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The lonely journey of anxiety - loosen the tight grip of fear. Support, friendliness thread.

(897 Posts)
Aintgotnosoapbox Fri 14-Jul-17 00:39:46

Hello. I have been suffering with various forms of anxiety over the last year, and have had the tight grip of fear - at times all pervading and almost existential, at other times just transient and anticipatory, which has led to a lot of feelings of being closed up, strained, and losing connection with others. When this happens I get a certain type of chest sensation which feels like pure fear. Sometimes, I am tired and can't tolerate it. Other times, I feel free and in control of it .
My antidote to all of this is connection, mindfulness, self care and various other techniques I have learned along the journey.
What I have also learned is that anxiety states are very lonely fearful places to be so I would really welcome anyone , whether well emotionally, psychologically, mentally, or unwell emotionally, psychologically or mentally, to come onto the thread when they can with a hello, a message or a moan about their day, and maybe we will feel better and get better together.
I was given a lovely compliment today, that I have very good social skills, and make others feel better and empathise. I'm not perfect, in fact have had the most tremendous struggle recently, but am starting to feel alive again.
Come and join me in a path to wellness and connection. Life is short, let's beat this anxiety together.

Laniakea Fri 14-Jul-17 09:27:05

"at times all pervading and almost existential, at other times just transient and anticipatory, which has led to a lot of feelings of being closed up, strained, and losing connection with others. "

That is sadly familiar.

I was diagnosed with GAD in my early 20s, I've had it since puberty though, then post- natal OCD which has at times been intolerable, and for the last 7/8 years it has morphed into health anxiety (a lot of it focused in my children). My mother & her mother both have/had anxiety disorders. I left my career because of it, there isn't a part of my life that hasn't been tainted by it. I don't want to pass it on to my children, but already one has ASD & is a anxious person & another is starting to show anxiety symptoms.

It is just exhausting. Being alive in a constant state of fear is just exhausting.

Aintgotnosoapbox Sat 15-Jul-17 08:43:04

Hi Laniakea, sorry for the delay - I was in work yesterday. Thankyou for your reply, Good to hear from you.
I'm sorry to hear about your long struggle with anxiety. It can be so restricting and wearing.
I agree with you that when it is there for a while it is so exhausting, after about a day or two, if I can't shake it I cry or feel like crying from sheer frustration. I constantly have to push myself to achieve at my work, in particular, and even though I do that I get terribly anxious about some more challenging aspects of my work, and also I have difficulty deciding what is the correct career path for me as I often want to pull back and unwittingly self sabotage.
Today I am calm, though I don't know if you are the same, but I also tend to ' check through' events afterwards which is what I am doing today.
It is possible to overcome fears - I used to be scared to sleep overnight alone in the house, now I no longer am. I do find anxiety returns in different forms though, and I am still in the process of trying to reduce it through therapy. My poor brain is just constantly looking for threat.
I think it's a difficult problem to describe, anxiety isn't like feeling worried cognitively, it's more like a sense of fear and unease, rising to panic if severe. I also find after anxiety my mood feels low, it's so unpleasant to experience.

Aintgotnosoapbox Sat 15-Jul-17 08:54:54

Just to clarify from my OP, I'm not suggesting it's a fault to struggle- it's ok to struggle, and in addition I'm definitely not perfect, though it's lovely to have received these recent compliments.

Aintgotnosoapbox Sat 15-Jul-17 17:32:36

Anyone else struggling with anxiety today ..

unikorn Sat 15-Jul-17 20:02:09

I've had it for 3.5 years. All of it: GAD, panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety, performance anxiety, health anxiety, OCD.

The hardest part is the acting to everyone around me that I'm ok. The internal voice is always beating me up with anticipatory anxiety, mental images, worst case what-ifs.

According to my family, I'm "better". If only they knew that every morning starts evaluating bodily sensations, or when I am feeling ok, questioning why I feel different. Every situation I plan my escape route, frequently duck out of plans knowing full well it expands the anxiety.

