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I need help to deal with this anxiety - preferably natural

(26 Posts)
sillygiraffe Sat 17-Oct-15 10:51:07

I admit that I have a problem with anxiety/depression. I must have because of the way I stress over one thing after another. Currently its my teen dd but there is always something not too far from the surface. I am sick of being anxious over things I have said/done which any other person would just shrug off and get on with things. And worrying about things that "might" happen. Its like my brain just has to give me something to worry about or it doesnt feel right.

I know I will be advised to go to the gp, where I know I will be prescribed anti depressants, but I have been down that route before and they didnt help much. I feel as if I should be able to sort myself out. I also dont think counselling would work as I dont think they can tell me anything I dont already know and I dont think I would engage in it enough to make it work.

I am also so ashamed of myself and dont want to admit in real life whats going on. I know you shouldnt be but I am. I put on a front so folks do not realise but inside I am churning. It tends to come in waves as well. I will be ok for a while and then something sets me off. This year its been constant confrontations with dd that are wearing me down.

I know I am just going through a bad patch at the moment and that it will pass but I was just looking for suggestions about how to tackle this in a natural way. Any vitamins I could top up on, herbal stuff or great books that anyone recommends?

Tinfoiled Sat 17-Oct-15 11:01:14

I am on a waiting list for CBT which is likely to be a few months. In the meantime I'm trying to get out for a walk every day, and using a mindfulness app (Google Headspace). Website called GetSelfHelp is quite good too. And I've heard that St John's Wort can be good for low mood (never used it myself though and it can interfere with the contraceptive pill if you're on it).

sillygiraffe Sun 18-Oct-15 13:53:31

Thank you for replying. I am kidding myself really. If there were natural remedies out there that worked then there would be no need for medication. I know that but I was hopeful.
I've tried various things over the years. A kind lady in the chemist once told me that kalms were great, better than Valium she said. Did nothing for me sad

Igelei Sun 18-Oct-15 14:10:29

Can I just ask whether you have caffeine at all? As in tea, coffee, chocolate? Coca cola?

NanaNina Sun 18-Oct-15 14:44:41

I think the thing that's striking me in your post giraffe is that you are ashamed of how you feel. I suffer from intermittent depression (which can be severe) and anxiety to a much lesser extent. But I also feel ashamed and I think that's because of the stigma of mental illness that is alive and well in the 21st century.

I wouldn't close the door on counselling if I were you - you say there "isn't anything more they can tell you that you don't already know" but counselling isn't about the counsellor "telling you things" - it's about the counsellor providing the opportunity for you to talk about what's going on in your life (possibly something from the past) or present. Anxiety is fear and sometimes it's possible to unravel that fear and get to a calmer place. I'm wondering if your last experience of counselling wasn't a good one, as you say you don't think you will engage sufficiently for it to work. It isn't really a question of it "working" or curing your anxiety, but shedding a little more light on the underlying causes of the anxiety and getting some strategies for coping.

Did this anxiety start way back in childhood? I get anxious in a particular situation and with the help of a counsellor I traced it back to my mother getting anxious in that situation and inadvertently passing it on to me. Messages we get in childhood are very powerful and tend to stay with us in our adult life.

GPs often prescribe propranol for anxiety though do prescribe ADs too. As far as natural remedies go you could try St. John's Wart which suits some people. Yoga and mindfulness/meditation are meant to help alleviate anxiety too.

stablemabel Sun 18-Oct-15 16:15:54

You sound quite like me Giraffe, esp worrying over a teen DD, yes to that!!
It's so hard not to worry, sometimes I think 'wouldn't it be great not to have anything to feel worried about/stress over today' but then I also think that I could do it if I wanted to to and just say 'sod it I'm going to calm down today'. It's like learning anything new, you need to know the skills of how to do it. Perhaps a good book on it?

sillygiraffe Sun 18-Oct-15 16:38:04

I drink maybe two coffees a day and do love chocolate but don't eat loads. I know caffeine is to be avoided with anxiety.
I don't know what is at the root of all this. I have had no childhood traumas or anything that could have set it off but I have worried about things more than is normal for maybe 25 years. It became worse after ds was born 18 years ago and I've been through awful periods of health anxiety where I wound myself up over symptoms (real not imagined) and this was interspersed with worry over things that had happened/would happen. There is always a reason for my anxiety. I am never just anxious for no reason. Or maybe I am and to justify being anxious my brain gives me a reason.
I do find it helps talking. Just writing this helps so that tells me I do need to talk about it. But I really don't want to go to the gp and admit this. I am embarrassed about it.

sillygiraffe Sun 18-Oct-15 16:41:45

And I am unfairly in my head blaming dd for making me feel like this when its not her, its me. She is doing normal teenage stuff (going out all the time, no school work etc) but nothing bad that I know of (fingers crossed).

dippyeggy Sun 18-Oct-15 16:55:28

I am exactly the same! Always something churning away in my head, most recent and persistent worry has been my DS, before that it was work related.

