The Gift of Anxiety: 7 Ways to Get the Message and Find Peace

Man Meditating

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~Pema Chodron

If there’s one thing that has led me the greatest amount of re-invention, it’s anxiety. By anxiety I don’t mean worry or concern. Anxiety is a different animal that grabs a hold of you and halts you in your tracks.

We tend to reject its milder forms and are really terrified by its intense moments, like with panic attacks. It’s difficult to see when we’re fighting with anxiety that it can have any benefit, but it does.

Anxiety comes with some great treasures hidden inside, and they can be yours if you know how to get to them. First, you have to stop fighting and listen to the anxiety for clues.

Getting the Message

The greatest truth about anxiety is that it is a message. Anxiety is not the real issue. It’s the voice of something else lying beneath that’s calling out to you.

Most people who experience anxiety try to go after the symptoms more than its cause and try to fight it off as if it were the only thing to deal with.

That’s not how to go about it if you ever want to know how it happened, why it’s there, and how you can gain long-term freedom from it.


The anxiety message is simple; it’s just three words: STOP! YOU’RE HURTING!

When an experience like anxiety is pleading for you to stop and notice that you’re hurting, and you know this, your next step is to find that hurt. Its severity is proportionate to the scope of what you have to address—so if you feel like you’re going to die, look for something big!

Its methods of stopping you are varied and some of the common ones are: spinning thoughts, feeling disassociated, heavy breathing, and a racing heart. Whatever works so that you’ll finally pay attention, it will customize for you.

The loudest stop message can appear as a panic attack and causes a sensation that you feel like you’re going to die. Dying is the ultimate definition of stopping within our physical experience, and that’s why we can feel that way.

The good news is that it’s an illusion. Anxiety will not hurt you in that way; but until you catch on, start listening, and heal the source of the messages, it will keep trying to spin you around so that you’re facing it long enough to hear what it’s trying to say.

“Hey! I’m talking to you! Is she still ignoring me? UGH! Ok body, it’s your turn. Make her feel like her heart will explode. HA! You stopped working overtime didn’t you? Gotcha! Now look…we need to talk…What? Now you’re hiding in a movie? Oh no you didn’t! PANIC ATTACK!”

Energy Conservation

Anxiety can feel cyclic as it persists, and it’s easy to feel haunted or trapped by it. You’re always in control though. The body, a part of nature, always seeks a point of balance and rest. When anxiety becomes cyclic and seemingly out of your control, it’s still just a part of you.

It’s being maintained by you, for you, until it gets enough of your attention for healing to take place. Whatever you keep doing or ignoring (maybe the things that led to its nascence) will continue to recreate it until you go about things differently.

This is an important realization because it can help you shift from feeling victimized to feeling empowered. It can only continue as long as you delay tending to what’s beneath the message. Anxiety cannot cause you to feel discomfort forever. It will motivate you to heal, and then leave once you do.

Who/What Sent the Message?

Anxiety messages can come from anything negative you’ve chosen to carry forward. It can be a traumatic or painful event left unresolved (usually through having had an attitude of sucking-it-up, being tough, trying to forget etc.).

It can be someone or something you have yet to forgive, or a long running perception of lack that has hindered your growth for too long.

My anxiety disorder came from high insecurity, an excessive need for validation, a frantic quest for completion through relationships, and an inability to acknowledge who I really was.

I ran around trying to please others and attempting to be who they wanted me to be. On the anniversary of a particularly painful breakup, where I convinced myself I had become less than a full person, I had my first panic attack.

It completely bowled me over and continued to do so for 4 years as it tried to get me stop and heal.

It worked. The experience of an anxiety so severe that I couldn’t leave my apartment was completely successful in making me turn my gaze away from the outside world to my inner world, where I seriously needed to focus. I could finally heal and grow.

Who I became next was a happy, empowered, compassionate person who was more focused on matters of the heart and fulfilling myself than approval from others. Anxiety became my greatest life-shifting gift, and I’m forever grateful.

Receiving the Message

Spending time with anxiety to discover the source of the message and what you have to heal can be achieved in many ways. You have to find what works best for you, but here’s a great series of approaches that seem to help everybody:

1. Welcome it.

Make friends and peace with anxiety immediately. Talk to yourself and the anxiety reassuringly: It’s ok. I’m listening. I want to hear what you have to say. I know you’re just trying to get my attention and that the more directly and peacefully I listen, the sooner you’ll stop repeating yourself.

Fighting with anxiety or resisting it will cause it to persist.

2. Write about it.

I know it’s trite to journal since it’s a suggested solution to most personal troubles, but the slower pace of writing and full engagement of your senses helps you travel down the path of the anxiety message to its source.

We don’t always know where our anxiety is coming from, so we have to take the time to dig and poke. Plus, we’re literal people. Our thoughts are literal. By using a linguistic mechanism the analogy of anxiety message becomes more clear and easier to work with.

3. Laugh.

Bring more laughter in your life. It will help you take life less seriously.

4. Love.

Express love for people, places, and things that you cherish. Be a greater beacon of love.

5. Help others with their anxiety.

The more people you help with anxiety, the greater a vocabulary you’ll develop, and this will help empower your inner dialog for when you’re sitting with anxiety.

6. Meditate.

Anxiety races thoughts and can be very distracting. With a rushing mind, it’s hard to hear the anxiety message and follow it back to its source. Meditation helps tremendously.

If you can learn to notice your thoughts without attaching to them—seeing them as cars passing by as you stand on the edge of a busy highway—you’ll become better at picking out what really matters in this moment.

7. Realize that you are enough.

Be accountable, no matter how much “such and such/so and so did” to you. It doesn’t matter. Now is what we have to work with. Tomorrow is what we have to create.

Realize that you are your own solution. You have what you need to look clearly; to hear and to heal. Anxiety is a message born within you, speaking to you through you, and therefore it’s within you to heal.

Receiving the Gifts

By learning about anxiety, spending time with it and finally holding in your hand, you can enjoy the next step: You can relax your grip, and let it fall away. It will have served its purpose. You will have loved that part of yourself and it won’t need to get your attention with such a difficult message again.

You will be connected. That’s the first gift.

The second gift is that feeling connected and with realizing that you’re enough can lead you to a cycle of inner fullness. It can give you an easy-to-remember awareness that you’re up for this, whatever the next exciting challenge or painful event may be.

The third gift of anxiety is that it gets you to recognize your own power with, instead of power over, yourself and your life.

All you had to do was listen…

Man meditating image via Shutterstock

About Ariella Baston

Ariella Baston is an impassioned soul living in Montreal Canada who loves to write, design and compose music. A member of the Québec Writers Federation and Girls Action Foundation, her personal goal is to stimulate a sharing of experiences so that we all grow. You can learn more about her work at and follow her on twitter @ariellauthentic.

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  • Isabelle

    This is an amazing piece, thanks so much for sharing this. It really helped me organize my thoughts on my own anxiety, which I have been faced with in the past year. It’s been an up and down experience for sure. But its true, I have felt empowered after the lows of not believing in my individual strength. Recently, I’ve felt myself slipping into feelings of anxiety again, but this was a great reminder about what the experience of anxiety really is. Thank you so much!

  • Anonymous

    I’m so glad it helped!

    Remember that since anxiety is something that emenates FROM you, there is no slipping into anything and never anything you have to get out of (perceptual container, under a blanket etc.) It’s just a message, not something that holds you. You hold it. YOU are its container and not the other way around.

  • shhhhh

    I have anxiety attacks when I have to deal with people and when I leave the house. So my body is telling me to just stay home, alone

  • Anonymous

    Not quite. 🙂 The physical effects of anxiety are part of the ingredients that make up the message. The message isn’t at a high level that it can articulate “stay home alone”. Like I suggested in the article, it’s inviting you to look at it, but in context of the rest of your life and not in a bubble. Points 3, 4 and 5 are highly suggestive of not staying home alone. Feel the fear and go out anyway to do enriching things because life doesn’t wait, but when home, definitely invest in exploring why people and the world are so stressful? What happened?

    I used to have total agoraphobia, did laundry in the bathtub, starved, and became a rack of bones. I often sat and stared at the floor all day as marathonic panic attacks chewed me to pieces. When I got motivated to change this, I pushed myself to go out in very small steps, adding a bit more over time. First I’d try going outside for a half hour, then an hour. Then I tried walking around the cul-de-sac, then to a park. Eventually I could walk for several hours and felt ok. After a couple years of gradual steps like these I was finally free to do great things like travel several days and across thousands of miles. Anxiety wasn’t telling me to stay home. It was saying to take the time I needed to heal, regardless, and that’s what I did in the moments I wasn’t pushing on imagined boundaries.

    You can juxtapose healing with pushing forward. The two can be mutually self-enforcing, just as cowering and staying home can also become a downward spiral. When you go out, carry the anxiety with you. That’s fine. It’s hard, but it’s part of the listening process. Anxiety is often experienced as a filter and it’s useful to see how your view of the world is being affected. You may get clues about where it comes from and how long it will need to stay based on what you see outside the home and not just inside it. 😉

    For example: I found it TONS easier to leave home and ride in a car if I was driving it, but would not go anywhere near public transportation like a bus. The difference was in the feeling of being in control. Insecurity or being too dependent on a feeling of control (ie: low faith in the unfolding of life’s events as being good) are very common sources of anxious messages. I wouldn’t have discovered this by just staying home.

  • Jennifer

    What a wonderful post, thank you!

  • This post spoke to me on many levels. I have been reading books, taking classes and workshops and so on and so forth…yet this simple post cut to the core of what I have been working on my entire life. Now all I have to do is the work – hahha! Seriously, thank you so much…this really touched me profoundly. I have a wonderful, amazing life yet I have always felt an undercurrent of anxiety…nothing that stopped my life at all…an undercurrent, like my operating system ran on low level anxiety. Now I am ready to face it, embrace it and allow it to speak to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m so glad it connected with you Kathy! I’ve read so many books and they were sort-of helpful too, but it wasn’t until I just jumped into real-life experiences with my full attention that answers came. Best wishes for following that current to its source! You’re amazingly resilient for having carried that for so long. Let that be a reminder that you’re already well equipped for change! 😀

  • Marie

    Thank you for this post. I am 34 and currently pretty much housebound. I was housebound back in 2000 for about 7months then with therapy I got better. But it started again in 2009 and has just got worse. The next few weeks are going to be a challenge because I made the decision that I want to move closer to my family. So my husband and I are moving the 4 hours back home. Should be interesting as currently driving 2 blocks away from the house sends me into a full blown panic attacks. So again thank you for this. I am still trying to figure out what is at the root of it. The one thing in common seems to be once I move in with a guy. In 200 I was engaged to a different guy now married. It is all strange and frustrating since this is not the me that I know. Thanks again for the post!

  • Anonymous

    I completely understand! Hey, moving is stressful enough! Add a bit of anxiety in there, and it can be a potent mix! My solution was to come up with so many GREAT reasons for making a trip, that I got excited about going. Then, when anxiety did show up a bit (shows up less when full of the happy), it was less than it would have been if I was reluctant to go.

    Forget about the trip’s distance. You can nap through that. Instead, focus on getting REALLY excited about all the wonderful possibilities that will open up once this move is done. Get emotionally happy! Feel your attachment to loved ones, and prioritize the gifts in change above the difficulty-potential in the process.

    Should you get a panic attack in the car/moving vehicle, here’s a great coping mechanism. Another secret of anxiety is that it’s a time machine. (#1: message, #2: time machine) It obsesses with past and future, and that’s why anticipatory anxiety (like within the mix you’re feeling) is so much more potent, cyclic, and the key ingredient to spirals. Anticipation requires a PAST bad experience and a fear of a FUTURE bad experience. It has NOTHING to do with right now; with what’s happening to you.

    So, to pull out of a panic attack in no time, or at least interrupt it for the exaggeration that it is, jump into the moment! Feel the sun on your skin, smile at the wonderful privilege of travelling, look outside at the colours and objects, look at your husband and notice his facial expression, notice the temperature in the vehicle, crack the window open and let the roar fill your ears, let love for a cherished person wash over you, feel grateful for something, anything to ground yourself in RIGHT NOW. You’ll find that anxiety has much LESS power when you’re standing as an observer of the moment. Anxiety will see that as listening, and cool its heels.

    A much more FAR-REACHING coping mechanism that has saved me from total anxiety panic hell during long trips, is to realize that my soul is not in my body. It surrounds my body; animates it, and I imagine it’s the size of all of known space. So, who I REALLY am is not travelling in a car anyway, especially when I next imagine that my soul is the size of the universe. If we are ONE soul, and it’s the size of the universe, we are therefore NEVER moving and our base collective experience is stillness. There’s no fear to be had because our body got carted around by a vehicle. Who cares. The body doesn’t matter and it’s not us. Anxiety is a message for us to become aware of such things and stop thinking so small, and that’s why it takes on a scope that can feel so big.

    I hope you figure out alongside these life changes what the connection is between living with someone and feeling uncomfortable about that. Did you not want to move in together either times? Is there some life experience connected with independence that you were prevented from having because of a close relationship?

  • Akelly158

    Thanks so much for this post! I had anxiety problems for years. It took me a long time to realize that anxiety is my body’s way of telling me to pay attention to what I’m feeling. Realizing the things behind the anxiety saved my life. Now, when I start to feel anxious, I can use it to help me identify important feelings that I have turned off. Excellent post!

  • Shanti

    Thank you for this brilliant article. Perfect timing for me as I have had heightened anxiety today which has been building up and ongoing for months. I love this article!
    I always feel like my anxiety is something I need to fight against which is incredibly tiring and not very productive! This had made me realise that I seriously need to step back and take stock of everything. I notice that my job is the common trigger of my job and constantly wonder whether it’s me that needs to change or whether I should consider a whole new career path altogether. I constantly ‘bear with it’ and try to be patient but I just feel as though I’m wearing myself out more and more. I do feel quite lost but I’m sure if I listen to my body more closely I will find the answer…

  • Marie

    Thank you for your thoughtful response! I am going to print it out to use along side my arsenal of tools I hope to use. 🙂

  • Thanks, Ariella! Like others here, I’ve been studying and working on my axiety attacks for decades in so many ways. They’ve lessened significantly, but they’re not gone. I’ve always been a person who listens and watches for the “message” in things, watching my world for personal clues. Believing in intuition. All that stuff. But you know what? I’ve never EVER thought of my anxiety in that way.

    So thanks to you for opening up that new door of wisdom for me. I’m going to start paying more attention to what I might need to address, internally, when I feel old-friend Panic Attack or his buddy Anxiety Attack coming for a visit. (And now maybe I can really think of them as old friends, if I start thinkng of them as friendly messages from my spiritual innerverse.)


  • Love the post! Anxiety inadvertently drove me toward meditation and enlightenment (yay for that!). I refused to accept that medication was the only way to stop madness in my head. I really enjoy and appreciate the way you were able to verbalize these methods. It is a great reminder for me and I’m sure it will be extremely helpful to those who are battling anxiety currently.

  • Anonymous

    I had the medication roller coaster as well. It was definitely NOT the way to go for me!

  • Anonymous

    Be a loving hostess, but don’t plan on keeping anxiety as a live-in partner. 😉 May its visits become more rare in time!

  • Anonymous

    With regards to “bearing with it”, I love this lyrics from Enigma’s Return to Innocence:

    “Don’t be afraid to be weak. Don’t be so proud to be strong. Just listen to your heart, my friend, and return…return to innocence”

    I was really scared of allowing enough breathing and weakness to accept anxiety so I could stop fighting, let go, listen, and follow the direction to a deeper part of me, but it was the best thing I could have done! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad you liked it! Thanks so much for sharing a piece of your journey as well! I love that people have already learned these things and improved their lives. May the healing spread!

  • Shanti

    Thank you and this is so true. I can definitely relate to this. Putting on a brave face is tiring and not getting to the route of the anxiety. I do feel scared about it but I know you are right and that this a step in the right direction!

    Thank you again, I am very grateful for your article and your response

  • caro1001

    Thank you for your post it got me thinking about my present situation where I have been unwell for some time and I have been going to doctor after doctor and I’m not getting better the chest pains are still there along with the inability to breathe @ times, I am just wondering if this may be my body’s way of saying STOP and deal with the stuff that’s going on in my life for some time now. I will definitely try writing in a journal and see what happens. Thanks again

  • nectar

    An absolutely wonderful post Ariella…thank you!I love how you have cut through all the bs of therapy jargon to explain what is really the truth behind anxiety. Having been a very outgoing person I started to suffer with social anxiety at uni – that was 10years ago now. I have managed to do a lot since however dating anxiety is still very present and being that i have just turned 31 I am now getting worried that due to this phobia (i guess it is) of dating i am going to remain single whilst all my friends fall in love and get married. I am trying not to let it get me down but struggling with it. any tips on what i can do to overcome this frustrating fear??

  • Bellissimoa

    This is a great post about a subject that can be very trite. Your personal experience has obviously helped you to give anxiety and its symptoms some quality thought. Very helpful. Thanks.

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  • Karen Reigh

    I recently self diagnosed gluten intolerance and one of my biggest symptoms was anxiety. I was a fairly level-headed, rational person prior to a major move (new province, away from family and friends), and afterward, over the course of 6-8 months I actually became afraid to leave the house, and paranoid that people were going to try to hurt me, for no apparent reason. I had my first (and only) complete meltdown panic attack. Not fun. Avoiding gluten has returned me to my normal calm self. =) Celiac disease is often triggered ‘on’ by a stressful event in ones life. Worth looking into!

  • Anonymous

    Well, first I’d stop comparing yourself to others. You’re a unique individual. Why would you measure success by how LIKE OTHERS you are? Instead measure success by how LIKE YOURSELF you’re being. Authentic living is happiness.

    What kinds of thoughts race through your head while feeling anxious about a date? What’s running around in there? Listen and follow the literal meaning of those thoughts to whatever is beneath them and you’ll have a clearer sense.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve experienced anxiety through chest pains, gasping for air and feeling like I’m not getting any. It could be that. Keep exploring and learning! That’s key!

  • Anonymous

    Awww, you’re welcome. 🙂 I’ve always been helped by honesty and if I’m honestly in a bad spot, I give myself permission to vent, not be amazing, and to experience that fully. Not that I don’t give in to every sensation of feeling too low however! Work has to be done, growth has to happen, birthdays have to be kept, and new shoes must be purchased! LOL!

    It’s like what I replied to shhhhh’s comment. Listen to the anxiety but don’t relinquish life to it. Feel it and live anyway. It’s hard, but the dual-direction focus is very helpful!

  • Anonymous

    Cool! What other tools are in your arsenal? Maybe I can use some! 🙂

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  • Kat

    Hi, thanks for this article! Im 30 now.. and have had anxiety/panic attacks since I was 18. It’s been hell at times, particularly when I was 18 and then again at 27. I couldn’t leave the house much for about 3-4 months. i started learning all about being accountable for my feelings and did this program which really turned my life around.. I set goals for myself and really lived in the present. I even finished school and went on to become a registered dietitian, which I really believed help me a lot in being more confident, and of course making healthy food choices. A year ago I noticed that I started getting panic attacks in planes. More recently it got worse, and I can get them in trains, or as a passenger in a car (not while I’m driving unless I’m stuck in terrible traffic) I don’t understand this- One of my top loves and necessities in life is travel- I want to see the world, but I feel like I’m not in control. i even got a panic attack after getting a big tattoo on my body- the idea of it being permanent was unbearable- meanwhile I LOVE tattoos and planned it for a while. Recently I started meditation and stopped drinking so I can get to the root of my anxiety without anything dulling the process. Do you think this will help?. I would love some ideas on how to get over this feeling of having to be in control, and to help me just relax and take a long trip- to be excited and not scared….

