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Can one stop a cycle of anxiety?


Guest BOYD

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I can feel myself losing control and anxiety moving in. What do you do to

control your thoughts to become rational instead of desperate? Relationship

trouble is lurking and that will not leave me alone. My head is spinning

with worry and I don't even know if there is really something to worry about.

I know I can't control others but feel helpless and crazy in thinking that

all is lost.

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Gads Boyd, I'd like to know that too.  My anxiety has been through the roof too and hasen't been this way for like 10 years.  I did muck w/my meds last year and am back to what I was on b/f now.  I sure would like to be in control of my anxiety.  It sure breaks you down.  Let me know what you find...don't want to be taking xanax for too much longer. 

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I'd like to know what the magic bullet is too.

Ativan (benzo) helps but only temporarily and at a pretty high dose. And if it comes to a crescendo I add Seroquel to the increased Ativan and just sleep for a day. Again only a temporary solution.

I can think good thoughts, think about God and read the Bible etc but it can get to a point where the bad thoughts pile up so fast it's impossible to get out from under them.

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Hi!

Isn't this the million dollar question?

I'm seeing a psychomotoric physiotherapist (or at least I think this is the right title, translated from Norwegian) and she's working from the assumption that what goes on in your mind has an effect on your body. For instance muscles in the lower calves are "anxiety-muscles". Mine are tight as tourniquets...

She recently told me about a new technique to ease anxiety. And there is quite a bit of research behind this. People have been hooked up to EEG's and stuff while doing the exercise, and a visible change in the brain has been noted.

Just sit down on a chair, or your bed, with your feet on the floor. Make sure that your feet have full contact with the floor, and that your calves are perpendicular to the floor as well. Place your hands on your thighs. Then start stomping your left foot three times, then the right foot, then clap you right hand down on the thigh, then your left hand. Picture the movements going in a circle clockwise or anti-clockwise. Left foot, right foot, right hand left hand. And repeat over and over for a few minutes.

According to the therapist who came up with this, these repeated movements makes the brain use four different areas, and this in turn triggers something else. She is going to publish this in a book in a few months, so I'm not sure of the exact mechanisms yet.

I've tried it a few times when riding the subway, but have made the movements much smaller to not draw further attention to myself. (A hint of social fobia doesn't make the anxiety any smaller, and when I want nothing more than to get the f..k away, more attention is not what I want.) So I just arch my foot inside my boots, and tighten and relax my fists instead of stomping and clapping. If it's just the distraction that calms me down or if the excercise really works is of course something that can be discussed...

Take care!

H.

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That is indeed the million dollar question. I have never heard of the technique you described, Justanothernut.  guess it's worth a try. My tdoc as been trying to teach me various relaxation techniques- deep breathing, meditation, positive self-talk..... I do try, but mostly I just feel agitated and annoyed. I can understand on an intellectal level what I am supposed to be doing, and why. I just can't seem to relax enough to actually do it. I intend to keep working on the meditation until I "get" it.

I have been on Wellbutrin for depression since last September. I wasn't sure if it was really doing much, so pdoc upped the dose to 450 mg. That put my anxiety level through the roof! I was not only worrying about everything  (or about nothing) I was irritable as hell too! We cut the WB down to 300 last month and added 10 mg of lexapro, which I think is calming me down a bit. I still have worrisome thoughts, but I don't have as much muscle and jaw tension as I did.

You asked me in another thread how long I have known I had GAD, Boyd. I was only diagnosed about 2 or 3 years ago, but I have always had problems with excessive worry, low self esteem, social phobia. The part that looks like ADD is my lack of organizational skills and procrastination. I am afraid of failure, so I worry and worry about things and don't act until the last moment, thereby doing a slap-dash job of it. Or I will do something, then decide it isn't good enough, and scrap the whole project.

I guess this hasn't been very helpful. I don't have any real answers, but I hope you can get control of your thoughts and turn them in a more positive direction.

~p

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Ah relationships. Now there's something I will never understand. I've been with the same feller practically forever, but that doesn't mean we understand each other. I've "solved" the problem by avoiding it. We don't talk that much. Pathetic, huh?

