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Author Topic: Back to square one after thinking I was 'cured'  (Read 202 times)

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Offline littlelost

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Back to square one after thinking I was 'cured'
« on: February 09, 2014, 09:08:35 AM »
Hello, this is my first time posting here. Apologies if this post is too long, I am grateful to anyone who finds the time to read through this and offer me some guidance.

My first full blown experience with anxiety attacks began about 18 months ago whilst I was out with my husband and friends. We were riding the train at night time and all of a sudden this overwhelming sense of dread came over me. Within a matter of seconds I went from having a normal conversation to being frozen in a heightened state of panic, a cold sweat came over me and I felt intense nausea deep in the pit of my stomach. My attention shifted onto the train doors as I became acutely aware that I couldn't get off the train. Not wanting to attract attention to myself, I tried to make eye contact with my husband and covertly grab his attention to tell him something was seriously wrong (using eye contact, instead of saying it out loud, if that makes sense). Unfortunately, another friend noticed my face had turned grey and asked me if I was feeling OK. At that moment I said no and that I needed to get off the train immediately, I started to hyperventilate and ran to the doors and waited anxiously for us to arrive at the next stop. Everyone followed and we all got off the train and I began to make up some excuse saying I felt like I going to vomit and that's why I had to get off. Everyone was really sweet but I felt like a liar and a fraud not being able to explain the real sensations I had experienced.

From that day on I began to experience these anxiety attacks on a regular basis. It would usually be triggered by that horrible feeling deep in my stomach, I would feel my stomach 'drop', so to speak, then a cascade of other symptoms would immediately follow. I would often feel I was either going to vomit or defecate immediately and so I would become more panicked thinking I needed to get to a bathroom ASAP. I did everything I could to keep my anxiety a secret. My husband and mother knew but aside from that I didn't really tell anyone. I would just constantly make up excuses when it would start.

After months of living with this I was willing to try anything to make it go away, I had made a few trips to the doctors but most of the time came away feeling much worse. I enrolled in a course of hypnotherapy, I tried acupuncture too but what seemed to help me most was reading self-help books. Everything started to look up and although at the time I would never have said the words out loud for fear of jinxing myself, but I did grow to feel that I had 'cured' myself of my anxiety disorder. As the weeks, months, year passed I did eventually share with people what I had experienced and everyone was shocked and had no idea.

Fast forward 18 months to the present day... in the past 3 weeks my anxiety has returned with A VENGEANCE!! I feel like it has knocked me sideways and I am drowning in it when it comes on and overwhelms me. The culminating event happened yesterday evening when I was out with a large group of friends in a busy restaurant and I pretty much got up and walked out and went home. My anxiety started whilst I was eating the main course and within a matter of moments it was unbearable. I had intrusive thoughts going around my head about a millions miles an hour, thoughts mostly focusing on 'what will people think if I just get up and walk out', 'people will think you're insane if you just get up and leave without explanation' and all sorts of other things mainly centered around the people I was with/other people in the restaurant thinking I am crazy. Anyway eventually it got too much and I put money on the table, got up and left and got a taxi home. When I got home I just broke down!! I don't recall ever being that upset before. Since then I have been a teary mess and just can't seem to pull myself together. I feel overwhelmed with sadness, frustration and embarrassment over what happened and that mainly this has all resurfaced in my life again. I just feel like all my hard work has failed and that I am back to square one again.

I should mention as well that when my anxiety has been coming over me recently the previous techniques I applied 18 months ago are not working. I am trying to 'welcome' my anxiety when it comes, embrace it instead of being scared. Other techniques like focusing on the physical sensations in the body also haven't been working either. Has anybody else had a similar experience to be of their anxiety returning after a long time for no apparent reason? Also, how can I shake this sadness that is smothering me at the moment, I cannot stop crying.

Thank you for anyone who has stuck with it and read this whole post, sorry it's so long but believe it or not this is the condensed version. appreciate any advice or support given. - Thank you.

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Offline e77

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Re: Back to square one after thinking I was 'cured'
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2014, 12:54:57 PM »
I encourage you to meet with a therapist to discuss your struggle with anxiety and hopefully get a reasoned perspective regarding your situation as well as help in coping.  A therapist can help you.  Look for one you feel comfortable with sharing your struggle.  It is very common for anxiety to reappear, often for no apparent reason and can be very disturbing so I understand the fear and sadness.  Meeting with your doc/psychiatrist can help too, especially with meds if you need them.  Anyone can get sensitized to anxiety, it does not make you less of a person because you struggle with it.  You may have a sympathetic nervous system that is easily triggered and the alarm response in the body gets amped up...can scare and bewilder anybody.  You can get help and calm down again.  I also like self help.  Dr Claire Weekes is my favorite.  Her CDs and books are awesome.  Hang in there and get some assistance.  You will be ok again.  Take care
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Offline scb07d

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Re: Back to square one after thinking I was 'cured'
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2014, 01:25:54 PM »
Unfortunately, the best way to deal with anxiety is to accept it. The more that we try to fight it and "deal" with it, the more of a presence it takes in our lives. I agree that seeing a therapist or someone who can present a new perspective would be beneficial. Also, maybe getting some self-help books.

I'll say this though... there's probably no one on this forum or anywhere in the world who has "cured" him or herself of anxiety. In fact, that's what screws people up. The more you try to get rid of it and "cure" yourself, the more complicated things get. It's like quicksand.
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Offline Nann James

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Re: Back to square one after thinking I was 'cured'
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014, 01:50:46 PM »
Been here. I had them really bad in 2000 and 2002 and then I thought i had cured myself but now I am going back into doing things that started them in the first place, job uncertainty... moving etc and I see now... all coming back.  I am starting to think there is no cure.

Few things  are you ok physically? I happened to realize I suffer tremendous anxiety before TOM -- just hormonal swings;  I also find poor nutrition / too much sugar / too little sugar can set off a physical reaction that isn't me... it is something physical. I think you can find techniques to deal with it.  Three books that have helped me a lot are "full catastrophe living"; the "power of now" and "do it" (I don't think this one is in print anymore).  The power of now was such a revelation to me. Basically for the idea that said that our mind sometimes is not our friend but is our enemy.  When you hear those horrible thoughts you can say.. "no" as if your mind isn't you... and realize that it isn't.   You don't have to react to it. You can just laugh at it and go.. "nice try" but I really don't have to get off this train... nope .. no I don't.  Like you can have pain and that is all you are.. or, you can be you who also happens to pain... in otherwords your pain is not you.

Well, read the book. :)
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Offline littlelost

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Re: Back to square one after thinking I was 'cured'
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 05:06:20 AM »
Thank you all for your advice. I am really trying to adopt an attitude of acceptance and almost embrace my anxiety instead of shying away from it. I know that it is just a part of me now, probably something I will carry with me throughout life and I am OK with that providing I have the strategies to cope with it. I have recently signed up to the 'Panic Away' program which has a lot of really helpful techniques on how to cope with anxiety when it strikes.
As for self-help books, I have read The Power of Now quite a few times, it's one of my favourites and I do try to whole-heartedly embrace this approach to life in each and every moment. It just feels like my anxiety completely undos all the hard work I have put in into trying to lead a mindful life, but then again I guess I should just see my anxiety as another part of myself and embrace it.
I am currently reading a book by Dr Claire Weekes called self-help for your nerves, this is helping me to gain a greater understanding of my own biological responses and why anxiety happens in the first place.
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