  • Cat23

    Beautiful article! Thank you. I awoke in the middle of the night with a huge sense of anxiety. I got up and had something to eat and, poof, the anxiety evaporated. For me, exhaustion or low blood sugar often leads to anxiety. Sometimes, when I remember to see anxiety as hyper-vigilance that helped my ancestors survive, this calms my anxiety. It also reminds me that when my body is not fully functioning (as when tired, hungry or sick) most of my limited awareness goes into hyper-vigilance with fight, flight or freeze as my only apparent reaction options. When my brain is fed and refreshed, I can see so many more options to respond to any situation. And now, I see anxiety not only as a reaction that helped ancestors survive, I see it as a gift that can help me thrive.

  • Chelsea Dalessandro

    This article opened my eyes. I had my first panic attack on my honeymoon in Aruba. I felt like I had no control over my body. I was trembling so bad that my husband just held me until I fell asleep. My second severe panic attack resulted in a visit to the ER because I know no control and felt like I was going to die. This is extremely hard to explain to someone. My visit to the ER resulted in many doctor appointments and me being on medication for the past 6 months. I don’t want to say that medication is the answer to this – but for me it helped me function. I became so house bound and I didn’t want my husband to leave me alone. I never never never thought this would happen to me. This wasn’t my personality. But, my body was telling me to SLOW down! I got engaged, got a new job, bought a house, planned a wedding for 400 guests – all in 1 year. That explains it along with many person issues that I needed to get through. My husband and friends were my support system. I turned to meditation 1 hour every day and that changed everything significantly. Reading this article just made me feel so much better. It is good to know that you are not the only one. I kept thinking to myself that I had mental problems or something.. but that wasn’t the case. I realized that there are many people out there that have experienced what I went through. It is good to have a support system and know that there are others out there… thank you for this article.

  • Debbie Hampton

    Thank you for this post. Wise words and great advise on tools to deal with anxiety. After struggling with depression for a decade, I still tried to commit suicide while on antidepressants. I have found so much happiness, peace and mental health in meditation, thought reframing, writing, and more, as you suggest.

    I also agree tremendously that anxiety is our cue to stop and become aware and introspective of what is going on. A person has to do use the tools to explore the anxiety and see what lesson it holds and not do things to just to avoid it.

    Pema Chodron also advises to turn into the pain. I do recognize that anxiety can be serious and must be dealt with on a physical level first, if necessary, then mentally.

  • Pilar

    i’m a 19 year old, and i’ve been suffering from anxiety since I was 16, my last year of high school, that was a very traumatic year and I feel like it hit me so hard that I haven’t been able to recover from that. I’m going to college now, my first year (I didnt go for 2 years due to these anxiety problems, took pills last year and i felt better but classes had already started so i didnt get the chance to go), and I thought that I had been cured and this year i’d be fine. But I started classes a week ago and all the anxiety came back, i can’t sleep, i can’t breathe at mornings, i feel terrible, i can’t even pay attention to classes. And the worse thing is i can’t tell anyone about this, i dont wanna put my parents through this hell again, they’re such nice people and I don’t want them to know that i’m suffering because they’d suffer too. I don’t know what to do.

  • Bob

    This is a nice take-away quote: “Now is what we have to work with. Tomorrow is what we have to create.”

    Thank you. This is a nice message.

  • anonymous

    I would love to add a #8 to this list: do something physical! Not to hide from anxiety but to engage your entire being, mind and body, in unison.

    Maybe this counts as love, providing your animal body with the basic thing it evolved to do: move!

  • Anonymous

    Oh yes, the triggering by some simple physical stress without some story-driven experience is definitely possible! Caffeine does it to me.

    I LOVE what you wrote, “I see anxiety not only as a reaction that helped ancestors survive, I see it as a gift that can help me thrive.” 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for sharing Chelsea. That was definitely a whole bunch of stress to take on all at once! Support systems are amazing when they’re available.

    To all readers:

    You definitely shouldn’t label yourself ill just for being anxious. If it becomes a drawn out condition that severely takes away from your quality of life, then sure, go ahead and call it a dis-ease. Until then know that if you run to a hospital looking for illness related help, you create a strong potential for receiving a label and a prescription. It’s what they’re there to do: to help with illness. It’s not a know-thyself-and-stop-doing-a-million-things encouragement centre. 🙂

    Taking on a label too soon is a VERY heavy burden for the heart and soul however. I’ve seen people get lost in drug-cocktails and completely lose their connection with what they were first dealing with. Once chemically altered and burying symptoms, it’s very hard to know what progress you can actually make, because you can’t feel as much either way.

    Just be careful. Mental health drugs are not gentle, are dangerous, can increase suicidal ideation, can introduce discontinuation syndromes lasting years, can cause severe weight gain (most of your body’s serotonin is in your digestive system) and more. Drugs that play with serotonin will also affect your cortisol levels, and that’s never good. Fear and anxiety have very useful survival and social purposes, like caution and reluctance, and preventing people from projecting all their pain and hurt onto others. Once chemically removed, impulses can manifest with much less filtering and conscious intent, and the serotonergic effects will not discriminate between positive or negative acts.

  • Anonymous

    I am so, so, so glad that you’re still with us Debbie. *long hug* When anxiety was pushing my life into a blender, I had a suicide attempt as well. I’ve never come close to thinking about it since (16 years+- ago), and even having the memory seems absurd. Who was I? How did I get there? I’m so whole and happy today, that I can’t imagine how I could ever reach that point!

    I think I have that Pema Chodron book! Is it called, “The Wisdom of No Escape”? I’ve read so many… Anyway, I do remember the text/message in that one though. Very powerful.

    Body and mind are so completely linked, that I agree whole heartedly that you can deal with anxiety through the body first and then the mind. The fun bonus is that by the time you reach the mind, the soothed body will have already worked magic. The healing will be exponential with all angles covered. 🙂 I did a mixture of three things: I addressed the body and the mind as you have, but I started with my belief system. The body and mind just followed along with the belief system that I COULD do this, that I WOULD be good to body and mind, and that I dedicated my entire life to achieving the goal of being anxiety (and Paxil) free. With the time element removed, there was nothing that could parade as a setback because everything was allowed a wide birth of universally informed “worry not–everything has its own time”.

    So many people abuse time in their anxiety management approach and keep themselves stuck through it. I’ll be writing a companion article that mentions that soon. 🙂

  • tp

    This is an EXCELLENT post. I suffered from extreme anxiety/end of the world/ I’m dying/dissassociation panic attacks for almost a year straight, and after reflecting back on how and what I got through it, this basically illustrated the whole process!!! I really hope this helps some people out there because I would have killed to read this back when I was going through those problems. Such great insight! keep it up and keep inspiring/helping others!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got 3 hard truths for you, and then I’ll go back to my much softer self. 🙂

    1-Anti-anxiety drugs suppress symptoms; they do NOT cure. Your healing may continue.

    2-Your body can develop a tolerance to a drug and the symptom suppression can fade.

    3-You OWE it to your loved ones to tell them. Pride and health do not mix. You will lose and suffer longer and harder unnecessarily. I know this because I made the mistake of hiding my anxiety while at school too. (I’ve just finished writing a first-draft of a book about this so it’s fresh in my memory ) Talk. Keep talking.

    Social support systems either strengthen or change when you share an anxiety experience. Your concern and compassion are well placed. However, you will not be able to attract the best support system you can unless you share the truth and let the universe reflect that and bring those to you who are in harmony with your truth.

    It’s not for you to decide if another will suffer just because you’ve asked them for help. You never know who your limitless angels in life will be. To find them, you MUST share. You MUST talk. You MUST bring this anxiety out in the open to be held if you’ll ever become empowered to let it go.

    If you think you’re the only student with anxiety issues, think again. You’d be amazed at the reality that most students will hide what they’re going through, as you feel inclined to, and that anxiety is pretty common!

    Softer now…

    When my anxiety disorder started in my second year of college, it hit me so hard that I became agoraphobic (had great difficulty leaving my apartment). I had to work with my school to get some breathing room to miss some classes and make up for absences through extra homework that I’d always do. I always showed up for tests and exams. I don’t know what your school can do for you, but if you ask for help and some flexibility, you may be able to get it. Make sure to balance this with your need to keep living a full life despite anxiety though. I understand the usefulness in taking two years off, but it sounds like you didn’t really want to, which means you weren’t accepting of anxiety but caving in to it. You’ll know when you’ve struck the balance between accepting/working with vs caving because you’ll find yourself feeling the fear and doing things anyway more often.


    Step1 – peaceful center dive :
    I know anxiety crises all too well. The first thing you can do is not over-think this. Smooth everything out. Let go of the story. Don’t compartmentalize. Don’t have an overly energized call-to-action unless that idea invigorates you. Let the days start off as meaningless, and gently give them meaning one piece at a time. Ease into your day. Spend an extra 5-10 minutes in bed and set the alarm differently to allow for that. Be really gentle, tuned into your truth as a divine being and that you’re choosing more than you realize. You’re choosing education. You’re choosing to get to class on time. You have ALL the power, so keep choosing in your favour. Smile about it. Seriously laugh at the anxiety because despite it you’re giving yourself daily gifts!

    Step2 – coping techniques :
    Just keep breathing. Every anxiety wave passes. Get into a bathroom stall and breathe, alone for a while if you have to, in between classes. Find ways to release the tension of that anxiety. My favourite way of doing that was to pull myself into the moment. When panic would rise, breathing, heart stuff, all of it, I’d immediately start looking around at the colours of things, hear the sounds, what my hands are touching, if there are any interesting smells or attractive people etc. Do whatever you can to take-in the world around you. Focus intently on it. Count the ruled lines on the page where you’re taking notes. You’ll find that anxiety’s call to be in the moment–its pull into it through aggressive physical sensation–can be answered by deliberately connecting with where and when you are.

    This can help it pass more quickly. Use the teaching that you’re receiving in class to help you with getting into the moment too. Do interesting things like watch the mouth of the lecturer and look for patterns or habits. Make longer eye contact and take note of the teacher’s eye-colour. Are they wearing the same coloured pants that you may have seen last week? What’s the echo like in the classroom? Can you hear better if you tilt your head this way or that?

    It sounds cooky, but it works! To be more subtle, you can alternate taking notes from the lecture, and writing on a separate page, “Anxiety, I’m listening. I hear you. It’s ok. Shhhh, it’s ok. I’m already working on changing the causes of you.” Been there, done that.

    OR, you can take 5 minutes to just sit there and let it wash over you. Close your eyes, smile, and have a mini give-up/let go session. Let it take over. Sit there and be totally defeated by it. *looong exhale — let go* The smile is for three reasons. The first is that if you’re seen smiling by others they’ll be amused to think about what you’re thinking about, which can amuse you too thinking about what they’re thinking about. Two, the humour in the first is too much for anxiety to handle and it will cool its heels. The third is that it immediately injects a different context into that moment and the anxiety will adjust its mood. I’ve done this a lot too.

    As for the feeling like you can’t breathe in the morning, you’d have to tell me if you’re thinking ahead towards the day with anxious thoughts, as in anticipatory anxiety, where your inner dialog goes, “I know I’m going to feel bad. I know I’m going to panic. Ugh, how will I get through this day?” I get the feeling you’re either regurgitating from the previous day, riding a constant wave of repetitive experiences that you’ve yet to put enough change into, or you’re anxiously anticipating anxiety each day.

    Step3 – more on sharing :
    Get busy talking and sharing this experience. I know you don’t want others to feel bad for you, but you can’t take their freedom to care away from them. They love you. You cannot exhaust love. 🙂 It flows through us, as us, and the real source is bigger than you can ever imagine.

    I hope this helps! I feel for you! I’ve been in your shoes before! Keep talking and know that you’re never alone ok? *hugs*

  • Anonymous

    I chewed my bottom lip a long time before I decided to leave that out. When I suffered with anxiety the accelerated heart rate caused me panic attacks. The mind body connection as you suggests can go in the wrong direction where if anxiety causes a racing heart beat, a racing heart beat can aggravate anxiety.

    On the flip side, yes, in the long run exercise is anxiety reducing, by spending all those stress hormones. Flushing the body with water is good for that too.

    And then I had to consider the behavioural component. During my second divorce, I exercised constantly as an escape from dealing with the experience, emotionally. Knowing this is a common coping technique in human beings–dash before you hash–I didn’t feel confident recommending it as an anxiety solution. Others might also be at risk of hiding from anxiety through physical distraction/stimulation, which includes prescriptions (another whole section I left out.)

    Considering I wrote about anxiety cropping up louder from sucking-it-up too much, or DOing more than BEing, that was another reason for skipping it.

    In short, I let my own personal experience guide me and I left it out.

    Well, there’s that plus I was already at the word count limit after 7 suggestions haha. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I’m so delighted that we can connect on that approach! Congrats on your freedom! I hope it helps too. It’s nice that I got out of its clutches, but it means so much more when others can be helped, just through sharing. I mean, tell someone you had anxiety problems and got through it, and they think it’s just a quick attitudinal shift. There’s a bit of that, but there’s tons more involved and it hurts like crazy!

  • Cneuschotz

    Thank you for the wonderful insite into my soul. Were you peeking into my soul when you wrote this?

  • Anonymous

    Only in that we’re all connected. 🙂

  • Dee

    That is interesting, I noticed a direct connection between my fast walking speed and my anxiety levels, and I was quite sure that the breathing quickly and chest tightness was reminding me of panics, so I gradually learnt how to walk slowly and found it much easier to leave my home. My doctor did tell me ‘exercise is good for anxiety but only if you actually want to exercise!’ By walking slowly, I found it also allowed me more time to recognise what signals I was being given and address them one at a time, the first one I had to deal with was ‘I’m walking so slowly everybody’s going to think I’m weird!’ lol.

    Wonderful post.x

  • Anonymous

    I had to walk slowly too when I started going out to exercise a bit. It took time to work up my courage to let the heart race! 🙂

    I’m so glad that you grew towards it, and recognized signals. That’s great!

  • Frannie

    ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! Thank you so very much for this. It touched my soul. Brilliant.

  • Pilar

    Thank you for your reply, it means the world to me. I was looking for help from a psicologist but it’s too expensive and i can’t afford it. You know what makes me feel good? When i look through foreign schools to study Beauty and to become a make up artist, that’s what I really really love! I wish i could get to be one, I wish i didnt have to go thorugh this, going to school, feeling like this, studying a career i dont even like. I feel worse as each day goes, sometimes i have to cry when i’m walking in the street so i dont cry at home so my parents dont see it, it’s so exhausting, feeling like this and having to hide it.

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow, so you’re living a lie right now. You have to get busy talking about how you feel! Don’t do an education that doesn’t mean anything to you. This life is too precious. You don’t HAVE to hide it. You’re choosing to hide it. Remember that your choices are at work and that a perceived lack of choice is just that: perception.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad to hear it resonated with you!

  • KF

    Lovely. Thanks for being so honest about this topic…

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  • OMG! where have you been all of my life? This is excellent. I now see how I hold onto anxiety by trying to avoid it and not looking at it to understand it. I never thought of it as a self care type of message.

    Thank you so much!

  • Anonymous

    Aww, you’re welcome! It’s an amazing discovery!

  • Glenjorna

    great post…….helps to see anxiety in a whole new light. Once you accept it as a friend, as part of who you are, then its easy to see what it can teach you. I also find these 4 words particularly helpful during times of anxiety : THIS TOO SHALL PASS. These four words have helped me so much when feeling like there is no way out!

  • Anonymous

    You’ve comforted me so much with this Ariella. Of all the stuff I’ve read and researched this post has had one of the greatest impacts on me. I’ve suffered with anxiety for the best part of 20 years, triggered by a traumatic experience involving my dad. I don’t feel I can share the details publicly but wondered how I might be able to drop you a line to see if you could possibly answer me a question. I think I could be so close to moving on with a little extra help from you. I can’t wait for your book release. Thankyou so much and I apologise if my request is out of order.

  • Anonymous

    Hi! Although I can’t commit to a full support process, I would love the opportunity to listen and see if there’s any shared experience and wisdom I can share back! 🙂 Write me at ariellabaston at me dot com .

    To keep up with me and progress on the book, use these internet coordinates taken from my bio at the end of the article: and follow me on twitter @arielauthentic .

    Admit, accept, emote and celebrate!

  • Emmawing2000

    I have anxiety and depression, I start a part time job soon and moved home so I have had lots of stresses on me. The most problem I have at the moment, is if  I had to start work before my husband, which means I have to leave before him, that scares me so much, I dont know how to handle this, I am hoping to be ok, I am not going to take a watch with me as i would think at this time he go to work or he be at work at this time. Its very fustrating. 

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  • Jdh351

    I appreciate your blog, you give some great tips to anxiety sufferers. These tips will likely help me with my anxiety problems, which are related to PTSD.

    I am a veteran. I served in Afghanistan. To sum things up…I blew up in the desert one day and it has been long road, and a longer fight at home than the war ever was.

    I appreciate your writing. It inspires me in my own efforts with my blog. The Veteran’s Guide to PTSD. I plan on keeping up with this blog and possibly starting another one.

    I enjoy writing as you can probably gather by the length of this comment. HeHeHe

    Thanks for reading this.


  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the kind words John, and thank YOU for your service! I’m so sorry to hear that your good will has cost you so much. 🙁 Keep sharing and talking about what you went through! People not only need to know your truth, but it can also help you work through it.

    At your site you mentioned experiencing agoraphobia. I’ve experienced that myself and would love to talk to you about it if you’re willing. Send me a message at ariellabaston at gmail dot com should you want to chat. 🙂

  • patti

    In the midst of Paxil withdrawal and learning that many years of covering up my feelings with a pill, I found this article at a perfect time.  I am trying to feel my way through these days of ups and downs of horrible physical sensations and feeling out of control.  For the first time in my life, I realize I’d MUCH rather find the feeling and cry it out,  THAN be at the mercy of whatever anxiety and panic throws at me to district me from my emotions. It takes courage to look within. I hope others will DO just that to heal.  🙂  

  • patti

    Thank you for serving !  I admire you for that alone AND the fact that you’re doing personal emotional work to hopefully let go of the anxiety.  I’m with you in spirit John.  We’re travelling the same road, for different reasons.  I think letting go of pain, guilt, anger will make so much room in us for true joy and feeling good about ourselves.  Hang in there.  I will follow your blog.  🙂
    ~ Patti

  • Anonymous

    I hear you! I’ve gone through Paxil withdrawal and it’s hell. If you don’t already know, every dose change echoes withdrawal effects for MONTHS afterwards. Withdraw slowly with weeks to a month between dose changes, and don’t measure your progress on single good or bad days/weeks. Look at your progress over your shoulder as the months go by. Once free of the drug for many months, you’ll then have a clear perspective on what relationship to anxiety (that isn’t withdrawal related) you have and you’ll have a refreshed foundation to build from.

    You are very wise to adopt this path of introspection. It can help you USE this time to grow into a person that anxiety will no longer be compatible with and it will fade away.

    DO NOT choose a guessed date/time frame for when you SHOULD feel better and free of anxiety and withdrawal. Your body has its own pace and it will tell YOU the timeline. 🙂 My experience with helping thousands of people get off of Paxil has shown me that from the last dose you ever take, it’s not unreasonable to experience withdrawal effects for a year. For me, when I was off completely, it took me at least 6 months to get enough physical improvement to feel like I had reached a significant milestone, a year for emotional stability that felt within my control, and about another half year after that for any lingering flash-backs to completely leave (like a few more Zaps).

    For more help with Paxil withdrawal, you can visit If you’d like to learn more about my own journey towards, with and away from Paxil and anxiety, I’ve got a book on that : . If you’re financially strapped let me know so I can send you a free copy ok?

