11 Feb 2012
Just thought I’d give a little update as to where I am!
I seem to be having more flashes of ‘clarity’ now where I can see how my reactions link with emotions and feelings. It’s weird how anxiety changes it’s symptoms!! One minute I’ll feel sick, then just a weird sensation in my chest that “tells” me I’m about to die, sometimes breathing issues.. argh! lol. I am of course practising accepting them and trusting it’s anxiety. When I read something inspirational or explanational about anxiety I feel a lot better so that helps me realise it really is anxiety. This practising lark is tricky though! I remember you saying it has so many subtleties and I’ve really come to realise that!
The ‘thought’ (that tries to hide itself from being a thought.. as in it wont be a direct worded thought in my head, more of a constant belief?) is that because I am able to carry on about my day but usually feel a bit ‘ill’ or ‘strange’ that it isn’t really panic or anxiety (its just an illness that im worrying about) because when I’m at home, I don’t feel better, in fact sometimes I feel worse at home because I have more time to sit still and zoom in on the symptoms!!
I am much better at ‘facing’ the ‘peaks’ of symptoms now though, say if i feel strange or breathless I’ll literally run towards them by doing something like madly running on the spot to ‘prove’ I’m not about to drop dead, which helps.
It’s just so strange how anxiety seems to constantly run in the background even without my direct attention (or so I think) what a devil!! But I am taking courage from the positives of anxiety. The fact I’ll come out the other end a more compassionate and aware person, and I’ve really kicked my diet in to shape!! I’m very healthy now (without being obsessive, but my new favourite toy is a vegetable steamer – i never used to eat vegetables!)
When you had health anxiety – did you feel a constant low level jitteriness/sickness? I always wonder if it’s the same for everyone, I know it obviously varies to some degree.. but I wonder just how much!
Hope you’re having a good weekend
sounds like you are doing just fine
One quick observation
I think it’s time that you started being more loving / caring / friendly towards your body and the symptoms
keep remembering that your body – which has stood by you through good times and bad times your entire life is actually always just trying to help
it doesn’t realise that it’s making a mistake – poor thing – it just got so many signals from you over time that you were in danger that it sent out a lot of adrenaline to try and protect you
what a wonderful loving thing this fight or flight is
so next time you feel the adrenaline say
“it’s ok body – I know you are just trying to help – but actually all is fine – take a chill pill – relax – we don’t need any adrenaline right now” – then smile and give yourself a mental hug and some appreciation
your body is not the enemy
anxiety is not an enemy
it’s all been a mistake
but also maybe life brought you to this point to free you from conditioned thinking altogether – so this has been your classroom – you are VERY VERY blessed to be learning so much about yourself and life – and your empathy for others will be so much greater than ever
with regards the low level anxiety – that is THE thing that I get asked about most
I had that too – for a LONG time
but actually looking back I can see that in the bigger scheme of things – it was a short time – it just SEEMED like a long time AT the time because I wanted it to NOT be there AT ALL
the way you run on the spot you can deal with this – keep saying -“Ok if this lasts FOREVER that’s ok – I will just deal with it – it’s just adrenaline – so what” – then smile
and it’s also fine if you scream and resist and get fed up and try to get rid of it
it’s ALL ok in a sense
this will pass – it did for me – eventually – and it seems like such a distant memory now
16 Feb 2012
Being more friendly towards the symptoms is helping a little, thanks
I had my first face to face CBT session today
I think sometimes I use what I’ve learnt in CBT AGAINST myself!! i.e. “I know this is the fear cycle, I should be able to stop it, not being able to stop it means there is something else wrong..” I’ve seen you talk about that before 🙂 So I am trying my best to ”watch” this rather than get caught up in it, I am doing fairly well but it seems to take a lot to resist just going along with it all. When the CBT therapist was talking to me today, the thoughts “I’ve heard this before, and yet here I am in this state, maybe it is something else, I’m beyond help” yadiyadadada were screaming at me.
