Overall, I felt extreme panic but managed to plough through it so I’m pretty pleased.

10 Mar 2013



Just wanted to have a little chat about work as it may help me. I’m about to go in for my third night shift.

It’s been pretty interesting experience panic-wise. As I said, I was very apprehensive about going back as I’ve had a couple of weeks off and felt anxious even at home.

But I made myself go in. First night I wanted to run out and take myself to A&E I just felt rubbish, but I just kept on with my tasks etc and strangely enough, when something “demanding” came up I felt better after dealing with it rather than worse. It showed me that avoidance does make things worse.

Then the second night (last night) I felt terrible again – just like I was about to burst in to tears any minute – but kept going, had ups and downs but managed.

I’m normally pretty good at ‘holding it together’ infront of people but the past couple of nights I have felt very close to crying. I don’t know if this is something that should concern me or not? Or if it’s just something I’m magnifying by fixating on it and trying to resist it

Overall, I’ve felt extreme panic and apprehension but managed to plough through it so I’m pretty pleased.

It’s still that little 1% doubt that I’m not doing myself real harm. Reading a lot of the posts on nomorepanic and listening to Nic’s radio interview haven’t helped – there seems to be a lot of “well you can never really cure it” attitude about!! 

It’s like I’m on the cusp of believing it is nothing – but then again I can’t quite believe that you can feel so terrible and it be ‘nothing’!


I can say with 100% ABSOLUTE certainty that the kind of anxiety you are dealing with CAN be overcome to the point where you don’t have any more anxiety than anyone else on the planet (who don’t have anxiety disorder)

This is early days for you to recover

you have glimpsed the possibilities

you understand it all well

but the memory of how much you hate the feelings of anxiety still are stronger than your belief that they aren’t really harmful

you are in the process of reversing this

Your brain has been wired to trigger FF very easily

luckily brains have plasticity which means they can be REwired

you are doing that now

I KNOW you definitely dont feel as bad as you USED to feel before learning the new information

so you ARE improving

but it’s slow

possibly you could do a bit more study and a bit less catastrophising 🙂

Possibly you could try to catch the catastrophising more quickly and implement the skills more often

you ARE progressing

it took me what seemed like forever

I guess you are just the same

relax into the fact that this isn’t happening overnight for you

that’s ok thats just the way it is

so what

dont add more anxiety thinking that you should be cured by now

you aren’t – YET – let that be – and smile and move on and get back to the practice



12 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

Just wanted to check if this symptom is normal as I currently have it and am not finding it listed!!

Basically when I feel short of breath I have difficulty speaking because it’s like my diaphragm/throat keep involuntarily contracting. It’s scary!! It feels like its going to make me make a  

stupid noise like when you’ve been winded


Hi Nat

when this happens again see if you can hold your breath and not breathe at all

remember it is also called fight fight and freeze

this sounds like the freeze part

many people during fight or flight report that they couldn’t speak

so obviously the process messes with that part of the throat so much this can feel like what might happen

my guess is you haven’t yet been speechless 🙂

go towards it

even as far as pretending to not be able to speak

it is your FEAR that is ‘choking’ u up


18 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

Just thought I’d share my plan with you for the next couple of weeks and see if you have any input.

Sunday gave me a kick up the bum to seriously knuckle down – I’ve been doing CBT too lightly recently (as you well know) and if I don’t take the proper steps I’m running the risk of being jobless!!


1) I have a Drs appt tomorrow morning, where I will explain how I’m feeling , the shortness of breath sensations etc and ask if they will consider running a standard set of bloods on me. 

2) I have an appt with the lady Ive shown you (cbt/hypnotherapist) on Wednesday, so I will see what comes of that.