    You are not alone! Failure days do not exist. Judge no moment as wasted or a regression. Every experience you have deepens your wisdom and agility with the changes you’ve chosen. When you have a horrible day and you feel you can’t cope or accomplish anything with your mind or body, just sit still, or lie down, and breathe. Withdrawal is a journey you are guaranteed to complete even if all you do while remaining drug free is breathe. Healing is often something we LET happen more than MAKE happen.

    Anyway, sorry to write so much. I care about your journey and I wish you the best!

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  • Benjie

    Having a generalised anxiety disorder is not that easy to treat! I had experienced having an anxiety and what I did is that I played my favorite sport tennis. That week was great! I was absent a week just to relieve my self from anxiety. It went successful and i am happy with it.

  • Attrill_megan

    I had to read this, since I was thinking ‘Whhhaat? Anxiety.. a gift? My arse’. Haha. But it has honestly been one of the best and most enlightening thing’s I’ve read about it. Thankyou 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked it! It’s a useful shift to make. 😀

  • Shawna

    Sooooo goes to my heart.  All those methods trying to reduce anxiety are counter-productive.  This article gives the true wisdom and insights on how to answer the calls of anxiety instead of blocking it.  Thanks you!  Shawna

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  • Daisyhowes

    Hey I just want to say thankyou so much for this! You speak so truthfully and really give me hope is my journey through anxiety. I keep thinking I have to change something externally to feel better again but I do just need to look within and make friends with my anxious self xxxthanks again xxx

  • Anonymous

    Awww, you’re so welcome! I’m glad this connects with you. It’s made a world of difference for me. =D

  • Mmariemk

    I’m curious to know how this may apply to my unrelenting health anxiety that started 10 years ago at 20? It debilitating and expensive. I wish I could get to the root of the cause so I could move forward and enjoy my life with my three beautiful girls. I do the best I can…I try my hardest to shove the anxiety to the pit of me and just “live” but, then I have days like today where I can’t breathe, and my mind is racing with all kinds of horrible illnesses I must have, and I get so discouraged. 

  • ariellabaston

    Well, there’s a difference between  having thoughts, and identifying with them. Do you believe yourself a person that’s having thoughts, or a series of thoughts that happen to be a person? Where does your credibility system lie?

    I understand the desire to shove anxiety into a corner, but given that the anxiety is the warning that you’re carrying false thoughts and the false thoughts are the things you’re believing, I wonder if you might be giving the wrong things a shove. 😉

    10 years of inertia where you repeat the same pattern of behaviour is a difficult challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. Have you been dreaming of a different reality where such thoughts about illness are absurd?

  • Arlarv

    This beautiful message has taught me that I need to just stop fighting and really listen to what my true self really needs. And that’s just plain old self acceptance and self love. I have decided to just b quiet, listen and stop trying to change who I am in order to please other people. Your message really is a gift, and I thank you a million times with peaceful tears running down my face. It all seems so perfectly clear now. I am feeling connected for the first time in years!!! yes, anxiety is my friend, and my teacher, and with this I know I can learn to love and accept me just the way I am!!! Thankyou………

  • Missymorrow

    I am crying as I read this, because I know it to be true. It hit me so hard and so close to home, and I was so ready to hear this message. I have just begun my journey, as I have only just stopped to listen after four years of shame and self defeat with the same painful issues, plus low self-esteem. Thank you so much for this post, I feel I can only go forward from here.


  • MJ

    To add, I am on Zoloft and terrified to stop. Now I would rather suffer through growth than kill my emotions with drugs.

  • Lauren_mw

    This us such a comforting well written article. I’m 23 and am experiencing debilitating anxiety for the second time in my life. The first time wad when u started university at 19 while breaking up with my long term boyfriend. The breakdown as such occurred as u realised some similar things to you, basically that I didn’t know myself and had been managing anxiety and people pleasing without realising it. The process of recovery was incredibly painful but so so important. I learnt so much and felt I understood so much more including a greater sense of compassion. I’m in my final term if my final year and it seems to be happening again, I started recognising the signs as I wad slipping ibto old habits of managing myself and mt environment rather than connecting with it. I’m really scared of where this journey can go especially now while i’m trying to do my finals. I so badly want to heed your advice and learn from this but I need to get through my finals and trying to deal with all the stuff that’s coming up that I need to address is so overwhelming. It involved so much isolation and alienation last time albeit temporarily. I’m feeling pretty confused.

  • Angelface

    I have also suffered with anxiety for many years now and even though at the time it is quite a painful experience to go through, I have always told myself that it will pass in time.  My anxiety is my teacher and I learn so much from it – sometimes it is from emotional baggage I have not dealt with and other times it is to warn me of people or situations I have got myself into that are not for my highest good, but just recently I had 6 weeks of feeling really bad and last Sunday I sat and listened to what my body wanted.  I lay on the settee the whole day and eat foods that I had removed from my diet for the past two years and have stopped doing exercise for a couple of weeks until my body has fully recovered.  As I lay watching rubbish tv I could feel my body relaxing and my anxiety started to wane.  That night I had the best sleep I had had in ages and have done so for the last 2 nights also.  I have also started meditating for 5 minutes in the morning and night as I wake up and just before I go to sleep which I think has also helped.  I know my anxiety will probably be with me for the rest of my life and sometimes I wish I didn’t have it, but other times I am glad that it serves as my teacher as I could have stayed in many a wrong situation if it wasn’t for it popping up as a warning.

  • P.S

    I had my first panic attack during an argument with my sister. At the time, my friendship group had been having an argument which I didn’t want to get involved in. Mid-sentence, I suddenly couldn’t breathe, my heart was beating uncontrollably and I couldn’t stand up. After reading this article, I finally understand why it happened and what I need to do to overcome it. Thank you 🙂

  • Attrill_megan

    Something clicked in me after reading this.

    I started paying attention to my anxiety and realized that most of it surrounds failure. I decided to go back to school and I’ve been paying attention to what inflames and causes my attacks and negative thoughts. I’ve been doing this since early February and wound up on top of my subjects last term.

    I have learnt a lot in class, but no where near as much as I have learnt about myself. Things are becoming easier every week. I have a life now.. something I thought I would never be able to have. 

    I wanted to thank you personally for your contribution to my happiness 🙂

  • Anne Bellissimo

    Thanks for this thread & info. It had helped me a lot. AnneB

  • Benitotrm

    Congratulations! your message is so powerful and useful, I’m glad I came across it and that you are able to spread it. Thank you.

  • Salah Rushdy

    “Hey! I’m talking to you! Is she still ignoring me? UGH! Ok body, it’s your turn. Make her feel like her heart will explode. HA! You stopped working overtime didn’t you? Gotcha! Now look…we need to talk…What? Now you’re hiding in a movie? Oh no you didn’t! PANIC ATTACK!”


  • Lno30505

    It’s very hard to maintain control when you think you have cancer or a brain tumor. You start creating reasons to why your feeling what you feel, ignoring the fact that you most likely are just tripping off anxiety. Its a never ending battle with your mind and sanity, but only because you make it that way. As I type this, I’m struggling with anxiety, wondering why I feel an itch over here, and a twitch overtheir

  • Dontforgetjt


    I was up at 3 am last night, now going through my second bout with my anxiety in my life and I felt that many of the things you have depicted have been very helpful. I need that last push to let go……I had a couple questions if you have time to write me. When trying to discover the root of the necessary healing and bonding with my anxiety is that when I write down the thoughts that are racing to discover the problem or sort them when I’m calm?
    My email is dontforgetjt at

    Thank you so much it really means a lot

  • ariellabaston

    Going forward is definitely all you can do. It’s impossible to go backwards. 🙂

    How have you fared since you wrote that message? Any progress?

  • ariellabaston

    Ooof, I had such a negative result to Zoloft! For me stopping was better than being on it. If you choose to stop, make sure to do it gradually over a couple months of time at least. There are withdrawal experiences attached to these drugs.

  • ariellabaston

    We’ve had a good exchange via e-mail but you stopped replying. I hope all is well! (Figured I’d try to reach you here too.)

  • ariellabaston

    It’s not so much that anxiety will be with you the rest of your life, suggesting that it’s a haunting or chasing (the meaning you give it changes its experience/frequency). It’s that it is a part of the human spectrum of emotion and once reduced from its more chronic levels, it will remain like other emotions of happiness, sadness, hope, frustration, as a tool for experiencing reality.

  • ariellabaston

    It’s so uncomfortable and interruptive when it suddenly grabs our attention like that! I used to have similar flare-ups but even when not in an urgent situation like during dinner, quiet romantic moments, and grocery shopping! When it’s time to grow, it’s time to grow haha and life doesn’t wait.

  • ariellabaston

    I’m glad to hear that Anne. How are things?

  • ariellabaston

    =D Thanks for taking the time to consider the message!

  • ariellabaston

    Humour is an anti-anxiety treatment.

  • ariellabaston

    Mmm hmmm, “internal monitoring”, I hear you. That is a part of the anxious experience. Know that it’s part of anxiety so that it doesn’t reflect any other potential condition like a brain tumour. 😉

    When I was most anxious, I used to be afraid of not breathing and frequently made myself light headed trying to control my breathing, making sure I kept taking deep breaths or whatever. Breathing is one of the most automatic and instinctual mechanisms of being a person, and yet I was silly enough to think *I* had to consciously choose it. 

    Letting go of anxiety is also about trusting the body. It has millions of hears of knowledge and know-how, and has got us all this far. It’s less likely to fail than our spontaneous and temporary need to control or wonder what other illness we might have. 

    Anxiety FEELS like a physical sickness, and it will be felt throughout your body, but it’s a reaction, not a source of disease parading as dis-ease.

  • ariellabaston

    I’m happy to answer your questions John, but can we do it publicly here so that others can benefit in case they have the same questions? Sharing with others is more healing for the self than a private struggle.

    For now I’d encourage not to “dig” per se, but to breathe into the experience and quietly watch thoughts and images going by in your mind. All that you need to know and discover is already there for you; you just have to gently take notice. Otherwise you risk trying to hard, getting stressed, and causing more anxiety.

    Journaling definitely helps because it pulls you into the moment and gets you focused in a deliberate slower pace. The thoughts we have when just thinking through a problem can come and go too quickly and are usually exaggerated by the anxiety we want to think about.

    Mental reflection while feeling calmer (or not) also works because it invites an experience building of being OK with your thoughts. But in that process it’s essential to notice yourself having your thoughts — consciously noticing that you are an observer of thoughts more so than a creator or even victim to them. 

    Thoughts are things you have, not who you are. The brain can behave very independently, chattering away saying tons of nonsense, while the consciousness/observer that you are can actually detach from the drama and just notice them. It’s like being on the side of a road and watching a lot of cars going by. You can watch them, and even wave to get their attention and slow down so you can observe their shape and colour more, but ultimately you remain free and aloof to them and let them go about their business. Soon what happens is that the traffic pattern changes, fly by less, slow down, and become sensible things that you can add value and meaning to instead of their former intimidating blur.

  • ariellabaston

    Yay for shared understanding! =D

  • Dontforgetjt

    Thank you so much for your reply, after reading the initial message of listening for the healing that really clicked with me. I am excited to see where it leads me, as anyone I think can relate with anxiety and panic disorder we want to find the “off” switch ASAP and get back to normal. Have you heard of the linden method? I am reaching out to as many resources as possible to permanently cure this. I am currently letting the feeling wash over myself “really challenging” but kept asking myself “what are you trying to tell me, I’m listening!!” sadly, I had to take Xanax in order to get myself back to my ” comfort zone” my home.

    Thank you again for listening and advising,

  • ariellabaston

    Your next opportunities might be these John:

    (1) Forget about “normal”; aim for AWESOMENESS!

    Normalcy is an illusion. Nobody has it, unless they’re mindless, sheepish, non-individualistic zombies. The only path you have is FORWARD. There is no backwards, return, or anything, and why would you even want that given that your past is full of the ingredients that CREATED the anxiety in the first place?

    Listen to experience, use what you’ve already learned, and CREATE a new you that is at peace. Forget normal. It’s a shallow pipe-dream that robs people of individuality, depth and meaning. You can, and will do, better than normal.

    (2) Leave your comfort zone

    Comfort zones are coping mechanisms, not growth opportunities. Yes, you can take breaks and chill out sometimes, but you have to keep what I like to call a “creative tension” with the anxiety. Catch your breath when you’re overwhelmed to the point of not eating, not bathing, not able to work etc. But stay in life, stay engaged, and keep challenging it. Feel the anxiety and do things anyway. Live alongside the anxiety and believe that you are stronger than you feel you are, because you always will be. Anxiety is not your master; it is an experience and a motivation for you to realize this.

    (3) Drugs say one thing “I am not enough”, and that is what gave birth to anxiety in the first place

    Any time you take a drug, you are announcing with a nuclear bomb to your soul that you are deficient within and must therefore go outside yourself for a physical solution to a non-physical challenge. It just doesn’t make sense. Anxiety is a wake-up call to build your own peace and sufficiency by becoming a different person (that will feel like is a better person). Buying or ingesting comfort is no different than smoking or drinking. It only adds time to your journey, makes it take longer, and keeps your depth superficial.

    Ok, now that I’ve made an absolutist “I believe in YOU” statement, I can be more gentle and say, that I understand. 🙂 I’ve been there, have done that, and it’s completely alright. Just hold your future goal tightly to you at all times and KNOW you never “need” those drugs, and that you KNOW that you are merely choosing them. But you need to be without them to taste that, to experience that. You can know it immediately without experience by believing it, and I suggest you work on that first since it’s the more powerful and healing approach, but it’s ok if you have to build your confidence more gradually through trial and error. 

    Linden Method

    I’m not close to the material but I am aware of it. It doesn’t take money to manage and reduce anxiety, any more than it does pills (both being external solutions to internal problems, so they are not in sync) but you’re free to pay to be told “you will heal anxiety by growing THROUGH your anxiety”. 😉 This isn’t new to you. This article already reminded you of that and it didn’t cost you anything but a blip on your internet connection.

    The difference between what I try to do in the service of others and what commercial infomercial-flavoured entities do, is that I try to help people be people, while the marketers act like surgical knives that claim to only address single problems that if you just send them money, will zip in, cut it out and zip back out again. You can tell the difference between people-building and false quick-fix miracles with how specific the wording is. Ex: I noticed on their web site that they claim their approach deals with the amygdala in the brain. I find that hokey since Anxiety is a full-bodied/full-life experience that has more to do with past experience, environment, education and self awareness; ie: things that make up a whole person. Plus, neuroscience is in its infancy. It will not reach a point where it will actually make 1:1 connections like that accurately in our lifetime. North-american medicine is extremely arrogant and pompous and tends to hide how little it knows. 

    Like that quote in the Patch Adams movie: when you treat a disease, you win or you lose (like Linden method). But when you treat a person, you always win. 

    So be careful. Anxiety manifests biologically because the body-mind-spirit trinity is united, but the growth and opportunity to enrich your entire life, hitting upon all three, involves so much more. Go for the whole cake, not just the flour, but nobody will judge you for having tried to get the best flour you thought you could find at the time. 😉 This kind of self-love and courage to explore is a brilliant thing, necessary for healing anxiety, and I hope you continue to live that way! *hugs*

  • Codybear2011

    this is one of the best articles Ive ever read on anxiety.  I’ve suffered on and off for 25 years….what a wonderfully refreshing perspective- thank you!

  • K10

    Hi John,

    Hope you don’t mind me butting in to this conversation, but I too am in the midst of my 2nd battle with anxiety and panic attacks. This article that Ariella wrote so resonates with me. I too have invested in the Linden Method and would like to discuss with you if you feel up to it. Thank You Ariella for this wonderful article. You’ve offered a whole different perspective here. I’ve often wondered why anxiety and panic keeps rearing it’s ugly head after so many counselling sessions and being on meds, as well as years spent searching for a ‘cure’. I always felt deep down that there is obviously something more that needs to be heard or dealt with, not ignored, pushed away, or buried. Thanks for your wonderful article!

  • K10

    Hi Ariella,

    I commented below in a conversation you were having with someone, but I just wanted to post again and say thanks for the article! Sadly, I began having panic attacks when I decided to go back to school on my own with my 18 month old, 6 hours away from home. This was 10 years ago. We moved and set up in a nice apt. and I felt like I was finally moving forward in my life after losing my younger brother in an automobile accident and my family all moving away from one another as we did not know how to deal with the tragedy. I then I went through a painful breakup with the father of my child who was mentally and emotionally abusive. I often think that I only made through university as I was put on celexa to deal with the panic attacks. Over the course of 10 years I have been on and off meds twice now…I have weaned twice only to find myself in a black hole of despair, it scares me terribly. I don’t want to feel like a failure because I am not strong enough to do this on my own, but the intensity of the anxiety attacks are unbearable. I was off Effexor Xr for 4 months this month, when I began feeling low and and experiencing bouts of panic again. I feel like I messed up a good thing that had been working for me for the past 3 years. I am taking a small dose again so that I can at least regain some composure. I feel lost but when I found this article I felt a whosh of calm and hope again. I am wondering ifyou have any advice on letting go of past experiences? I think this time around, I got scared that I would have a repeat of hitting bottom like I did 6 years ago when I weaned myself off of the celexa, and then ended up almost being there again. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • ariellabaston

    Oh wow, 25 years! That’s a lot of time to get to know it. What have you learned?

  • ariellabaston

    I’d like to know what your experience with Linden has been like too! Very curious to see if real world meets the marketing text.

  • ariellabaston

    Hi K10!

    You have suffered great losses. Losing someone and then a broken family followed by relationship changes and trying to manage the fear within the love a a parent? W-O-W! That is a lot. I’m making a big deal out of this because I want you to know something:

    If you could stand upright throughout this, you would have been doing being-human wrong. 😉 You are within the most precious freedom as a person and someone in pain to stumble, fall, and stay there for a while. This is in no way a failing, nor does it mean you’ll be stuck there. You just need to take the time you need and your wise to wonder if there are more deep/honest ways of going about it with less judgment.

    I’ve been in wicked despairs and terrors while anxious, so I hear you. The good news is that you can ride them all out without needing to medicate. Nothing bad will happen except you’ll find yourself motivated to rest more because it’s so difficult to function at times. I spent so much time staring at candles, meditating or whatever. It was a disruption to devote so much time to healing, but having rescued myself from anxiety through those kinds of self-commitments, I now know those were the best decisions I could make. 

    I know the world labels down-time as a flaw or weakness, but experience has taught me that the courage to not judge such moments is one helluva divine and growth-filled thing to do. Non-action is sometimes the best action because it keeps a fire burning in the moment so that you’re warmed with the glow of embers the rest of your life. Ow now, to rest for the rest.

    By down-time I don’t mean avoiding life completely, I mean taking a couple hours a day and selfishly devoting it to yourself, and trying for more even on the weekends and certainly during moments of panic. There are a lot of what-ifs in anticipatory anxiety (the panic you create when fearful of the next panic attack) and I combined that reality with my commitment to taking time to myself, so I intentionally answered all my what-ifs with management plan items.


    What if I panic while driving? — I will get off the road when I safely can, in a parking lot or whatever, and walk around for a bit feeling the ground beneath me, the air on my face and connect with the moment noticing the world, looking for interesting new things.

    What if I fail to get to work and they fire me? — I have sick time, I have vacation time, and I have performance reviews. It’s very likely that I will be fired because a morning started off in a panicked frenzy where I was bent over in bed for two hours. I will simply email/call in that I’m dealing with a health thing and will show up a big later. I’ll then work it out with HR.

    What if I get absentee warnings and I fail to improve my attendance? — Then so be it. I am life. Life is who I am, work is something I do. I can do other things for money that are more flexible and dynamic for my life. I have found a way to stay alive, fed, clothed and housed this many years, facing the same risks of sudden bouts of lost income, so why would now be any different? I’ve already proven to myself that I rock at surviving and I’ll keep doing that. 🙂

    What if I panic in a restaurant? — I’ll sit in a stall for 15 minutes and then touch-up makeup. No big deal. A bathroom stall is my safe haven, a private space where I can just breathe through no matter what the panic is. I know a racing heart is not fatal. I expect to breathe harder and feel out of breath and I know that I cannot die from this. I know that nausea is to be expected, and the toilet is right there to deal with it. 