Together with this (i’m presuming as a result of) I recently have been getting an overwhelming feeling of sadness and it feels like a “knowing” that I will die soon – there isn’t possibly any hope for me, my life has been taken way away from what I ever used to be. Sometimes I feel the most scared I have ever felt in my life, I had no idea it was possible to feel so frightened and unsure of myself – I think I’ve seen you discuss this before, that the “expectation” factor comes in to play as well and you can actually feel worse after feeling so much better because you’re struggling to “get back to” that place, and when you don’t it feels awful
It’s funny, I have recently been practising mindfulness and meditation, and have actually laughed out loud at the images my mind throws up when I’m attempting to focus on my breath… very interesting!! and a good way to see how the mind works. I’m persevering at this! Quick question – I have heard that stress and anxiety can deplete your vitamin B levels, so I bought some Jarrows B right and was looking forward to taking them – but it’s like a horsepill lol and I struggle swallowing tablets so I haven’t managed to take it….have these actually been any benefit to people with anxiety that you have seen? Did you take anything yourself? Obviously I am improving my diet alot, am having steamed veg and allsorts but I am just wondering if it’s worth persisting with the supplement.
19 February 2012
Glad you are going to CBT – let me know how it goes
sounds like you have been having some ‘mental panic’ (as I like to call it)
Try to see this as ‘tired thoughts in a tired mind’
and of course take any advice the therapist offers 🙂
I used to get this kind of thinking – a LOT – and the day I learned to ‘step back’ and observe it I knew it would never be as overwhelming again
stick to the mindfulness – it WILL pay off
I hate to tell you this (and please don’t tell your therapist I said this lol) but from your earlier emails it seems you are not only recovering from anxiety but you are on a journey of self discovery – and I have yet to meet anyone on this journey who didn’t go through this dark thoughts period
it will pass – but it may seem to persist for what seems like forever
keep practicing – but also take breaks and just watch junk TV and eat junk food
yes – even junk food
the middle path is best
lots of the 5 essential food groups and then a huge slice of chocolate cake now and then
not sure about any vitamins – tried them all once but they never really worked for me – I think as long as you are eating even 50% healthily you will do ok
getting caught up in thoughts is the problem
20 Feb 2012
Just a little addendum to this morning’s email due to an experience I’ve just had!!
I still have some low-level anxiety, and I’m currently doing Uni work – my mum walked in and asked me how many baked potatoes I wanted for tea and suddenly I felt really panicky?!
Like a wave washed over me, my voice was nearly trembling as I told her I just wanted 1?! I’m still really unnerved by it actually, I’m trying to accept but I just feel ill, it feels like no matter how I try and accept it anxiety tries to catch me out and throw things up unexpectedly.
Writing this email has made me feel worse! I suppose because I’m giving it attention when I should be carrying on with my essay. But moments like this really make me think that I am ill, I know adrenaline can be released randomly and strangely but when I feel like this I feel very weak and scared 🙁
It doesn’t happen often. I just feel like I will suddenly start convulsing or SOMETHING dramatic…. catastrophise. ramble. It feels like my voice went weak without me even being scared or with any prior warning?!
what just happened is EXACTLY the exact reason people get panic disorder
it’s not as if this is something else
this IS panic disorder
a sudden surge of adrenaline – out of the blue
what we all fear THE MOST – is that we can’t understand why on earth we felt so incredibly terrified
“over someone just asking a question! – how could this be anxiety – it makes no sense!”
so we then think – “it HAS to be something else – it’s IMPOSSIBLE that someone asking us a question can cause this”
but thats just it – fight or flight CAN just happen – with a turn of the head – a smell – a memory – ANYTHING can trigger it
and if we have become AFRAID of the feelings then the SLIGHTEST trigger or reaction sends our fear through the roof and it becomes HUGE
still we are in no danger but the response is massive – and we feel very scared
Trust me I had this several thousand times
you won’t because you know too much now 🙂
practice with it – catch it quickly and do NOTHING — WAIT – it WILL pass
and you will also feel aftershocks – so what – its just fight or flight
you will get there
this is normal – if you know what I mean 🙂
Each time something crops up I always face it now, I’m proud of myself for this, and each time (eventually!) I realise it is panic. I could easily let it unnerve me and think “for gods sake it’ll never go away” but I know each time I face it I’m that little bit braver!
