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Post-Obsession Emotions


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OK, so I've been seeing a DBT therapist. Over time, our therapy has morphed more into CBT as that seems to be more what I need, but we still go over DBT skills because I'm interested in them and she is indeed a DBT therapist. It does actually make sense, I swear...

Anyway, I've been using DBT mindfulness skills to get past the obsessive thinking. The obsessions do stop when these skills are implemented, which is awesome. However, the anxiety associated with obsessions does not stop. Weird, huh? So I'll quit obsessing over shit - the what-if brain loop gets broken - but I still have these anxious emotions. I think DBT would tell me to observe these emotions, but I get pretty tired of observing for hours on end. I'm very vulnerable to obsessing again when I feel like this, and I constantly have to bring myself back to mindfulness and thwarting the brain loop. I triumph over the brain loop more times than not, but there's these pesty emotions to deal with and I simply don't like them (Oops, there's a judgment). It's a very uncomfortable state to be in.

I've tried distraction, too, and it's difficult for me to distract myself when I have this heavy pit in my stomach and my heart is beating faster than I'd like and my breath is more shallow than usual. Benzos don't do shit for this.

I'm happy that I can get myself out of the loop, but this post-obsession anxiety is killing me. I don't want to have to do a med change - the med to go up would be Effexor, and with that comes the potential for hypomania - but if it has to be done, it has to be done.

Any personal experience on this?

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I should preface this by saying I am TERRIBLE at actually doing this myself. Especially with anxiety.

That said, what I would ideally do would be to kind of acknowledge the anxiety, and then withdraw my attention from it, which to me, at least, is different from distracting yourself. If that's not working, I start Buddhisting, doing aspirations, which are basically good wishes, kind of, for people to whom you are progressively less attached. When I remember to do that, it does actually work. Specifically, what I do is this:

                               May all sentient beings enjoy happiness                  

                                       and the root of happiness.

                               May they be free from suffering                              

                                       and the root of suffering.

                               May they not be separated from the great joy,        

                                       devoid of suffering.

                               May they dwell in great equanimity,                        

                                       free from passion, aggression and prejudice.

In seven stages: (1) ourselves, (2) loved ones, (3) friends, (4) "neutral" persons, (5) those who irritate us,(6) all of the above as a group, and, finally, (7) all beings throughout time and space.

But I think the same intentions without the specific form would work just as well.

I am incredibly bad at managing anxiety though, so it's entirely possible that the times I remember to do this are the times it's not as bad in the first place.

I am incredibly bad at managing anxiety though, so it's entirely possible that

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It's been a long time since I've done Metta. I should probably do that more often.

Beta blocker is tempting. Will ask pdoc.

I know I'm better in every possible way when I'm being disciplined in my practice. But it's just so easy to get lazy.

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Any personal experience on this?

Yes, unfortunately. My obsessional thinking which perhaps created, enhanced and blessed my effing performance anxiety is so much better. But I still get those physical symptoms. They just appear, as if out of thin air. Heart pounding, butterflies madly flying in tummy, sweaty shaking hands which is a curse if you are a videographer. My benzo helps hours before not at the performance itself.

My pdoc suggested taking a very low dose of propanolol an hour before the curtain comes down. I had no idea it was a beta-blocker but it works.

I think, despite my 'mindfulness', my physical reaction to performance is just so ingrained in my cells, it has become as automatic as breathing. The total terror I experienced as a child is still there.

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I've tried distraction, too, and it's difficult for me to distract myself when I have this heavy pit in my stomach and my heart is beating faster than I'd like and my breath is more shallow than usual. Benzos don't do shit for this.

Yep. Until I started taking a beta blocker (warning, they WILL lower your BP, so if you have already low BP ... I don't know what to tell you) the only thing that worked to kill the physical symptoms of anxiety was 10+ minutes of serious meditation.

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