    You are ALWAYS more capable and will be just fine, every time, if you can feel that or not. Anxiety is full of illusions and sensations that seem to say one thing, when really they are just states of intense general alarm that are up to us to interpret. Given that they are meaningless and we can give them any meaning, I always found it helpful to give it this meaning:

    “This is painful. I feel awful. I will not give it meaning right now because I am not focused clearly. Breathe. Breathing is all I ever have to do because this too shall pass.”

    Notice how in-the-moment and non-judgmental that is? Panic urges us to label all discomfort as “suffering”, but we remain intelligent beings who can CHOOSE the meanings of all things, even if they feel contradictory. I mean, you’ve given birth. 🙂 Did you call that painful, or suffering? What about today? Meanings always change as experience offers us new opportunities for context. Instad of “letting” that happen, choose it in the first place: I hurt, but I am not suffering, and I am never a victim.


    First breathe a sigh of relief from this: Feeling pain means that you’re already walking the path through it. Hurting doesn’t mean that you’re standing still, it means that you’re moving. Be excited by this. You’re already achieving what it is you’re asking how to do!

    (1) You have to bathe them in acceptance. Give them permission to have happened as if you admit that even if you don’t know the whys of what happens in life, you trust that there is a compassionate good reason that you will happily wait for, even if it’s until you yourself are back in spirit.

    (2) You then wash the past in gratitude. Give more thanks for what you received than lament what you didn’t, or lost. But don’t force this. Through acceptance you’ll move to this next step naturally, on your own, with your own perfect timing.

    (3) Imagine talking to your past self and the people surrounding emotional events and love them. Then forgive them. Set them free. Give them permission to be fallible. Trust that you and they did the best you all knew how at the time.

    Realize that the past is a fantasy held in your mind. It is not with you. It cannot visit you. It cannot haunt you. Only you can CREATE it as a temporary illusion in the moment that you bring it up. This is ok. We all do it. It doesn’t mean you’re self punishing or delusional. Pain sticks around until we have recontextualized, gained a new perspective, or more simply grown from them. You will let go when you choose to, and you will choose to when you have grown into the different person who no longer needs the pain. You don’t have to wait for this. Choose to be that person now, if only for a moment, and then keep practicing.

    I want to do something special and send you a copy of my book that talks at length about how to manage crisis-level anxiety, while drugs are in the mix and how to deal with those better. Write me at ariellabaston at me dot com and I’ll send you a PDF copy of the ebook to read at the computer, ereader device, or to print if you’d like. 

    I hope this helps!

  • Harriett

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I was wondering if you had any advice for a young person dealing with anxiety. I recently turned 20 and I have been dealing with anxiety issues since middle school. When I was in middle school, my family became very dysfunctional. I was hurt and rejected a lot by my parents. I still live at home right now, but I wish that I didn’t have to. It’s awkward being around my parents, because I don’t really like them and we don’t have a close
    relationship. My parents can be rude, judgmental and overreactive. They know that I have emotional problems, but instead of trying to help me or be supportive, they interrogate me and judge me. I feel really anxious and on edge whenever I’m at home, because I think my parents are silently judging me. I also feel like the lack of relationship is mostly my fault. I’m not trying hard enough or being a good person. I really want to get away from my home but I don’t make enough money to move out. I’m working my first job at Dairy Queen. What steps should I take to overcome my anxiety and fear of my parents? Thanks for your time.

  • ariellabaston

    Hi Hariett. I don’t find it surprising that in light of how much judgment and overraction you receive from your parents that you’re feeling you’re less of a good person. I also wouldn’t be surprised if anxiety is being aggravated by all that if not caused. Time will tell but there are personal development steps you can take.

    First you just need to take the time to grow to believe your own opinion about yourself. It’s hard, I know, and many middle-aged adults are still not there, but keep it in focus. Make it a lifetime commitment to value your own opinion and beliefs above others. Get angry and journal your hands sore if you have to. Be creative, invest more heavily in hobbies, or go out and volunteer. Do anything that can channel your self-worth into something tangible so that you can show yourself how much of what you hear from others are lies.

    The truth is that you were born “enough”. You are already adequate. You are life itself and that is the most valuable creation in the universe. (Actually, no, life *IS* the universe — you were made of stars.) While you never have to earn this, sometimes you do have push on others who lack the awareness or who seek to hold you down. You’ve reached age of majority and this entitles you to rights.

    Listen to external opinion in case there’s some wisdom to grasp, but mostly just discard it. Treat it like you’re hearing an audio book, and you’re free to believe what you’re hearing or not. I know this is hard because there’s no OFF button (except when you go out, or move out) but, there’s nothing wrong with detaching/ignoring the noise every now and then.

    You’ve probably done this a hundred times, and I know I did with my own parents to little benefit, but did you tell them how you feel and how they’re inviting you to feel when they judge you? Often times parents have a script/road map defined for their kids which they (kids, you) have to fight against, so that natural and personalized life and growth can take place without being suffocated. Understand that they might actually be doing their best, and that this is all they know. They may just be projecting their own insecurities and what looks like they’re attacking you, they’re really just judging themselves. People are like that, we’re all guilty of having projected onto others what we need to heal personally, because it feels like it’s “being let out” or a that we’re “taking action” or “applying our mind to it” or “keeping busy”. All of that is clumsy and not the best ways to go about it, but it is an attempt to grow or at least; to cope with fear.

    Keep working and balance school with it and fight for your independence. You’ll make it. It just takes time. I started early so I shifted into independence at 18, but it wasn’t a smooth ride. I started working delivering papers at around age 8, at McDonald’s at age 12, had a second grocery store job at 15, and then ran a third job: a DJ business at 18. Despite that, when I lived by myself for the first time, I freaked out and started failing school (university). It took two years from that starting-to-fail period to put myself together in a way that felt chosen and full of purpose instead of having to cope with what felt like a whirlwind of uncertainty and cluelessness.

    While you don’t have to be as aggressive as I was, know that if you keep moving forward, independence will be created and you’ll be able to leave that environment behind and approach it in a new way. Aim higher than Dairy Queen. You deserve it. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with earning work experience. I can’t stress enough how much I learned from McDonald’s about product quality, sales, presentation, marketing and more. Life never wastes your time, but you have to pay attention to it and LOOK for things to receive. Life won’t interrupt your free will so you have to reach out and retrieve the wisdoms that matter to you. When you don’t do this intentionally with regularity, it will remind you to by shoving things in your face. LOL! Most people don’t understand this process and call it drama, or adversity. 

    It can get better with your folks, 5-10 years down the road (or sooner, it’s up to the commitment level of everyone involved.) My parents and I couldn’t stand each other either in my teen years up until my mid to late 20s. They thought I was a vandal, an alcoholic, anything they could come up with while the truth was that I just avoided them to sit on the beach and listen to Pink Floyd, sober, and frequently stayed out all night just for the peace and quiet, to go on dates, and avoid them from holding me back. I got hurt more often than I should if I had just listened to them, but that’s just how it went. These are classic dramas surrounding growth and independence and I’m happy to say that once I reached enough maturity to calm the hell down and see them as vulnerable people, I could participate in building a relationship with them. From my 30s and onward we have been best of friends and adore each other. 🙂 We email several times a day, along with several calls per week. I’ve even lived with my folks a few more times when I was in between international moves/life transitions and we got along better than we ever had. I keep thanking them actually for the upbringing and discipline they tried to give me, including the harsh judgments and severe punishments because I can now see what they were trying to do. 

    Remember that your parents are just people, like you. They carry their insecurities from childhood forward and have to deal with them like anyone else. They probably constantly feel like they don’t deserve to be parents if they fail what they believe is their job/responsibility with you. That kind of pressure will make anyone really twitchy. But at the same time, you deserve to be treated better. They need to know this. You can make the first step, in case you can lead by example (I know I had to with my folks at times.) Look for understanding. Ask them questions about how they feel OUTSIDE of arguments. Every human being gets stupid and sloppy when angry. 🙂 Catch them when they’re peaceful and start with gratitude, even if you don’t feel they deserve it. Of course they do; but you can delay holding that for now.

    I hope this helps. For your next reply, can you talk more about the anxiety, how and when it’s showing up, what choices you’ve made when feeling it that would have been different if you weren’t anxious? It would be nice to have an opportunity to explore those with you. Thanks!

  • ariellabaston

    John, I haven’t heard from you in a week. How are things?

  • SOTNAS14

    Wow….Thats all I can really say..WOW!!!

  • Wandafein

    Hi, I’m 17 and ive had anxiety for about two years now, I had a baby at 16 and im a good mom but i feel like i wasnt a kid for long enoough because before i got pregnant i hung out with the wrong crowed, i was drinking from age 11 till 15. I feel like somewhere in that time i lost who i really was and i cant seem to figure out who i am. Any suggestions on how I can figure it out?

  • ariellabaston

    Oh sweetie, I feel for you! That is a TON of responsibility and a difficult personal situation to find a space to grow with less on your shoulders. You can do the two together however.

    It’s important that you know that we are never a static “someone” in a defined way  for long, so a static snapshot of yourself is not something you can find. If you want a real goal that can actually happen where you are fully grounded and empowered, you have to simply CREATE who you choose to be, now, today, for tomorrow.

    Cherish whatever you expressed (or liked) from your person in your past and feel free to recreate that expression, but always see this as something new, fresh, and going forward. Create a you that includes the challenges you currently have and imagine yourself capable of always getting back up (you are), to keep persevering (you will). It WILL get easier. You’re still in the pressure-zone of rapid change and it’s perfectly common to feel disassociated. Comfort zones have been upset, boundaries are being pushed farther away, and you are exploding in your range of experiences.

    But that’s the same space for creation, and being, in the most authentic ways you can imagine because you will be choosing who to be next instead of only being an affected result of past experiences.

    You will never “find” yourself because you don’t exist like a chunk of stone to unearth. You do not exist in the past to dig up, nor the future to discover. You are here NOW as a dynamic and ever-changing force of life. All you can do is just choose your favourite direction. 🙂 GET EXCITED ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY! Brainstorm and write down who your dream self would be, and then do small things every day to turn that into a physical demonstration that you are already that person. Belief precedes every action.

    I completely understand if the idea of “finding yourself” feels like it has an emotional reward of feeling grounded and at peace, but it’s an illusion. That only comes when you choose to accept where you are and choose to be someone capable of acceptance, have gratitude and use the two as a platform to launch new exciting growth and achievements from. Find new things to love about yourself. Steal minutes for creativity like art and music, and just keep expressing the wide range that is your person.

    For anxiety, listen to it, find the moments when its strongest, and compare these to the opportunity to choose who to be, to create your person. They will connect. Also go easy on yourself. Forgive yourself constantly. 🙂 You’re going to make a TON of mistakes and these are perfect, or you wouldn’t grow. You have responsibilities and expectations, but in the moments where you find some peace, breathe into them. Literally stop everything, consume no media, put down the phone, and just breathe, smiling to yourself that it’s really nice to get a chance to do that. 

    I don’t know what kind of support system you have from family and friends, but don’t try to be a lone hero. Surround yourself with as many people as you can for help, relief, learning, sharing ressources and so on. Society has it wrong that only the parent(s) is/are the source of child raising. It requires a lot of people to nurture life in the richest ways. Make sure you explore this. Being a young mother is not a punishment and you deserve space for personal maturing at the same time. I know all of this sounds idealistic, but as long as you’re aware and searching for support, the probability of it goes way up, so I figured I’d rah-rah a bit. 🙂

    I hope this helps!

  • ronda clinebell

    im 38 years old and suffer from anxiety! i never knew what it was until now.iv walked off jobs,got violent,loss friends,and felt like iv at times lost my sanity. i recently walked out of my job due to an attack.and its been two in a half weeks and still have not been doctor is givin me an excuse but this crap is getting old!!!!! im also a recovering alcoholic been sober for 6 months. but i really feel trapped in this hellish brain of mine. im hoping that its anxiety and not that im crazy.will you please write me back? and by the way,im very new to the computer so your actually my very first e mail or whatever this is. iv had an account but never used it for anythig good.or never learned to communicate on it

  • RestonRick

    Great post and incredibly insightful.  Thank you for this wonderful post!  

  • Guest

    I just came across this article and post that comes at a good time for me. I have been trying to come off my anxiety meds that I’ve been on for about 5 years since I experienced a traumatic death of a sibling. The last four months have been so hard as I’ve been trying to come off anxiety medication. Ups and downs, tears, headaches, zaps, and anxiety. Very moment to moment. I experienced my first panic attack coming off the dose which has led me to more anxiety and lack of trust in myself. I came across this website which is really helping me and I’ve also found support from a therapist and doctor who’ve reassured me to have compassion for myself and not to be hard on myself if I need to regress for a bit. Unfortunately, trusting my breath like I used to do so confidently has come harder as I fear another panic attack like last time. Thank you for sharing your withdrawal experience. I feel like the public doesn’t recognize how intense of a process it is and it takes community members to teach us the real process.  Thank you for the simple reminders!

  • Jfriedman513

    This was amazing. Thank you

  • Brookemi

    This is an incredible message!  I can’t thank you enough for writing it. I was on Zoloft for 10 years due to panic attacks but it only made me numb.  I now have anxiety but it’s so much better to see and feel life and I love this message to embrace the anxiety.  You have made my day, month, year with this message!!  Thank you!

  • Guest

    I totally agree with you. Anxiety works is a change agent. It’s our body’s way of telling us something’s not right. Growing up, I’ve always been a happy & confident gal. But 3yrs ago, I met this bunch of young successful people who seem to have everything going for them, I started feeling inferior. Anxiety crept up silently on me. I only realized what was wrong with me after a few panic attacks. I managed to find the cause & completely recovered, but it wasn’t long before it came back again, although it’s milder this time & I could control it better. But this time round, no matter how I try, I just can’t seem to find the cause of it. I so want to feel calm again.

  • Allz

    Hello Ariella,
    I too saw your article and a weight just lifted off my shoulders. Anytime I’m feeling anxious I come back and read this article. I actually moved away from home which will be a year at the end of August, for a change and growth with my significant. In April after a visit home with my parents and sister whom im so very close to I experiment my first full on anxiety attack the morning after leaving my my parents. That one panic attack left me in a state of fear for about 2 months straight with many panic attacks to follow. I am now feeling like I’m getting past it but some days I will still find myself lost in my thoughts and feeling anxious. I also am trying to get out of a job that I am unhappy in. I never lived away from home and what I want to know if it is possible that having moved away could have triggered this anxiety. I never had issue with anxiety before until I moved away from home. I know people get homesick but is it possible I’m still homesick? Your opinion would be so greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks so much

  • Cynthia

     My thanks goes to for helping me to get back my lost love thank you may your days be long so that you can continue your good work,Richards

  • Jessicahernandez77

    So all you have to do is believe in yourself?

  • jj:)

    So all you have to do is believe in yoursel?

  • DubFatal 88

    Thank You.

  • ZoC

    Mine has been a twelve year bitter marriage! ha!

  • Pjl4775

    I have a long list of “whys” as reasons fr my anxieties, and for so long, I would keep those feelings hidden. I grew up with an abusive parent and even as I am a grown married adult, continue to blame that parent.
    My anxieties were much easier to deal with when it was just me and I was living by myself. Once my wife and I began getting serious, moved in, and got married, I was no longer able to hide my feelings. As doing so made me appear withdrawn.
    I had literally been “what if-ing” myself to death. You name it, and I worried about it. And what i am worrying about is far from real. I grew up protecting myself with various defense mechanisms and those are difficult to break away from, even though I know I am no longer I danger.
    My wife is amazing and I just want to, as this article states, use my anxiety as a gift to get better and make our lives better.

  • Me

    Thank you SO much.

  • Joni Mustonen

    Amazing post.. Just amazing.. Thank you for this. This helps me keep going ! We need more people like you ! Wish i could figure out what is causing the anxiety.. I really gotta put my mind into it and dig deep, i want to get rid of panic-attacks and constant anxiety.. WITHOUT PILLS. Going to do my best. Thank you so much from this article !

  • Stanenba

    Hi, I have kind of a unique anxiety situation that I thought you might have some insight into. I get really anxious- like panic attack anxious, when I run. Do you have any idea why it might manifest then? I’m only 19 and in reasonable good shape, but when I run it’s the scariest panic attack feeling and it almost immediately stops me.

  • TruthVybes

    Thank you. I found this very helpful and unbiased! Best to relate to another sufferer of anxiety since they can fully relate.

  • ariellabaston

    That’s a courage shift! I’ve always found it to more authentic and richer in discovery, especially if the journey without drugs is the NEW path being explored after a period of consumption that was immediately recommended before having thoroughly explored other avenues.

  • ariellabaston

    Ronda, my experience from listening to friends and family who have recovered from alcohol abuse, is that anxiety is a frequent partner to recovery. Anxiety is not usually associated with violence though, so be careful to examine what potential variable goes with what experience. 

    One of my closest friends who went sober fall of last year, is still feeling lost, confused, and has had lots of moments of anxiety to consecutive months of background buzzing (even after 10 months of sobriety.) Healing follows its own pace and it’s best you remain humble, and submit to that as peacefully as you can. Find other physical investments to burn off stress hormones than being violent, storming off work etc. I understand how difficult that is when in the moment, but if you can keep your support group close to help you with all this, you could have an easier time.

    Become more clear that you are free at any moment to just lay down, and give up. This kind of submission when you feel like exploding (I’ve been there) can be really helpful. While doing this, just lying down, telling yourself that you’ve had it, that God can take over now because you’re just going to lie there and just breath, also notice that you can have thoughts, and not BE those thoughts. Practice this perspective. It will make a world of difference in how you react to situations in the future. You will feel more empowered.

    We lose friends when we need to grow our foundation for independence. It’s a gift. Never stop asking for help and talking about what you’re going through, but trust that if there are fewer people around you to hold you up, it’s because you are about to walk independently and you need the space to really connect with this experience, own it, and then glow in gratitude the rest of your life with the pride gained from it. It might also mean that people who weren’t able to help you, genuinely, have made room for new people who are.

    This has been my experience. 🙂

  • ariellabaston

    Yeah, if the cause isn’t able to be put into words or there’s no story attached, it can just be a physical venting that doesn’t need a mental abstraction or formed thought. You could just be stressed or tired and not able to feeling it because of the layers of invisible coping techniques. I catch myself doing that still. 🙂

    It’s funny, or foolish, or absurd, but last year when I lost my job I became REALLY anxious and couldn’t figure out why. LOL! How dense could I be! Duh! Uncertainty from where my next meal would come from? That kind of anxiety is just logical and doesn’t need me to explore any story! haha When I’m not anxious for years at a time, I can forget what I know, going forth to live and play all innocent-like. I think that’s the right way to do it, to not carry baggage forward indefinitely, but at the same time, when I have a really good reason to feel anxious, it can take me weeks to remember, “ooooooh yeeeeah! IT’S YOU! I see you!”

    Maybe “cause” and “wrong with me” aren’t as helpful to you as “motivation” and “could use some healing.” Those are less harsh and remind you of choice. Anxiety likes to get harsh and generate harsh inner dialog through a feeling of victimization, so it helps to re-contextualize it.

  • ariellabaston

    Your story sounds like mine! I didn’t take to moving away from home well at all. I ate poorly, coped with alcohol, avoided sleep and when I could sleep I had to have music on, and so on. I’ve also experienced that post-travel marathon of anxiety many times. In fact, my anxiety-years were triggered by feeling too trapped or not in control while traveling to/from family. I hear you!