It almost feels like parenting a naughty child now haha – the anxiety sometimes runs amok and I’m there like “stop that now I know what you’re doing” anxiety: WAAAHHH this is scary omg why is this happening to ME!? me:”shush come on now we’ve been through this, lets have a look at the thoughts..”
haha. I am kind to the sensations and not nasty. I’ve seen them being likened to a frightened child that needs correcting/reassuring so I guess it sort of is like parenting the mind! lol
you can never go back to total panic now – you know too much
that’s a great way to describe it – I will pass that on
see.. you are helping others already
in a while from now you will notice more and more people telling you their troubles and seeking your help
it’s all part of the deal 🙂
Just remember the golden rule
don’t offer advice until you have been asked for it 🙂
21 Feb 2012
Thanks 🙂 Even though I think I’ve ”got” it, I’m still pretty anxious from time to time? I know you’ve said it will take time. But the suggestion that “I will never go back to total panic” feels like an invitation to my brain to make me have some sort of crazy panic attack where I completely lose my faith in myself lol.
I think it’s because I’m deliberately remembering and ‘feeling’ the symptoms that if I’m not applying the correct understanding will catch me off guard. I am tirelessly applying everything I’ve learnt! But I can swing from confidence and faith to “ohh no what if this is for real” still. I think it may be to do with my tendency to catastrophise about death, i.e. it will be awful, scary painful etc so even if I manage to convince myself I’m not dying right now, what happens when I DO die, I can’t avoid that..etc.
I guess these are just thoughts though….. it’s amazing how thoughts don’t feel like thoughts but feelings!! it feels like feeling=thought when really it’s thought=feeling.
I also keep thinking “It’s all good to practice this if it is anxiety, but what if one day my body really is trying to say there is something wrong and I’m just ignoring it?” then again I suppose that is the health anxiety talking and I need to do more exercises i.e. the pie chart of probability!
Ah dear lol. I think a lot of it is to do with stress from work as well – I’ve just finished a 1500word essay and I have a 10,000 word dissertation to write. I am finding ways of giving myself rewarding little breaks to look forward to i.e. watching rubbish like u said
I know I just need to apply what I’ve learnt but sometimes it is frustrating when I think I have ‘cracked’ something, it will present in a different way and manage to scare me! lol. And it knocks my confidence. But back on the horse I get!
22 February 2012
Then ACCEPT the invitation
go for it
invite your brain to have a crazy panic attack where you will completely lose faith in yourself
and see what happens 🙂
even the worlds worst panic attack is just adrenaline / fight or flight – that’s it – nothing else
can you remember any news reports where “woman has worlds worst panic attack and loses all faith in herself!”
doesn’t happen – just our minds very creatively ‘thinking the worst’
and you seem very creative 🙂 (like myself) – it’s a curse
as for – what if I REALLY get ill someday
what if you DON’T – is just as likely – just as valid
all human beings can get ill – or not – nowadays the majority of us – who eat ok and exercise – will be quite healthy
if we get ill we get ill and then we deal with it
but why worry about it for the rest of your life if it’s actually likely that you WON’T get ill any time soon
think about other people – who have the same likelihood of becoming ill – who don’t worry about it – notice that it IS possible NOT to worry about it
that is a clue for you that your worry is WORRY – it’s not productive – it’s not valid – it’s PART of your anxiety – it is bluffing you
it’s not a genuine need
sit back from it – see that it is just worry
then let it happen – and relax and smile and get on with something else