It's lonely, isolating, mentally and physically exhausting.

GreyCloudsToday Sat 15-Jul-17 20:10:05


I'm trying to deal with my anxiety with the help of a therapist. I've just starting seeing her but it's been an interesting journey so far. Plus I have been reading some interesting books. I have learned I am a maladaptive perfectionist with lots of impostor feelings. Lots going wrong in my life for the past two years has really sent me off the rails. Postnatal anxiety, relationship problems, job problems and most recently depression. I'm starting to come out the other side and hoping to deal with some of the root causes as well as new strategies to stay afloat.

Would be nice to share some experiences.

velmadinkly Sun 16-Jul-17 08:49:37


I'm currently in a loop of anxiety and anxious feelings. I had health anxiety about 20 years ago and it took about 18 months for me to feel more myself. When I reflect back I had my first anxiety / panic attack when I was 8 or 9. On and off over the past 20 years i've had odd occasions where ive felt anxious, but over the past 4 or 5 months the anxiety has been crippling at times. The pinnacle was just before Easter where I became detached from my surroundings and people and I was in a grip of worrying /being anxious that I now longer loved DH (we've been married nearly 11 years, but together 25 years) even there is absolutely no reason why this would be the case because nothing has changed other than we have less time to spend together because DH started a new job a year ago and a degree course. We still get on really well and enjoy each others company, but I've now got to the stage where I'm over analysing everything we say or do I relation to my feelings an emotions at that point.

I have my first talk therapy at the end of the month to see what or how they can help because when I went to the GP we aren't sure whether I should be treated for anxiety or beareavement or a bit of both. My Mam died very suddenly nearly 2 years ago after she had been made severely disabled after a brain haemorrhage.

I also have a high alert state at work and I worry that people are going to make complaints about my work, things I've done or said etc.

On advice of my GP I've been working through Moodgym the online resource, which has subsequently become no longer free for new users, but free for current users until December. The past week has had a grip on me again, so I've decided to buy myself a notebook and write down my learnings from Moodgym. I'm hopefully goung to use the notebook as a sort of mental diary.

I have a DD who is 8 and I'm concerned that she has now started to notice that there is something wrong with me. We are going on our annual family 2 weeks away today and I've got some subconscious anxiety happening today where I'm worrying me and DH aren't going to get on as we usually do and it will become a self fulfilling prophecy where It confirms that I don't love him anymore even though I know us not getting on isn't likely. I'm worried i'll pull away as a self protection mechanism and make my anxiety over the situation worse because one will feed the other iykwim. I feel on the edge of tears. I'm gojng to keep repeating the following quotes I fohnd to hel myself;

"Don't believe everything you think" and "worrying doesn't take away tomorrow's troubles. It takes away today's peace."

I should have internet access while I'm away, so I might pop in and out to the thread, but I'm also trying to move away from using the surfing of the net and forums as a mental release rather than actively focussing on tackling the problem rather than tackling it.

velmadinkly Sun 16-Jul-17 08:53:41

To make it clear my Mam's brain haemorrhage was in 2011 and i don't think I truly came to understand or accept what had happened and she died in 2015.

Foundwantingalways Sun 16-Jul-17 09:04:22

Many of you have described how I feel on a daily basis.

Aintgotnosoapbox Sun 16-Jul-17 12:32:05

Welcome to Found, Vel, Grey, unikorn, Thankyou for sharing your stories of anxiety. Anxiety disorders are common, but most are short lived / temporary. There is hope for us.
I have to charge my I pad as it's about to expire and will post properly shortly smile
Hope we all have a calm, mindful day. I plan to try to get a short walk in the rain on the beach. I find when there is a breeze, or rain, or beautiful surroundings, mindfulness is so easy, I just breathe and enjoy the sensory experience, as my thoughts come and go. Sometimes I identify my thoughts and feelings as , anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, itprritation, and then when I breathe out I let the go say on a cloud in the sky.
I also do colour breathing sometimes, so I breathe in blue or green for calm, envisage my body full of green / blue, and breathe out blue or balck, letting those negative feelings go.Im goin to do that today. Another thing I am doing at the moment is facing a fear/ avoided thing each day, for eg bills I have put off. Wish me luck with that one !!
Peace to everyone smile

