose Acceptance Street. Acceptance street can’t guarantee immediate salvation from your panic, but it does bring you further on your journey.

    4. Be present

    Realize that most of your anxious thoughts take place in a non-existing future and often stern from your perception of a past which by definition doesn’t really exist either. Your only moment is ‘now’ and unless you are faced with an immediate threat (a car is going to hit you), panicking doesn’t serve any purpose. At first you just have to realize it. In time you will see that it helps you to smile when feeling panicky.

    5. Be patient

    There is no quick fix. Stop looking for it. Celebrate every success, every good moment. Accept and learn from your failures. The difficulties you experience today are paving the way for your successes of tomorrow. Embrace them.

    6. Feel proud

    You should all feel proud. Facing your panic day in, day out. For weeks, months and sometimes even years. People living with anxiety are by definition brave. It’s easy to take a train without anxiety, it takes courage to take it while feeling terrified. And yet, you are doing this. Appreciate your strength.

    7. More than anxiety

    When we are in an anxious state and sometimes even well after that, we have a tendency to define ourselves as ‘anxiety people’. I have done this for a long time. Me – the anxiety disorder – guy. This doesn’t help. You create and maintain the illusion that this condition defines your identity. Of course, ‘it’ will come back then. It’s a part of you, but you are so much more. Explore more. Go and do things beyond your anxiety. The sooner you forget about it, the sooner you are “freed” from it. That is why I haven’t come back to this forum for a long time. I forgot as I felt better.

    Take care and I wish all of you the best possible life one can have!

    Belgian

  34. Martine 27th July 2018 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Thank you so much Paul and Clare for your advice.

    I will do what you have advised and allow myself to feel whatever comes up.

    I will also take a break from the blog and wish all of those on the path of recovery good healing.

    Cheers

    Martine

  35. Doreen 27th July 2018 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Dear Julie. It’s a long time since I looked at the blog but I was sorry to see that you are still posting after a number of years I believe.
    It seems that you keep coming back and asking the same questions of the newer arrivals on the blog as if somewhow magically one of them will say just the right thing to make you ok. I rarely write in capitals letters but this time I need to say very loudly to you that ACCEPTANCE is the only way you will get yourself out of the trap into which you have placed yourself. Repeating your symptoms and story over and over again isn’t doing you any good at all, in fact it makes the whole sorry state you are in even worse.
    I know it must be hell as I’ve been there myself but please just take a step back and let stuff happen, it’s impact will fade over time. Don’t keep feeding it as you are doing.
    All the best

  36. Clare 27th July 2018 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Doreen/Belgian-

    Your comments are so helpful and provide hope! Did either of you suffer from intrusive, obsessive thinking?

    Clare

  37. Julibb 27th July 2018 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Hello Doreen

    I was doing well, the intrusives etc had got so much better and I was enjoying life and then after some stress last year with health issues I hit a wall and wham it’s returned but physically this time, all quite new and daunting to me.

    You’re right of course. Thank you for your reply.

    I hope you’re well.

    Julie

  38. Doreen 27th July 2018 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Julie…it comes back as you say because you are always on the lookout for it and providing a constant space into which anxiety drops. Perhaps that is true of many anxiety sufferers but the trick is to shrug your shoulders and let it rumble on without getting engaged in the messages it is giving you.

  39. Julibb 28th July 2018 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Thank you Doreen

    I’m not sure if you read all my post but this breakdown as I call it, because there’s no other way to describe it, its been physical panic and constant general anxiety. I had fatigue issues prior to this setback 7 months ago, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome last year and I do have an underactive thyroid that I’m on medication for, so there were fatigue issues anyway but they’d improved dramatically and it was only when the severe 12-hour panic attacks started before Christmas after some upset in my life and I was literally bedridden and shaking all day with severe panic, that my fatigue issues have been the worst that they’ve ever been. I wish I could believe anxiety can cause such fatigue

    I feel these last 7 months my fatigue has worsened and I’m now at the point where showering takes hours of recovery, afterwards I feel faint, my heart races, I feel sick and drained just for washing my body. Hair washing causes the same. Some days just walking to the bathroom and back to sitting down takes it out of me and even some days all I can do is lie down. It’s hard for me to believe that panic and anxiety can cause this level of fatigue so that also drives my anxiety every single day and I’m struggling to function because it scares me walking about feeling that unwell every time I do.

    So I do feel like I’ve got a bit of a double whammy going on because of the fatigue being so debilitating and then on top I’m still suffering from anxiety and panic and both of them fighting me and I know one drives the other. It’s just so upsetting because I had moved away from this blog, and I was living my life again despite having some health issues I was happy last summer, I was really happy. I’ve just had the worst 7 months of my life and feel completely broken. I’d swap for the intrusive thoughts back any day over this hell because it’s destroyed me in so many ways and I feel like the worst wife and mother being this fatigue and broken. That’s why I came back to the blog for some support because I don’t know where to start I feel like the worst case with having such debilitating symptoms.

    Julie

  40. Paul David 28th July 2018 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Narzin if you are a first-time poster then your first post has to be moderated, it stops people coming on spamming the blog. After that then you can post as many times as you wish. Very good advice by the way.

    I have just moderated a few posts from first-time posters, so if you post and it doesn’t go through then just be patient as I only pop in now and again.

    By the way, Belgium welcome back, I remember you and as you say, most people who have recovered are just back living their life now and have no need for this place anymore and that’s exactly what I want to happen.

  41. Julibb 29th July 2018 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Hi Nazrin

    Thank you for your comment left for me, I’ve only just seen it.

    Your advice is so right. I have been through a terrible 7 months. I never really suffered panic attacks before so it’s been a shock and just when I gag used to one type of panic, the symptoms change and I get another scary symptom that plagues me. It’s been exhausting and I admit I’ve become very depressed and my fatigue has got worse and worse. I’ve just lost my spirit and fight that I always had. I literally just feel drained and.low all day. It’s horrible, I wake every day remembering how awful yesterday was, every day is the same hell. I’ve never had anxiety like it.

    The main symptom other than fatigue daily is a tight stomach feeling that will cause me to shallow breathe and panic. I have had it in the past if stressed but lately its chronic and often triggers this new type of panic attack for me where my stomach clenches tight, i shallow breathe, panic i cant breathe, get a smothering feeling across my chest and i shake. Its terrifying. If it doesn’t lead to panic its just there constant in the squishy central area where the stomach is, just below the sternum/boobs area and i will just breathe shallow and be aware of my breathing all day which is horrible. Its horrible and i live in fear of it triggering one it those new types of panic attack that focuses on my breathing and as I fear fainting its the worst kind for me. I go from knowing its anxiety or my health anxiety runs wild its my lungs or heart and so I focus on the breath and tight stomach more.

    Yesterday I had shallow breathing, my throat felt cold and stomach clenched. It led to bad panic and my husband had to help me through it. I then his away for a few hours but the awareness of my breathing lasted all day and I’ve woken with it today. It’s the worst symptom I’ve had and I’m not sure how to handle it better as it causes me so much fear. It gets worse if I talk to my family and spend time with them, my stomach clenches and I shallow breathe. I feel anxiety is trying to stop me even being social around my family. I’m sick of it 🙁 I get it around my children a lot because I’m trying to hide how I feel and appear normal I guess.

    I just feel lost. This symptom has been difficult along with the horrible memories of all the panic attacks its caused me.
    I don’t even know how to accept it, as soon as I notice the cold feeling in my throat or clenched stomach panic starts.

    I know I’m doing the wrong thing posting about how I feel, I just wanted to reply and explain why I’m struggling to apply acceptance as a certain symptom is making me so afraid and dreading each day ahead.

    Thank you so much for replying to me. I appreciate it. I am speaking with my gp again soon but other than offering meds there’s little they do sadly. I know healing has to come from me.

    Julie

  42. Teena 29th July 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Plzz Give any advice about my above post..

  43. Julibb 29th July 2018 at 8:23 am - Reply

    I have a question. During recovery should you stop talking about anxiety? I’ve noticed on the days like yesterday where I woke feeling so low, I say sobbing to my husband about my life situation and it drained me. My stomach clenched more than usual and my breathing felt so shallow it triggered panic. Bad panic and it lasted hours. Afterwards I reflected on it and said to my husband that I’ve noticed when I talk about anxiety, or reply to a post about my situation my stomach clenches I hold my breathe etc and anxiety feels worse than usual.

    I know Paul says to stop reading about anxiety etc but I guess this is the same as talking about it all the time? So even if you wake feeling terrible and each day is awful, is it best to just allow it and not talk about it?

    It’s just something I’ve been thinking about since yesterday’s bad day of panic with my stomach clenching and shallow breathing. Talking about my situation causes my body stress and therefore I’m thinking is it best i stop doing that?

    Maybe a light bulb moment for me.

    Julie

  44. Nazrin 29th July 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Julie I think what’s happening is you are scaring and stressing yourself out whenever you talk about it. Your main issue seems to be the fear of anxiety or the fear of panic.

    On the one hand you should ideally get to the point where talking about it doesn’t make you frightened and you are comfortable discussing it.

    On the other hand you really should spend less time in your day focusing on it. Think about it – has talking about it ever made it go away? If anything the constant focus has only made you feel more miserable.

    You have all the advice you need to follow on this blog. You just have to commit to it. You focus too much on your individual anxiety symptoms. Follow the advice and they will slowly start to go away on their own. You can’t fix your anxiety. It’s not for you to fix. It will fix itself if you just start living your life.

  45. Ruby 29th July 2018 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    I hope its okay if I repost my text from the previous post. I hope some of you guys can help.

    Hey Paul and others,

    Paul thank you for your message, but I would be very glad if u could go more into detail with the ‘letting go message’.

    Almost every day my mind is racing and I feel kind of dizzy like foggy. When I’m walking I have a feeling of unsureness in my legs , like Im going to faint / fall.
    So my brain is constantly on high alert (it feels like this) and I cannot stop thinking about this feelings of ‘uncertainty’ – a feeling like something bad is about to happen! It keeps me really away of normal living.. I really try to accept and not overthink about this but at the end I find myself doing so.. And this feelings of dread and dizzyness/ foggy feeling in my head – or this lightness in my legs – somehow convince my brain that there is something wrong with me , and really I feel all the time this ‘feeling that there is something bad about to happen with me’..

    I also that i have no interest in events that normally would bring me joy and fun. I am also often so tired and feel this fatique in my body – a feeling that I just want to sleep and nothing else..thoughts that I might be depressed and that there is something wrong with my psyche..

    I would be glad if you could give me some advise with this.

    Thank you & Best regards.

  46. Julibb 29th July 2018 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Thank you Nazrin

    You’re right and I will.

    This afternoon I sat with my daughter, my stomach clenched tight which made my breathe shallow and I had a huge panic attack after she left the room. I’d hidden it until that point. I hurts into tears later to hubby. The breathing type panics terrify me and i fear panic is now trying to stop me being around my children and make my world even more miserable. It’s horrible.

    I have had great advice from so many on here this last week. Thank you all, your advice helps.

    Julie

  47. Victoria 29th July 2018 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Julie,

    I read your post above and all I can say is – we all been there too. We can relate to your feelings but …. You need to start living your life. Meaning, you need to go out no matter how dizzy or horrible you feel. You need to exercise and you need to fill your life with “outside” things and not just be so hyper aware of how you feel. This is where recovery begins- outside, doing things , making plans. We all had to do it and felt horrible initially but that’s how you gain confidence and lose fear.

  48. Julibb 29th July 2018 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you Victoria.

    I think to begin with I have to build my fitness just at home. Currently just showering and walking about upstairs wears me out and makes me feel poorly. 8 months of deconditioning plus I already had fatigue issues but since this breakdown they’ve got much worse so I think the anxiety has a lot to answer for. I just don’t know where to start when just walking around my house for a few minutes is so draining. I feel I’ve run a marathon and that can trigger panic. It’s why my hubby has been doing the cooking, washing clothes etc… I’ve not been able to. It’s soul destroying. I worry after 8 months of less activity I can’t recover from it.

    I’m willing to try though that’s for sure and I try daily to do a little more. Just some days the fatigue is debilitating.

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    Julie

  49. Julibb 1st August 2018 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Nazrim

    Your advice to me the other day has helped. I’m still having panic attacks about my breathing, my stomach keeps clenching and shallow breathing which led to 3 panic attacks yesterday and a lot of tears. It was my first day alone as hubby went back to work after 5 days off. I’m struggling today too with similar. I’m still unsure how to accept this stomach clenching as it always leads to panic and its there all the time.

    Anyway, I wanted to know in your own words could you can simplify acceptance for me because I’m going to print out your posts and keep them at hand for the days I’m struggling because your words have helped. I know you’ve already pointed out what i should do but how would you describe acceptance if you are struggling from panic attacks like I am and if the symptoms of scaring you as much as mine are how do you apply true acceptance? Also acceptance over the guilt I feel because I feel like I don’t spend enough time with my family because these strong symptoms all day.