I also might ask the Dr to sign me off work for a couple of weeks. I know there are mixed views on this – but I do feel like a little break would help me come down a notch and be able to do exposures etc more gradually, which I can’t do in a busy work environment

So there it is. And I’m also going to print off some worksheets AND ACTUALLY DO THEM!! I promise, lol.




not sure about signing off work?

you wont get much exposure work done in just a few weeks time anyway

with your health anxiety you are talking at least a years practice – with a therapist first then on your own

I would also suggest that you read a health Anxiety book carefully and do the work suggested in that

CBT4PANIC will only deal with the panic – not the HA

anyway – well done

this is exactly what you needed to be doing

better late than never


and good that you are telling your manager – but be sure to tell her that you are taking serious steps to deal with it


Thanks 🙂

I don’t know, maybe I’m just ‘avoiding’ – but I do feel a couple of weeks off will help me calm down a little bit and get stuck in to CBT rather than working?

I am at a crossroads at the minute. I’m considering doing neonatal nursing now (can get a job there with my qualifications already) so am going to find out about that.

I just don’t particularly enjoy midwifery, I find it more stressful than rewarding.

Upset myself a little bit though with all this “can’t cope” business – I feel like ‘something’ has happened to me – even though Ive felt this way for a couple of years, it sort of feels like my life isn’t normal like everyone elses and that something serious/bad/dangerous is happening to me that shouldn’t – but I guess that is just good old anxiety talking


19 March 2013

If you are sure you don’t enjoy the job then maybe life is doing you a favour

who knows 😉

your life isn’t normal

so what

what is normal anyway

just watch Eastenders and be grateful you aren’t normal

one day you will hardly remember you even HAD anxiety

you WILL get there

get back to the practice

and start practicing Mindfulness in everyday life – read the book again


20 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

I went to the Drs this morning and she has ordered some bloods for me and also signed me off work for two weeks to give me a bit of a break.

When I came home, I was on facebook and someone had posted one of those silly pictures with “10 facts about the Human Body”

(at this point Nicole described that she read some sensational articles on how anxiety is ‘dangerous’)

Now I know that sounds RIDICULOUS – but I can’t not believe it!!!!!! I just cannot accept the fact that the god-awful terror that comes from some panic attacks cannot kill you. Proof that I’m still here should be enough, but then hearing stuff like this I just think yes but next time could be the time that pushes me over the edge!!

How can I disprove what I’ve read?!


You can’t disprove it amy more than you can disprove that walking under a ladder is bad luck

but good this happened

in a few days it will wear off and then you can decide not to get sucked into searching for these things on Google

if you get triggered – leave it alone for a while – till the anxiety comes down

if any of this is true then its as true for others as it is for you so we all should be feeling as you do

but we all dont because we dont have health anxiety

its not you its your health anxiety

just keep reminding yourself of that

disproving one thing means u have to disprove everything for ever and ever


23 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

Question on what’s normal re:breathing and anxiety.

My blood tests I had last week came back and they’re normal. My iron stores are still low, but my GP and mum have mostly convinced me that because my actual iron level in the blood is ok, they won’t be causing my breathless symptoms.

The really annoying thing with trying to do ”exposure” for this symptom is it doesn’t seem to be convincing me!!

I go to the gym quite a lot now, and also continuing my walks – where I get both my heart rate and breathing sped up considerably. When I’m doing these activities, apart from the occasional mini-panic I’m quite happy that I’m ok and my body can cope.

It’s when I’m doing NOTHING that it bothers me the most. I’m CONSTANTLY aware of my breathing, always feels ‘wrong’ and like each breath isn’t satisfying enough.

Please will you honestly tell me if it’s normal to feel this way with panic/anxiety? because I’m 99.9% convinced its a body problem!

Honestly – this is an extremely common fear for a lot of people who have anxiety / health anxiety

and I know how frustrating it is to not feel ok each time u breath – it’s like you can’t even get a break

all I can say is that yes it’s normal – yes it’s horrible – it will pass but maybe not for a while

instead of ‘trying’ to get the right breath – just remember to let go of your stomach muscles

then observe your belly rise and fall

you will try to increase the breath – thats ok but see that you are ‘trying’ to do this and ease off ‘trying’

gently allow the rise and fall like you were watching someone ELSE breath while they slept

and go through the flashcard

let go stomach

feet on floor

let go shoulders


allow whatever is happening to exist – even for a second

look around you like you had snapped out of being lost in thought

listen to sounds

just get on with something

remind yourself that anxiety can cause this feeling

and in time it will pass

but not just yet


27 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

Still struggling with progress again at the minute. Having some really silly but scary symptoms!

