As I have mentioned in other posts, I ain't no doctor or expert. But over the years there are some things I like to keep in mind with regard to anxiety disorders.
These are my opinions based on my experiences. You don't have to agree. But these things are what keep me in a much healthier frame of mind.
+ It is easy to recognize extremely heightened anxiety. Often people say "I wasn't even anxious, when x, y, or z happened so, it can't be anxiety" What I believe that actually means is, "I am not in a state of extreme panic. I am not having a panic attack." Therefore, "I am not anxious" Nobody lives in a extreme panic (say level 5) all of the time. Those sorts of panicks are usually short bursts of anxiety. Most of the time we anxious peeps (until we get on our healing path) are living at a 2 or 3 (with bursts of panic from time to time ;). We may not be living in a full panic state but our bodies/minds are certainly not relaxed. Which means we can be symptomatic even when we are grocery shopping, for instance.
MOST anxiety happens at the subconscious level. JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed. It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state.
+Every person can develop an anxiety disorder. It will be dependent on an individual's threshold. A person's threshold is almost certainly dependent on several things. With some being: genetics (family history), personality (type A, for example), environment growing up, life experiences..... These things determine how one deals with life. How one solves problems. AND ultimately it determines how easy or difficult it will be to get on his/her healing path. I believe EVERYONE can get better but I also believe not everyone will.
+I don't think it is anyone's "fault" when he/she develops an anxiety disorder. Life can throw a lot at us. However, I do believe we are responsible for getting ourselves on our healing path. It is not our spouses, our friends, our children, our therapists, me, or anyone here at AZ job or responsibility. It isn't like anyone else can fix us anyway.. My bro in law, a psychologist says, "if the therapist is working harder than the patient, then therapy fails." I could change that a bit and say if everyone around you is working harder to get you better, then guess who ain't getting better?
+SURE when one first finds him/herself in the pit, there is a HUGE learning curve. The newbie is very likely to engage in all kinds of reactive behaviors. However: As Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." If one keeps up the reactive behaviors, he/she is going backward, not forward.
+Reactive behaviors--actions we take that keep a mind/body in the anxiety cycle.
1. googling--come on we know all the excuses we make for doing it. We also know it is harmful to our emotional well being. So if we insist on doing it, expect to get panicked.
2. Monitoring--that is continually scanning our bodies for thingamajigs and hoosiewhatzits. asking ourselves if we still have a headache, twitching, or what have you. A person monitoring is keeping the mind in the cycle. Which will not allow a body/mind to calm down.
3. Reassurance---ah the HA person's 'drug' of choice. Always looking for a hit. then the 'high' wears off and we go looking for another.
4. Doc/medical testing-- another form of reassurance and it fails. Yep you may enjoy your "not dying" high for a short time, but you KNOW you'll be 'dying' again soon. Hey I am not going to tell anyone NOT to go to the doctor. Go to your heart's content. But don't lie to yourself. It will not fix what REALLY ails you.
5. self-test---I see this a lot. People hopping on one foot, checking the pulse, strength test. Pure d silly. an amped up mind sees all kids of abnormalities.
I KNOW, I KNOW----"I can't help it". Well that is fine, but just know doing the things above are hindering or negating any good/proactive things you are doing.
+Anxiety LIES. It is a liar. Unfortunately we lap it up like a cat drinks a bowl of milk. From those lies we find ourselves making all kinds of mistakes, engaging in all kinds of compulsive or obsessive type thinking and behavior, making up all kinds of excuses, and rationalizing the irrational. These lies we accept as truth make our thinking HIGHLY, HIGHLY unreliable. We act like all of those dots we connect make a picture but all it looks like is a jumbled mess. Sometimes I see such irrational conclusions people come up with that if they told me 2 + 2 = 4, I'd likely question if it was true. Bottom line peeps--------- ANXIETY LIES. It LIES as a matter of course.
+Some say, "I can't accept this is anxiety"-----accepting it or not doesn't change whether you have anxiety or not. What acceptance does is allow you to start working on getting better.
+Once our bodies/brain have learned to over-react, it is likely to always do so from time to time. The key is knowing how to deal with such things adequately without letting it drag us back down. I know there have been any number of times it has happened to me. I have had times, for no apparent reason to me, to get that hangover adrenaline rush feeling----jelly-like arms/legs, weak feeling, jittery. It can last all day. Before learning the wily ways of anxiety, it would send me wacky. Now when it happens, I acknowledge that it sucks but then carry on. This also reminds of the fantastic Claire Weekes who described this in an interview
Claire Weekes described her own battle with nervous illness in her final book where she explained how she began suffering when she was 26 years old as she was misdiagnosed with TB for which she became introverted and worried. Her suffering lasted two years, and gave her valuable insight into nervous illness. Dr. Robert L. Dupont describes in his book "The Anxiety Cure" that in 1983, he asked her if she'd ever had panic disorder. She replied "Yes, I have had what you call panic attacks. In fact, I still have them. Sometimes they wake me at night." Dr. Dupont responded by saying "He was sorry to hear that." He described Claire Weekes as looking at him in shock, for which she responded "Save your sympathy for someone else. I don't need it or want it. What you call a panic attack is merely a few normal chemicals that are temporarily out of place in my brain. It is of no significance whatsoever to me!"
+It is pretty unlikely there is an outright "cure". What I've come to understand both logically (the easy part) and emotionally (the harder part and this part can still sometimes be a challenge) that this is a lifelong process. That doesn't mean I live in misery lifelong BUT that I am cognizant of who I am, how I react to stresses mentally and physically. I really looked at my own personality and how that impacts the way I react to stresses. I can see how my personality tends to react to stressors. I am also aware of how genetics plays a bit of a role in all of this. I also take into account my life experiences that can aid/abet anxiety. This, in and of itself, took me being honest with myself. It wasn't a one day thing. It evolved through the years. I am quite certain I'll gain more in sights about myself and life, in general, as the years go by. This isn't always easy as we all have faults and we all have strengths. Sometimes this part can be tough depending on the person.
the bottom line is that WE are the captains of our ships. If we don't steer it, things go awry. I simply got tired of running my ship aground. I took a lot of leaps of faith and took a few chances. I learned that just because I have a fear or a thought, it doesn't make it true. Just because my leg hurts or I'm dizzy, it doesn't mean I'm dying. I decided that I'm not going to let BEASTY take me down. So that means I had to do things are often difficult. I had to realize doing these difficult things meant it could take months before I saw results. Over time I got better.
I can not possibly convince anybody here they have anxiety disorder or that they don't have X disease. People have to come to that on their own.
I do, truly, hope everyone here finds his/her healing path. You deserve to live a joyful life.