    Also is it ok to cry? I feel like I’m hindering my progress because all I do is cry all day long because I’m just scared of these panic attacks with my breathing I’m just scared of how I feel and I just feel the huge let down to my children. As well as all the other emotions that this is caused.

    I’d really appreciate your input on these last few questions I have before I completely leave the blog and go it alone. I’ve stayed away from the blog for a few days but I just felt I needed this last bit of guidance. I hope that’s ok that I’ve asked you.

    Julie

  50. Julibb 1st August 2018 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Also can I ask is it normal when I type a post on here that it triggers a panic attack? This is why I’m never going back to therapy because I struggle to even talk about myself and what I’m going through because my stomach clenches and like now it’s triggered a panic attack just typing my post? Can anyone reassure me that that’s normal. It’s like I can’t handle any stress either if the kids are stressed the stress they feel I absorb it and it triggers a panic attack. I just worry that I’m beyond help if I can’t even talk about how I’m feeling or let my kids talk about any stress they have. I just keep beating myself up.

    Julie

  51. Carl 1st August 2018 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Hey all, it’s been a while since I posted here and the reason is because I’ve been doing much better.

    To Belgian, Paul, Nolan, Helen , Colin and anyone else that has recovered….

    I have been practising acceptance/allowing now for almost a year. And whilst I’ve felt back to normal many times for a week or two… setbacks still arise without adding any second fear or fighting anything within me. My focus is back on life and I’m enjoying it fully, this I owe to Paul and this website otherwise I wouldn’t know where to turn.

    My anxiety has never stopped me doing anything and I’ve taken it with me for the journey. I just have one question that’s in need of an answer and then I’ll be on my way again living my life.

    So as I’ve established and as we all know, there are good days where we literally feel amazing where no anxiety exists at all… and there are the bad days where it arises it seems from nowhere when we can just be getting on with our lives.

    I was wondering if it’s possible to feel complete remission of the bad days and only feel the good again… in time and time again of course, even if it takes years through Utter utter acceptance and patience. What I mean by this is.. going from a Disorder stage back to non disorder. Fully recovered to me means going back to our factory settings *before* we developed an anxiety disorder.

    Obviously each and every one of us is different and therefore a full recovery may take much longer than others. I’m not putting a timeframe on it as it happens so slowly and gradually we don’t even notice in the end as we feel better! I mean, feeling no anxiety at all in our lives is completely illogical and ridiculous as it’s going to be there from time to time given the appropriate circumstances . Job interview , getting married, etc .. it’s built within us and that’s normal.

    Thanks for reading,

    Carl.

  52. Jude 1st August 2018 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Julie,

    I believe you need to simplify. Here is something I think you need to hear, panic attacks are completely normal. There, now start with just that. Millions of people have had and will have panic attacks. I think you need to begin taking ownership to that fact. How does one deal with having panic attacks? By having them is the answer. It sounds like you are having them so that is where you start. You want to start by simply allowing them. If you are already having them, why do you keep questioning them? You fear this, you fear that and each of those fears lead to a panic attack yet you are still here, still breathing, still standing. Your body is obviously very sensitized at this point so it will for awhile fire off the panic response. Think of it like a sneeze when you have a cold. You don’t go to pieces every time you sneeze when you have a cold, do you?

    It is all the attachments you have added to your feelings and your resistance to those attachments that are keeping you in the suffering loop. Remember you want to panic, you don’t want to NOT panic because that just leads to more resistance and more tension. You are aware of the paradox when dealing with fear, right? What you resist will persist. Move toward the feelings not away from them. It will take some practice, it will take some time. If you come back with more questioning more analyzing more seeking safety from panic the loop will just continue. Give yourself a break by allowing it all. Let it all come down. Start simple, start small.

  53. Jude 1st August 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Carl,

    I think the answer to you question is simply this, balance. There will be good times and bad times. Both are necessary to living. If your good days are considered good because there is no anxiety and your bad days are seen as bad because you are anxious then so be it. That is your perception of good and bad. Both are needed. I don’t think it is realistic to think one will always feel good, I also don’t think that would be very healthy. We need the good and the bad. Without one there wouldn’t be the other. Just my 2 cents. So go on, friend. Just keep living.

  54. Julibb 1st August 2018 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Jude

    Amazing advice, thank you so much. I shall do my very best. I’ve never been good at acceptance. When my anxiety first began 5 years ago I had intrusive thoughts not really physical anxiety and if took me a couple of years to fully accept and allow the thoughts. Now my anxiety has hit hard its all physical and I’ve been struggling to accept any of it. I’ve let it beat me to the point of feeling I’ve completely broken. I said in a post a few days ago I feel I’m the worst case and can’t recover at all. Ive ended up housebound, almost bed ridden etc due to it all being so debilitating. Such a shock to the system. Its been a long 8 months.

    I’m definitely ready to work at this that’s for sure.

    Thank you for your guidance.

    Julie

  55. Carl 1st August 2018 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Jude,

    I appreciate the positivity in your post however it hasn’t really answered my question. Because if the answer is balance, then recovery is sadly not possible. What I’ve come to realise is that since having a disorder and accepting repeatedly all we are doing is accepting the anxiety without fighting it because if we fight it, dislike it, run from it we are creating more. Sure the good days may eventually outweigh the bad but all we can really do is learn to ‘manage’ and ‘cope’ with our bad days because we have no choice.

    That to me is a bitter pill to swallow when I have the rest of my life to live. I’m only 31. Not that I’m being a victim here, I don’t really want to wallow in self pity, I just wanted to clarify the term ‘recovery’. I was always under the impression that recovery isn’t about good or bad or a balance, it’s about only feeling anxious when we need to. I guess the best way to think of my anxiety now is like someone who suffers from migraines. They will get days where they are headache free and days where they will be suffering. They make a choice though to carry on regardless.

    I may just have to admit defeat and sign away the rest of my life to meds, taking them when I get the bad days because I don’t know about you guys but this isn’t fun.

    Carl.

  56. Leslie 2nd August 2018 at 3:08 am - Reply

    Julie,

    My anxiety fully manifested itself after becoming a mother. I was always anxious a bit, but becoming a mother took it to a whole different level. First, I had to learn that no amount of worry would stop anything bad from happening. Hiding from our anxiety is the worst thing to do. I was embarrassed that I felt so awful, and told no one. We try and hide it from our spouses, friends, coworkers, children, etc. This only intensified it. Allowing your anxiety and panic is necessary. It took me a long tine to realize I could endure seeing my child upset or anxious. I think becoming a mom brought a bunch of my old stuff to the surface. My anxiety is pretty well gone. I have some physical sensations that linger, but I know with time they will pass. I actually did a boook group with Paul’s book as it helped me so much I wanted to pass on the goodness. Allowing everything in life is so freeing and actually calming. I’m rooting for you!

  57. Clare 2nd August 2018 at 3:41 am - Reply

    Leslie,

    Did you suffer from intrusive thoughts during your experience?

  58. Roxana 2nd August 2018 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Hi everyone 🙂
    I know it’s not the right thing to do in our condition, to ask about symptoms, but I just want to hear if anyone else has similar symptoms 🙂 it’s not for making me feel better, just a curiosity 🙂

    Does any of you have:

    *sensation of talking havily (No one observes it around me, just me), feeling like your mouth is heavier to handle while talking? (Can’t explain it better)

    *sensation of feeling one part of your face/head a bit different than the otherone? I know they are signs of stroke, but I would still be sure it’s just anxiety and sensitised nerves 🙂
    Like my eyes feels a but heavier, tinglings on my ear etc

    *continuos noise inside your head? Just like an engine running/vibrating all the time…

  59. Clare 2nd August 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Can someone please explain to me how anxiety causes crazy thoughts? My mind has completely turned on me and constantly scares me with many different types of thoughts. I guess I’m afraid that I’ve thought so many different things how will I ever have a normal thinking pattern again?

  60. Roxana 2nd August 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    I had that Clare… horrible thoughts… it’s just your oversensitized nerves reacting on your thoughts… those kind of thoughts I can easily get them nowadays too, but they don’t bother me, because I’m not scared by them… so, there’s No bad or good thoughts, it’s just thoughts that all of us get, the only differences is our reaction to them! The moment you won’t be scared of them anymore (or willing to get rid of them), you’ll notice that your thinking pattern changed without you doing anything 😉

  61. Clare 2nd August 2018 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    Thanks Roxana! and I’ve had all kinds of different physical symptoms that I am no longer afraid of. Your mind is just picking on what you’re concentrating on and that is your symptoms. I remember being on the blog and reading a post from Nolan and he mentioned something about his blinking pattern bothering him.. well then since I start concentrating on it it started bothering me! I think you’re concentrating on these little symptoms so they stick around. I also had the eye floaters that didn’t leave until I stopped caring they were there. I guess the thoughts are so hard for me because they feel like who I am, and make me doubt everything. It’s really terrifying.

  62. Julibb 3rd August 2018 at 12:13 am - Reply

    Leslie

    Thank you. I agree, being a mum is overwhelming and we try to hide our struggles. I do because I never want my children to feel their childhood was full of bad memories like mine is. I put so much pressure on myself and I think that’s half my problem. It causes more anxiety and more panic.

    Julie

  63. Julibb 3rd August 2018 at 12:35 am - Reply

    Clare

    4/5 years ago I started having intrusive thoughts when my anxiety first started. First they were about myself, what if I hurt myself or ended things. I ended up removing ties, belts, knives etc from my house. Then the thoughts turned on my children and I became terrified to be left alone with them. It got so bad even hubby nipping outside to put the bins out triggered my anxiety badly. I was terrified for 18 months. I honestly thought I’d never recovered.

    I learnt to just accept the thoughts. Any new thought you treat the same. Open your toolbox and use the same tools for each new thought. It may be a different wall but it’s the same tools to use. Accept they’re just thoughts, no desire to act on them. They just cause a physical reaction and fearful emotion due to the thoughts we attach to the original thought. We grab the thought and obsess because it goes against who we are, that is why it has such a sting.

    We have hundreds, if not thousands of thoughts a day. Those of us sensitized latch onto any thought we have that triggers an emotional response.

    I never thought I’d be free of them, ever. I had thoughts so terrifying I honestly was afraid near my children. Eventually after 18 months they started to fizzle out and rarely paid me a visit. From time to time they’d still try to sting but time definitely healed.

    My intrusives were so deep set but eventually normal thoughts resumed. I never thought I’d be free of those thoughts but I am, they never really enter my mind but on the odd occasion they do i feel no fear inside. It passes through and I attach no thoughts or second fear to them. Its just a thought and by doing that I’m free of them. Now my anxiety has returned its all physical.

    There’s a man called WonderBro on YouTube, he does a great anxiety channel and touches on intrusive thoughts often. Some good videos that may help you in addition to Paul’s book.

    Ju

  64. Fleur 3rd August 2018 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Roxana – I have these symptoms. So you can stay calm. Vibrating noise in my head started 3 years ago before first panic attack. It is coming back now and then. But only when I have stress in my life. So it is a sign, that we should relax a little. I have it mainly in the morning after sleeping.

    Sensation of talking heavily? It is my new symptom, oh maybe I have it for a year :-). Sometimes I feel like my muscles around my mouth are tired. It happens mainly when I am excited and I want to speak fast but I can´t breath properly. I know that these are anxiety symptoms. Or stress symptoms.

    When I read this, what I wrote I think my body wants to tell me that I should slow down and relax. :-/

  65. Julibb 3rd August 2018 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Sorry i have another question.

    If you keep having panic attacks won’t this keep the body stressed? And hinder recovery? I’m having at least 2 a day and I feel so weak and stressed inside the day after. It made me wonder won’t this just keep my body stressed if I keep having them and therefore stop my body desensitizing?

    Julie

  66. Roxana 3rd August 2018 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Fleur 🙂
    Same here…vibrating noise for around 3 years…was permanent before, but now it’s on and off, related to stressful periouds, just like you said…
    This ‘heavy’ talking symptom, I had it on and off too, but lately, since my anxiety doesn’t have intrusive thoughts to linger on, I’m focused just on these ones 🙂 so, of course, they seem more intense, cause I’m fueling them 🙂
    Yes, mainly I feel it when I want to explain something seriously to my kids, when I’m excited or nervous to say many things 🙂

    How old are you, Fleur? Do you have young kids too? 🙂

  67. Julibb 3rd August 2018 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Sorry u forgot to add this morning. Is it normal to not be able to handle stress when in a state of anxiety and panic? I have 3 teenagers and wow hormones galore especially from my daughter. I’ve found (and I’m ashamed to admit this) she causes a lot of my panic attacks. She’s often ranting about her friends that are upsetting her etc.. Hormones galore with these girls lol and I will talk to her about it and try to help but I immediately feel my stomach clench, heavy breathing and it usually results in afterwards a panic attack as my body can’t seem to handle stress at all. Can anyone relate? I worry i won’t be able to handle stress again.