Aintgotnosoapbox Sun 16-Jul-17 12:34:05

Sorry, breathe in green, or whatever colour you feel is calming, breathe out dark blue/ black or whatever colour naturally feels like a negative emotion to you.

velmadinkly Sun 16-Jul-17 13:08:42

Thank you for the welcome aint. WE are about to set off for the airport.
It's really strange because today I have the anxiety regarding DH when im by myself, but as soon as I'm with him it kind of abated because he is just being the same old him.
I just keep telling myself that the anxiety is not real and fits with the Emotional Reasoning explanation on the Early thoughts guide on Moodgym, which is, ' thinking that how you feel inside reflects the true reality.
My anxiety is that I worry that it's all over for us when I don't want it to be, which is absolute madness when you see it written in black and white. DH has given now indication that he's unhappy in the relationship, I'm aware my emotions are not 100% so can't really be trusted so I can't really trust any anxious thoughts I have regarding the relationship, which is 'do I still love him?'

velmadinkly Sun 16-Jul-17 13:28:52

I also know that anxiety can make you distance yourself from your loved ones. Im going to focus on us having a good time rather than the what if's

unikorn Sun 16-Jul-17 13:44:38

What's worse for you? The physical symptoms (I think I've experienced close to 100 different one beyond the "standard" palpitations/sweating etc, some really weird disconcerting ones, or the mental ones?

Physical for me every time. Health anxiety is the worst for me.

Aintgotnosoapbox Sun 16-Jul-17 13:46:55

Hi Vel, is it about being ' certain' or ' sure' about the relationship, as in a sort of self doubt( doubt is anxiety's alter ego I think) , and about tolerating uncertainty?
If I am in this situation I try to think, well a relationship is fluid, I can use my communication skills, assertiveness skills, my self reassurance and self love to help me. A relationship is a sort of two way constant exchange, with vulnerability, and yes a commitment but always a slight uncertainty. Care for yourself , be your own friend. I think it's common to be a bit insecure and anxious in relationships, but that insecurity can be built on with self compassion and in therapy. I don't know if that makes any sort of sense- I have had insecurity issues in friendships following the onset of this anxiety which I have spent a lot of time working on. It's about sort of owning my own self , loving myself. I also find it helpful to think what is the worst case scenario, because I used to find I avoided that thought, but once I thought it, it was out there more in the open and I could handle it better. Please ignore if this sharing is not helpful smile
Are you going on holiday- if so, look after yourself, take it easy and try to enjoy smile

Aintgotnosoapbox Sun 16-Jul-17 13:53:53

Vel- sorry, just re read your post. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum, that must have been very traumatic and I would imagine it could be a cause of your anxiety. When I had bereavements, I became highly alert and anxious for more losses. It's so hard.
I hope the talking therapy will help unravel all of this for you .
I wish you well, try and enjoy day by day on your holiday and post when you can smile

GreyCloudsToday Sun 16-Jul-17 15:36:26

Learning a lot today about perfectionism, what types there are, where I fit. No magic solutions of course, but many ways to reorient thoughts. It's nice to think of a future me that might be happier and that I'm working towards that.

NotaPantsTroll Sun 16-Jul-17 17:13:24

I am tentatively coming to join you if I may. Had post-natal anxiety and a couple of other times when on AD. Never really explored in depth by GP - just the generic "Stress/Depression/Anxiety".

I have never been "depressed" imvho - but anxiety - yes. Can trace back why. Have had counselling. It helped. Knowing why helps. A bit But when it grabs you again and grips you - knowing why doesn't always help you hit the stupid mindracing thoughts away.