Oh, the self talk thing-it's basically CBT. Identify the trigger that is making you feel threatened. Gauge how anxious you feel on a scale of 1 to 10. Describe what you are thinking and feeling (emotionally and physically)

Now assess the likelihood of the threat occurring (0% to 100%) If the threat ocurred, how severe would it be (scale of 0 to 100)? What is the available evidence about the actual liklihood? Revise your estimates about the liklihood and severity. It's simple enough, but it only works for me half the time.

Your relationship problems are probably not quite as hopeless as you fear, and I highly doubt you are the loser you feel you are.

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things that help me:

-meditation

-progressive muscle relaxation (speaking of the 1970's)

-a type of journaling sorta like what praxis described, but more in-depth that is from DBT

-other DBT "skills" like mindfulness, and emotion regulation... this site shows some of what i mean.  (i'm god awful at explaining it, unfortunatley.  then again, it did take a year to learn, so maybe that's why i can't explan it in one sentence?)

-exercise (once your leg is better, of course.  i'm partial to pilates b/c it involves a lot of mental concentration.  people seem to like yoga for simmilar reasons, but really any physical exercise is so good for anxiety.)

since you have GAD, you should really get into meditation.  it's great.  I think the book The Miracle of Mindfulness is an amazing book.  it shows how meditation and mindfullness can help us lessen emotional pain and lead better lives. almost everyone i know who's read it reccomends it. 

did you ever find a therapist?  you may want to find one that can teach you some CBT (but will probably want one that does more than CBT, esp. if your anxiety is super triggered by relationship issues.)

take care

penny

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Oh the needle and the damage done.

I've been wondering what the hell is wrong with me for as long as I can remember. Felt outcast at home, at school, at work, among my idiot neighbors. At times I have really wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. Other times I just say fuck'em, why would I want to be like those bastards? 

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This is gonna sound dumb, but i don't get mindfulness. It seems a bit like escapism, but maybe that's the point. Is it just that it's better to think of the small things around you than to obsess over things you can't change? A lot of the things I obsess over are things I actually could change if I were more motivated and less fearful of failure or of change.

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This is gonna sound dumb, but i don't get mindfulness. It seems a bit like escapism, but maybe that's the point. Is it just that it's better to think of the small things around you than to obsess over things you can't change? A lot of the things I obsess over are things I actually could change if I were more motivated and less fearful of failure or of change.

mindfulness is not easy to get.  you don't sound dumb at all. 

it's not about escaping into the small things.  it's about being aware and in the moment. 

yes, mindfulness can be focusing on a small thing to escape from something overwhelming, but ideally that is just the first stage of learning how to be mindfull.  for instance, when i feel overwhelmed by a crowd, i will pick one thing to be fully mindfull of, one sense.  really look at the green of the grass, turn my whole mind over to it.

but it is more than that.  the quote in my signature is actually about mindfulness.  often we go about our lives, talk to people, do our work, without really being there.  and then later we will realize we are upset but don't know why.  and that's because we weren't really there when the upsetting event happened.  we were lost in thoughts, judging the moment or worrying about things not happening right now, and so we lost the opportunity to fully participate in that moment.  we have lost the opportunity to understand what the other person said, to feel how what they said made our body react, to listen to our thoughts about what they said (listen to the thoughts, but not judge them, and thoughts about the moment, not about tomorrow, etc.  being mindfull of thoughts means that you are aware of them, but they are not dominating you and preventing you from participating in the moment.)

so yes, mindfullness can be an escape from our ruminations and stress.  being fully mindfull of the taste, texture and smell of food while eating or drinking hot tea (for example) can be a great break from opressive thoughts.

but it is also, when fully learned, a way to be able to be more fully engaged in life without either being overwhelmed by emotions (so unable to make progress) or totally ignoring emotions (and so repressing a fundamental part of being human.)

mindfulness takes a long time to learn, and so it is hard to explain how starting out by focusing several times a day on something small can eventually be expanded into a deeper participation in life... 

that book i reccommended explains it much better than i ever could, but i hope i at least somewhat answered your question.  (and it's really much more practical than it is new agey, in case i sounded all ga-gah and out there...)