    Julie

  68. Clare 4th August 2018 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Hi Julie-

    Thank you so much for going into detail about your experience with horrible intrusive thoughts. My thoughts have gotten better with acceptance, but I am having an extremely hard time “letting go” if that makes any sense. I’m afraid to fully let go and trust myself and my mind again. My situation brought a ton of guilt and sadness so it led to a depression. That has gotten better as well but I still have a hard time trusting myself. I can’t brlieve I am in a position like this. I’ve never viewed myself as a horrible person and this whole situation makes me doubt everything. I am on Zoloft due to the depression. I feel like it’s helped my depression but it makes me more anxious I think and it numbs the part of my emotions where I would be excited to see progress. I know I’m making progress but I don’t know why I’m not happier about it.

    What you’re explaining is completely normal. You’re already stressed out so of course it would be harder to manage stress in a state of anxiety and panic. When I feel physical sensations come on I’ve learned to take a deep breath and just sit there and feel all of the feelings.

    I need to learn this with thoughts. But like I said, I am so resistant because I feel like if I think it- it must be true. It feels like it’s who I am so my automatic response is to resist which only increases my anxiety.

  69. Nolan 4th August 2018 at 2:34 am - Reply

    Intrusive thoughts were maddening when I had them. I’d start getting some modest handle on my life and then the mental chatter (sometimes violent and dark, sometimes silly and absurd, sometimes playing a small part of a song over and over) would start.

    What took the wind of their sails, for me, was letting them go on and on for as long as they wanted to.

    This doesn’t mean that they would immediately stop, it just meant that I was done struggling with them.
    I’d be in the kitchen cleaning up and they would start up. So I adopted an attitude of “spend as much time with me as you’d like” and I’d go back to doing whatever it was I was doing….. even if my attention was now pulled this way and that way. I just let it do that. And in time I didn’t even notice that they were gone, they were just that ‘gone’.

  70. Clare 4th August 2018 at 3:36 am - Reply

    Thank you so much Nolan!! I have had no other choice than to do that. I have gotten better but having a hard time fully letting go. I think I struggle with accepting vs accepting to get rid of the thoughts. Because truth is, I do care. I spend so much time judging myself for having them. I find it hard to believe that I will ever not care about having these, but hearing how you dealt with them brings me hope that if I keep doing what I’m doing eventually peace will be restored and I’ll feel like I can finally let my guard down and trust myself again. Thanks again for your kind response.

    Clare

  71. Nolan 4th August 2018 at 3:50 am - Reply

    Hi Clare,

    Remember to be patient with yourself and your progress. I would advise not even looking at it as a matter of ‘progress’…. but instead as “whatever moment you’re currently in is all you have”, and how you react to that moment is what matters. Even if it has you filled with fear, dread, doubt.. dizzy with exhaustion …to still adopt the attitude of ‘oh well, it is what it is but I still have my life to live’. Meaning to not let that storm further dictate how you’re going to live that moment. Sure, it may command a large portion of your attention and energy but to still not let it diminish your life by having you further put living your life on hold.

    Peace will come and there will be no confusing its presence for something else. Your mind, thoughts, and body will feel like they are truly yours again.

  72. Clare 4th August 2018 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Nolan you said “I would not even look at it as a matter of “progress”.. but instead as “whatever moment you’re currently in is all you have”

    This was so true for me. This whole time I’ve been judging my progress, where I am now vs where I was in September, December, two weeks ago. Am I really getting better? Will I ever actually be free of this.. etc, etc. I’m sure you know how it goes.

    I know when I was going through the physical symptoms I didn’t think I would ever get through it, but I don’t care about them anymore. I hope this rings true for the nasty thoughts- sometimes they just feel like they’re in the back of my mind trying to come forward but there’s so much resistance there. I wish I could just let go and let be what is going to be. I’ve gotten into this habit of resistance!!

    I truly appreciate all of your advice. I am going to keep that in mind when the thoughts are raging around me.

    Clare

  73. Huda 5th August 2018 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Any one here suffered from muscle tension ?, Especially in the chest . Iam having a really hard time accepting this symptom , because its very annoyoing and debilitating . Its my main symptom of anxiety . How do i accept it ? Will it ever go away or turn to a chronic muscle tension ?

  74. Nolan 6th August 2018 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Hi Clare,

    It my pleasure to be of any help at all.
    Regarding progress tracking…. I remember I bought this huge block of bars of Irish Spring soap. There had to be like 20 in there. And I remember thinking something like I would track how much better I’m getting the more bars of soap I work my way through while I shower (I know how silly this sounds now).
    Now, there were some moments when I would be like “Ha, this is pretty cool… I’m feeling better now (5 bars of soap in) than when I was bars of soap earlier on.”
    But when a setback comes it feels like the anxiety/depression knocked you way back to the beginning. But worse than that…. it makes you feel like the anxiety/depression ‘figured you out’. That, those early modest gains you had that you called “progress” were simply an illusion; or simply a very brief respite from the anxiety/depression (hereafter: A/D)… and that the A/D finally has got you pegged for good and that there will be no more progressing in any positive direction since the A/D has overcome your little trick in deceiving yourself that you were actually getting better.

    So then you look at your progress as almost torment: as if you thought you had just ran 10 miles away from it, but you were only on a treadmill the entire time…. going nowhere.

    Now that isn’t the truth of the matter, because despite all of that profound despair I was still able to find my way out of it all. Or, peace somehow found it’s way back to me. Either way, the storm ended.

    For me progress tracking only served to highlight the despair when I fell back down. It was when I gave up hoping to get better (sincerely giving up…. but not in the “woe is me!! I’m doomed.. DOOMED forever!” sense, but in the “so this is how it’s going to be? Well alright then, time to live my life regardless” sense) that I was starting to have moments of true freedom from the nightmare.

  75. Nolan 6th August 2018 at 1:11 am - Reply

    Hi Huda,

    My advice would be to let it feel as tense as it wants to. Because it’s not something you can just tell yourself to “stop feeling tense here” and have your body obey.

    It’s happening at a level that you don’t have immediate conscious control over. And struggling further with it (focusing on it more, researching it more, talking about it more) only seems to be counterproductive.

    So, stop focusing on it willfully and move back on with your life as if you don’t really care that it’s there. What I mean is – at some level your mind automatically is focusing on it. It keeps bringing that issue up to the fore in your thoughts. Then intentionally you (or anyone) runs with that thought and willfully focuses on it more (researching it, thinking about it more, trying to figure it all out, talking about it). So, be patient with the fact that your mind is going to automatically (for awhile) keep bringing that issue up (since you don’t have immediate control over that)…. but, start taking the wind out of its sails by not adding extra intentional focus on it. And you do that by moving back on with your life, focusing on the task that you had in your mind prior to that thought/concern of muscle tightness surfaced again. Be patient with yourself, it’s not a one and done kind of thing. Gently keep putting your intentional focus back on the things of your life again. As a way to show your body that “thanks, but I don’t need to keep being reminded of this issue.”

  76. Teena 6th August 2018 at 2:21 am - Reply

    Hiii Nolan plzzz guide on my above post..any advice

  77. Julibb 6th August 2018 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Nolan

    Your advice is great. I love reading your posts.

    I posted first further up about how I feel i cant ever recover, I feel I’ve had a complete breakdown. I keep having panic attacks everytime my stomach clenches and I get this weird cold feeling down my throat and chest which freaks me out. I’ve been almost bed ridden 8 months she to panic and anxiety and I’m at the point of losing all hope. I feel I csnt recover. I wake daily with a sinking feeling, i cry, at some point panic etc.. It’s awful. I feel the worst wife and mother. It’s so isolating and lonely. I fear I can’t ever come through this.

    Any advice from you would be so appreciated.

    Julie

  78. Clare 6th August 2018 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Julie-

    Have you tried going into the other rooms yet? Set a timer for 5 minutes and sit there- feel everything. Notice that nothing will happen. Nothing has ever happened when your stomach clenched and panic took over. You have to make a step if you want to feel hopeful again. Sitting in bed day after day is not going to do anything for you. You have to make any kind of step, no matter how small. Just so you move forward in the slightest way. You can recover. Just like you told me you thought you would never be free of the thoughts but you are. Try cooking dinner tonight for your family despite the raging feelings. You got this, I know you can do it.

    Clare

  79. Nazrin 6th August 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I think Nolan has brought up a lot of good points. Guys its always the same advice. Go out and live your life. Don’t get absorbed in your feelings and thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are always temporary. It’s like breaking up a bad habit – at first it will be hard but the more you practice it, the easier it gets, slowly over time. And just like with any bad habit, you will have days where you will feel like you’ve gone back on it. Keep pushing – a new habit of living your life and paying less attention to your feelings will take over. That is all there is to it. I remind myself of this whenever I struggle and have bad days. You always have a choice – wallow in self pity or focus your mental energy somewhere else. Whatever you choose, you will still be here tomorrow, still alive and still living your life. Might as well spend this moment and this day doing something good for yourself and your well being.

  80. Nazrin 6th August 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Julie,

    My advice to you is to give up the fight. Give up the self pity. What is the worst case scenario? That you won’t recover? Then if that is the case, are you ready to give up fighting your feelings? Can you see how fighting them mentally has never brought you peace? Feel everything at will – all the anxiety and panic. Let it all come out. Accept your scariest and worst fears. Don’t argue with them. Let them be. Then get up and get on with your day. That is all there is to it.

  81. Aaron 6th August 2018 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Hi I am just stuck on actually how to follow the book its been 5 years since I first read the book only to find myself doing nothing about myself lying on a bed and this seems ingrained as is bringing nothing but failure I would love to follow Paul’s words as I have had faith in them for so long but when I did a few years ago it is almost those words have brought to where I am now I’ve just stopped completely the odd trip to the coffee shop is ok this seems to happen without me doing nothing seems natural it is like I am waiting to live but don’t feel part of the book

    I just like to say one last thing and that is that I keep looking at my heart and speaking certain things whether it is at me or someone else is this relevant to my recovery because I see no thought as reality so maybe this means turning them into emotions so paul says the book is something to see then maybe this is it to live life without extra effort

    Be really great for a response
    Thanks

  82. Julibb 6th August 2018 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    Hi Claire

    Yes, hourly I get up and walk about for a few minutes. Sit in my children’s rooms if they’re in, have a little chat etc. The other day I sat in my daughters room for half an hour and we sat and played a game. I’m making sure I move about every hour, even on my tougher days i make sure I walk about for a few minutes. Setting small goals right now bevause jumping from being very inactive for 8 months due to this breakdown I’m extremely unfit plus I already have chronic fatigue issues well before the setback in anxiety so it’s a huge leap to suddenly go downstairs to cook dinner. I couldn’t stand that long lol.

    I do worry I’ve caused irreversible damage being off my feet due to the severity of the anxiety setback. It totally wiped me off my feet from the very start. Then in the spring it improved and I was back cooking dinner, small goals each day. Now it’s returned full throttle it’s thrown me off my feet again. I’m starting small and hoping I’ve not done any damage to my body being so inactive on and off these 8 months. I just have to have hope if i start small like I have this last week then over time my fitness will improve and the underlying chronic fatigue issues aren’t worsened.

    Thank you for asking.

    Julie

  83. Julibb 6th August 2018 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Nazrim

    Thank you.

    I think that’s my problem. Like I said to Claire above, I had chronic fatigue issues for 2 years before this breakdown this 8 months. Then since this setback in anxiey it threw me off my feet even more and now I worry I’ve caused irreversible damage resting so much and maybe my body won’t ever handle exertion again.

    Just going to the bathroom to shower results in half an hours rest. I feel i ran a marathon. I’m so unfit. Some days just walking to the toilet I feel i ran the block. I fesr I’ve caused damage that can’t be reversed. I was never this fatigued before and the chronic fatigue syndrome was tough enough, this has only come on since such sevrre physical anxiety and panic threw me off my feet forcing me to rest more and slowly becoming more and more unfit. It’s like the panic floored me and then I just gave up and now I’m afraid to overdo things as I feel i ran around the block doing such little things and that in itself triggers panic.

    So I find it hard to apply Paul’s book to my situation. Maybe I can but I fear I’m far more complex as I’ve never read of anyone with anxiety having such fatigue issues or being so bedridden due to anxiety like i have been on and off these 8 months. I say bed ridden, I shower get dressed etc each day but I rest a lot on my bed or sofa/chair in my room.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Julie

  84. Belgian 8th August 2018 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Julie and everyone else ? ,

    You can come back a thousand times to this forum and you will get the same advice a thousand times. You are welcome to do so. It takes time to truly understand how acceptance and living your life will make you recover. To explain this better, it might help to know that acceptance is not just a ‘mental exercise’ as understanding this helped me. I am not a psychiatrist or a doctor, but this is the trustworthy information I got from them.