When I think about it I have been a big worrier since childhood. It's a tough habit to break.

I have tried antidepressants but they ramped the anxiety up to a point I couldn't cope with and made me very ill. Beta blockers helped a little.

I have read a lot about mindfulness and watched lots of youtube clips about it, Noah Elkrief does some good ones. When I am really in the grip of anxiety though I find it very tough to put any of it into practice.

My worst symptoms are a complete loss of appetite for days on end which leaves me feeling weak and crap and insomnia/broken sleep.

Anxiety is bloody awful, I'm still battling with it. I just keep reminding myself that the bad bouts do always pass and I've got through them before and I will do it again (and again and again and again if necessary)

Igelei Sun 18-Oct-15 16:57:03

I'm not immediately going to say, Oh it's the coffee. But I do find if I have caffeine I can get extremely anxious extremely quickly.

I had horrible panic attacks until a couple of years ago really, when I just stopped having caffeine most of the time. I have decaf tea, no coffee, and sometimes chocolate but I notice when I do that it sends my 'alert' level up pretty much straight away.

I think this is what a lot of people value it for. The trouble is, being a stimulant, and a toxin, it makes you produce adrenalin which then triggers a mental response - obviously your body and brain are keyed up to 'fight or flight' status and they have nowhere to go, and this can make you very alert and also anxious.

It hasn't got rid of the depression, which comes and goes, especially hormonally, but it has made a vast difference to my state of mind in general. I had CBT which also helped a lot, I think, specifically in terms of the panic attacks. There are some tools you can learn from that sort of thing.

So before you take anything extra, I would consider trying no caffeine for a week or two. Go down gradually, as you'll probably get a shocking headache if you cut it out immediately, but then try for a week or two without it and see if it makes a difference.

I've always hated the idea of ADs and I'm certainly not a health nut but this worked pretty well for me.

Igelei Sun 18-Oct-15 16:59:56

Btw sugar isn't great either but caffeine, for me, is the big one.

sillygiraffe Sun 18-Oct-15 17:42:49

Thanks. I might try the no caffeine idea. Anything is worth a try.

dippyeggy I know what you mean. I lose my appetite as well. Its good for the waistline but you also feel week and jittery which isn't good.
I really think it helps me to talk about what's worrying me. But the problem is I want to talk about it all the time and don't want to burden my friends, DH and particularly DM who I would always go to first. But I don't think its fair on her/them to be whinging all the time. They'd soon get fed up with this. I'm always talking about dd at the moment and I'm sure my friends are not interested. They have their own issues.

Maybe its a control thing. I can't control the things I worry about. I cant control what might happen in the future. Dd is 16 and won't be told what to do. Likewise health issues. I cannot control them. Symptoms come and go. When they come, they run their course but other than taking medication if appropriate, its not really in my hands. Sorry I'm rambling

dippyeggy Sun 18-Oct-15 20:01:39

I understand the wanting to talk and talk about things, it is good to unload but I usually find there is little that anyone says that comforts me anyway.

Sometimes I just wish I could peek into the future and know how everything turns out.

I'm sure that even if the worst of my fears turned out to be true that it couldn't feel much worse than the anxiety does at times anyway. It's like I'm suffering before something happens and then suffering again if/when it does happen.

sillygiraffe Sun 18-Oct-15 20:55:48

I always feel better talking about things. It usually calms me down.

I agree that its the fear of the unknown. I imagine things to be so much worse. Worrying about something will not change what is going to happen in the future so why put ourselves through all this anguish now. And I worry about stupid things as well that are never ever likely to happen except in my brain. Why do we do it?

dippyeggy Sun 18-Oct-15 21:07:11

If we could figure it out we could be millionaires!

My DH rarely worries about anything, he just takes everything in his stride. I would give anything to be like that.

Have you ever tried beta - blockers? They are quite helpful for the physical symptoms and I didn't get side effects like with anti - d's.

I feel like anxiety has made me live half a life really, I now only manage to work very part time from home, have held on to few friendships and just rarely sit back and enjoy life. It's shit

AWONI Tue 20-Oct-15 11:34:34

I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. I have had awful problems in the past and have had a lot of support from my gp (haven't used ADs tho they were offered)but what has really helped has been the following:
High dose fish oils - at least 250mg of EPA and DHA but there have been studies using 1000mg of EPA with good results.
Vitamin D - 3000-4000IU per day
A good broad multivitamin/mineral just to cover your bases!
Exercise - couch to 5k is brilliant but just getting out for a walk is amazing for your mind.
I've recently started taking magnesium before bed because I was sick of having a pounding heart every time I lay down. So far, the pounding heart has gone. I'm really pleased!

