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Author Topic: Winning Every Battle, Losing the War  (Read 358 times)

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Offline geo_eccentric

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Winning Every Battle, Losing the War
« on: December 12, 2013, 01:30:00 PM »
Subject basically sums up the feeling I've had on and off for awhile now regarding anxiety. My anxiety always functions in such a way that it provides me with little "tests." I'll develop an anxiety in relation to a certain subject, it will torment me awhile, I will rationalize why I should not worry about it, set it aside, the anxiety fades.

I am now 22 and have struggled with anxiety since age 10, but only since the age of about 20 has this pattern been very prominent and consistent (and began violently with a trip to the ER November of '11). Sometimes, I need to challenge and "beat" the same thought in two or three cycles, but I always seem to do so without fail. I had conquered fears (or so I think) stemming from: solipsism, nihilism, free will vs. determinism, the passage of time and growing older, sensory overload (basically just being tripped out about my senses and worrying that they would somehow overwhelm me emotionally), etc. Often times the newer thoughts and challenges get more and more obscure...

Now, two years after this pattern has started, I have been up and down three times since September, after seven months of relative peace in the middle of the year. (I still felt off to some extent in those seven months, but no true anxiety or anything.) The first time I recovered, it felt like a breakthrough, for the first time in over a year, I had put ALL doubt aside (at least consciously) and was living quite well for three to four weeks. I even felt better than I did during the seven month stretch. Now...I have this doubt again and can see no end in sight to it. It is all existential in nature, concerning things such as, how did it all get here? What gives us a sense of happiness and fulfillment, and why? How do these chemicals in our brains become part of something more?

Basically, one thing I have already accepted is the fact that I won't and can't understand some of the questions my mind is running me through, even up to the day I die. Yet, even when I accept that, these thoughts still affect me. And returning to the subject line, the reason I say it feels like a losing war is because each time I conquer one of these "challenges," the next one just feels harder, and it almost feels inevitable that it will eventually get too hard to cope with. Short term, my mind is always going in the right direction, long term it feels quite the opposite. I feel that one of these fears I have in the back of my mind is that all these previous challenges, despite having been beaten, are scarring and battering me in the long run. For example, even with the seven months of peace this year, I felt that 2012 was overall a better year. And ironically, I was on medicine less during that year.

Strangely enough, by now, I very rarely get panic attacks anymore. Even these last two weeks, I don't feel like running anywhere, because I don't feel I have many places to run to. My very existence feels like some sort of cage, when it should feel like a free range of endless possibilities. The things that would work to distract me or take my mind off the anxiety (and now, probably depression) two years ago, now aren't sufficient. I think this is another thing that scares me, over the past couple years, I feel I've lost most of my safety nets. I still eat well enough, and exercise, and ironically enough, I can still laugh and smile. Even more ironically, laughing makes me start thinking about my feelings again, and get anxious all over. I think that's one of the more unsettling elements of this whole affair, the paranoia that my feelings will somehow "taint" on me, and will require a vast amount of recovery before I can feel a truly fulfilling sense of contentment again. (I feel merriment now, it just feels hollow.)

I apologize for the insanely long post. There is a lot going on in my mind, so it's a lot to cover. I hope it's still easy to follow and understand, and if anyone has had anxiety and/or depression of such an all encompassing magnitude, I would not hesitate to hear what you had to say or how you made it out back to a stable, healthy state. Thanks.
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Offline geo_eccentric

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Re: Winning Every Battle, Losing the War
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 08:38:14 PM »
I know this post was long winded and a bit scattered, but I'd like to bump it and see if anyone has anything at all to offer. It's better some days, but on some level I always feel this way. No matter how well I'm doing, I always feel like something is just off.
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Winning Every Battle, Losing the War
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 10:29:02 PM »
Hi, I just wanted to send you a quick reply :) Well I had never heard of existential anxiety until someone posted about it here on AZ. But anyway, back in 2000 when my anxiety was coming to the surface I was fearing something that is a natural part of living--growing older. I was afraid of getting out there in the world, going to school, getting a job because I thought that if I was busy living life, my life would pass me by unnoticed, and I would one day wake up and be older. And I've always wondered about all things that are impossible to answer--what is the purpose to this life?, is there a reason some of us go through so much in our lives?, am I doing what I was meant to do with my life?,---and so on...so I can relate to your thoughts.

That being said,--- thoughts...I think our thoughts can play a huge part in our level of anxiety or depression. Sure, there can be other things that factor in the cause and severity of both conditions, but our thoughts do have the potential to make us feel good or worse. So by consciously keeping tabs on our thought we can 'try' to keep them positive rather than negative--at least that is what I have been working on with myself, and I notice an improvement when I stay more positive.


I know the pain of depression and anxiety, and the yearning to just be 'normal', but both conditions can improve they are not permanent afflictions :) just knowing that can bring some hope to someone in the throws of it.

I'm not sure if I answered your question or not, but just wanted to say you're not alone :)

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Offline geo_eccentric

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Re: Winning Every Battle, Losing the War
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 12:10:02 PM »
I appreciate the reply. Thank you.

I suppose the hardest thing for me is that I don't feel nervous, anxious, tense, or sad, yet I still feel like something is wrong. I know it can be helped, intellectually, but I'm perpetually overwhelmed with unwanted doubt.
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Offline Caleb

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Re: Winning Every Battle, Losing the War
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 03:50:55 PM »
 :action-smiley-065:  Are you in college?  Or even some other career stage which is stessful...  My worst time was in college.  Was in a difficult major (and gradually was realizing it was boring or at least not closest to my real interests)/anyway.  For some, college is a stressful time.

For some of us it is best to choose a low-stress path in life.  Or in some cases move into it gradually and slowly; some majors require keeping up with one's age-group but others allow one to the heavy-work level at one's own pace.

good luck, Caleb  :)
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Offline geo_eccentric

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Re: Winning Every Battle, Losing the War
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 05:55:46 PM »
I am in college, nearing my last year to year and a half. I'm an engineering student, but engineering does genuinely interest me. I feel that sometimes I regret not partaking in the social aspect of college all that much, though I suppose there is still a little time.

I'm sure less free time, and certain regrets play into my level of stress, but I feel there is something more to my anxiety troubles. Something very macroscopic.

Thank you both for your replies so far.
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