    Remember, your brain works like a computer. The output of it is determined by the way you are interpreting the input. Let’s now talk about two important parts in your brain (your computer) which play a vital role when in an anxiety state. The amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

    The amygdala is the part in your brain that is activated when you are under great stress. It is responsible for creating adrenaline and cortisol, stress hormones. This has an important function and is a wonderful tool! Imagine you are jaywalking on the street, completely withdrawn in thought and not paying attention. Suddenly, there is car coming. Your body will react to this approaching car even before you realize it. Your heartbeat gets faster, all the blood in your body is going to your muscles in order to prepare you to fight or flight. You will either jump or freeze and brace for impact. This is our survival mode. In nature we can’t always afford to lose time to contemplate our actions. We need to act immediately. As soon as the car is gone, your heartbeat will slow down and all your other symptoms will stop too. This is the first stress and you can’t really do anything about it.

    Unfortunately, the amygdala reacts the same way to any kind of stress. Long term stress due to unresolved issues, stress about a (difficult) life situation or just stress about your stress triggers the same response of your amygdala. Now, the stressor that’s responsible for your stress is not as easy to dismiss. It’s often even not really clear (anymore) what it is. The car you are running away from, seems to follow you everywhere. In fact, you have learned to see this car everywhere! This is where our prefrontal cortex comes into play and this is where it can go wrong.

    The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that is responsible for your catastrophic thinking, your what if thoughts. When your amygdala is activated it activates your prefrontal cortex in a specific way. In other words, as long as you feel anxious, your interpretation of what is going on internally or externally is more likely to be anxious too. If your interpretation of reality is an anxious one (what if thoughts, catastrophic thinking), your brain and body will produce anxiety. This is the second stress. It will also create new ways for your amygdala to be triggered. This is why anxiety is learned behavior. Your prefrontal cortex is learning your amygdala to react when confronted with this specific situation/thought.

    This is the good news. If anxiety is learned behavior, we can also learn not to behave the same way! Jumping away from a car is fine. Hiding in fear from a stupid thought is not. The last you want to change and here acceptance comes into play.

    Imagine a merry-go-round. Your first stress (amygdala) gets the engine going and takes you for a spin. Your second stress (prefrontal cortex) doesn’t slow the merry-go-round down. Instead, it keeps it going. It will send a message to the engine to continue to work. Accepting everything about your condition eventually liberates you from your second stress. It makes room for a different interpretation of any event. As soon as you got a different interpretation, your reaction to the event will change as well. In other words, you are changing the reaction of your prefrontal cortex to the stress hormones produced by your amygdala.

    Let’s imagine you have learned to feel anxious of the thought you will never recover. When you think this thought, you will feel anxious and you will start fueling it by adding extra thoughts, hiding from it or other flight behavior. Can you see yourself getting and staying on the merry-go-round? Accepting this thought and accompanied feelings doesn’t shut down the engine completely, but it makes room for different behavior. For example, a whatever reaction or even a laugh. At this point you are learning yourself something new. Your amygdala will say ‘hang on, this guy is laughing or doesn’t even care about it regardless of how much adrenaline I throw at him, it’s not necessary to get the anxiety engine running at all to this event’. If this is repeated over and over, eventually the amygdala will not react any longer to the stressor you were first so anxious about. Do you understand how living your life, will make ‘it’ go away as it offers you the opportunity to practice acceptance AND learn new behavior? That is why you need to get up and live your life regardless of anxiety.

    Now all of this takes time. Learning takes time. Allow yourself this time. Some people with an anxious predisposition like myself might never be able to completely shut down the first engine. And even for those people, recovery is possible. As long as you always accept the first fear, anxiety will always leave you. The merry-go-round will always stop. By the way, some people even go skydiving to willingly get on the merry-go-round. They enjoy it! I am not going as far as to enjoy it, but it helps to know I don’t have to jump from a cliff to get the same experience from time to time. ?

    Recovering from anxiety is a learning process. And as with every learning process, there are moments of failure and success. Humans tend to forget, but also to remember. The best thing about this? EVERYONE can learn this. We aren’t talking about advanced physics, but about working in a very natural way with the tools nature has given us. So get up, start to learn and – why not – even enjoy the process from time to time! Yes, you can!

  85. Belgian 8th August 2018 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Hi moderator,

    I just did a post which is not published.

    Can you allow this or what should I do to get it post.

    Belgian

  86. Paul David 8th August 2018 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Belgian your post has now gone through, for some odd reason it went into spam and I am not sure why as the only way this happens is if it has a link in it and yours did not. Anyway, it has now been published just before your above comment.

    Thanks for contributing

    Paul

  87. Belgian 8th August 2018 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks Paul!

  88. Alz 8th August 2018 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Paul!
    If ur checking this blog , I need some advice . I’m 26 weeks pregnant ( thankfully ) after a still birth which happened two years ago and I had to cut off my meds to nil . I have resumed takign a small amount of sedative during the day and I’m trying to work with the acceptance strategy . However , I am filled with so much negative energy (anxiety) that it’s hard to accept everything . Firstly , Iv had to cut my meds; secondly Iv had the previous trauma of stillbirth; and thirdly I have all these excess hormones which could be contributing to the increase in anxiety. I have symptoms which include:
    -Not being able to stay alone in a room lest I start seeing things
    – fear of seeing things ( it’s so strong ). Today I actually imagined seeing a person on a building who obv wasn’t there.
    – fear of what could happen to my baby .
    – inability to concentrate on all the things I could concentrate on befr – read, write , meditate etc
    – talking and communicating to ppl without fear
    I feel like this day in day out anxiety is too much and would love some advice or if you could redirect me to the posts of women who’re pregnant and have had anxiety

  89. Julibb 8th August 2018 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    Belgian

    Thank you so much. Your post really did help, and made sense. I have screenshot it to save. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

    My question is this, I’m having 2 panic attacks a day lately, they keep coming even though I just sit there and let them happen. My issue is even though I know they’re panic, I’m still afraid of the symptoms. I fear fainting or whatever fear crosses my mind during. That fear never lessens even though by now I’m a pro haha. So I lose hope of them ever stopping, of ever recovering if I still fear them.

    Any advice on this? I also feel each time I have an attack I’m sensitising my nerves even more so of course I’m more prone to having further attacks if my body is constantly being flooded with adrenaline each day, it s getting no chance to densensitize.

    Its something that’s been in my mind lately and wondering where I’m going wrong with the panic attacks. I sit and allow them, even demand more of it but I do cry, shake etc..

    I’d appreciate any input on this as I really want to work hard on recovery.

    Julie

  90. Clare 8th August 2018 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Julie, you said:
    “I’d appreciate any input on this as I really want to work hard on recovery”

    I know this was directed towards Belgian but I want to point out that I think what Paul means by acceptance is not working hard on recovery. By trying so hard to not feel a certain way or not care about panicking or your stomach clenching during an attack is actually counter productive as you’re putting more pressure on yourself to be okay with the symptoms. I think it’s oksy to fear the symptoms, it’s uncomfortable and rude what anxiety does to you! But stop adding more pressure on your already worn out mind by caring that you still fear this. Just be. Let recovery come to you by letting the feelings of panic roar and if you have second fear than you have second fear but don’t beat yourself up for having the second fear. Give yourself some grace. Anybody who has had anxiety to the extent in which is debilitating knows how it depletes you of energy. Physically and emotionally. You’re going through a lot right now and putting pressure on yourself or beating yourself up for the position your in is just going to make you feel worse. I can tell you this from my own recent experience. Beating myself up and judging myself for thinking a certain way only made me feel worse and only made my situation 100x harder.

  91. Belgian 9th August 2018 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Julie,

    what Clare said 🙂

    You are still trying to ‘DO’ something. Accepting is not a DO.

    It’s nothing more than accepting it and given by the tone of your messages, it seems you still have a difficult time to do so. Which I totally understand. Acceptance is simple but not easy.

    Maybe just start with accepting the fact that you can’t accept. If you accept this, at least your fear for your fear of your fear (you see how ludicrous this gets 🙂 ) is accepted. It could give you some breathing space to DO other things than ruminating over your panic.

    So where are you going wrong on your panic attacks? You are doing wrong by still trying to get rid of them.

    As we’ve explained many times, you can’t ‘DO’ anything about them for keeping happening. It’s only by doing nothing about them and just carrying on with whatever you are doing, that eventually they will seize to come.

    You need time and patience and although ‘hope’ can help, it’s not at all necessary to recover. So don’t worry when you ‘feel’ you are losing hope. Don’t worry if you ‘feel’ you will never recover. Let all those feelings and thoughts exist, but know that they are nothing more than that: feelings and thoughts. They are NOT facts.

  92. Julibb 9th August 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Hi Claire and Belgian

    Thank you for your replies.

    When it comes to acceptance I really struggle because the panic and anxiety never stops coming and I lose hope, therefore I fall back into the rabbit hole of panic, fear and dread.

    I wake daily dreading the day ahead and I’ve noticed those negative thoughts every morning trigger my days of panic. I am starting to see a link between my thoughts and how I feel physically.

    I really hope I will grasp acceptance, even accepting that I struggle to accept haha. I just find it overwhelming with such strong symptoms daily.

    Thank you again for replying to me

    Julie

  93. Carl Brandrick 9th August 2018 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Belgian,

    Great analogy of how the amygdala and prefrontal cortex work by using the merry go round as an example.

    The engine being the amygdala usually always gives me a small flash of fear (bearable) but then the merry go round doesn’t even begin as it ends that quickly. Sometimes even the engine doesn’t even go off at all to my triggers. It really is utterly and totally random.

    I can go a whole day without my amygdala reacting to anything then the next day it does again, or what happens is when I’ve conditioned myself to the triggers over and over through living my life normally… a week or two later I may see that trigger again and it will provoke a small flash of adrenaline again. It’s almost as if my brain remembers that used to be a problem and it gives me a little flash of fear to say ‘ahhh there’s that thing again, let’s protect you a little’ when there is no need.

    I wonder through using acceptance if the engine stops completely given enough time.

  94. Clare 9th August 2018 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Julie-
    It brings me peace when you said you notice your negative thinking. When I was in the thick of it and still sometimes, I notice how negative my thinking is and trying to change my thinking felt/feels like a mountain to climb. It’s slowly reversing, slowly. It was really hard for me to let go of the thoughts and accept, it still is. My thinking scares me. I have thought so many ridiculous things over the past 11 months I worry the memory will haunt me forever and I’ll never truly be able to let go of this experience. I guess it comes down to faith that it won’t.

  95. Clare 11th August 2018 at 3:44 am - Reply

    Can you get passed thoughts by accepting even if you’re still putting belief into them? I have been accepting and have made progress but I still feel like the majority of my thinking is anxious. I realize an anxious thought, but I still have so much belief in them. I guess my question is even though I see the thought as anxious, labeling it as that, accepting it and I do my best to move on, but how will I ever get passed this whole thing if There’s still so much belief in the thinking? Fear in the thinking? If I reflect on my situation and think about the thoughts I still get piercing anxiety. There’s still so much of me that’s holding on and Unable to let go. Like I don’t trust my mind. I don’t trust myself. Is this all a part of the healing process? Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks.

    Clare

  96. Bidd 12th August 2018 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Thank you Paul, your advice is very helpful. Every day was a bad day for me, but now I feel better. I still often feel anxious and over-thinking, but now I don’t let that bother me.

  97. K 13th August 2018 at 4:30 am - Reply

    Hi all,
    Some of you might recognize me from my posts from some months ago. I just want to say that I have been most symptoms free (anxiety, pain, insomnia, lack of energy and desires) only after meeting a doctor and starting a medication that were right for me. I tried a few before to no avail. I realize now that I was hopelessly depressed (I could not properly eat, sleep, move around, work, etc.). I saw the world very differently than I do now. I had been trying to exist on the acceptance method alone for about six years, and although I felt some relief and hope with it, my chains broke after this recent treatment only. I think though that the progress I made while applying acceptance over and over during the years of suffering played a big role. The whole experience has changed me as a person, and I am thankful for the changes, although they came at a very high price. I feel some symptoms now and then to a small extent, but I always think along the memorized acceptance ways, and peace comes over me. In addition, now I think of exercise as a necessity, like food or water. It does not mean that I exercise no matter what or overexercise, but wouldn’t you rather spend an hour on a treadmill, than a day pondering about stuff? You do not have to become an olympian, but there is no doubt that regular exercise is huge for anxiety sufferers.

    I am not here to push medications on anyone or anything like that. I just want to say that healing comes in many ways, and no one, no one here should lose hope and should perhaps try a combination of ways to recover.

    Best,

    K

  98. Jolien 14th August 2018 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Hi K,

    I think it’s really important what you are saying here. I wrote a long email a few days ago, but it wasn’t published. Let me say first that I 100% agree with the acceptance ‘method’, and that it’s definitely the way to recovery, it’s not the only way towards healing, and some people may need an additional approach. For you it is medication, for someone else it may be something different.