Mine seems to really, really be triggered these days the day/two days after having drunk alcohol. Have been OK for a few months (not really drinking anything) and had a weekend party (last weekend) and a couple of nights out this week. Anxiety now through the roof. Going over old shit (and current shit) like picking scabs. Mind whirring. Heart racing.

Seems a simple solution - to quit drinking. But as a social crutch that is a scary thought. (BTW never really drink to excess - am talking one or two small glasses or wine or a couple of beers).

Seems fucking unfair tbh.

And flowers to you all for having this too. It is shit isn't it?

Aintgotnosoapbox Sun 16-Jul-17 21:48:15

hi all, just feeling a little bit anxious this evening, somehow triggered by something on my trip out for a walk to the beach today. I agree, even when you understand where it comes from, it doesn't stop it coming back. And then it seems to stay for a few hours etc.
Most important thing to remember is it will go.
Am enjoying reading everyone's posts, will post properly when I feel a little better.

velmadinkly Sun 16-Jul-17 22:51:33

I'm here and while I was waiting for the plane I read a free kindle book titled Anxiety Management by Mike Mitchell. It was really good and explained actions and activities to help reduce, control and eliminate anxiety. I've highlighted lots within the text and a sentence that hit me and has had a calming effect on me and it is, "Most anxious thoughts are actually assumptions or exaggerated reactions to situations." Another which has focussed my mind is, "When you feel anxious, you are surrounded by thoughts of fear, threat, and avoidance." Which in my mind I've related to the fact that I fear something is wrong in the relationship (with no grounds to support this thought) therefore I avoid the relationship if that makes sense.
After I read this section of the text I felt a sort of relief in that I had been told that what I was thinking was absolute nonsense and I'd been given permission to agree with the details in the text.
Hopefully, I wake up tomorrow on a much more even keel.
Stay strong everyone. I know it will come to an end at some point because it did before, I'm just tired of it at the moment.

Aintgotnosoapbox Mon 17-Jul-17 00:03:44

Hello Vel, glad you found the kindle book helpful. Avoiding what makes us anxious is a big problem. Sometimes I don't want to go to work on a particularly challenging day, and I have to force myself to do so.
I am a lot better, but have not got to the point where I can ' run with it' again at work , and enjoy it. Also new challenges, new difficulties or criticism either real, implied or even imagined, can set me back to thinking I just can't do it.
I had a lovely beach walk today. I have a meeting tomorrow with the person who will shorty be my new boss. Not sure how much, if anything, to say.
Sleep well all

GreyCloudsToday Mon 17-Jul-17 14:30:48

That sounds so familiar Soapbox! It's what I'm working on too. The beach walk sounds lovely, and good luck with your new boss.

So glad the book was good Vel. I'm just reading this and have ordered this.

velmadinkly Mon 17-Jul-17 18:38:37

I had a bad start to the day. I ended up writing a few pages in my book about my current focus for my anxiety (why is it that it focusses on one thing then moves onto another and then back again?), which is the relationship thing as well as highlighting the other anxiety triggers, being something happening to my Dad, getting I'll with a vomiting bug even though im not emetophonic and fear if being 'told off at work. I ended up sobbing to relieve the anxious tension. DH heard and came in, I told him what I was doing and I said I would like him to read it. I don't know if that was be a good thing, but I need him to continue, or even more so, to engage with me, such as just chatting about stuff, us, him, etc., to provide the stimulus to prove my thoughts wrong.
After I cried i felt much better, still not 100%, but I've got through the day.
I've been to the gym in the hotel. I use exercise as a mental release and also because I love the feeling I get when I go hard at the exercise, it makes me appreciate my bodies ability to move even though at present I have less than 100% control if my mind.

Aintgotnosoapbox Mon 17-Jul-17 19:00:38

I can relate to that, after feeling anxious for some time, I get worn down and often cry out of frustration and tension.

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