Basically the breathing/speaking thing persists. Sometimes I’m fine and can speak ok, aware of the shortness of breath but can manage.

Then other times I feel like I’m trying to speak whilst doing 50mph on a treadmill or something!

It’s like it’s immune to exposure – I’m able to exercise, walk, breath through a straw and realise I’m not going to cark it – but then I’m still worried when I’m sat around, doing nothing and I’m just constantly aware of the uncomfortable feeling in my chest and urge to take deep breaths/yawn

I do try relaxing but because it’s not like a panic attack – it’s CONSTANT low level – I find the ‘feet on floor’ thing helps a little bit but mostly doesn’t take the sensations away.

My blood tests are back and they are ok so that’s good, some things are at the higher end of normal which I didn’t like the look of – I spun myself a story that my haemoglobin/haematocrit is high because my body is struggling for oxygen, so it’s having to make more red cells blahblahblah

Another symptom that sort of ties in with this one (and it’s WEIRD) is when I’m explaining something to someone – I suddenly feel VERY uneasy, my words choke in my throat and I feel like I’m going to do something like vomit, heart attack or pass out (Good old fight/flight)

It happens at work sometimes (i.e when explaining procedures, conditions or test results) last night I was explaining neonatal jaundice to my friends in the car, and it came over me – I managed to keep talking but felt horrible and shaky after. 

I think it MIGHT be to do with the attention on me, the fact I feel I’m being watched/listened to closely and just sort of feel under pressure? 

My GP signed me off work until April 8th to revisit my CBT, then on April 9th I’m on annual leave to go to Florida, woohoo.

I’m not sure if this time off work is a good or bad thing – but I honestly feel crap, like if I went to work I’d just be so breathless and choking over my words that at best I’d look stupid and worse I’d have a grand-scale panic.

Even doing basic tasks at home feel like a challenge, I just want to sit on my bed all day because of this stupid breathing/talking thing, just feel like my body is screaming “I’m not well!!”

Can breathlessness from anxiety REALLY be this bad?


Honestly this is just straight forward – bog standard – common as muck panic  🙂

I KNOW It is horrible – I have been there

I did have that choking on words thing but mostly my similar symptom was suddenly feeling like i was in another universe altogether whilst sitting drinking tea with anyone

and it felt like I would NEVER come out of it

it scared the life out of me – and it happened again and again and again

the thing is you KNOW it happens MOSTLY when you are talking to someone

I doubt if it happens much if you just talk to yourself in your room

it IS CLEARLY panic

so what do you DO???


work out a plan – as if you had a fear of dogs

stop thinking it is any different

this scares you which is causing it to happen

You need to first of all work out SOME situation or person with whom you can practice this

for instance your mum or friend

in order to increase the anxiety read from a book or pretend you are giving a lecture – something that feels scary even in front of a friend

then create a fear hierarchy

and REPEATEDLY practice GRADUATED Exposure with this situation – even if it just means allowing yourself to experience the FULL horribleness of it MANY MANY times so it becomes boring like a movie u watched too many times

Write down all your fears about this problem

restructure them 


so – a fear might be “I will not be able to talk and the person will think I am weird / sick / basket case / …….”

Restructure in as many ways as you can

“Ok that would be horrible and embarrassing but it wouldnt be th eend of my life – even if I lost my job – who knows maybe I am meant to – this is not my fault – I’m not a bad person – I’m not weak – I have anxiety – this happens to many many people around the world – so what if I choke up and cant speak – that is just waht would be in that moment – if someone ELSE did that with ME ok I might think they have a problem but I wouldn’t judge them for ever and think they are horrible I would just be concerned for them….. etc etc

write as MANY things to DEcastrophise this as you can

and you CAN

so – DO it – MAKE Yourself choke up – do it OFTEN

get USED to the feeling

PROVE that it happens when u feel anxious

practice restructuring thoughts and letting go

LAUGH at yourself

make it silly

I know this is tough – I really do – but this is your path – you cant go back and you cany bury your head in the sand

This WILL pass 🙂

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