    My anxiety was mostly from existential nature. I have had a deep fear of life for for as long as I can remember. During my life it presented itself in different ways, but only became delibitating in my late twenties. Just accepting my symptoms and living my life wasn’t enough for me, as it didn’t touch that deep grounded fear. Where this article describes yoga, meditation etc. as unhelpful in healing anxiety, for me these practices (including reading about Buddhism for example), made me view (my imagined fearful) life in a different perspective. In a way that it wasn’t so fearful anymore. This, in addition to ‘practicing’ acceptance, was my path to healing. What I am trying to say is that, while for some it makes no sense that reading about ancient religions can help in recovering from anxiety, for me it did. I was MY path to healing, and I think it’s important that everyone should find their own way.

    All the best

  99. Louise 14th August 2018 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Hi I haven’t been on the blog for a while now iv been excepting what has been happening and just getting on with my life and work but I don’t know if I’m actually improving or am I trying to Improve. I fear quite alot of things but my main thing is self harm and ending things. I wonder what if I get to a stage I’m unrepairable and do this. It frightens me then I get to a stage where I think I don’t care anymore I have no emotional attachment to the thought but then I begin to panic thinking oh my god I’m going into deep depression, this must mean I’m gonna do something thus I start panicking. I try to avoid conversations regarding these issues and even when I have a period where I’m settled and don’t think things like this I find when something comes up on the tv or newspaper regarding these issues I don’t avoid them as I don’t want to keep avoiding things I’m scared of but then it triggers these emotions in me does anyone else feel like this, am I doing things wrong I could really do with a bit of guidance thank you

  100. Nazrin 15th August 2018 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Louise I think this is quite a common fear in people who suffer from anxious thoughts. You’re not alone in this. What I think helps is knowing that a person who has a fear of hurting themselves is the least likely to actually do it. Someone who has the need to end their life has a diffirent mindset from an anxious person. It frightens you to imagine these catastrophic scenarios exactly because you don’t want them to happen.
    Next time you have a frightening thought- accept it by not trying to banish it. By trying to banish it or escape from it you’re giving it more fuel and frightening yourself more. No thoughts – no matter how terrible they seem are bad thoughts. It’s your attitude to them that needs to change. No person can really forcefully escape their thoughs. Thoughts come and go some times at random. Our mind generates them automatically. This goes for every one of us. Some of our thoughts are positive, some negative and some neutral. The thoughts you give more attention to are the ones that impact your mood.
    Allow the scary thoughts with as little judgement as you can have towards them. Gradually the more you accept that your reaction stems from fueling the anxiety, the more you can disensitise yourself and feel at ease with strange random thoughts popping into your head. This will take some time but eventually with a new attitude these thoughts that seem so threatening now will have less and less of an impact. Remember this when you’re feeling your worst, occupy yourself to give your mind some rest and be patient with it. 🙂

    All the best,

    Nazrin

  101. K 15th August 2018 at 4:44 am - Reply

    Agreed, Jolien. Faith played a big role for me also. I was not a strong believer before, but I am now. I realized that, as humans, we have little control over things, but we have a ton of power if we channel our energy and attention toward positive and constructive things while trusting wholeheartedly that the higher being will protect us. I have been asking through prayer to help me find the way toward seeing the light of day.

    I would also suggest to those who are suffering do more things that relax you or do moderate exercise, even if you do no feel an immediate relaxation effect. That will send positive vibes to your amigdalae, assure it that things are well. And, most importantly, believe that there is nothing wrong with you. You are just very, very tired and full of energy that needs to come out over time. Stop feeding the beast. What do you have to lose? You have already tried fighting with it. Try just being next to it. Do not do anything about it. Disregard it. Let it be. Find other life goals and achieve them. The beast will quiet down on its own over time.

    Best,

    K.

  102. Louise 16th August 2018 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Thank you nazrin for your reply what you have said has made so much sense but can I just ask can you have gaps in between thoughts I have spells where I feel ok my mind isn’t racing then all of a sudden these harming thoughts pop up it’s been like this for months now is this normal process when recovering and thank you again. X

  103. Nazrin 16th August 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Our thoughts are generated by memory or things that remind us of those particular thoughts. Things that troubled me years ago hardly come to memory now. That’s because over time the memory of something that troubled you dies down and weakens the less you pay attention to it.

    So for now be okay with the thoughts when they come. Even if it feels like your mind is racing. Have an attitude of “Oh my mind is racing again- well whatever – it’s just my anxious thoughts. I know they just that – thoughts – and not real” and then just focus your attention on whatever else you were doing beforehand. Don’t try and rationalise them beyond this. Recognize that it’s just anxiety and give it as little attention as you can. Don’t be afraid because you’re afraid. For a while the mind will race and you will have times or moments when you’re still bewildered by the thoughts. That’s okay and it’s normal part of recovery. The key to recovery is in your attitude. Once you get that down – your mind will start to clear and your body will start to calm gradually over time.

  104. Louise 17th August 2018 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Thank you for nazrin it’s much appreciated. I get so worked up with the thoughts I think I’m spiralling In to a deep depression which I worry about and then I question every feeling or thought comparing to ppl who have self harmed or ended it all thinking am I like them I know now it’s just anxious thinking just sometimes it’s so believable it’s scary thank you again x

  105. Elle 17th August 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Hi Louise

    Can I suggest a great wee book which is similar to the advice that Paul gives. It’s called Stop thinking and start living, it’s great! I have dealt with the exact same thoughts, still do at times.

    Elle

  106. Louise 17th August 2018 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Thank you Elle il have A look at it thank you if you don’t mind me asking have they got easier over time

  107. Star 20th August 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    I think I need some personal help, I feel I have exhausted the one person in my life who has actually been and recovered from anxiety.

    I have been struggling for 7 years now, the past 2 years anxiety affecting my entire life. Around 2-3 yrs ago I started finding this approach and found it helpful. What I have always struggled with is one day everything making so much sense that I feel like I am going to be ok and get better because I know I am on the right track and then a few days later I am hit with a setback and I am right back to resisting and suffering. Then a few weeks later of suffering I might let go again and experience few days of peace and then setback and few weeks of suffering. The setbacks always last too long.
    I even gave up and spent the last year completely given up on trying to get better and not in the good way. I would just stay at home and watch TV to numb myself because I cannot work in this state. But recently my friend came back in my life and brought her attitude of not controlling. And this led me back to Pauls writings and I experienced what I hadn’t in over a year a few days of feeling peaceful. But then setback hit a few days ago and I feel like i am wasting my life when comparing to how I felt then. (I felt alive and able to do things and enjoy things).

    I have read what Paul says about setbacks but maybe someone can tell me directly and it will hit home because I am not in such a good place. I need to learn to move through the setbacks because they cause me too much pain.

  108. Stephanie 23rd August 2018 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Star,

    Something that helped me was to stop putting labels on everything – “good” and “bad” days, “times of peace”, “setback”. All that does is center your whole life around anxiety and how you’re feeling, which is the opposite of accepting. If you didn’t feel anxious, you would wake up and just go about your day doing whatever you need/want to do. So do that. For awhile you might continue, out of habit, to analyze how you’re feeling – that’s ok, just turn your attention outward, as many times as you need to. If you find yourself discouraged because you’re still experiencing anxious feelings/sensations, just remind yourself that your feelings don’t control you, and then go back to doing what you need/want to. I know it sounds so simple, but where people usually get discouraged is when the anxious feelings don’t leave right away or they leave and then return. Then people throw up their hands and say “It’s not working, I’m still miserable!” But it’s not about removing the feelings; it’s about letting the feelings be there but still living your life. You can’t force the feelings away – that’s what you’ve been trying to do all this time. So do the opposite, surrender to the feelings, let them surge inside of you – and then live your life.

  109. star 23rd August 2018 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Thanks Stephanie for your reply. This is something that I have been struggling with ever since I came across this approach and I think your words are very true- that labeling just makes it worse and makes you want to be somewhere where you aren’t and it makes it harder. I also feel upset about how much anxiety has affected my life, my studies, I took a break for 7.5 months because I was struggling with the exams in my training and the general job as well. And that affected my confidence.
    But I think that as you said, being able to see it all as the same, the “good”, the “bad”, should help. I am so fed up of the suffering, it has been too long.

  110. Mark 25th August 2018 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Evening guys,

    I’ve been doing ok with accepting etc…just a question, i keep having the odd thought that continues to linger on and despite accepting….it’s not paticulary scary, but just kind of…stays even if i don’t focus on it…does that make sense? Is it just senesitised nerves and eventually this thought will also pass on through? Maybe i’m identifying with it? Any advice would be really appreciated.

  111. Chrissy 26th August 2018 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Star. I have suffered with anxiety for 20 years
    Yes you read that right 20
    I did everything wrong. Always trying to get rid of it. Jumping to therapist to therapist. One multivitamin to next all wishing this away
    Then I can across Paul’s book and then it hit home
    I recently had a major back (menopause. Mom sick and other big life stresses)
    I know how you feel. This setback knocked me to my knees. “Here we go again” i thought. I just want my life back. Why can’t I be normal
    Again I started reading the book again and reading recovery stories
    I have anxiety. Plain and simple. Depressions also
    You need to remember it’s just negative energy. It tricks you into thinking life sucks. I will always be like this
    You won’t. Believe me. There’s nothing wrong except your mind racing and your thoughts telling you a lie
    Let it be. Let it roar. Who cares?
    Yes I am going out with friends even though my mind is racing with thoughts and I feel like crap
    More stress neesds to leave me. More negative energy
    It will be ok. First step is understanding why you have have anxiety. 2nd step for me was self compassion. 3rd was letting go and not being afraid of my thoughts and feelings. There is nothing. Nothing on the other side
    Believe me. If I can do this so can tou

  112. Jolien 27th August 2018 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Great advice Chrissy, and yes, self-compassion; so very, very important.

  113. Louise 27th August 2018 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Is a normal part of recovery to feel a bit happiness then feel down for example I felt General feeling of love for my partner and children then about an hr later negative thought popped up regarding dying just the word really then I had a overwhelming feeling of dread and fatigue it seems to happen wen I have good moments straight away the negativity comes is this normal through recovery thank you.

  114. Debbie 28th August 2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Hi alz how are you feeling ?

  115. Clare 28th August 2018 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    How do you take belief out of thoughts?

  116. Martine 29th August 2018 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Hi Paul and the others.

    Hope you remember me.

    I have one question. Just like Paul, I have made many mistakes, for example by using techniques, sayings, etc, to get better of my anxiety.

    But as Paul indicated we don’t even need these techniques, sayings and I am trying to apply this, but I am unable. My mind is always cooking up something, automatically still trying to remind me that I have to do something. It’s so frustrating. As soon as I woke up, it starts and goes on the whole day. I am unable to function normally.

    I try to focus on my work and pay no attention to the thoughts, but that’s so difficult.

    Can anyone relate or advise. Paul please guide me.

    Thanks, Martine.

  117. Mark R 29th August 2018 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Hi all,

    It’s been a long time since I posted but just wanted to catch up.

    I’m off the back of a very good spell but in truth I feel like utter crap. A week ago I felt anxiety come back in full force. Usually I can pinpoint an issue or change in my life that preceded it but I had just come back from a brilliant break with my girlfriend in Ireland. I have a busy mind, body feels terrible, reduced appetite, no sex drive and cry over trivial things. It’s nothing unusual and I’ve been here many times before. It sucks.

    I have some options, some will prolong how I feel only one will reduce it, and that is acceptance. Accept that my mind is slow, accept that I feel crap, accept that I don’t really want to eat or have sex. I’m continuing to live my life and taking all the horribleness with me. It’s not easy.

    So if you feel in a hole like me at the moment, have faith. These times are very temporary.

    Mark.

  118. Alz 29th August 2018 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    Debbie !
    Thanks for checking up on me ! As time is progressing, it’s getting a bit harder. First there’s anxiety about day to day things like interacting with people , feelings of unreality , thinking Iv really lost it and then there’s the preg fears .
    Debbie I wake up everyday thinking my water will break and you know even as I’m typing this , I’m scared because I feel like the thought will just come true . Anyway had my checkup yesterday and everything is fine ( thank god ) except tht I have a uti so I’ll have to take somethig for tht and the ultrasound showed tht the baby has is fine but she’s got the cord around her neck . Now I know both the later and former are normal happenings when one is pregnant but I CAN NOT stop thinking the worst case scenarios . Also I mean , I ws just telling someone tht my anxiety is so high tht even reading tht the cord being around the neck does no harm is not satisfying me . It’s like I’m walking on egg shells evday and I’m
    Praying and hoping so mcuh tht evthig goes well . I don’t know if stopping my meds was a good decision. What scares me is the thoughts being caused by anxiety becoming true . Which points to what Claire is sayig , at this point how do I remove the belief from the thoughts ?
    I just need to have more faith . My anxiety has nevr been this bad and I’m just so fearful for the baby and for my state of mind . I feel like maybe being this anxious and being pregnant is a sign that maybe I don’t deserve to be a mother .
    Just pouring my thoughts out .. and even as I’m doing this I have the thoght tellign me tht as I go to the toilet or when I wake up, something bad will happen .
    Alz

  119. Alz 29th August 2018 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Paul..
    Iv posted the same comment twice but it’s not gone through!

