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Anxiety ruining everything

(27 Posts)
Funnyfishface Thu 08-Oct-20 18:55:36

I have suffered with anxiety for 13 years. I am now 53.

I am 6 years out of an abusive marriage (25 years) which is the probable cause. I have a lovely new partner, two grown up sons and granddaughter and lots of good friends. I have a job which I love but anxiety is ruining everything.

I dread everything. I catastrophise and ruminate constantly. I am becoming a hermit. Even before Covid I constantly cancelled planned. I let people down. I don’t look forward to anything. Thus constant worrying is absolutely exhausting.

Some examples of worries I have developed. I am scared to drive especially on motorways in case of traffic jams. I am scared to eat certain foods in case I get sick. I am scared to travel on a train in case it breaks down or worse gets stuck in a tunnel. I get toilet anxiety. I don’t travel far from home. If it wasn’t for my job I would be agoraphobic. The list goes on

I am missing out on living. I miss the old me and I am having very dark thoughts.
I have tried cbt, hypnosis, medication, sertraline (been off meds 4 years) . My gp has prescribed escitalopram but I’m terrified to start it.

Has anyone got any words of advice

OP’s posts: |
cheeseychovolate Thu 08-Oct-20 19:00:11

I was like this, it overtakes everything. I started medication and feel a lot better for it. I'm now on a low dose of sertraline, have you considered going back on that if you're unsure of starting the new one?

LadyFannyButton Thu 08-Oct-20 19:05:47

I recognise myself in your post -I’ve also had CBT & hypnosis and I do take antidepressants.

I have to say my life was brilliant when I was on citalopram (Escitalopram I think is newer?). It was only when they changed and lowered the maximum dosage allowed that I had to come off it and change to something else that my life has gone down hill. 10 years & on my 3rd or 4th new med and I’m now basically a hermit and terrified of everything. I wish they had left me on citalopram.

The medication is worth a try because this is no life sad

cheeseychovolate Thu 08-Oct-20 19:10:41


I love your username! 😂

theyips Thu 08-Oct-20 19:17:47

I’ve been like this for 20 years, now I’m 40 and feel angry that my life has been such a waste. Obviously there have been times where it hasn’t all been so intense and I have a DH and DC but it has stopped me from living a full life, from ever having a career or even a stable job.
At the moment my anxiety is focussed on my health and is all consuming. I am having group therapy (online, nhs) and take fluoxetine which has made my thoughts race less but I still get all the physical symptoms of anxiety. I wish there was a cure for us, I really do, I feel like I’ve tried everything. It’s no way to live flowers

LadyFannyButton Thu 08-Oct-20 19:24:47

@cheeseychovolate I love Ghosts and needed a NC so it seemed the perfect choice grin

Funnyfishface Thu 08-Oct-20 19:30:19

I’m so sorry that you are suffering too.

The start up side effects put me off starting any med. I did try going back on sertraline but gave up. And it’s not a magic pill. When I was on it I still had anxiety. I was on citalopram for a year then sertraline for 4 years. I gave diazepam for emergencies which funnily enough I can tolerate without any side effects at all. However the gp doesn’t like giving it because of its addictive qualities.

I know I need to try something.

Thank you for your replies.
I so wish i could get a handle on it.

OP’s posts: |
Funnyfishface Thu 08-Oct-20 19:32:34


I recognise myself in your post -I’ve also had CBT & hypnosis and I do take antidepressants.

I have to say my life was brilliant when I was on citalopram (Escitalopram I think is newer?). It was only when they changed and lowered the maximum dosage allowed that I had to come off it and change to something else that my life has gone down hill. 10 years & on my 3rd or 4th new med and I’m now basically a hermit and terrified of everything. I wish they had left me on citalopram.

The medication is worth a try because this is no life sad


OP’s posts: |
QuiteGood Thu 08-Oct-20 19:48:51

Have you ever tried venlafaxine? I find it amazing.

There were no start up side effects. I’ve been on paroxetine in the past and couldn’t get past day 3. The only thing with venlafaxine is it’s impossible to get off. Apparently it works well on people who don’t respond to other drugs.

I’m on a tiny dose now. I exercise quite a bit which helps lots. I’m always busy. Have done cbt and found it fantastic. However with cbt it’s very common to need to repeat it because it’s easy to slip back. Many people need to repeat cbt therapy and that is fine. Did it work for you at all? If it didn’t can you honestly say you did the homework? I’ve come to the conclusion recently that to change takes an enormous amount of self discipline and commitment. So committing to cbt techniques & forcing yourself to do the thing you don’t want to do and keeping that diary. Doing it every day. Doing mindfulness every day. If there’s something that distracts you - doing that.

I’ve had a few courses of hypnotherapy and it just didn’t work at all. I think some people can’t be hypnotised & I’m one of them.