    I find what helps with this kind of comfort-zone attachment, is a very deliberate plan to invest and feel immense gratitude for where you are now. If you OWN the place you’re in (attitudinally speaking), then it becomes your home and you will not feel that elastic-pulled-too-far feeling. Start with a corner in your current home, then walk the neighbourhood a lot and notice as many little details about it as you can. Really connect. Make it familiar. Then discover favourite hang out spots because of a tasty treat, or funny conversations heard from people, and so on. Find places and experience that feel like they reflect who you are, and frequent them. Make them yours.

    The above is extremely powerful. I’ve moved more than 25 times in my life, from childhood into my late 30s, and those techniques are how I was able to handle moves without feeling bonkers, victimized, lost or what have you. I wasn’t always successful, but 95% of the time I felt at home in my new home very quickly. The most successful move was a place I had visited 10 years before I moved there. I spent 10 years day-dreaming about it, remembering places I had visited, the slightly different shade of blue the sky was, the smells of the different trees etc. I didn’t know I was going to move there, but I moved there in my mind years before. Boy was I amused when I got to move there! I felt at home before I arrived haha!

    So the point is to be conscious, and choose the level of investment you give to a place. Home is wherever you choose to focus yourself, your gratitude, and your conscious experience.

  • ariellabaston

    Defense mechanisms carried forward from childhood are EXTREMELY difficult to let go of. It’s never a weakness to struggle against them. The struggle IS the courage. Also, since relationships are mirrors in which we can no longer hide, it’s completely understandable that you’re having a tough time now!!!

    The good news is that if you’re struggling with what you used to carry comfortably, it means you’re working towards letting them (coping mechanisms) go, or feeling a friction to how much of an obstacle they are to an open loving relationship (which requires levels of vulnerability many of us with coping mechanisms are terrified of.)

    Sounds like you’re seeing it all for what it is, which is amazing. No denial for you! You have the courage to SEE! *applause* That is tough!

    Make sure she knows that you are now active in tearing down those walls. Let her be a part of the support process, although this is truly only your responsibility and work. Hopefully this will evolve the misunderstanding that you are withdrawn. I find relationships go better when both people know the challenge that is being dealt with and consciously choose to stay close together as they journey through it, instead of blindly accusing the other of being inadequate, or doing things wrong.

    This anxiety may have been the gift of awakening for you! Or, it may just be part of the experience of a process you had already started, and it just showed up for it to make sure you’re aware of its importance. Either way, keep learning to breathe, let go, and trust that you will never have to deal with the things you did ever again for big reasons:

    1-You are no longer that person. The old you was blindly comfortably walled. The you of today has the courage to love and let in.

    2-What you defended yourself from is not appearing like it was (if at all anymore).

    3-You are so much stronger and more capable today that its reappearance (if actual or through memory) is already powerless in comparison.

    These perspectives are how I’ve helped myself let go of walls. I hope it helps!

  • ariellabaston

    Normal in my books. The body and mind are connected and the agitation of one can agitate the other. I remember in my panic attack years that I couldn’t do any exercise precisely because of this dynamic. Walking too far or exercising too hard made me feel worse than meditating. 🙂

    The link is made in that anxiety races the heart, and exercise races the heart. Anxiety can make you sweat. Exercise makes you sweat. Anxiety makes you breathe heavier and feel out of breath. Exercise can make you feel out of breath. The body doesn’t care what the cause of those conditions are, it just knows associations, and it WILL confuse them. You’re at risk of confusing them as well because of the symptom overlap.It might help you to identify if the panic is only triggered through rhythmic cardio like running, or can you do less of that and more strength training. With all the new Ancestral Living/Paleo knowledge growing in depth and cultural acceptance, the NEW message with exercise is : less cardio, more lifting, and keep it short (30min a few times a week.)

    Keep us posted on what you find!

  • Esante

    This article give nothing but pretty pictures. What most people need to do besides exercise yoga, meditate – for people with real panic or anxiety attacks – we have to turn off whatever is going on in the subconscious mind to get to the source. I guess I will keep researching till I find someone that has had real experience with anxiety and knows how to get to the source of the problem. Just believing in yourself is not enough or laughing – I mean really lol

  • ariellabaston

    Someone wrote in and criticized the article saying that people having serious panic attacks aren’t served by the information it contains. The comment in this thread got deleted somehow, but it was such an important challenge of what’s been discussed here that I’d like to validate it.

    This article is about the perceptual understanding that anxiety is a message no matter level of intensity it pertains to. In fact, this understanding was born in a chronic debilitating anxiety disorder accented with agoraphobia, suicide attempt, anorexia, poverty, and more. Here’s how this “anxiety is a message” stuff came to me and how it was the most useful and empowering thing to learn :

    I spent years being stuck at home, impoverished, not eating, and having all-day panic attack marathons that tore me down from a healthy vibrant human being to a shell of an animated corpse. I went from hiking and rock climbing to shaking on the couch, for years, since having a single panic attack that decided it just wasn’t going to switch off. The panic attacks were severe and dropped in weight by 60-80lbs. There was a suicide attempt. My life flip flopped from being awake during the day to the night, to back again, to being terrified of eating because feeling full was too close to feeling nauseated from panic attacks, to a withdrawal experience from hell from Paxil, and so, so much more.

    You can imagine that going through all that was victimizing, and it was. I completely gave up the belief that I could ever change anything and that I had to sit there and just “take it”. I believed it was my lot in life to suffer, and so I did.

    After many years of this, my aunt who knew a thing or two about healing from adversity gave me a wisdom that never entered my mind until that day : you must hold a truth before you can let it go.

    This blew my mind because I had spent years running, hiding, cutting out activities, food, what ever I could think of to flee from the anxiety and any of its triggers. I never imagined holding it, taking ownership of it, or anything. So it had never occurred to me to HOLD the anxiety dear in some way, to look at what it was, what it meant, what potential purpose it could have (beyond trying to do me in.)

    From there I started to sit with it, become ok with it, and welcome it. I listened. I accepted that doing that sounded absolutely insane, but it was crazy enough to work, and it did. 🙂 I got to know anxiety as a message for OTHER deeper things within me that were the real culprit for my hellish-ride. I bounced the idea around thousands of other anxiety sufferers and they agreed that this “anxiety is a message — listen first” was a fundamental foundation stone for moving forward and healing

    This article is about that foundational understanding — a starting block to more. It looks so innocent and simple, but it is a basic truth that makes the journey to other truths about anxiety, whatever the level of severity, much easier. While one is circling the drain, you must still understand anxiety as a message, and listen to it, because your journey out of a tub of hell still involves a connection with the self that shifts your mindset from victim to creative element for change. You need to hold it before it can be let go.

    I hope this helps. My only intention when writing about anxiety and helping others is to empower them. It’s never to be shallow, wishy washy, trite, nor give any hint that anything I say wasn’t born in the hot fires of a hellish anxiety disorder, because they were. I’ve been there. 🙂

    It gets better, waaaaay better! From all that adversity I got healthy again, strong and confident, trained in long distance cycling, rode across Iowa non stop in a week, drove around in my car for 12h+ many times a year, just revelling in the freedom. And all of it began, was made possible, by the simplest of understandings : anxiety is talking…shut up and listen.

  • ariellabaston

    No, you have to listen to yourself to stop the running, the coping, the dancing and dodging. You can’t change what you won’t first hold, and hold close to you.

  • Jon

    I get red in public and at school when I feel people are just staring at me or when i know all attention is on me is this anxiety? Or something different?

  • ariellabaston

    That’s embarrassment, self consciousness, and an unhealthy amount of concern for what others think of you with maybe some paranoia from having not worked on healing it sooner. 🙂 Some medical peeps might call it “social anxiety” but that’s a bullshit diagnosis inflated in the early 1990s for GlaxoSmithKline to have something to patent their drug Paxil on.

    Confidence, not giving a crap about what others think, and building your life so that its REAL meaning is louder than the negative FANTASIES about external opinion can remedy that.

    You’re in school! You’re young! This is ok. If you remain aware, consistently aim to move away from this as a solemn promise to yourself for the rest of your life then it’s only a matter of time before it gets old.

    Remember these things:
    -You HAVE thoughts about what others think. You are NOT the thoughts.

    -What others think of you is none of your business.

    -None of us really matter to others in the ways we think. We’re all pretty unimportant given that we’re all very busy. It’s a major ego trip to think you matter so much that others will focus their day on YOU, and repeatedly.

    -Constantly looking around to “check” who’s staring at you, will CAUSE people to stare at you because we are biologically programmed to seek out eyes, and to divert our attention to where others are turning their head to (biological instinct for protection.) So try not to cause the external focus you imagine you’re having ok?

    You should have seen me. I stuttered so bad it took me a half hour to read a single page out loud. I would break down and cry if I had to speak out loud in front of class for 60 seconds. I always sat in the back and tried to hide, and even when I knew answers to questions, I never spoke them. People thought I was weird, or stupid as a result. I also avoided the telephone until I was almost 20.

    But then maturity and selfishness kicked in, and I stopped giving a crap about what others thought. In the span of a year I became club president of things in college, started tutoring, wouldn’t get off the phone, and could even happily and confidently talk to crowds of people without a worry in the world except wondering if I was following my outline and using enough humour. 🙂 (And this was while still stuttering. Booya! WIN!)

  • Hello, I was 15 when I had my beautiful daughter so I have been through the same struggles as you i had anxiety for almost a year my anxiety came with a full blown panic attack that sent me to the ER for six hours. They ran abunch of tests ekg and all they came back to say i was having a panic attack it made no since to me because i had never had anxiert before and never undrrstood it. Oct 19th. I felt like i was dying and trying to hold on to my life. Very scary! Than I felt like i was going crazy because how real it felt to me but it was just anxiety? The first month was horrible I couldn’t sleep because i thought i would die.. that’s how i felt, but as time went.on and i felt the symptoms over and over again i started to believe in my swlf that I would not die and that “this too shall pass” my worse anxiety seems to come at times when things are expected of me I hate long car rides going somewhere my anxiety is high than. I have been goimg to a therapist since the first panic attack but now more on a steady schedule because at first i thought I didmt nees it and it would just go away. I have come very far from last oct..19th so far and I know I will continue to grow and get better. I to have tried to fight it and it only makes it worse. Accepting it has started to teach me. My biggest eventure with my anxiety was going to the beach last month and tho i had my anxiety moments I did it. And after I felt confident for a week! I am not sure the message I am suppose to hear but I hope I am on the right track to finding it! My daughter is now 5 and I am 21 it is a tough journey but it is well worth it!

  • I had my daughter at the age of 15 i saw that someone else had posted they had a child young and I want them to know they are not alone! I got married to my middle school sweet heart at 18 and have now had anxiety for almost a year Oct 19th. I found out i had anxiety/panic attackall the sudden with a great big bang when i the er for six hours with all tyoes of test ran on me and they told me i was just having a panic atttack.though it felt like i was dying trying to fight for my life. I have came far from that place last October and have been going to a therapist. My biggest problem at first was telling my self that it was just anxiety because ot felt so real and life threating to Me. But as time has gone on and i have experienced the same feelings I have been able to feel more comforatable that “this too shall pass” i am not sure what my anxiety is trying to tell me but i find it more when i am expected to do something or on long car rides! Last month I beat my anxiety by going to the beach while i had my moments once I did it I felt confident for a week! I have not had many panic attacks since the first one maybe two others in this past year, so hopefully I am doing something right. I feel for everyone who deals with anxiety and panic because it is not a simple solution. But it can get better, and you can’t look at each day you must look at a whole. You can have.good days and you can have bad days but if you are improving from where you where 5months ago than u are getting better! My friend showed me this site, and I will now try to listen to my anxiety more. I wish I knew the cause already but I will continue to try. Accepting your anxiety is difficult I think im at the accepting I tried to fight it, and it only made it worse. I am hoping I am on the right track and that I will learn from my anxiety and be able to use it!

  • Freakdout

    Is anyone here? I kinda need to vent….

  • kelsey

    i think this post is really inspiring and beatiful , im only 14 but ive been suffering from anxiety for a few months , ive always worried but its never gotten so bad , my first panic attack was the day after i found out my grandad was in hospital dying , the second was before a big test that would count as one of my highers (which i got straight A’s on ) after that i had them once in a while when i was nervous about going somewhere new or going out just in case i took not well , it made me believe i was suffering from emetophobia and ulcers ! for a while ive been getting it everyday and at one point was scared to eat (i got that back on track ) i spoke to my mum and she was very supportive and told me the only person that can trully help is myself, i didnt understand what she ment , but since she sufferd panic attacks when i was little for 6 months , and tried medication(that made her worse) and in the end she did it herself! Now i understand (more or less) what it means and im going to face the world with a smile on my face and allow anxiety to come and instead of fighting and avoiding things i will sit down and listen to my body and solve the problem on my own ( or with a close friend of family help ) Thank you so much !!!xxxx

  • Vishva

    Hi firstly this post makes much sense to me. I too belive in how the body and soul speak to us in order guide us in some way. My anxiety came about after experimenting with drugs, even during my glory years with we’re filled with confidence and fun I fell in alot of trouble with pot, getting caught and stuff. I now know those were msgs telling me to stop smoking. But eventually I didn’t and now I am going through what we all are here. Since I stopped smoking I have been able to see a deeper meaning to this reaction, every time a period of anxiety comes by I seem to see something that I haven’t earlier. It’s pretty incredible, and this post gives me validation that it’s real.

  • Vishva

    I just want to know if I should try anti anxiety meds cus I ordered some. I did this because I had a recent episode where I felt fed up with eerything and I just didn’t want to be patient anymore with my anxiety. So should I go ahead with it or should I just see for a bit longer??

  • Thank You

    This is the most inspiring post that I have read so far… Reading this gave me a hope and the willingness to accept every positive and negative in me as ME. It takes too long to understand scientific reasons for few things , but this write up has evoked a spiritual reason which will ensure I think differently.

  • Meme

    Hi Arielle,
    Do you have a email address where I could reach you? I would really like to explain my story. To be honest I could use some help. My email

  • ariellabaston

    Hi! Can you share with us here so everyone can benefit from the exchange? You might have had experiences that others can identify with and feel less alone! =D But if you need to, I’m at ariellabaston at gmail dot com

    I don’t get to offer much support by email these days because I already work full time and have a busy home life (involving going to bed early haha), but I’ll try!

  • Wow. Just wow.

  • Frank

    I got a question. So I felt somewhat depressed about not having a job, losing a lot of good friendships after graduating from college, staying home a lot and moving on in the real world now. I started feeling this way like a month and a half ago, and then rather than feeling depression, i felt a rush towards feeling anxiety and having physical symptoms. I’ve felt pain on the upper back and somewhat chest tightness afterwards. I get average amount of sleep but not as good and i’ve lessen my portions of food intake as well. Although I went to my doctor, they told me I had no problems with blood pressure and everything else was normal and they prescribed me Citalopram (Celexa). They also did an osteo back stretch in which they cracked the upper back and it felt good, but then my back pain came back which led me to think, “okay so I do have anxiety and not just some back problem. Also I disliked the idea of meds, and even if I have it, I decided to go against it and not take it anyways. What can you advise me to do at this point? I don’t want to go on the meds path. Even now that I found a job, it’ll bother me but somehow it disappears when I work sometimes not all the time. I’m not afraid of going out, but I’m afraid of the anxious feeling this way which comes out of nowhere. Plus, I use to have interest in basketball and I’ve stopped for the meantime, because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I use to, and my anxiety symptoms hold me back to the loving carefree person I use to be.

  • ariellabaston

    It sounds to me like your identity/sense of self was externally defined by your roles and relationships at college and work and then you entered the vacuum we all do to stand on our own, free of so many associations, and feel secure and whole.

    That was not a smooth transition for me and I can understand how you feel. That kind of series of life changes can be very anxiety producing.

    I can’t replace medical care, but I can tell you from experience that feeling anxious from growing into your person after leaving the identity-comforts of education and a previous job, you are not ill. You are being a natural human being in transition. So not being a physical illness of any kind (reflected in the clean-slate tests you got), I don’t see any reason for you to medicate with chemicals. Doubly so if your growth opportunity is to detach from EXTERNAL solutions for INTERNAL wholeness. Taking a drug would be just another personal declaration of disempowerment “I continue to not believe that I am enough on my own and feel comfortable with that — so I will eat pills and chemically alter my biology so that its reflection of my growth is silenced.”

    The back problems just sound like stress and tension; your body demonstration that you are not comfortable and dealing with challenges.

    Look, as you grow and regain stability, like getting that job, it’s not just going to disappear over night. When we experience trauma, it echoes and fades away gradually over time. I would keep up the push outward to connect with people like with basketball (and its health benefits and expense of stress hormones anxiety triggers the release of), and not circle inward indiscriminately. Anxiety has to be heard, gently, held lovingly, but you have to also push to maintain the breadth of your boundaries.

    In short, stay a spirited soul who loves to share with others, but is not necessarily dependent on them, or titles like a position at work, to feel worthy and whole. So I’d keep living with your arms spread out but just be gentle about it, with a grin reflecting the inner wisdom you’re growing into and will stand more firmly with.

    These are all transitions I’ve had to make, and as a fallible human being, I have caught myself falling back into depending on external validation, and then having to re-grow out of it. Life ebbs and flows, as does our strength and experience. Be light hearted about what you’re going through because it’s temporary, will definitely change, and it’s reasonable to expect months to a couple years to slip by. It will go by quickly. Focus on the end result, who you dream of being, and don’t worry nor micromanage all the little things. Just keep pushing outward every now and then. Stay excited.

    Remember at all times : you choose to do these things (like basketball) because you find them fun and meaningful, but you don’t need them to be whole, accomplished, or a wonderful deserving person. All things we do reflect who we are, so we always embody our wholeness before we experience it.

    I hope this helps.


    Hello, could I get some help trying to understand my situation! I am so confused: I took 2 dietary supplements called CLA and L-carnitine back May 22 and 23 of 2012. I only took these for 2 days and on the 23 ended up in the ER. I had a heart rate of 130, fear of dying, dizziness, flushing feelings all through my body etc… Well, it has been almost 5 months now I’ve been feeling not normal. I’ve been in and out of ER like 30 times. Been checked out and doctor tells me it is anxiety/ panic. I never had an anxiety/ panic issue before that night. I told the paramedics it was a reaction to those supplements or I thought and still question. Could it be from those supplements or it just hits people out of the blue. I am fearful I’m not going to feel like me again! It was so much that I was given Ativan in the ER and prescription. Now they told me klonopin may be better. I don’t want to be on meds but how bad could I feel without it not that they do anything wonderful. Thoughts? Anxiety just got me or possible something in those supplements?

  • Frank

    This is really helpful for me as I struggle to think positively. I do need more laughter in life, and usually I’m always by myself a lot, even though I still live with my parents. Although I don’t always see them as they work a lot. My sister moved away and my other family members have their own lives to attend to. It’s a struggle with these life changes. My friends are off in their own lives. Even if I tell myself that I accept what I got, deep down it’s as if my subconscious or conscious is not accepting something and I have to figure it out. I keep telling myself that it’ll be okay all the time, and there is nothing to worry about. Plus I work with youth now, and I like it, but somehow my mind doesn’t feel excitement as I should be, because I love working with youth in the past, and felt that this is where I should be in which I do feel comfortable at times. Hmmm hopefully I’ll figure this out soon so I don’t need to resort to “evil” meds.

  • Everycrayon

    We’re going on 2 years now of something very painful to me and when I spoke out in public about it I was blasted both privately and very publicly by an alpha male dbag. Today I realized he did another very public thing by endorsing someone who caused the traumatic event to start and it sent me soaring. I have been wondering why this pain is still with me. I don’t know why it’s still here. It just takes one trigger and the panic seems never-ending. Mostly detachment and rise in adrenaline occurs. But yes, I’m hurting and it’s sticking around for a reason, I just wish I knew why.