  120. Alz 29th August 2018 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Debbie!
    Thnks fr checking up on me . I had written this long comment about how I’m actually feeling but it didn’t get sent through twice so Myb Thts a good thing because as anxious as I am these days , I feel like thinking something or writing something might cause it to happen !
    Anyway , all is well so far. Im managing as best as I can without meds and a little amount of sedatives . Baby’s fine but as the pregnancy is progressing , I’m getting more and more anxious ? . It’s handling the day to day stuff and then the worries abt the baby . I have a kazillion fears evday and I’m just praying a lot and literally when the day passes I just thnk god ! I want to be positive and gung ho but I honestly am finding it hard . Which then makes me repeat the question which Claire is asking , how do I remove the belief from my fearful thoughts at this point ?

  121. Alz 29th August 2018 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Oh and Paul , u dont hv to post the comment that didnt go through .
    Thnks!

  122. Debbie 29th August 2018 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    alz iam glad you are hanging in there i pray for you whe is the baby due .

  123. Alz 30th August 2018 at 12:35 am - Reply

    Debs means a lot ! Thanks ?? baby is due In October end .

  124. Mark M 2nd September 2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Hey guys,

    I’m feeling quite low in truth. Anxiety crept in the back door 4 weeks ago…I don’t have anyone to talk to that would be willing to listen, what do you guys do for support?

  125. Alz 2nd September 2018 at 11:38 am - Reply

    Mark . Shoot .
    U know I’m on bed rest now . Don’t know if u know my whole deal but for the past two years I was pretty active on this group . I’m lucky to be preggers again after a stillbirth 2 years ago and now I’m 29 weeks . Just two days ago I had such bad abdominal pain so Iv put myself on bed rest . Need prayers from evone .
    I’m continuously thinking negative and while I aH w an appointment with my therapist this comign week , I don’t know if I should go given the pain- I thnk while there is some literal pain , 90 percent of it is also fear . Anyway the journey of no meds almost throughout this preg has not been easy and while Paul says one needs to know the reason for their anxiety , I know the reason ( a child after a stillbirth) but I can’t fix the anxiety until I have my baby cuz Thts when I can start gettign out, exercising , taking meds ( if need be) and facing my fears once I can be off bed rest etc .
    So while uv been here quite often , I want u to understand tht u need to be grateful tht u can get out , work etc . Anxiety seems to have been ur companion for a while and u have to learn to live with it . How is it preventing you from achieving anythign to date ?

  126. Alz 2nd September 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

    Also u can’t alwsys experience feeling good n gung ho. U will hv ups and downs which is life. Your low might feel a bit exaggerated than non anxious people because of ur anxiety .

  127. Star 2nd September 2018 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Hope everyone is doing well. I have a question: How do you know if you are doing it right? I have spent lots of times where I thought I was on the right track and gonna be getting better, and I wasn’t because I was still resisting + suffering. The truth is you kinda know when you got it because it feels like a weight off shoulders. But I am at this point now where when I ‘let go’ I have these fears that bother me and tell me that I am doing it wrong, and that because of that I am going to act weird, embarass myself and prove that I am a failure. And this puts me off and so I prefer I suppose to go back to not letting go aka anxious and afraid and resisting.
    I suppose I know that I am being stupid I just need to trust but I am scared that it is not the right thing to trust in; it’s another anxiety I suppose. Anyone relate?

  128. Si 4th September 2018 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Mark R, I often wonder how you are doing based on the fact you haven’t posted for a while, I did suspect this was because you was doing ok and it’s good to know.

    Your attitude I think will get you along way and I feel that when we are distracted enough we all feel better. Its the time we have when we aren’t totally submerged with life that we feel the anxiety and low mood so much more.

    I have been reading a few different things about anxiety and depression, not to necessarily to get better but to make sure I understand things better, and you know what…… they all say the same “Accept”. This like I am sure most of us on here find it very difficult, it’s not easy at all going against your body’s natural instinct to fight, but it is I am sure as they all say the root cause of our suffering.

    At some point along this journey I think we all will come to the end of the battle and look back and think “how strange and crazy!” because that’s all it is, STRANGE.

    Although I am not where I want to be in my journey, I am pushing through all the things the condition does to stop us from living, however what I still have to master is not wanting to feel better for doing it, but to accept this is me for now and carry on.

    I wish all of us a safe and bearable recovery with the thought that one day (does not matter when) you will be living your life in the way you hope to right now.

    Best wishes Si

  129. Nick Bast 6th September 2018 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Hi Paul and everyone,

    Every day I seem to be constantly thinking about myself still. I have realized that I have been trying to change the way I feel and so it keeps me in the cycle. I just get afraid when I constantly have cycles of panic and waves of intense fear and doom where it just takes over my body and I can’t control it. I get these really uncomfortable burning pains in my body and in my head that make me just want to run out of my body. I’m scared my medication has messed up my mind and caused damage to it:/. I’m on an ssri and constantly think I’m damaged. What are your thoughts? I have derealization 24/7, headaches and burning pains in my head, Arms, knees and back. I have intrusive thoughts about self harm. What do I do?

  130. Mark M 7th September 2018 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Guys,

    could really use some suggestions if you don’t mind.

    I’m dealing with mental exhaustion, which means that like Paul, I currently have to spend large amounts of time at home. This leads to issues as I can normally let thoughts and feeling pass through, but at times when I’m on my own doing nothing the thoughts get stuck and I end up ruminating an dragged into the cycle.

    MY question is, how do I allow thoughts to be there when I’m literally doing nothing? Am I being to harsh on myself seeing as I can let them pass every other time?

    IS distraction an option? It works but I do not wish to rely on it/ PLease help if you can.

  131. Roxana 7th September 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Hi everybody 🙂
    I want to ask you something… Did any of you ever experience periouds when you would React on noises? Like for example if somebody takes some plates and they make that typical noise, or if somebody talks louder, a kid yelling, a door slamming… all these should give you a physical reaction… nothing like pain or something, or panic… just you feel almost like you don’t like it, like your ears or head would React for one second to those…

  132. Jolien 10th September 2018 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark,

    Not sure if it is of any help, but for me being on my own, where there are no distractions, was/is always a good time to really look at my thoughts and see them for what they are; just thoughts, not reality.

    So maybe try to take advantage of there being no distraction. Take the time to watch your toughts, don’t wish them away. Perhaps once you realize they are harmless, it will make it easier to let them pass.

    All the best

  133. Tom 18th September 2018 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    My anxiety after 1,5 year doesn’t seem to lessen, unless I apply Pauls method.

  134. Tom 19th September 2018 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    My anxiety after 1,5 year doesn’t seem to lessen, although I apply Paul’s method very strictly. Am I doing something wrong? Is recovery not for everybody? Can recovery take years?

  135. Julibb 20th September 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Hello all

    I was wondering if anyone can relate to this.

    I’ve noticed in the last couple weeks I’ve been so bogged down with the constant panic and anxiety, that I feel my brain and body have just broken and now my world around me seems grey, foggy and unreal. I’m guessing this is where the mind goes into safe mode and unreality because it just can’t take anymore of the bashing that I give It daily worrying about my situation. My world seems too bright for my eyes yet at the same time grey, unreal and just odd. Even just walking around my own home or looking out the window, the world feels just one huge fog. Even watching my favourite movie I take nothing in, I watch it but I feel nothing like i dont take any of it in. I can’t feel any emotion either. Is this classic brain fog from too much anxiety, worrying, reading and trying to work this mess out?

    I’ve decided that I have to break away from constantly trying to fix myself and constantly reading up on anxiety because I think it’s wearing me out more and tiring my poor mind out. Am I right? I need an outward focus to recover? There comes a point when the constant reading anxiety books, thinking and thinking, panic after panic, crying and crying just breaks you? I feel so brain fogged, dull, no emotions but fear and just fatigued beyond belief. I feel I’m dragging around a decayed body all day too. Empty, dull and foggy head to toe. It’s quite bizarre but I guess very normal after 10 months in this setback.

    I was doing a little better but the last couple of weeks I’ve been hit by a truck of panic again. A little bit of stress and wham I take 10 steps back. I can’t even read up on anxiety anymore it causes me anxiety lol and tires me further I feel my brain has had enough of it. So I’m just posting this to see if my theory on how I feel is right to put my mind at rest on this new feeling/symptom. I’m sure it’s addressed in Paul’s book in terms of the over run motor on a blender and feelings of unreality.

    Thank you.

    Julie

  136. Martine 21st September 2018 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Dear Julie

    I would recommend that you get help from a Therapist also. They can guide you where you are stuck. Check the anxietycentre website for this. It’s just like Paul, a site about an ex-sufferer.

  137. Alz 24th September 2018 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Julibb ,
    You’ve described your symptoms really well . They’re so similar to mine , except I’m expecting and that is not the way one wants to feel especially when ur carrying another life inside of you.
    I would second with martine and say tht you should talk to a therapist . This blog provides help but honestly there was a time when there were soooooo many people who had successfully recovered from anxiety , who’d reply instantly ! Now , I think the traffics pretty low just generally …

  138. Nolan 24th September 2018 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Julibb,

    You asked “I’m guessing this is where the mind goes into safe mode and unreality because it just can’t take anymore of the bashing that I give It daily worrying about my situation.”

    It’s very hard to move on while at the same time scrutinizing all of the bad feelings and trying to make sense of why exactly they’re there and what category of suffering they should be placed in.

    I think the best idea would be to just lump it all in a category of “things that suck right now, but oh well” and move back on with your life.

    There’s pain and suffering with anxiety, and just making the decision that “I’m going to move forward with my life” is not going to immediately whisk those bad feelings and thoughts off. It’s making a sincere commitment that “regardless of how terrible I feel I’m going to start paying less respect to the pain/suffering and focusing more on my life and the things that used to make my life mine.”

    The pain will still be there for awhile. Maybe you’ll get a momentary reprieve here and there…. but don’t do it for that sake, do it for the simple fact that “I just want my life back…. regardless of how diminished it may feel. Because THAT life is better than the life that anxiety/depression has been dictating that I live.”

    In time you’ll feel peace again. You’ll feel true control over your mind and body (true control opposed to the feeling that you’re just a marionette doll to the puppeteer of anxiety).

    But you have to give it time, you have to start being patient with it… as well as being patient with yourself when you fall into the pit of fighting against it.

  139. Carl Brandrick 25th September 2018 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Nolan, how are you doing these days?

    I feel ok other than the odd flash of fear when I face certain triggers. So by hearing certain words, seeing certain things etc. It’s terribly frustrating when you live your life and encounter these triggers daily but they never disappear entirely, it’s just at a much more manageable level of fear. I just let it wash over me. They leave as quick as they come, doesn’t make it any less easier and annoying though! Just got to live with it I guess.

  140. Louise Berry 25th September 2018 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Hi iv not been on here for a while iv been doing much better with the excepting and just carrying on with life but I just need a little advice. I have a fear of taking medication and at the minute I’m havi g to take antibiotics iv taken antibiotics all my life and never had a problem with them till I started with anxiety, anyways obviously taking medication will make me anxious but does anyone else have this were when they take the meds does their anxiety get worse. I could be ok then all of a sudden I will feel a rushing feeling through my body, light headed and extremely tired. Would be grateful of any advice thank you

  141. Nolan 25th September 2018 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Carl,

    I’ve been doing pretty good.
    My wife and I had our second child a little over a year ago. There was a time when I was certain I would never be able to have another little one in our house (simply because I was incapacitated from the anxiety/insomnia/depression)…. but we’re blessed to have her crawling around the house.

    Just let those triggers bother you as long as they want to, but don’t allow them to capture your intentional thought for too long. Meaning: you have that automatic reaction that you can’t directly control. It just comes upon you. When that happens you have the choice to intentionally ‘play’ with that thought or sensation some more (by play I mean humor it, ponder on it, let it lead you to other similarly related thoughts)…. or, to focus your intentional thought on something else in your life.

    It’s what Paul is talking about when he says to not respect the thought so much.
    So, prove to your mind/body that you don’t respect the thoughts/sensations that much anymore by no longer following their lead.

    Here’s an example:
    I struggled mainly with insomnia and the fear associated with it.
    Something would trigger that fear and I would automatically tense up and my mind would automatically start focusing on that issue. In the past I would start shaping my moments after that automatic fire up all around the issue of sleep/anxiety. I would talk about it, I would search the internet for things related to it, I would start wondering if this nightmare would ever end, I would tailor my day around that fear.

    But, Paul helped me to see that there were other ways to react.
    Now when those automatic flare ups would occur I would (1) be patient with myself and the fact that my mind would desperately cling to some alleviation from it, (2) intentionally put my focus back on something else in my life (opposed to just ruminating further on the issue), (3) be patient with the fact that my mind would keep trying to get me to focus on the BIG ISSUE, (4) allowing the pain and worry to be there while I still did something else other than only focusing on the BIG ISSUE.

