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Recently I realised I'm a lifelong anxiety sufferer. I worry excessively about work, relationships, people, small details of conversations etc.
Since being made redundant now I worry about getting a job, money etc
I'm always two steps ahead, for example I'll be worrying about being prosecuted for a possible parking ticket even though I haven't received one (and have a copy of a valid permit).
I wonder whether medication may help me? My friends would agree I've had a hard and unlucky past few years (death of close relative, redundancy, divorce etc) and I'm not really interested in counselling.
I just have a feeling of impending doom quite often and wake at 3am several nights a week feeling anxiety and panic.
Any suggestions appreciated!
I've found Mirtazapine has taken the edge off my anxiety, its worth discussing with your GP. If you're not keen on traditional councelling would you consider cbt? I've heard it can be helpful for anxiety and intrusive thought. Its not a type of therapy I've tried myself though.
What helped me was realising what anxiety is and trying to rationalise my thoughts.
Basically anxiety is a response to a threat. It has developed as a result of evolution to keep us safe, by making us act on threats and adapt our behaviour to avoid similar threats in future.
Of course the threats this was meant to keep us safe from were things like: being attacked, being abandoned, going hungry - when these things could literally threaten your survival.
Unfortunately although our survival is now rarely actually threatened, we continue to constantly anticipate and identify threats and respond to these. There is a whole slippery slope going on in our subconscious which we aren't aware of, and you'll probably find that all anxieties ultimately boil down to:
- Fear of death
- Fear of loss of survival resources (usually money)
- Fear of being excluded/abandoned
*Actual consequences of a parking ticket*: a fine, potentially being slightly judged by others.
*Threat to survival from a parking ticket (according to your subconscious)*: loss of key survival resources (money), loss of social standing i.e. potential exclusion.
It's the same for a whole range of common anxiety triggers, e.g. a narky word from your boss may trigger a slippery slope response in which you respond to the threat of being excluded from a key group (work) and losing survival resources (money). Essentially, narky word from boss = I might lose my job = I might not be able to afford to live.
In your case it may be that the recent difficult experiences you've had have made you hyper-vigilant to threats, to the extent where you constantly feel threatened, generating the sense of dread you frequently feel.
You need to learn to identify when these 'slippery slope' thought patterns are happening, interrupt them, and reframe them. Some questions which can help you to break down a situation and reframe are:
- What's happening?
- Why is this making me feel anxious?
- In what way do I feel threatened?
- What if it did happen? Would it be so terrible? What are the actual likely consequences of this situation?
There is a useful app called 'Catch It' which helps you to do this. It prompts you to record your thoughts in the midst of a panic response; you can then return later and record your later thoughts once you were calmer. Comparing them will help you to reframe more easily.
Ultimately reframing is at the core of CBT, so you could also seek the help of a professional to do this, but if you prefer to go it alone, do start to work with some of the processes above, and also google key terms such as 'reframing', 'negative thought processes' and 'threat response' for further resources.
Best of luck
Thanks Sniffle. I found that very interesting and will use it to try to calm my own thoughts. Hope it is useful to you too Sheepdog. 3am is a bad time for me too. I go to bed feeling ok then wake up between 3 and 4 in an absolute uncontrollable panic. I don't even know what I am panicking about! Ads have helped me. You have had so many real life stresses in recent years I think meds might be useful to help restore the brains chemistry. Certainly worth discussing with your gp
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