  • ariellabaston

    I hear you! Some painful experiences persist for many more years than we can imagine possible. I’ve got some from childhood that can still get me going sometimes when repeat offences occur even 30 years after the fact.

    I believe pains stick around until we’re done healing/growing from them. I know I haven’t dealt with some of my baggage in open and honest ways, and I am today. Pain is leaving now, finally.

    It’s worse when you have people triggering memories or seem to be “forcing” you into dealing with it again. 🙁

    If what I’m doing to better manage my triggers is helpful to you, here’s what I’m up to: you really have to sit with it, catch up on the crying and keep talking about it, pushing through the occasional slaps/beat-downs you might feel when others seem to position themselves to up the intensity. And become clearer that you live for yourself, nobody else, and that the opinions of others are none of your business. Make it a daily practice, and let time work its magic, but this time in a more conscious co-creator kind of way.


  • katkat

    I find this post really great. Thank you for this insight. I had someone else say this extact wisdom to me later in a day, so i am paying attention.
    I found this article because I am having hard time connecting to what my anxiety is about and have been asking for help to figure it out.
    I have clear physical symptoms I can not ignore. I want to access what this anxiety is saying and the feeling of it but I am having a road block with it. I am determined to figure it out somehow! I have to!! But how?
    I am trying writing.. my best guess is dread? I am so unsure how to resolve this.
    My parents are narcissit psychopaths that crippled my feeling abilities and so on with mountain of issues from that.
    I want to feel safe and strong enough to feel my anxieties somehow!


    GREAT ARTICLE!!!!! thank you

  • Sonia

    This is one of the best posts I have ever read about anxiety and panick attacks. Truly amazing and helpful!

  • Sonia

    I’ll tell you what worked for me …. Meditation, writing morning pages (look up The Artist Way book), reading Louise Hay books, building self confidence…
    Don’t be afraid to look inside of yourself! You know what Louise Hay said about anxiety? She said that anxiety comes from not trusting the flow and the process of life. The affirmation she suggests we use to heal anxiety is:” I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe”. Like you said it yourself.. You want to feel safe!

  • James Baston

    I’ve got a big dick. I’m anxious it will injure my little brother, who is about knee-height to me. Your blog has taught me to relax. If my dick knocks out my little brother, there’s nothing I can do to stop it, so why worry?

  • Joe.

    No one with anxiety ever wants to become agoraphobic and trapped inside there home without outside surroundings you made it sound like that is the only way you healed with anxiety we want to heal without becomming homebound explain on this but glad you are doing great just made it sound like that was your only way to heal!

  • ariellabaston

    This article is about listening and accepting, but it’s not the only step when addressing anxiety.

    Hearing the message is step 1.
    Using the message is step 2.
    Writing your own messages (pushing, going out, resisting agoraphobia) is step 3.

    These steps are in this order because you won’t heal what you won’t first hold, truly, authentically and with your full focus. So you have to become an accepting listener with anxiety first.

    Email me at ariellabaston at gmail dot com and I’ll send you a copy of my ebook “Healed by Anxiety” that contains a more thorough discussion about anxiety. 🙂

  • CharlieLou

    This statement is huge:
    If you can learn to notice your thoughts without attaching to them—seeing them as cars passing by as you stand on the edge of a busy highway—you’ll become better at picking out what really matters in this moment.
    I have recently come to a point in my life where I know I must let go of the past and embrace the wonderful things (relationships, career, everything) I have in my life right now. My anxiety, my need to latch onto thoughts and stick with them, creating the worst possible situation in my mind took over me. I am in the very early stages of dealing wtih the issues that have haunted me for years, but I have realized that I have the power in me to not let my mind be controlled by the past.
    Thank you for the great post!

  • John

    thank you for this post.

  • Shoua

    what a wonderful article, just what I needed. thank you so much.

  • Mitch

    Thank you so much, this has Helped me so much, and relived me from endless stress

  • Alexaner

    I’m glad I found this article. I never quite looked at it that anxiety is trying to send you a message! It makes so much sense. I’m on my own quest to finally stop letting anxiety control my life. I need to take control.

  • spark

    I just recently found this site. This is a great article. I have never been on drugs as I know they have side effects, and so I have just suffered for many, many years. I would like to ask a question regarding anxiety. Is anxiety and fear one in the same? I have lived on the edge to survive financially month to month for over 15 years. Today it has finally stopped me in my tracks. No more can I fight the fight the way I have. That’s why I’m reading this today and reading everyone’s great posts.

  • Heidi

    Thank you for this article, i am in a similar situation now and the biggest detrimental factor for me is my rush to get better. Not trusting the process and feeling like i “should” be better now and that i “should” be doing certain things and i “should” be challenging myself more and pushing myself more. It sucks the joy out of my life and just makes me close off my world again and not want to do anything. I think it is so important to go at your own pace, take as long as you need and be gentle and patient with yourself. There is no rush, after all it is all for me anyway, no-one else. What am i rushing towards? xx

  • trog

    Hi, I just wanted to add my appreciation to your growing list.
    I was in the midst of a mild anxiety attack when I came upon your post. As I read the first half, I could appreciate your message of learning from your anxiety. But when I reached the first paragraph of “Who/What Sent the Message?”, the full force of your words became apparent. All of a sudden I was confronted by the source of my anxiety attack and I could relate it to other symptoms I have been experiencing. With those few words I was taken back to a moment in time that has obviously left deeper scars than I had admitted to myself and I was a blubbering mess. This resolution has helped me recognize that I am suffering from post traumatic stress and that it has been more debilitating than I had appreciated. Obviously this is not the end of the saga, but, thanks to you, it is a very positive beginning.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us all.

  • I have been dealing with hypervigilance… anxiety… panic attack lately (past few weeks). a couple days ago, i sat down and rode the {mini} panic attack out because i was told to. feared it greatly but did it around good friends to see me thru it. was still experiencing hypervigilance. anxiety wake ups at night. WTF. right? i read to stop/practice letting the anxiety go. not to make it worse (takes oodles of strength and practice). stop the vicious cycle. started to work for me but still feeling the heebeegeebees. then you said anxiety is telling a story. bingo! yesterday I had a one on one with God (or higher being) and said “I don’t understand the trials you let me experience earlier, I don’t understand your plan for me, but I need you.”. i found your site. and last night i said, “I am pissed at feeling this way”. had the one on one with my body and mind right. Anxiety is telling a story… I pinpointed it. Pinpointed the anxiety/hypervigilance and why i was feeling this way. Because I was experiencing a deep seeded past issue with a new person in my life… anxiety separation disorder. This morning i woke up ravenous! in way better spirits. still a little shaky, but way better. Thank you for those mighty words. its pulling me out. and i am determined to break this anxiety vicious cycle in my life and in my family line! One day at a time.

  • Ashley

    This is beautiful and very timely. Thank you so much for writing it.

  • Anonymouse

    I think this is beautifully written and has a lot of very valid points. It’s is true that often times anxiety’s purpose is to shed light on a problem we’re ignoring. And I believe looking at it in a way that you can learn from what it’s telling you is awesome and useful. However, I must say that I had to take this article with a grain of salt. Anxiety is not always proportionate to what the problem is. In fact, that is one of the characteristics of having an anxiety disorder. I have delibitating panic attacks sometimes from a slight stomach ache. There is no ‘real’ problem with my stomach other than IBS & I’ve suffered from both ailments for 14 years. Secondly, anxiety CAN hurt you. Cortisol wrecks havoc on the body in a variety of ways – especially low levesl released over a long period of time (stress is a killer!) and it has been proven that severe anxiety and the release of cortisol kills brain cells. I hope that those reading will know that everyone is born with a different temperament; some are highly reactive to their inner and external world. I have terrible gastrointenstinal issues & panic attacks at a thought that would elicit only a slight reaction if none in others. Though there is a behavioral and habitual element to this of course, and I would and do indeed benefit from meditation, etc., lets not forget that there can also be a clinical and chemical side to these problems. But definitely great advice, nonetheless. Thanks for sharing :o)

  • ariellabaston

    =D Quite true. This is an introductory article at the tip of a very, VERY deep iceberg. If you read my book “Healed by Anxiety” you will see that I have experienced what you are describing, and so, so much more (of hellish life threatening experiences.)

    Healed by Anxiety :

    You need to start somewhere, and you need to know where to aim your focus. Anxiety is a symptom of other things and while it will not always indicate 1:1 what is ahead of you and what lies underneath, it is a necessary step. I’ve learned throughout 12 years of counselling people with anxiety that it doesn’t help them to scare them up front when they aren’t even looking in the right direction yet. Acknowledging that anxiety is a message, not the main cause that lies beneath the nightmare of symptoms, remains a wisdom worth holding.

  • Flori

    I made Zung Self-Rated Anxiety Scale Test, and It turned out to be 72% which is very worrying. The question I wanted to make you does anxiety appear when a person is in a relationship because that’s what happens to me everytime I get into a serious relationship, Its like something inside me tries to find reasons that frustrate me and interefere my relationship. Before 6 months I broke up from my bf. because I had these anxiety phases, and I couldn’t control them, I went to a doctor and he gave me pills which wasn’t succesful at all. Now I got into another relationship and this is my second week and my anxiety appeared again, I’m so afraid I don’t want to break up from my bf again because I really love him, but I don’t know how to deal with that.. I called my anxiety GERTA, and this way is easier for me to distance myself from it. Please let me know what you think

  • DoctorX

    Wow!! This article touched me from the inside. I am a doctor and will try to convey this message to my patients. Love All & Serve All.. Thank you!

  • TooMuch

    I have been dealing with anxiety and the feeling my time is coming soon for two years now. In 2010, my Father shot himself and his last words to me via txt message was “I wish you loved me”. Exactly a month later on the same day my mother died instantly of an anyeurism. My parents were divorced for over 20 years but were both listening to the same James Taylor cd when I went to pick up their cars. As I was receiving flowers for condolences I received a vinyl record in the mail. I didn’t get a chance to open it, but a friend with the same name as myself sent me an email to see if I received the package. In that email she mentioned it was James Taylor. I’ve never opened it. I am an only child with very little family left. Just one grandma, cousin and an aunt. I’m also the sole provider for my family while my fiancé finishes school, with a high stress sr. Management role at my company. In the past two years I’ve had consistent palpitations along with diagnosed Tachycardia and am now under the care of a Cardiologist who wants to do an outpatient surgery on my heart. I’m only 33 and don’t feel comfortable with this. With all this being said I have this overwhelming knowledge that I’m going to die relatively soon. I’ve even taken out a million in life insurance to secure my two daughters future. I do take Xanax as needed which is a lot more prominent during Oct/Nov when they died. For a year I had severe insomnia with graphic visuals of my dad and relived the hospital with my mom nightly. I don’t know what needs to be done. I feel a desperate need to travel and finish the things I want to do before I die but I can’t due to my responsibility towards supporting my family. The feelings of impending death are getting greater and greater and it has me worried. Please help.

  • Yellow Canary

    ‘All you had to do was listen..’. Thank you. You just saved me.

  • michael

    i have had ax for about 5 years and i cant get reid of it is ther any place i can go for help i am in a bad place i need help plase help me

  • asmallsoul

    Thank you for this, so much.

  • Redeemed

    Wow! Great message and insight. I tried to mask my anxiety with a doctor’s prescription of Clonazepam for 9 years. Recently I started the infamous tapering process off of benzos. Despite the horror stories of a protracted withdrawal for years after ceasing where some people literally go insane, I’ve been blessed so far. Benzodiazepines really are the hardest chemicals to wean off of, even more than heroin. I have to do a liquid titration with micro-tapering and even a .003 mg drop will send me into a bout of many physical and mental symptoms, none of them pleasant. It’s my skills I learned as a counselor, wonderful support system, and mostly God that is healing me. You’re wisdom is refreshing, that we should embrace this to learn the underlying causes of anxiety so then we can only begin to heal. Thank you very much and God bless!

  • Joe Walker

    Most amazing thing i’ve ever read :’) thnk you so much.

  • Paul

    It wasn’t the supplements. They probably did make you feel sick as your not used to them but this made you panic & you attached the panic to the supplements. Look at your fears head on. Be brave. Thank them for the message they hold & release them.

  • Hi I have had panic attackes too .. its repressed fears and traumas surfacing so there’s nothing wrong ..only dont panic in panic attacks ! : ) Please do Vipassana meditation which is a ten day residential course ..and is a sceintific and effective technique … it helped tremendously …. go to all the best

  • camdin

    Thank you for this message. I used to have panic attacks as a child. I am a young mom. I had my daughter at 19. Right aroundher first birthday i started developing this overwhelming feeling. Like my life was ending. I couldnt belive she was already turning 1! After that i had a panic attack everyday. My panic attacks were so out of control that i quit my job. During a “episode,” i would get hot and my mind would start racing, i couldnt controlmy mind, i felt as if i was going crazy. I literally talked tomy doctor about seeing if i needed to be in a crazyhouse. A few months past and my panic attacks seemed to goaway. Mothers day 2012, i was laying in bed when i started thinkingwhat would happen if i killed myself. Right then sonething came over me, i began feeling overwhelned. Next thingi i know i was in my living room on my couch thinking about ways to kill myself. I was in sheer panic. I felt completely out of control. Then istarted thinking well what if i killed mydaughtee. HORRIBLE i know. As soonas that thought came into my mind ifreaked out. Ever since then i have panicattacks about hurting my daughter. I know that i do not want to harm my child, its like the one thing that puts me in sheer panic. My daughter is my world. Since mothers day i have been taking citolopram. I have never been one that likes to resort to medicine but i saw no other option. After readingthis i have decded to talk to my dr about quitting my anti deppressant. I am terrified of having a panic attack. I know i need to learnwhy i have them. Please email me if you can, thank you

    Stressed out mom

  • Michelle Elaine

    This couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. I’ve tried for years to be something someone else wanted me to be, losing myself in the process. The feeling of never being good enough, and knowing you never will be, leaves me with the deepest feelings in my chest (heart). is truly helping me through a hard time right now. Thank you for sharing the insightful words!

  • Jessica

    Wow! Thank you so much for this message, cause I wasn’t aware of where my anxiety was stemming from. Then as I read this I realized that it was because I felt compelled to live my life the way my parents wanted me to, and not how I wanted.
    Thank you for the tips and helping me overcome my anxiety.

  • Heidi

    I love this article is it one that i have re-read a few times and it gives me much hope. I have been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for coming on 4 years and sometimes it just feels like this will be my reality forever.

    Sometimes i find it hard to believe that i will ever be free again to enjoy life and trust in the world, and trust my body and my mind again.

    I do believe that anxiety is a message and working with my therapist/mentor, i am peeling back the layers to get to the source of my anxiety and fear.

    It has defiantly taught me to slow down and connect with my body and ground myself instead of running off in my mind and getting caught up in negative thought.

    It is usually when i am lost in thought that i start to feel anxious and panicky and i take this as a message to ground myself, take a breath and come back to my body and back to reality.

    Thank you again for this hopeful and inspiring article.

  • Twin :) much love

    Hi everyone i am glad to b able to share the journey dat my axiety is taking me on i want to start by saying i love this article it was beautifully written and out of love to help everyone understand thier anxiety ive been on a tough road i got my first attack when i thought excessively about My relationship at work and Bam !! Everything went cloudy numb couldn’t breath felt as if i was going to past out i thought i was going to Die right there! I didn’t know wat to do later that day i have more attacks and they happened more frequently it felt aa i was getting drained i was tired alot i kinda figured early on that worrying only made things far worse then wat it was i HAVENT TOOK ANY PILLS TILL DIS DAY i tooj it upon my own to understand wat this feelin is when it cant be detected by the doctors know one truly understand s wat we go through but you and your inner self hes smart so why not listnen it is apart of you as i began to embrace anxiety i think its wonderful and full of gifts so be grateful a light shines bright in dark places pay attention i find when i am gettin anxiety symtoms is when someone is stimulating my mind giving me wisdom Pay attention! Or wen something i need to pay attention to is about to happen connecting with good people ive l also get them wen something in my life thats hurting me and things thay i shoud change you begin to love it plz don’t hurt anymore love yourself i also been in very tramatic experience s that i did not mention anxiety helps you not only to love yourself but others pray to god cause he opend my eyes to a world i didnt see before hes always there good or bad he will never leave you through him ive haf a encounter with an angel and you can have one to believe in yourself and in God i love you a million times deeply

  • Lauren

    amazing. thank you for sharing your story.

  • nicole

    I love this post! Thank you! This is really helpful, and I needed the help 🙂

  • Whitney

    I have been struggling since 2009 and it has taken a big toll on me especially now that I have my son. Thank you for sharing this I really hope it helps me 🙂

  • amma

    I’m suffering so bad with anxiety for a year. I’m t scared that I’m going to die day and night with wierd thoughts and feeling how can this be a gift its killing me

  • Jsunday

    I’m sorry, but this is kind of silly and a little irresponsible. You seem like a very nice person with good intentions and a long journey of your own. I’m glad this has worked for you…However, there are many of us out here who are living with daily temptations of suicide because of an intolerable level of constant anxiety. Some of us (me) suffer daily with PTSD, OCD, depersonalization and depression. Some of us have spent countless hours in dialogue with our anxiety and have found no special secret messages, just more suffering. Some of us have tried meditation, EMDR, diet, exercise, psychotherapy, journaling, EFT, Linden Method, prayer, spiritual healing, etc. Some of us have even embraced our anxiety, knowing full well that resistance brings persistence, only to have it spit in our faces once again. We know that our lives need changing and that our subconscious is in pain…And most significantly, we know that for a variety of reasons our brain is stuck in the panic mode and that no amount of philosophical or existential reasoning can reset it. The amygdala is just a mute and deaf lump of tissue that is slow to respond to any calming corrections. And most of the time it only responds to physiological changes like medication or diet/exercise and meditation – not words. For those of us who can’t wait another day for the meditation diet/exercise to “work”, medication is the only real possibility – one that I’m going to try (once again).

    Telling people fairy tales is not only misleading, but dangerous.

  • Jsunday

    I did the same thing – stopped drinking, reduced my meds and started meditating – but it only made things worse. Well, I did reduce my blood pressure and lost some weight without the alcohol, but the anxiety has only grown stronger. I don’t know the ultimate answer, but I would consult with a professional mental health care provider.

  • ariellabaston

    So I wasn’t suicidal enough, agoraphobic enough, insomniac enough, crying enough, panicking for 18 hours a day wasn’t enough and… Alright, you can invalidate the severity of what I went through. I don’t mind. I don’t have to matter to another. However, I was able to turn it all around and the solution was:

    1-Not accept failure. Don’t believe it even exists. Who’s the judge? Who has the stopwatch? When does progress get recognized as non-failure? I gave up the illusion that failure exists.

    2-Listened carefully to my suffering, submitting to it, giving up at every turn and lying there or meditating all day, just to reduce my entire existence to breathing, and then rebuild. While not everyone needs to do this, I had to. I was lost, hallucinating from not eating nor drinking, and looking like skin and bones from starving.

    3-Dedicated a portion of my life to serving others, until I die. So I launched a non profit web community, and helped thousands of people wake up and conquer anxiety and drugs like Paxil (now has new owners, since 2008

    Your message rejects #1 because it says you are permanently broken, a permanent victim, that you need all sorts of things.

    Your message rejects #2, because you think you have to fight to win. You’ve tried so many things it shows that you have yet to try NOTHING. Anxiety can’t chase you if you don’t run. Anxiety left me quicker the less I did. Failure can’t exist when you remove the measuring stick.

    Your message rejects #3 because you’re seeking to invalidate what I’ve learned and shared without reading my book, without talking to those I’ve helped, without talking to me personally, without truly knowing my story.