  142. Louise 25th September 2018 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I’m on antibiotics but I’m scared of taking medication since having anxiety iv always taken antibiotics with no problems before hand. Iv taken one today and about 8 hrs later I’m feeling really anxious, rushing feeling throughout my body extreme fatigue is this normal when facing a fear to feel like this. I am just letting the feelings happen without panicking but I haven’t felt like this in a long time it’s a new medication as and I was scared to take it anyway in case of side effects or allergic reactions any advice if anyone has felt like this or dealt with this issue thank you in a advance.

  143. Carl 26th September 2018 at 5:59 am - Reply

    That’s great news Nolan, congratulations!

    I guess I wish these flare ups were to disappear altogether one day. Sometimes I have no reaction at all. It’s random to be honest. Everytime I experience a sensation though from a trigger I instinctively go back to ‘searching’ mode. A need to figure it out and resolve, which of course I cannot do. I will have to adjust my thought pattern and everytime it happens just say ‘oh well or so what’. It’s better than researching all day to try and figure a way round it. That will only tire my mind out further and take my attention from the real world. It’s no wonder sometimes I feel detached , the focus is me!

    Carl.

  144. Carl 26th September 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I think it makes sense now … by changing my reaction to the initial response from the amygdala… like chuckling at it or carrying on with my day regardless of the reactions, I’m teaching my subconscious that it’s not required anymore and it goes ‘hmm he’s not reacting anymore, I’ll stop misfiring then’ obviously this needs to be repeated over and over until it gets the message and there will Be many ups and downs along the way. The secret is to just allow it all, accept it all, utterly, truly.

  145. Stephanie 27th September 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I’ve wrote on here before, but a while back now! Seem to be on a downwards spiral at the mo. Spending pretty much every minute of the day anxious. Recently it has got worse as I seem to of started getting blotchy red chest & sometimes face when in public places. Getting nails done for example. Not just a little bit blotchy but bright red burning chest sometimes ears too. So the anxiety before I could deal with but this is just making it a million times worse. Anyone else had this problem ? So fed up with feeling Like it 🙁

  146. Alz 29th September 2018 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Hey ! Hoping to get a reply from Nolan or anyone .
    I’m having a baby after a traumatic stillbirth ( 2 years ago ) and as the time is getting nearer I am feeling so much dread and panic . It’s causing such severe depersonalisation that I feel I’m going to lose my mind . I’m talkig but without feelign grounded – it’s so difficult when you have to do tht especially with someone you love like your husband . Also it’s like I’m doing evryhtig but in a complete state of daze . I know this is all part of the anxiety but any advice to help me get through this time ??? If I’m alome in my room , I’m scared cuz I feel I’ll start seeing things ( Iv mentioned this before) . I spoke to my therapist abt two weeks ago and she said I need to distract myself etc . If I see things , I see them – it’s not like they’re harming me . But I’m so full of fear at this point because I have a baby inside me and I’m feeling so low and anxious . It’s constant dp and dr and I would love some advice at this point . I did get out today and hang out wiht a frnd despite all
    My fears but comign bakc home its the same feat etc being in my room . It’s reached a point where I don’t want the lights open in my room because I’m so scared …

  147. Alz 2nd October 2018 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Hey Paul ! Just wondering y this blog does not hv the traffic it used to ??? It really helped me two years ago .however , now there’s no one except perhaps Nolan who replies. Also do you reply on some other forum?

  148. Jamie 6th October 2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Hi. I put a post on here last night, clicked Submit and it just disappeared. Is it being moderated does anyone know as I didn’t get an email saying so ? It was quite a long one so I don’t really want to type it all out again. Thanks

  149. Jamie 7th October 2018 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Anyone ?

  150. Evelyn Nava 11th October 2018 at 3:09 am - Reply

    Hello Paul
    I just posted something but I don’t seem to be able to view it

  151. trez 11th October 2018 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Alz

    I see that you are still struggling alot,it’s been a few months since I’ve been on here as I was doing well..

    I have noticed that there seems to be a pattern were I do well for a few months then I feel my.self going back into like dissconection feeling for some time..

    I feel dissconected from everything and everyone 24/7..

    Does anyone understand this??

    I start to feel guilty for feeling like this because I can’t seem to explain it when it happens,is it because I.fear it that that it adds more thoughts and feeling.??

    For example I question amI real,why do I feel so strange in myself
    I still make myself get on with with things even though I feel like this,I keep thinking im gona lose my mind if that makes sense..

    But on a lighter note I have been here before and it passed,I don’t like feeling like this but there’s nothing I can do to make it better at the moment,my mind is exhausted and this is its way of telling me I think.

    Trez

  152. Alz 11th October 2018 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Hey trez
    I totally understand what you’re saying . This is what’s been happening with me. I guess like u said u were pretty anxious throughout ur preg ???
    The best thing in ur case is how u know Ul
    Get back on track again. So I guess consider it a kind of cycle that you go through in ur life .

  153. Louise 12th October 2018 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Has anyone had a fear that they may have a heart attack. My intrusive thoughts seemed to have shifted from self harm to what if I’m going to have a heart attack in looking for signs it’s really freaking me out as iv been getting a little few pains in my cheat area but it feels heavy and I think it more to do with anxiety then anything but has anyone else had this fear thank u in advance.

  154. trez 13th October 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Hi louise

    It’s just a fear,every symptom we get in magnified by anxiety,I get this alot but I know it’s caused by anxiety and stress….im in the fear cycle at the minute of not feeling real and because I fear it so much its adding more thoughts and symptoms…

    That’s what keeps up is in the cycle its not comfortable but it will pass..

    Trez

  155. Alz 13th October 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

    Trez ,it’s been really awful for me today . I’m so out of it because I’m thinking of how I’ll manage the next few days . The fact that being pregnant and havign such fears is difficult because u can try and manage them with relatively less difficulty whn not pregnant . Anyway with the feelign unreal , not wiht it , thinking that you’ll lose your mind – how do you deal with it ?

  156. Alz 13th October 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Ok I just posted a comment but it didn’t go through . Paul ?
    Trez how do you deal with all the thoughts ? Unreality , fear of losing ur mind etc . It’s been so strong for me today . My worst fears are there during the day as I wake up and then as the night approaches . Anyway any tips would be appreciated ..

  157. trez 13th October 2018 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Hi Alz

    I find it very hard but I have learnt there is nothing I can do about it at this present minute,just make myself do my normal day to day things,even thiught I feel strange in myself everything I do,I jist have learned to live alongside it for the time being…

    Some days symptoms and thoughts are stronger than others but Accepting and not fighting against it is the key…

    It’s not a very nice felling but I know know that the more stress i add the worse I feel,the fear of losing my mind is there because I still carry the Belief of it when it happens I do get periods of being good for a few months then BAM its back again,so I know it does pass..

    Keep strong Alz it will pass the less you fear it x

  158. Alz 13th October 2018 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    That’s the thing Trez . Today I let it fear me and throw me into panic bad because I was thinking of the next few days . How I will have to deal with them ( less ppl at home ) etc etc and I just broke down crying . Was it like this for you during pregnancy ? I think the thought ( of losing it ) just scared me too much .

  159. Jamie 15th October 2018 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    I haven’t visited much or posted much lately and on the whole, I have been felling a bit better.

    This may be quite a random thing to talk about on here but I wanted to get something off my chest. About 6 weeks ago, I decided I wanted a phone with a bigger screen so then spent hours / days scouring the internet finding suitable phones reading review sites to find the best phones and costs.

    Over the last 6 weeks, I have bought 4 new mobile phones and all 4 (I am boxing the 4th up as we speak and 2 of them were the same phone twice !) have been sent back for a refund. Either there have been something wrong with them or I just cannot get on with the software. I have shown hardly any patience and tried these phones for about 2 days before giving up.

    Every single time I have ordered one, when it arrives, I cannot put the phone down until I have transferred all of my stuff from my old to the new phone. If some of the stuff won’t transfer, I sit on the internet for hours trying to work out why and fix it. When the stuff is eventually on it, I am constantly fiddling with the settings on phone, moving apps around and using apps just for the sake of it just to justify buying it. Thoughts constantly go round my head like

    “is it better than my old one ?”
    “shall I send it back?”
    “why don’t I just use it for a good week and decide”
    “it is just a phone, you will get used to it”
    “is a bigger screen that important?”
    “what if they won’t take it back?” etc etc

    I just cannot let it rest and even now, as I box up the 4th, I am considering buying a 5th !!! I have also bought an iPad in this time just to use for the odd bit of browsing. You guessed it – as it was too slow, it was back in the box and being sent back for a refund the day after I received it. I found myself constantly playing with it (and making myself more anxious in the process) to justify buying it. The majority of people can just pick up an ipad, use it for hour an hour and then put it down again. Why can’t I ?

    I don’t know why I get obsessed with these things and cannot just use the phone I have and go without an ipad. All of the researching and playing with these phones makes me really anxious and at the end of the day, is just a waste of time so I just don’t know why I do it to myself. I have really been beating myself about this. Other people would just get a new phone and have the attitude of ‘oh well, it will take some getting some used to but it is just a phone’ or just not bother changing.

    Is it my constant quest for perfectionism ? Do I need to steer clear of situations like this as I have an anxiety disorder ?

    Sorry for the long post but I just wondered if anyone could relate to this and offer any thoughts. Thanks for reading.

  160. Jamie 15th October 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    *feeling not felling

  161. trez 16th October 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Alz tryed to post the other day,try not to stress to much its anxiety and panic and nothing more…

    I like you when I was pregnant believed every symtom that I had I was.going to lose it,it’s because you fear everything so much that it keeps feeding it and we end up in the vicious cycle…

    After I had my babies it took my mind off it all,I did get times were I felt absolutely terrified of everything but that’s what becoming a mum does ?

    Keeping occupied at the moment is the best option for me even though I’m in a bit of a setback ..

    I just say to myself now in the morning is whatever today brings I will live alongside it my mind is tired and it will pass.
    Trez x

  162. Alz 18th October 2018 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks Trez ,
    And the whole thing about when I’m sayig
    Somethig I’m questioning if it happened or not
    .. is it anxiety ? I mean I’m talkig to my husband telling him what’s for food or talkig to frnds and saying things but unsure if they happened .. what is that ?

  163. Louise 20th October 2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Hi iv not been on this for a while. I have been getti g on with things but right now I think I’m in a really bad set back. This question is really for anyone who has gone through set backs but when they hit do they make you feel empty yet frightened like your going out of your mind and constantly tired and drained. I can’t remember feeling like this. I k ow did when I began with anxiety 2 years ago but I’m freaki g out really Thinking I’m becoming depressed and what zig I’m getting worse or what if I get really bad and just go and harm myself I’m so stuck as I know it’s a set back but implementing the care free attitude seems so hard as I thought I was finally getting there.any advice would be great if you could please.

  164. Mark 21st October 2018 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Hey everyone,

    I could really use soke help and advice roght now.

    I’mve been dealing with the anxiety sympthom of hyperventilation. It only happems when i ‘notice’ i’m breathing.

    But it’s really derailed my recovery which was going well. Has anyone else dealt with thos? Is the advice the same, to leave it be i mean?

    I would be so grateful for Any advice at all. Mark

  165. Vadim 23rd October 2018 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Hey Jamie,

    I’ll try and get it clear for you.

    Its not like “anxiety disorder” is some kind of framework which is outside of “regular life”, and the solution is obviously not to avoid situations that might trigger anxiety, as this will be again trying to not feel it, when you’ll feel all of it in any situation it will leave you and everything will be obvious.

    The truth is that if we leave the framework of “anxiety disorder” we will see that we have those symptoms in many situations and allowing ourselves to feel them works great in “regular life”.

    So in your example, allow yourself the thoughts and all about buying the phone, about getting it wrong, whatever it is.

    This is why when you recover its not like you check the “anxiety disorder” box, but still fight internally in “regular life”, it goes for the entire thing.

  166. Jamie 24th October 2018 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the reply Vadim.

    I just find it annoying how obsessed I get about it and just constantly worry and think about what phone to get, if I get one, whether to keep it or send it back and fiddling with the phone non-stop. I think I just need to turn my phone off at night as the odd time I have done this recently, I have felt much more relaxed.

    Does anyone else with anxiety find themselves just looking at their phone lots, checking for messages, looking at Facebook etc etc ? It doesn’t create a calm person I feel.

  167. H 24th October 2018 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    The hardest problem for me above anything else to do with anxiety is the mental exhaustion. I just can’t seem to get past it at all. I try and not think about it and let it be but it just doesn’t pass at all. It’s been there for years and is really affecting my life. I have finally gotten my dream job which requires me to drive an ambulance, however when I am feeling so exhausted and generally feel like crap it makes me panicky driving on motorways etc because I feel so awful and I don’t trust my body to keep me safe and alert.

    I have came sooo far in terms of anxiety and panic using Paul’s advice and techniques, I wonder if anyone else has a similar issue and any words or wisdom or advice? Would be much appreciated. I want to go on to be a paramedic but I am seriously starting to think I may need to change career which would break my heart.