If you want to PM me I'd be happy to tell you more xx

BertieBotts Tue 20-Oct-15 11:37:41

It is worth going back to GP and asking to try a different kind of anti anxiety medication.

As for natural - my mum has found a lot of relief with homeopathy and bach flower remedies. They sell them in Neal's Yard if you have a branch near you and they should have a homeopath on site. I know it's "woo" and such but if you're wanting to try that road first, and you're currently trying nothing, it's worth a look perhaps smile

AnotherEmma Tue 20-Oct-15 11:48:00

"I feel as if I should be able to sort myself out. I also dont think counselling would work as I dont think they can tell me anything I dont already know and I dont think I would engage in it enough to make it work."

I completely disagree with you about all this. You have an illness and shouldn't have to fix it yourself without professional help if that's what you need. No one would expect someone with a broken leg to fix it themselves, would they?!

I also think you should be more open minded about counselling. As a PP said it's not about telling you things you already know. There are lots of different types of therapy but CBT for example can be very effective against anxiety and depression. It's about helping you to challenge your negative thought patterns.

But if you wouldn't engage in it, maybe you're not really ready to tackle your illness and get better?

My advice would be to see your GP and ask about counselling/CBT. You can also look up IAPT services in your area - in my area you can self-refer online or by phone, without having to go through a GP.

There are other things you could do yourself (mindfulness for example) but I think they would be more helpful in conjunction with professional help.

AnotherEmma Tue 20-Oct-15 11:51:21

"I really think it helps me to talk about what's worrying me. But the problem is I want to talk about it all the time and don't want to burden my friends, DH and particularly DM who I would always go to first. But I don't think its fair on her/them to be whinging all the time. They'd soon get fed up with this. I'm always talking about dd at the moment and I'm sure my friends are not interested. They have their own issues."

This is why your anti-counselling stance doesn't make sense. The whole point of a counsellor is having someone to talk to!

Haggisfish Tue 20-Oct-15 12:00:33

I've found a few things really help me but they need commitment to really work best -regular hard exercise really helps; writing things I'm worrying about down. This helps because next year when I'm worrying about things I can see 99% of the things I worried about last year worked out fine. Finally, I ask dh if I can just tell him what us worrying me and we talk about it for fifteen minutes -we've worked together over the years so he knows how best to reassure me snd what not to say!

murphys Tue 20-Oct-15 12:08:31

You could try 5htp Giraffe. And try to get more exercise if you are able.

There was a post about this recently. It certainly isn't going to be overnight cure for anything, but it does help to just lift the clouds a little.

sillygiraffe Tue 20-Oct-15 15:49:17

Thanks. I might give the fish oils etc a try.

As for counselling, you can also self refer in my area but waiting lists are long. I know I am contradicting myself saying I need to talk about things yet seem unwilling to do this. I will talk to friends and family but that is different. When I talk to them I never quite admit how things are affecting me. I'll moan about dd or something but never say just how bad its making me feel. Except to dh who knows what I am like but I don't want to burden him all the time. So I churn things over and over in my head. I feel stupid going to counselling and ashamed because in reality I feel my worries are petty.

I know I need to challenge my negative thought patterns but will I be able to do this having thought this way for so many years? I feel I should stop being so pathetic and sort myself out.

Its a good idea writing things down. I've tried that in the past and it does help.

I am seriously going to consider counselling though.

AnotherEmma Tue 20-Oct-15 16:23:28

I'm really glad you're considering counselling. At risk of sounding like a broken record, it will help you with all this:
"I churn things over and over in my head. I feel stupid going to counselling and ashamed because in reality I feel my worries are petty.
I know I need to challenge my negative thought patterns but will I be able to do this having thought this way for so many years? I feel I should stop being so pathetic and sort myself out."

- Your worries aren't petty
- You're not stupid and pathetic
These thoughts are part of the problem, a counsellor will tell you this and teach you techniques to challenge your negative thought patterns and churning things over and over.

There is also a contradiction is what you say: "will I be able to do this?" and "I should sort myself out". Well, you will be able to sit it with help! But given you haven't managed to fix it yourself after all those years, you probably do need a bit of help. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for it.

AnotherEmma Tue 20-Oct-15 16:25:03

Argh typos!
is in what you say
sit it do it

Haggisfish Tue 20-Oct-15 17:01:48

I have found writing them down dies help. It's also helped me recognise patterns in my anxiety-it's worse in the two or three days before my period and worse if I'm worrying about something big and vague, like money.

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