penny

ps

there is an aspect of not obsessing over what you can not change... at least there is in buddhism and DBT (DBT borrows heavily from buddhism).  that part of it is called "radical acceptance" which is about accepting things in life to be as they are and not fighting against reality.  it's the idea that pain creates suffering only when you refuse to accept the pain and the situation as real.  once you accept it you can let the pain go, and then it is easier to ascertain if there is anything that you can do to better your situation.  sometimes there isn't anything you can do, sometimes there is... but if we get too caught up in being upset about a situation and wishing it wasn't like this, we become tied to the situation, tied to wishing things were different, and can not move forward. 

once again, sorry if that sounded like new age stuff.

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Thanks, Penny. That's alot to mull over. I will look for the book and try to give it enough time and attention to get something out of it. I have been thinking about meditation lately, but not meditating on it, if that makes sense.

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some professionals are great... some just are smartasses.  finding a good therapist is a royal pain.  when it works though, it really works.

i don't know that much about TM.  i know drugs aren't so good for brains.  different meditation forms work for different people.  maybe if you went back to practicing it now without the drugs it would help.  maybe you need a different approach to meditation.  maybe something like chanting or tai chi or yoga that is more like meditation in motion would be better suited to your needs.  even if TM failed you in the past, i still think making meditation a part of your daily life is so so so important for people with GAD. 

hope your leg gets better soon

penny

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Actually, I am an introvert. I need a lot of down time to be functional. But I want to feel accepted too.

I was bullied a lot in school. Teased by the boys, snubbed by the girls. I really feared going to school every day. Wished I would come down with some horrible disease so I wouldn't have to go. Or just die in my sleep. Grades 4, 5, 6 were the worst, but 7th was almost as bad. That was the year we had to do speech class.

I still die a thousand deaths if I have to do any kind of public speaking. Even if I am among friendly people and know I have good material. Deep down I believe I am inferior and I expect them to snigger and throw spitballs. My social anxiety isn't anywhere near as bad as it as though. There are some people and places that make me feel ver comfortable and accepted.

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Boyd:

  You should try some new tools. You need to try some new things in order to deal with your anxiety. When I get way out there, I do a lot of the things Penny is talking about. But it sounds like (no offense) you are going in circles.

  You do what I used to do. Someone gets too close and you start cracking jokes. That would be a good place to start. Stop doing that! Listen to what is being said. And then maybe you will start to learn something.

And to quote is easy. High light the area you want to quote, and "Ctrl C". Then Click the quote button at the top of your screen, (to the left of "code". )Then "Ctrl V" then another quote button.

You can learn new things. Not just quoting, but ways to deal with your anxiety.

;)

Breeze

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Boyd:

  You should try some new tools. You need to try some new things in order to deal with your anxiety. When I get way out there, I do a lot of the things Penny is talking about. But it sounds like (no offense) you are going in circles.

This reminded me that I need to make something very very clear.  i learned mindfulness, how to meditate, how to journal and even read "The Miracle of Mindfulness" while in therapy.  my therapist guided me through meditation, taught me midfulness, told me to buy and read that book, insisted i start exercising... and the reason why mindfulness, meditation, exercise, etc. worked and still works as well as they do is because i learned it all while in therapy.

When i was not in therapy i continued to practice, and now that i am in crisis, i am in therapy once again. i am in crisis and therefore i.need.to.be.in.therapy.  period.  sadly, i am unable geographically to be with the doctor that originally taught me these skills, but i am with one that supports my use of these skills and helps me with them.

books and exercise and meditation and everything will HELP, and help A LOT... but if you want to really "break the cycle" you MUST do these things WHILE IN THERAPY.  you have to get to the roots of your anxiety tree. 

i didn't want anyone to misconstrue that i at all think these things are a substitute for therapy.  i think they are things that further the theraputic process and give us control over our anxiety and make it easier to confront the big bad meanies that we must confront in therapy. 

just wanted to make sure that no one thought that i was saying a book was a cure-all. 

the things i mentioned are things i learned in therapy, and skills that i use to this day.  but without therapy the skills would not have taken me to the place i am now.

of lecture>

penny

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