    Thanks,

    H

  168. Vadim 24th October 2018 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Jamie,

    I totally get it, but that is the whole point of why you are stuck, you have this reactions, be it fear/obsession/confusion, whatever, just a reaction of thoughts and emotions that HAPPENS to you, and you chase it.

    Please understand that instead of understanding the bottom line which is – you try to change your thoughts and reaction (they will fix themselves, allow yourself to be confused, to have resistance,go wherever you mind pulls you) – you are trying to settle any question any fear any doubt that comes up, like the content is relevant..thats anxiety, it always makes you feel like “this time its serious”, allow yourself the resistance of feeling the lack of peace,clarity,understanding, don’t hold on to understand, if currently you experience chaos, tune in to it for as long as it wishes, allow yourself complete confusion.. it will always get you back to perfect clarity, 100%. Because guess what? clarity and peace is your default, and it will return every time whenever you leave yourself alone to whatever is happening.

    I’m writing with way to many commas.

    See that Facebook example you gave which is “normal life issue”, exactly, after anxiety you also free yourself from approval fears you may have and don’t feel the need to keep obsessing for approval or whatever makes people obsess over any kind of stuff to “relief for unpleasant emotions”

  169. Will 25th October 2018 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Hey everyone,

    Lately I keep thinking I’m just about hearing noises or voices just barely. It’s no doubt that I’m just catching onto random background noises (or the mind chatter while I’m trying to sleep) but I can’t stop having that knee-jerk reaction of “omg I’m hearing things”. Is anyone else experiencing this?

  170. Alz 26th October 2018 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Been there Will . It’s just what you said – random
    background noises . It will give h the knee jerk reaction if u keep on giving it that much importance

  171. Clare 27th October 2018 at 2:40 am - Reply

    I’m hoping someone can shed some light on me as I’m having a moment. I’ve been on the blog before, my main symptom is intrusive thoughts. It started with one negative thought about harming my daughter and it spiraled out of control. I ended up having to get on medication because the guilt associated with all of those thoughts put me into a depression. I’m happy to report I’m weaning off the medication and the thoughts are definitely less intense. HALLELUJAH!! However, they are still there and some still have a tendency to pull me in. I also am still so easily triggered. I can’t imagine living with this awful parasite and get frightened about stories of people ending their own life over it. And that I won’t ever be free of this and have mental health issues forever. Anxiety won’t let up. Any insight on the fact that I’m still triggered and it’s been a year? Thanks!!

    Clare

  172. Belgian 29th October 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Hi Clare,

    It seems things are getting better. That’s great news! Let’s build from there. I am confident you are on the right track and that things will continue to improve. What’s also clear is that you are still sensitized. Your nervous system hasn’t completely settled down. That’s why you are still so easily startled by anxious thoughts. In your post, I recognize the following thoughts:

    – thoughts about hurting your daughter
    – thoughts about thoughts having a tendency to pull you in
    – thoughts about stories of people ending their own life because of anxiety
    – thoughts about a life completely ruled by anxiety
    – thoughts about never being free
    – thoughts about having mental issues forever
    – thoughts about anxiety never letting up

    Wow. That’s a lot of thoughts. All of which I can easily debunk. But I won’t. Because I want you to look at these thoughts from a third party perspective yourself. Imagine I was the one who wrote this and you are now reading it. What would your first response be?

    Wouldn’t you question of all these thoughts immediately? Of course you would. You would be easily able to debunk them yourself. The reason you can’t in your own situation, is that your own emotional state triggers a very powerful anxious reaction to these thoughts. This is the answer to your last question. You are still triggered by them because of your emotional state. Because of your body being tired and sensitized. This is crucial. It means these thoughts are NOT facts and they are not worth your suffering. A thought upon itself is nothing. It’s your reaction towards that makes it ‘feel’ ‘real’ and you reaction is determined by the state of your nerves.

    So how do you end this suffering? Well, by accepting your anxiety. Practicing acceptance will make sure you won’t add stress to the stress and it will also learn you that panicking about panic doesn’t solve anything. You will get another relationship with these feelings you hate right now. Anxiety, fear, stress are important parts of our life. A life without them is simply impossible and our aim shouldn’t be to be ‘free’ of them forever. Freedom isn’t to be found in the absence of them. Freedom is more likely to be the ability to experience them without being totally incapacitated by them.

    Anxiety, like any other emotion, is temporary. It visits us and it leaves us. Just like sadness or happiness it’s something that’s not always rational or clear. It’s one of the many emotions our human body can experience and completely out of our own control.

  173. K 30th October 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Hello,
    Can you guys please comment on your experience with driving while you are going through an anxiety patch? I have to drive to work now (about 10 miles on a highway), and it is uncomfortable to me as is, but I am sticking with it because this job is good for me. I could not sleep last night because I had a bad migraine and was terrified to drive in the morning in the state that I would be in. My drive was fine.
    Please share your experiences with it. Is this like anything else – call the anxiety’s bluff – drive in spite of the discomfort? Or is it a different animal?
    Best,
    K

  174. H 2nd November 2018 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Hi k,

    I literally wrote a post about this a few days ago but think it got lost in the comments!

    For me, driving is my biggest hurdle. About a year ago I got a job driving ambulances for a living and my dream is to become a paramedic. I seem to be able to have a lid on my anxiety in all other aspects, however motorway driving scares me and I don’t trust me body to keep me alert and safe. I’m struggling with bad mental exhaustion and this makes me feel like absolute crap. My hands get sweaty and I get panicky as soon as I get on motorway. I feel like I’m going to lose control or fear I’m gonna faint.

    From what I have read, fear of driving is extremely common and again I think we need to just trust our bodies and let the anxiety be there and try not to pay attention to it. It’s damn hard though when your driving at 70mph and terrified the whole time 🙁

    I’ve been trying CBT therapy but made no difference to my fears. Everything boils back down to Paul’s method of accepting anxiety and letting it be. I got recommended another book which I have started reading and it’s really helping me overcome this hurdle. His method is the exact same as pauls but just written in a slightly different way. It’s called the happiness trap. Perhaps give that a go? It helps explain how to let the thoughts be there and how to accept the feelings.

    Keep going you can do this. I had a full blown phobia of driving at one point so if I can do it, you can to.

    H x

  175. H 2nd November 2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I would also be interested to hear about other people’s experiences of driving with anxiety? It would be really helpful.

  176. Alz 2nd November 2018 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Belgian ,
    Do U tk anti depressants or r u anxiety free without them?whatever u say makes a lot of sense. I fr one had my daughter after a stillbirth and the lack of sleep , continuous worrying fr 9 months etc has left me tired and completely in a state of dp / dr. You advice above seems to help me as well but at a point where my nerves are so tired that I’m questioning reality , should I still accept and let time pass? I say something and question if it happened or not . It’s like I’m losing touch with reality which scares me . Again- ur right: since it scares me it keeps my nerves on edge and the cycle continues.. it’s the fact that I’m letting the thoughts get the better of me . Again mythoghts of losing it , not being able to enjoy my daughter or my relationship with my husband are all thoughts but I guess my mind needs that peace to figure it out … I should accept that this will tk time and tht till then accept tht it’s hard to accept tht it’s all just anxiety .. hmm kind of was looking for help and I guess ur post has re reminded me tht it’s the rejection of my current state which is continuing this cycle .

  177. Clare 2nd November 2018 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Belgian!

    Thank you so much for your response. That was so kind of you to go into such detail for me. I guess I’ve never had respite from the thoughts and they are so tiring. I’m currently in what I think is a setback (I hope anyway) because I am weaning my medication so I am starting to feel my feelings again instead of having them numb. So it’s good in the sense that I can experience joy, but it’s bad in the sense that when I have a terrible thought it makes me feel like garbage and low. You’re right, I have SO many thoughts and I think that’s what keeps me stuck. If it’s not one l, it’s another and I feel like I’m constantly playing whack a mole with them. Im doing my best by trying to float passed each one but it is emotionally exhausting. Because I am stubborn, I also am still drinking coffee and doing things I would normally do if I didn’t have anxiety but then I have a thought that I don’t really want to get better if I’m doing this. It’s seriously non-freaking-stop. I notice them all as anxious and intrusive, but still get so pulled in. I guess I can say right now they’ve been pretty bad as I said earlier I’ve had a horrible couple days and I feel like I’m stuck in this hole forever. Blah! Thanks so much again I really appreciate the advice. There is such a difference in someone who knows what they are talking about because what they say resonates so much more than a “healthcare professional” what’s funny is that in my experience they usually just make me more anxious! Just adding to my problem.

    Clare

  178. Debbie 3rd November 2018 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Alz how are you feeling did you have the baby? Think of you often always in my prayers .

  179. Alz 4th November 2018 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Hey Debbie !!! Yes I did 🙂 she’s 8 days old now . Thank you so much for keeping me in ur prayers . Means a lot . I had her a week early otherwise she was due yesterday ! Quite a zombie these days with lack of sleep etc .. u tell . How r u ?? Hope ur keeping well .

  180. Huda 4th November 2018 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Did anyone experience extreme fatigue and tiredness after practicing acceptance ? These few days i was practicing acceptance and letting all negative energy to be released withouth fighting , but today iam feeling soo tired . Is this a good sign or just another symptom of my anxiety ?

  181. Belgian 5th November 2018 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Alz,

    I am not anxiety free. As I’ve said, I don’t believe there is such a thing. I experience anxiety from time to time. In fact, i’m currently experiencing a very difficult and stressful moment in my life. My wife and I expected a child. Unfortunately nature decided otherwise. So these days anxiety is seriously present. The difference now is that I can call it for what it is. My catastrophic thinking, sleepless nights the feeling of uneasiness. It’s all anxiety. I can’t free myself from ‘it’ in the sense that I free myself from experiencing it.

    Where I can be free is in my reaction to my anxiety. I can tell you that it is very easy and tempting to fall back into the anxiety trap. Engage with all my symptoms and begin the worry cycle. But what would I gain from that? Nothing. It will only add stress to the stress. I am far better off by accepting my anxiety, my other negative emotions and my current reality. These days I also try to take extra care for myself by doing sports, find comfort in my work and doing the things I like when I can.

    On your question whether I am using medication. I am using anti-depressants for four years. As I don’t have any issues related to taking them, I don’t bother too much about the fact that I still am. I am not pro or con medication. The only thing I want to stress is that any type of medication should be taken only if prescribed by a doctor.

  182. Mark 6th November 2018 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Hey guys, has anyone experienced the symptom of hyper vigilance? I become too aware of sounds and focus in on them too strongly. It’s very distressing. Do i kist let it be there? It’s near constant at the minute.

  183. Alz 6th November 2018 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Hmm so do u think the anti depressants helped ? Ofcourse a proper prescription is required. Did u also try therapy side by side?
    Also I’m so sorry about what happened . God has his ways you know .its just good tht Uve figured out how to accept because like u said , it nevr goes away

  184. Belgian 6th November 2018 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Alz,

    I do both. Therapy and medication at the same time. As I’ve said, I have no proof that the anti-depressants help. They work very slowly and there is no immediate effect. What I can confirm is that my panic – when it occurs – is more manageable. All the studies show that combining medication and therapy give the best results.

    Thank you for your kind words. It’s very hard. As an atheist I don’t believe there is a “God” that has had any say on this. It’s just the way nature works. It continues to be a stressful time as there might be some complications. On Thursday we know more. Fingers crossed 🙂 !

  185. Alz 7th November 2018 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Good luck Belgian . May everything work out fr the best !

  186. LouiseB 26th December 2018 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Clare

    Can I just start by saying everything you have written I could have written myself. I first started having intrusive thoughts after my first son was about 8 months old. He was 6 weeks prem I had a horrible traumatic emergency c section and he was in hospital for 6 weeks. And at the same time my mother in law become very ill with cancer. I remember the night of my first panic attack I completely thought I was losing my mind and that I would end up in a mental institution. It all went down hill from there I started on medication as I just couldn’t cope and I’ve been on them ever since, my son is going to be 6 in feb and I’ve just had my second baby boy. All was going well I have never stopped having the intrusive thoughts but I just lived along side them. I had really good days and some bad too and now my baby is almost 6 weeks old and yesterday I had a HORRIBLE disgusting intrusive thought about my baby it actually made me want to throw up! Then I got extremely anxious and spiralled into negative thinking that oh no it’s back and I’m going to go through this hell again. I have 2 kids that need me and rely on me and I’m trying so hard to just get on with it but it really knocks you and just feel so helpless. I wouldn’t wish intrusive thoughts on my worst enemy they really make you feel like a horrible nasty evil person. Anyway I just thought maybe we could chat give each other advice and support, and of course who ever else is suffering too.

  187. Scott 2nd January 2019 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Struggled for around two years I try to accept but I find it hard in normal daily life. Main issue is the feeling of being on a boat constantly awful. I am assured it’s just elevated stress levels and will subside in time hope so. Anyone managed to overcome this sensation ?

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