    I worked with people in your situation for many years and even they improved their lives dramatically, but they had to stop being anxiety’s victim first in a perceptual manner. Judging your person, your consciousness, your potential, just by what your body is going through for whatever interval it has, forsaking the entirety of your future in the process, is a youthful idea. But it’s something we must all grow out of. It’s part of the journey. It’s part of the gifts anxiety has to give.

    I was on Paxil for a couple years and it was a nightmare. The withdrawal experience along took a year to clear up. Before that it was Zoloft and I didn’t last a week because it sent me into the worst fit of abdominal pain and marathonic screaming I ever imagined possible for a human being to suffer through. Once free of all meds, the nightmares were gone. They taught me that external solutions were not the answer, and that I would create my own. We are all to unique and diverse to be rescued by external things. They only reinforce the beliefs we need to outgrow that we are less than, broken, and dependent.

    It sounds like you’ve tried accepting the creations of others but have yet to create your own solutions that work, reliably. Keep exploring and keep trying things, but you won’t be able to match solution with cause if you haven’t mastered fundamental beliefs for well being like non-victimhood and personal sufficiency.

    You’re advocating “I need a solution” while I am advocating “You are already your solution.” Being the solution means becoming cognizant of choosing what works, not going around like a victim and needing waiting for what works to come to you, so that you escape accountability and credit.

    Pain is an experience. Suffering is a judgment. Transforming that is a part of growing enough so that anxiety slips away. It takes time. I wrestled with such things for 6 years, then helped others for about 6 more as I continued to grow with them. I wasn’t measuring time then. If I became anxiety free in 6 months or 50 years, I was just fine with the journey, with the daily commitment to creating and innovating my way away from it. Together we discovered the kinds of truths I’ve briefly introduced in this article, and wrote at much longer length in my book Healed by Anxiety

    So have some faith. You’re already making progress with the fact that you’re exploring, questioning, doubting, and more. This is what the beginning of a journey away from anxiety looks like. It’s all chaotic and bouncing off walls. I went through that too. But get excited because the middle that comes next will have more progress and you’ll love it. 🙂

    ps:Do yourself a favour and not obsess over brain anatomy and parts and bits, because anxiety doesn’t give a shit about that stuff. Anxiety is a body mind spirit experience and you feel it on all those levels. Focusing just on the brain part gives you nothing, and brain science is still so new they can barely spell letters with blocks if you get the analogy. You can’t wait for them. Be and create your solution now. If anything it makes you feel mechanical, like some machine, and that’s not a message of wholeness and fullness. It creates more detail to fuel the stories anxiety likes to spin.

    I once tried reading a book called “emotional intelligence” while feeling suicidal and having horrible gut-twisting racing thoughts, and it nearly pushed me over the edge I was teetering on. Nothing is more victimizing than adopting ideas that we are broken machines or biologically deficient. It made me feel a million times worse. I noticed others making that mistake while at and it didn’t help anyone to get all biological and create a false sense of security “oh, if I know the brain parts, clearly I am in control, making progress”. Progress is only measurable through good days outnumbering the bad, not in brain vocabulary. You would not believe how much progress people make with anxiety when they let go of the biological details. They don’t matter. They’re just daggers to fall onto while tripping from learning to stand.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this blog with us, and then your thoughts in the comments here. Please keep spreading the message. There are so many people that can benefit from your experience.

  • Hey Camdin, how are you doing now? I totally know what hell you are going through, feeling as though you have lost complete control over your mind is a terrifying thing. I have been there off and on for months.

    The good news, is that you haven’t lost complete control. As this blog states, panic and anxiety are not the enemy. They are merely messengers of your true troubles. Once you realize this deep in your heart, you will grow to no longer fear any anxiety, and to see it as rather a mail man delivering a message to your brain, who is saying “Can I have your attention?”

    Instead of trying to figure out ways to fight the “mail man”, you should try embracing him and saying thank you for your message; I will listen to you and try to figure out what my body is telling me.

    I’m free to talk about it more if you want. Email me That goes for anyone else suffering on here with us too. If you want to just chat about it, feel free to email me.

  • Hey Michael, how are you doing now? I’d like to share the same comment I gave to Camdin above.

    “I totally know what hell you are going through, feeling as though you have lost complete control over your mind is a terrifying thing. I have been there off and on for months.

    The good news, is that you haven’t lost complete control. As this blog states, panic and anxiety are not the enemy. They are merely messengers of your true troubles. Once you realize this deep in your heart, you will grow to no longer fear any anxiety, and to see it as rather a mail man delivering a message to your brain, who is saying “Can I have your attention?”

    Instead of trying to figure out ways to fight the “mail man”, you should try embracing him and saying thank you for your message; I will listen to you and try to figure out what my body is telling me.:

    I’m free to talk about it more if you want. Email me

  • Isabella C

    I never thought I could look at anxiety this way. I am 18 years old and have been dealing with an anxiety that went from a mild to high level in the past 5 years. I have learned to understand what causes my different anxiety symptoms and panic attacks and I can say I feel somehow better yet not have complete control of my life. Some of the main causes of my anxiety are issues with my body image, issues with my father, death of loved ones, amongst others. I have refused to take any kind of medication although in times where I feel very desperate I recurr to herbal solutions such as Passion flower or valeriana

  • Isabella C

    ** I hope you see this message and know that I will try to look at this in a new different way, after all I feel like I’m too young to be feeling this miserable and afraid. One of the mistakes I made was to put a deadline on overcoming my anxiety, only because I am moving to Italy by myself next year to go to college and I’m afraid I won’t be able to cope with change. Thank you for writing this !!!!

  • Jaime

    I loved reading this and it really makes sense……….my question is where does one start? How do i find the cause? Especially when its been ongoing for so many years and I have had so many traumas…how do I pinpoint which one is holding me back when I don’t even like I am alive sometimes….

  • christina

    thank you, for giving me a new perspective on my anxiety… I have ptsd and from time to time I get flash backs and hunting thoughts…. my mind races and my heart pound as my bodys gets tense an the world spins, I think the most I can pull form this is that I do not have power over my life I am one with it… thank you again, can I have a list of your works send me an email when you can thanks you- christina

  • Beverly Parks

    Hello. I have had panic attacks and knew why I was having them. Went and took care of the problem and the panic attacks stopped. Now I have a new problem. It’s tennis…competative fun adult tennis! I used to play on an adult team but started having performance anxiety to the point I would freeze up! Anyone got any tips for that?

  • Kate

    This is so powerful! I’ve been struggling with anxiety for awhile now and your words just opened up my eyes to a whole new outlook on it. Instead of being fearful of it I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to listen to it and allow it to teach me something! Thank you!!!!

  • ariellabaston

    I’d like to address a deleted comment because the reply might help others:

    “Social anxiety is a real disorder that makes it hard to navigate through
    life. The fact that you trivialized “solutions” in your article, I can
    tell you are just a drama queen, or a freelance writer who didn’t have a
    cup of coffee one day. Save the dribble and the mock spirituality. This
    is not for anyone who is truly suffering under these conditions.”

    I had such a bad stutter as a kid, I was afraid of using the phone, almost never spoke in class, and had trouble talking to anyone until I was 20. It then took 2 years of university and 2 more of college before I began becoming socially capable. 24 years is a nice chunk to overcome something. 🙂

    But when a full blown anxiety disorder blossomed next, with marathonic attacks that took another 6 years to overcome through anorexia, hallucination from starvation, a suicide attempt, and years of agoraphobia and poverty, I faced real life threatening challenges. I suffered in silence, burned a marriage, lost most friends, and lived from one couch to the next.

    Then one day I wondered if adversity had a purpose, if it could lead us to change? Several years later, it did, I grew through it and anxiety left. It’s been more than a decade of anxiety freedom (the chronic debilitating kind anyway — still human and worry about bills or whatever haha.)

    Listening to your own suffering to create opportunities for new meaning, growth, and even just stumbling forward, is a life enrichment.

    The article above is step 1 of MANY, and is just the first realization that makes all the others possible. Treat it as such. It is not the whole answer, but it does create a space for the question. Most bar themselves from even asking the question “what does it mean” and coming up with a new answer other than “to victimize me.”

    For more information on my experiences with anxiety and the thousands of people I’ve helped recover, along with SSRI withdrawal, you can explore the content in “Healed by Anxiety”, a book I wrote for people who have really suffered and yet have that inner voice that asks, “is there not more than this left for me to live?” Yes, absolutely yes:

  • ariellabaston

    When you’re freezing up, are you focusing on what you’re doing RIGHT NOW or does your mind wander to the future where illusory outcomes exist?

    The present is all there is.
    You are not a prophet.
    Just play because you love it, not because you are a failure scorecard pretending to play.

  • ariellabaston

    If you have so many traumas, maybe it’s a lack of trust in life in general? I can imagine that becoming a background hum for anxiety to chatter from. Maybe you doubt that any of that trauma can be transformed into something useful somehow?

    When my own “stuff” was eating away at me, and I wasn’t sure how to focus or start, I just looked at what “story” I was telling myself the most often; that inner dialogue that tries to tell you the causes for who you have been, and tries to sidestep your ability, freedom and right to choose who to be next.

    Heck, you could even start with imagining you have no trauma, and just choose who to be. Make a list! Every list I have ever made for who I “choose to be” came true. I did indeed become that person, and love myself for it. 🙂

  • ariellabaston

    I had that. I totally get it. Yes, that worry about “what if” is really something!

    Two things you can do:

    1-Answer the “what if”. So what if you die some night? We will ALL go sometime and we don’t know when. You have to choose to be ok with this. It’s only the truth, and you deserve the truth, and the opportunity to choose what that truth means to you.

    For me it sounds peaceful. You die in your sleep, people who love you mourn, and you get to sleep forever or dance and play in the other side. Those are the kinds of things I told myself when I was really anchored in that particular what if. I had to give myself permission to die, before I could truly live and feel like I was conscious, and participating, in that choice to live that I promised I would always make when I had the awareness to do so.

    2-Don’t believe the thoughts anxiety introduces. Fire the anxiety. It’s a bad counselor. 🙂 Figure out what its motives are by listening to it and tracing lines to sources, but don’t keep it as a trusted advisor! Notice what it says, but don’t believe it.

    Also, death is a release. It’s a final peace for you. Anxiety is the opposite of that so if you’re feeling anxious, you are quite far away from death. Phew! 🙂

  • Jamie

    How true, love this message.

  • Jamie

    I have known most of this for years. Right now the anxiety is so loud I am having a hard time understanding and picking out what it wants me to change. Have the fear of making the wrong choice.

  • Anonymous

    I cannot thank you enough. The past three weeks my mind has been too active, I know its supposed to be full of thought. The only way i can explain it was I was thinking too much. I’d make something to eat and my mind is like a motorway, I couldn’t stop thinking about everything, stupid thoughts that would send me into a day dream. I questions identity, who i was, what made me , me. I started to feel down and alone and therefore tried to make sense of why i was feeling like this. My conclusion was, I am going crazy. All kinds of strange thoughts kept coming into my head, at one point i thought i was schizophrenic. It was like i was consciously telling myself ”your going mad”.

    Through this i have such a better understanding (I started to look at anxiety after doing a series of mental health calculators online). I feel like by reading this i can embrace the way i’m feeling, delve deeper inside myself and uncover the skeletons that are making me feel this way and heal myself.

    Thank you x

  • Laura

    I notice a ton of comments, but again thank you. The image of holding hands w my anxiety is greatly helpful. It gives me a place to start. May you be blessed.

  • Ashley

    I’m a little late but I just found this article. It’s great. The thing is, my anxiety gets bad when I get hurt, even in a small way, i.e. a small cut or bump on the head. I constantly think the worst is gonna happen because of even a tiny accidental affliction. I understand that an anniversary of a traumatic event might cause an automatic, although subconscious, response and anxiety, but I’m not sure how to figure out why fear of something bad happening to me manifests after small things.

  • Kellz

    I suffer from anxiety I am constantly thinking I am dying and I feel like I am like I’m sleeping so much more constantly tired and everything..

  • Tay

    your story is almost spot on with exactly what is happening in my life right now. I lock my door and watch the world fly by, months feel like minutes, I hear laughter and happiness outside, my neighbors never see me either. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not crazy, for the first time in years.

  • donny

    trying to help a friend with anxiety but its not working and they do not want to change what to do now?

  • ariellabaston

    The following is advice for friends and family seeking to manage help dynamics, feeling useful, managing feeling hurt because another is hurting, etc. It’s not appropriate advice for (addiction, suicide, hoarding etc.) interventions when people are in severe crises.

    Their anxiety is not yours to fix. They are not broken. Any suggestion that hints otherwise will make them flee and resent you. They may just need to sit with the anxiety long enough to create this form of self love, which you would be interrupted if you tried to force change upon them.

    Ultimately it’s not your burden. You can’t create change for them. You can only keep them company, listen, and hold them while they journey. You can create change WITH them when they choose to let you. When co-creating, you should aim to position yourself as a follower, and let them ask more specifically about what kinds of help they’re interested in as the journey unfolds. If you try to dominate their journey in any way, their healing will not be owned nor seated as deeply within their hearts and independence will be more difficult to achieve.

    While you wait for a person to become ready for help, remind them that you’re not just there to make them more comfortable while yesterday spills into today, but to also help build new tomorrows. The first step in making the choice to change is first knowing that it’s possible. You can remind them of that, but you have to also stay out of the way and let their journey unfold.

    This is how gifts are given; the full act from offer to acceptance to gratitude. When you give something to someone who hasn’t asked and/or is unwilling to receive, the gift loses all its value and it transmutes into a flying dagger for which you can be resented and the friendship harmed. Gifts (like helping someone change) have to be desired, welcomed, and accepted so that gratitude can finalize and validate the entire process. In ideal situations, the gift receiver becomes already grateful for the offer of help, before it occurs, and all gifts then get pre-approved. Understand this particular dynamic, and you’ll be the bestest friend ever. =D


    I didn’t know I could change, and was completely deaf to suggestions for years while anxious. But, the same people who tried to help me in that state waited patiently, listened for years withholding any barrage of suggestions or directives, and one day I became ready and finally asked for genuine help. They noticed I was ready, and had the opportunity to help me create change. It couldn’t have been a more perfect process that rewarded each of us, the helpers and the helped, in the most authentic and self empowering ways.

  • Seth Grimmr

    Hi, I found your article very motivational. I’m an buddhist and I have spent the last four years being a heavy cannabis smoker. I am a vocalist and a writer and I found smoking to open my mind to new ideas and help me see deeper into my writing. As a Buddhist I used to cannabis to get my mind calm so I can meditate. I would pride myself at parties for being able to smoke insanely large amounts of cannabis and not get anxious like my friends. I identifed as a stoner and my friends new me as one. Come last march at a friends birthday party they were smoking herbal incense which I don’t trust and I hate. My friend had a bowl for his weed and a bowl for his herbal crack. Well he handed me a bowl and didn’t realize it was the herbal crack bowl and givin it was already packed with weed we couldn’t tell a chunk of herbal crack was at the bottom. I smoked the whole bowl but tasted something really strange on the last few hits. I eventually realized what it was and stayed up until 7am that night fighting what I thought were seizures, strokes, and heart attacks but really it was my very first panic attack.

    I woke up the next afternoon feeling dizzy, dissasociative and my vision was distorted. Little did I know I was not still buzzed or hung over. I had derealization and it never went away. Every time I tried to smoke weed after that time I had a panic attack. I ended up going to the doctor, getting multiple tests ran. EEG’s, brain scans, blood work, mouth swabs, inner ear examanizations. I never got an answer no matter how good the docter was. I found out on my own it was anxiety and the reason nothing looked real wasnt from drugs but from an anxiety attack.

    When you get a panic attack. A chemical reaction happens in your brain that takes you out of reality. Much like if you get in a car wreck it feels like a dream. What you experience is derealization and depersonalization. A perceptual distortion.

    It’s like having a glass window in front of you everywhere you look. Like you are looking at things but your eyes aren’t connecting with them. It’s really hard to understand if you don’t have it but the best way I can explain it is to think about when you day dream on a long drive. Like when you stare out into space. Well picture how that looks but all the time even when your brain is paying attention.

    Some sufferers of DP and DR experience episodes at random. Well I’m a part of the lucky crowd that has it ALL THE TIME. I spent time reading on the DR and DP website and learned a lot about my metal chemical imbalance. Luckily it’s temporary. But how long it takes to go away depends on how well you deal with it and how your body works. The first step is to accept it. You can’t fight it or you’ll fall into a depression. That has happened to me. And what could be considered the second first step is to CONFRONT YOUR ANXIETY and deal with it. It’s impossible to fix a problem anxiety caused without fixing anxiety.

    I thought I had life at least half figured out before dp. I thought I was headed on the right track but it turns out I’ve learned more in these ten months with dp and dr than I’ve ever learned in two years of being a dp and dr free stoner who think he’s half enlightened.

    It’s been almost a year and I quit smoking cigarettes in september, I quit smoking weed last month and I’m slowly getting over this anxiety. I haven’t had a panic attack in months, I haven’t dwelled in my dr and dp in two months. I am job hunting, I got signed up for college, and I’m getting prepared for my future.

    I might get a little sad or have a few waves on anxiety along the way but I’m finally beginning my meditation again, my writing, I’m finding out who I am and what I am more every day. I’m learning and becoming more educated. I smile more now, I have become a better vocalist, friend, and buddhist.

    I moved to a more liberal side of town at the beach a week after I got DR and DP and I am finally FINALLY enjoying it. I’ve met better friends who have more motivation and I have stopped focusing on when my dp and dr will fade and focused more on living.

    I’m still only 75% over anxiety but I won’t give up.

  • Meshalaw

    I am trying to figure out what my
    anxiety is trying to tell me I know this all started when my doctor gave me an antidepressant and took me off abruptly then the withdrawals started headaches, stomach problems, crying, depersonalization, etc not to mention I have this weird adult separation anxiety my husband had to quit his job offshore because I didn’t want him to leave home but now he is going back offshore and my anxiety is trying to act up again my problem is other then the
    withdrawals from the meds I don’t know what anxiety could be trying to tell me and I don’t know how to meditate I know a lot of people say its helped them and that’s one of the first things I have read to do but I don’t know where to start see I have a very strong mind not to say that people who meditate don’t but just like when the anxiety tells me something is hurting I can’t make myself believe its not and my mind tells me that I’m lying I am trying to come up with a plan of action to get my mind body and soul on track and I really don’t want to take any meds I want to get counseling but I am trying to get my insurance and compays together

  • Meshalaw

    I am trying to figure out what my anxiety is trying to tell me I know this all started when my doctor gave me an antidepressant and took me off abruptly then the withdrawals started headaches, stomach problems, crying, depersonalization, etc not to mention I have this weird adult separation anxiety my husband had to quit his job offshore because I didn’t want him to leave home but now he is going back offshore and my anxiety is trying to act up again my problem is other then the withdrawals from the meds I don’t know what anxiety could be trying to tell me and I don’t know how to meditate I know a lot of people say its helped them and that’s one of the first things I have read to do but I don’t know where to start see I have a very strong mind not to say that people who meditate don’t but just like when the anxiety tells me something is hurting I can’t make myself believe its not and my mind tells me that I’m lying I am trying to come up with a plan of action to get my mind body and soul on track and I really don’t want to take any meds I want to get counseling but I am trying to get my insurance and compays together

  • Karie

    I love love love the simplicity and truth in this
    article! I thought I was going to die when I was going through marathon
    panic attacks etc. in my early twenties. But I have been panic-attack
    free for almost 8 years now! Hooray! I agree with everything in the
    article as part of my healing, except I couldn’t meditate straight off- I
    started with yoga because the constant movement flushed the adrenaline and
    cortisol out of my system and got my mind off my symptoms long enough to learn
    the meditation part. Anyway, I just wanted to make a couple comments
    about my recovery. First, I took Zoloft as PART of my initial recovery phase,
    and I think it was beneficial to “take the edge off ” enough for me
    to get out of the house and participate in intensive therapy and yoga. I
    weaned off fairly easily after three years. Second, I had an awesome
    therapist who had panic for ten years before healing and becoming a therapist
    so she really knew what she was talking about. She taught me how to take
    care of my physical health as a first-line defense and it made such a huge
    difference for me. I learned what felt good and bad for my body and my
    mind calmed down hugely. For example stabilizing my blood sugar levels throughout
    the day, protein first thing in the morning, lots of stabilizing snacks, much
    less sugar and caffeine, and a supplemental B12 complex vitamin worked wonders
    for my mood right away. I have since encouraged several of my family
    members to try this method and their moods have stabilized as well. Maybe it’s
    a family thing? I am not telling anyone what to do, just giving my
    experience. I think the practice of listening and honoring body and mind
    is a key for anyone. Blessing to all on the path to recovery! I’m
    happy to share more with anyone interested.