Kindnessandcourage Thu 08-Oct-20 20:19:27

I just finished reading Dare. I personally found the app and recordings most helpful may be have a go and see if it resonates with you. It's nice that you have a job that you love and seems like you have a good support network. You will get through this.flowersbrewflowers

Funnyfishface Thu 08-Oct-20 20:22:24

No not tried venlafaxine

The cbt I do think helps to a degree. Challenging avoidance was hard but worked, however as you say you have to keep doing it. So the motorway driving for instance I would manage it but then wouldn’t need to do it again for a while. And each time I am back to square one. I am sure if u was travelling on the motorway everyday I would feel more relaxed. But that is just one aspect of my anxiety. There are too many to address I fear.

I do listen to mindfulness or podcasts every day.

I used to exercise until I had a panic attack in a spin class which freaked me out. I then went to a personal trainer for 1to1 training. It was productive but not something I can honestly say I enjoy. If I get too hot it triggers a panic/anxiety

I have spent so long researching the science behind anxiety and knowing what is happening and why is helpful but I still can’t switch it off.
Not sure now how much is menopausal either.

OP’s posts: |
Funnyfishface Thu 08-Oct-20 20:23:38

I have the dare book and app - I do find that helpful

I like his podcasts/audios

Thank you x

OP’s posts: |
JuiceyBetty Thu 08-Oct-20 20:26:17

Hi OP I can relate so much to your worries, they are mine too. I recommend trying different meds as it’s worth the short term side effects for longer term gain.

Funnyfishface Thu 08-Oct-20 20:56:23

Thanks Juicy - I can’t see another way unfortunately xx

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Funnyfishface Fri 09-Oct-20 09:31:33

Health anxiety has kicked in today. I will try and focus on getting out of the house for some fresh air. And limit the news !

How are you all coping

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pinkyponkywonky Fri 09-Oct-20 11:50:23

Escitalopram changed my life ! I had all of your anxieties and became agoraphobic and also had that dreadful "toilet" issue which was debilitating in the extreme as I constantly felt that I needed to be near a bathroom.
I can honestly that that having been on meds for over 15 has changed me. It's brilliant ! Plus, I keep myself busy which works well as I know that if I'm bored, I could possibly go down hill.
Go for it !!

user128472578267 Fri 09-Oct-20 12:01:00

You're quite clearly traumatised. Have you been treated for that?

Generic anxiety therapies are only going to be limited in their efficacy. It's like putting a plaster on a wound that actually needs cleaning and then stitches - hardly surprising if it became infected and didn't heal.

If you had trauma therapy you would be much more likely to make decent headway. Trying to treat anxiety symptoms without addressing the root cause which is that you're traumatised is going to continue to leave you stuck.

A lot of the thought challenging in generic CBT can cause more harm than good in someone who has been traumatised by abuse - it feeds the belief that it's your fault / weakness / wrong mindset, when actually it was the abuser's fault and trauma's fault.

A really important part of trauma therapy is to be able to identify what happened to you as wrong, not your fault, and to be able to make sense of your reactions as a natural response so that you can be compassionate to yourself and respond to your feelings in helpful ways.

Generic CBT teaches you to ignore your trauma reactions and ignore your feelings instead of processing them so that your brain can come out of threat state/survival mode and you can feel safe in the world again. It's really not helpful.

user128472578267 Fri 09-Oct-20 12:06:18

If I get too hot it triggers a panic/anxiety

That sounds like a trauma response.

Trauma disconnects you from your body. When you exercise and/or your body warms up, it suddenly forces all these bodily sensations into your awareness that normally you're disconnected from. And then panic attacks / flashbacks arrive.

Have you ever looked at trauma sensitive yoga? It helps you to reconnect with your body and feel safe within it again. There's a book called Recovering from trauma through yoga by David Emerson that's good.

user128472578267 Fri 09-Oct-20 12:07:33

Oh, and the general evidence base would suggest that being able to reconnect with your body in safe ways helps to soothe your central nervous system too.

QuiteGood Fri 09-Oct-20 12:22:55

Yes the trauma of your marriage is probably the root cause and perhaps you are stuck in fight or flight mode. I was in an abusive relationship too but 30 ish years ago & that’s when my anxiety manifested. I probably already had it but it went into orbit at that point and It has stayed around ever since but to a much lesser degree for many reasons. The poster’s points above make a lot of sense. Medication won’t get to the nub of it but it can give you a lot of relief.

Funnyfishface Fri 09-Oct-20 19:00:05

Thank you for your suggestions - I will take a look at the yoga you have mentioned.

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Funnyfishface Sun 01-Nov-20 16:50:58

Still struggling and still not been brave enough to start the medication

How is everyone else coping

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ssd Mon 02-Nov-20 08:16:14

Hi op. I've got a packet if unopened setraline in my drawer. I'm too scared to start it too. Or I'm not convinced it's for me. I use propranolol when I get too anxious. But I worry all the time too. It's endless and exhausting.

ssd Mon 02-Nov-20 08:16:34

I'm your age too.

Funnyfishface Mon 02-Nov-20 13:16:14

Ssd - sorry you are struggling too.

What are you worrying about just now

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