  • Meshalaw

    I think you make a lot of good points and ideas I am going to get a therapist but I want one that deals only in anxiety mostly I really don’t want to go from doctor to doctor you know

  • Sarah

    This is a message that needs to be heard by many. We have become so desensitized, we don’t even know what to do with anxiety. Thank you for this, seriously, thank you.

  • mel

    I need help 3 yrs ago I dtsrted having anxiety and psnic attacks dr put me on klonopin im worse than ever and cant get off it im in severe pain severe neck shoulder and headaches dont know where to turn hsd I know at the time what it really was I would have dealt with it. Someone please help im despera te

  • Sarah

    I have suffered from crippling anxiety since I can remember, as a 12 year old girl, this month I will be 30 and im so tired of just getting through each day. I’ve had 2 lots of CBT neither of them worked as I don’t know what I am afraid of. I do know of all the activities I avoid in the hope that this will stop the symptoms but it doesn’t work. Feeling hungry, eating out and at friends are one of my biggest triggers, this terrifies me, but I don’t know why. I grew up with illness in my life as my mum had M.S and I remember her being unhappy a lot but knowing this does not stop me being anxious. I don’t want to believe that this is my lot in life anymore, I have a loving husband and family, not perfect but I don’t want for more. I want to have a family but can’t when I feel like this. I would really like to listen to what anxiety is trying to tell me since childhood, what have I been missing?! I have tried all the advice that doctors have given me and refused drugs, but it has not worked. The distraction technique does not work, it goes away for a while then it manifests into something else, it’s inescapable.

  • Lisa

    I came across your article at a very opportune time. I am currently feeling very restless and anxious. Your article pushes me to finally take the time to listen to my inner voice and find out where my anxiety is coming from. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Blessings!

  • John

    Sarah, I am in a similar situation. I have been a long term sufferer of generalized anxiety. I too feel that I understand the situations/environments that increase my anxiety but can’t yet really see the true cause. Just like you I found CBT didn’t help me much, and I found distraction techniques to be just that – a temporary distraction! More recently I have made some progress, however I’m still very much on the journey. One thing that has helped me is meditation, although I found this very hard at first (both conceptually and practically). Initially I was sceptical that something like meditation could help me. Then when I actually tired it I felt that the racing thoughts I experienced made the meditation process very hard to engage with. I also noticed that I would then use this as yet another reason to think negatively: “I can’t do this meditation stuff. The anxiety makes it too hard. This is useless.” etc etc.

    However at some point I stopped thinking about the meditation as “something I had to do to get better” and started looking at it more as just “me time”. I thought of it more like a gift I was going to give myself – a break from everything else that was going on. I stopped trying so hard to do the meditation right and just started to think “whatever comes comes and if nothing comes then that’s OK, this is just me time”. When I stopped trying so hard I found I actually could start to make progress.

    The meditation helped me to start witnessing my thoughts. I could then use this skill to start observing my thinking more around the time when my anxiety was worse. Before developing this skill I simply couldn’t see the thoughts I was having when I was anxious. The anxiety felt very much like something external that was forcing itself upon me. With lots of practice through meditation I have been able to start noticing the thoughts I have around the time of anxiety. I still have lots of work to do but now I have something to work with.

    Now I try to remind myself that “I am not my thoughts”. It sounds simple but it took me a long time to really get this. Now I try to think of my mind as just another organ like my liver or lungs. My mind’s job is to generate thoughts but it is up to me to decide what to do with them. As Ariella says in her article, it’s kind of like watching cars pass by on a highway. When you can see the cars, you can start to choose which cars to watch and which cars to just let drive on by.

    I still find it hard now and often I slip back into just unconsciously listening to all of my thoughts but part of the process is accepting that the progress may be slow and that is OK! You will develop at your own pace and that is just fine. I found this was a good article to get started with the meditation:

    The other shift I am starting to make is to realise that this is all very much within me and that I am my own cure! I have to say that this article was an inspiration in helping me realising this – thank you so much Ariella! Before really accepting this I looked to medication, therapists, self-help guides etc for my cure. Don’t get me wrong, these things did help (especially a good therapist) but now I see them as things that help me to help myself rather than expecting them to just cure me somehow.

    Maybe some of what I have experienced might also help you, or maybe you need to take a different approach. Either way you are certainly right about one thing; it is not your lot in life to suffer. Good luck with your journey Sarah.

  • Your journey is inspiring John! You took the time to listen to yourself and your experience. You didn’t quit just because first steps weren’t helping. You didn’t settle, and you discovered perspectives and beliefs that you didn’t have before as a result. Some things you even went back to after you figured out how to “hold” them differently. Wow!

    That is the journey! It can be slow, feels like banging on the wall sometimes, but then you start catching on, growing, and anxiety loses ground on the old you that has already fallen behind to new discoveries, leaving the newer you further in the lead.

    I’d like to encourage everyone to know that when exploring new techniques for growth and discovery, that you don’t discard them too quickly. If I were to take a “CBT failure” as a case study, what can cause that to be completely useless when it might have helped is:

    1) You have knowledge of the theory, but were improperly taught to choose a personal meaning to contextualize the technique.

    2) You are holding time duration expectations that are at odds with the natural process and timing you have yet to notice your body communicating. (In my experience, the body starts off really slowly hiding all progress until 3/4 of the way and then it heals exponentially to your delight and surprise.)

    3) The therapist just doesn’t connect with you on a personal trust/energy vibe level, and so the material never truly reaches you.

    I try to keep all 3 of those on my mind but in more generic terms when I’m solving problems using third party services and information:

    1) Did it cause me glimpse and feel a thrill of who else I could become, or just what to numbly recite?

    2) Are my expectations verbatim/academic, or have I personalized them (yet) to who I am, where I am, and who I’d like to be and achieve next? What lacks of faith and trust in the universe do I have that are making my expectations disharmonious? Am I letting go enough?

    3) Have I aligned myself to people who “get” me, and I them, or am I just randomly receiving services? Before I spend too much time with a therapist for example, I interview them, chat them up, get to know them, and follow this process with OTHER therapists as part of my shopping around process. Then I reflect on who I felt the most warm with and felt excited to see them again, and invest more time with them. These are people that I am also more likely to GIVE something to and enrich them reciprocally. If everybody creeps me out, I avoid them for a while and revisit in a few months. Maybe the timing is wrong and I’m just not ready.

    “help me to help myself rather than expecting them to just cure me somehow”

    Wise words John! I need to be reminded of this sometimes and I’m glad to have read it. 🙂

  • justme

    your words are beautifull and full of Love…i can recognise where you say that you become a better person…reading you made me feel warm inside…a feeling i missed….
    thank you

  • LMilano216

    Thank you for writing this article. It makes so much sense and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. Looking back at my childhood I realize I’ve always had a propensity towards being anxious, but it spiked when I realized I was bisexual at the age of 12 and was doubled over with some body issues. I did not come out or face my anxieties until college when it all finally poured over me into debilitating anxiety and depression. CBT helped at the time along with amazing support from family and friends, but what I’m learning in the present day is that sometimes we need to go through certain experiences to come face to face with our issues and what issues have been lying dorment within us.

    Since moving to NYC to really explore and find myself I thought I was out of the woods, but after getting into my first more serious relationship my anxiety was severely triggered and now I’m back in therapy, I’ve taken on a meditation practice that has helped tremendously, and yoga has been a saving grace as well. I had what one may call a breakthrough and a lot of painful emotions were brought to the surface. They scared me and caught me off guard, but I realized much like that old homage that the only way really is through. After a couple of draining days of letting these emotions run their course I felt a release, but shortly there after anxiety has found a way to creep in again. I love how you described anxiety as a message, because it really is. I also have experienced that it’s also a way to protect ourselves from dealing with painful emotions. It makes us so dizzy and frazzled that sometimes we can’t even begin to remember where the anxiety started from. It leaves confusion, because in confusion there is a certain protection. I’m just learning that when we look at anxiety as a big red sign that says “stop” and not “run” that this is when the messages are revealed. Right now for me at least, they’re feelings, often painful ones, and I’m trying to be patient enough to hear the message. It’s not always easy to see while you’re in the process, but your insight really makes sense and I don’t think I’ve given myself enough credit and have to LET myself heal and not MAKE myself heal. Thanks for this and everyone else that shared their experiences.

  • Dolcevita

    Well NOW I don’t feel so alone 🙂 thank you!

  • Rain

    Thank you, so very much. Best regards, from the Dominican Republic.

  • Kk

    Thank you- thank you sooooo much. Words cannot express the rush of gratitude I feel right now reading this. You are a star for writing this x

  • Bedur


    Thank you so much for this article. It has reassured me that
    there is hope from this madness. I would really appreciate it if you could
    offer some insight into my troubles.

    The anxiety that I suffer from began at the beginning of
    this school year (I am 20, and a second year in college). I had a couple bouts with it before in previous years, but it always managed to dissipate without much worry.

    Last summer, a guy that I was dating broke up with me. I was upset at first, for I really liked him,but I didn’t feel too depressed about the situation. However, once I got back to school in the fall, I began to have racing thoughts about the relationship and a feeling, a horrible vulnerable feeling, like he was watching me or controlling me, overcame me. I wanted to be with him still, and I didn’t want to acknowledge that there was no chance, even the fact that I didn’t want to be with him simply because he didn’t want to be with me. School got tough and deadlines came around, and that stressed me out even more. I began having anxiety attacks. I lost some weight (being already very slim, it was noticeable to my friends and professors), and consequently, I started having issues with my body image (I
    already had some before, but these thoughts were much stronger and
    belittling). I started having anxiety when I was eating- the same vulnerable feeling appeared (like the people who had noticed my weight loss were watching me eat, and criticizing me.) I was extra sensitive to people and the stress from school. I worried about the smallest things, like being able to eat in the dining hall (sometimes I would feel so worked up about things, I’d feel nauseous) and whether or not I wanted to start a conversation with a friend (I worried I’d get anxiety about something and stop eating).

    Come winter break, I moved back home and resolved to figure out these feelings, so for the start of the next semester, I would be better. However, I felt very guilty
    about the emotional issues I was having the previous semester. I was scared I’d still have anxiety for the next semester, and things would not get better.

    Now that the spring semester has started, my anxiety has decreased a little bit, for I was happy to have a fresh start. For a few weeks I was relatively anxiety free,
    and didn’t worry about anything but school. But, a couple of comments about my weight, and a few academic set-backs, along with oncoming work, set me spiraling. Whenever I feel the stress of these things, anxiety about eating comes
    back. I’ll think 1) what if I’m so stressed out I can’t eat? 2) what if I can’t eat the rest of the day and I lose weight, and people will notice? And also, sometimes just being hungry gives me anxiety. My thoughts race about all of this, and I’ll have a hard time concentrating on things because I’m so worried. It may seem stupid, but these thoughts consume my thinking power. It’s as if I NEED to think about it, because it worries me. I’m so exhausted from the adrenaline the last
    couple of days have produced in my body, but being relaxed feels foreign to my
    body. How do I begin to cure my racing thoughts about all of this, and not anticipate the anxiety that I feel from certain activities?

  • Bron

    Wonderful. Even at 66 years old your message tells me what I need to do. Thank you lovely lady.

  • Great post. I like how you reframe anxiety as a message coming from ourselves rather than something to be warded off or avoided. This mindful approach is a healthy exercise in acceptance. Anxiety can be suggestive of many things, whether we can figure it out ourselves or need some additional guidance to see what lurks below the surface of consciousness.

  • mark Andersen


    I had to write back and say what an amazing experience I had with l am tina. I was desperate for a kind and gentle man to enter my life when I ran into your email doing some surfing. I had a phone consultation with Dr dodogods and I found him to be so helpful, gentle and reassuring. Within a couple of weeks, I met a guy in a dance club who really swept me off my feet. I’ve been with him for several months now and we seem to be the perfect couple. All it took was one visit to Dr dodogods and my life is as good as it has ever been. I need to thank Dr.dodogods for caring about me enough to send me such a wonderful and powerful spell.thanks post by david

  • Latish

    One day early in 2002 I failed to wake up for work with an alarm because I slept late. I almost lost my job and few weeks later I failed to notice my work timetable changed on the notes board and I came an hour later ever since then I developed an anxiety towards work. No matter what job I do I start hating it from day first and I only see millions of problems with it then I quit.
    I think I feel incapable of working and over seeing everything and I also fear waking up late. I now have so many alarm clocks and I can never sleep right.

    Its not like anyone can help me with this but I thought writing down the birth day of my work anxiety will help me

  • Alan

    Hi Ariella

    I just wanted to say thank you also, you hit several nails on the head in your article and I think your advice will really help me as well

  • dipikajain

    Feel blessed reading as I could see my inner self closely!

  • Beccy Boo

    Thank you so very much for giving me a feeling of control in this Anxiety I have. I can listen so I can do something. For the first time in ages I feel positive about healing. I kept feeling I had to rid myself of certain people that triggered my anxiety, that I kept obsessing over, but the problem is how much I rely on their validation. They are just being themselves. I feel that my insecurity is the problem here. Thank God a starting point at last xxxx, so grateful Ariella (also trying to make it without paxil- been off 3 mths after 12 years on)

  • Vicki

    This is the best article written on Anxiety. I’m truly grateful and thankful for the writer. I can see she is sharing the words from her heart. As I had been a sufferer, I can empathise her and agree with her full heartily. To all the sufferers here, I hope this article will help you. Listen to your heart, accept your feelings, accept your fears, be optimistic and grateful for what you had. This is the best advice I can give to you. Please give them a try. I wish you all good luck & good health

  • Vicki

    I have to agree with you! Medication numbs your feelings. I believe all things have their cause. I am thankful for my Anxiety as she has taught me a lot. I now befriended her. It had made me a more spiritual person. I am happy just to hear you all sharing your experiences! Peace & Love

  • Vicki

    Everything is good, if you allow yourself to see it.

  • Justfortoday

    thank you for the message of hope!

  • Matty

    Ariella – I am not one to comment on online forums, this being my first actually but I must say, this was one of the best reads I can remember about anxiety. I have been on a listening journey for quite sometime, traveling to different corners for more understanding, doing plenty of research, seeing ‘professional’ help and still I have this sickening, overwhelming, physical anxiety that comes over me unexpectedly. It completely takes over. Throughout all of this I’ve certainly made progress: attempting to control these anxieties shifted to wanting to understand them, more compassion, love and openness to myself and others about this inner conflict I experience.

    In the midst of all these important lessons I discovered a meditation that I truly enjoy and look forward to doing everyday. I’ve been practicing for just over two months, twice a day and I already notice a significant difference in my ability to listen to whats really going on inside. I also notice a difference in my energy levels, better decision making, patients and perspective. I feel I have many more crossroads to approach before my anxiety moves on but I can say that all of these experiences, conversations and articles contribute to this tool belt that I am curating so that I may approach this hurtle and all others with compassion, love and conviction that this too will pass and it is put infront of me so that I may learn from it or even have the opportunity to help others overcome whatever it is is holding them back.

    Thank you again, Ariella!

  • RandyH


  • RandyH


  • gabi

    i love you for writing that <3

  • gai

    hey ariella, i’m a 20 year old woman and i’m currently taking cipralex (10mg) everyday to cure my anxiety and depression and i love what you have to say about not needing to rely on medication for healing yourself. When it comes to “finding the source” im not sure i knwo how to do that because i’ve suffered from crushing anxiety since i was 5 years old and thats pretty much as far back as i can remember. i’ve been in and out of the care of a few counsellors since then and though i’ve improved in LEAPS and bounds, i know that i’m no where close to achieving my full potential because of this disease. Please help! i dont know how to move forward right now!

  • Ronnie

    Hi Ariella,
    The link to your website is not longer active. How would I go about getting that book you mentioned? Also are there any other books or programs that helped you with dealing with anxiety/panic attacks?
    ~Ronnie S

  • Alicia

    Wow, thank you so much for this article. Now that I understand what my anxiety is trying to tell me I can stop fighting w/ it and let it be. It’s a reminder to love and accept myself unconditionally because I have put others 1st, so I intern abandon myself as if I am insignificant. I’m sure that stems from my childhood. Recently, I’ve been doing a great deal of healing so it would make sense that the anxiety has come back. It’s okay because I can be friends w/ it and learn from it. You are a true blessing! Thank you so much…..

  • Tony :)

    I love this…. for the first time I realized I was upset at my father for leaving… and not coming back…. and I was blaming myself… But it’s not my faults… the fears that came with this are lies… and I’m not bound by this anymore… thanks for writing 🙂

  • eva

    im so glad i found this article. i was feeling anxious and it wasnt “going away” i felt like i needed to figure it out and decided to google about it. by coming across your article you brought me right back up and made me realise that this could be someting really good. thank you. the anxious feeling i felt in my stomach is gone. i feel at peace.

  • Andrew87

    I’m having a hard time receiving the message I can not figure out what it is . I thought it was the death of a friend or my relationship ending , but now I’m not so sure it all seems to much. I fear death so much but find myself wanting to end my life so I have no more anxiety.

  • JM

    This was a really great article, thank you. I’ve been struggling with panic attacks for a couple years, with them getting worse. I was starting to think of them as “the enemy” and now I see a better way to view the situation. I wouldn’t take to heart people’s attacks on your article, because that’s probably coming from a fearful place — fearful of change. My panic attacks are as serious as any, and I found it helpful. Thank you.

  • roze

    is there any way of getting rid of anxiety so i can stop feeling like im in a dream?


    There is nothing more beautiful to me than staying with my family i have now notice that a successful person must face trials in this world i have be in pain even since my husband neglected me and my two daughters we have living a life without hope before i was introduce to the magic man DR.OLOKUN when i call him i was not satisfied so i have send him an email containing all of my problem and he first gave a constructive advice and after all he said i should not worry that all my problems are over and he tell me some items to buy and what i must do without mistake after doing all the things he told me not to go anywhere three days of it my beloved came to our family house where we where now staying with tears on his face when he saw me he kneel down begging me but today i am living happily with my complete family what would i have done if not for the great DR.OLOKUN thank you very much DR if you need help on how to get your ex back promotion in your job sickness any thing just email tel. 2347051841955.He is a real genuine.FRANCISKA

  • Anne

    This text has helped me alot. The idea of looking at the anxiety as a message was a big chance for me, and working on the anxiety is much easier and a hole lot more exciting. I just want to thank you so very much!

  • palm_puddles

    To all the wonderful people out there that are so kind, open and caring. Your are lovely people and I thank you all to from the bottom of my heart. Life is so precious.

  • anxietysurvivor

    Thank you for this. I’ve done a lot of web research on how to battle anxiety, and this is by far one of the best I’ve seen–maybe because you don’t talk about battling it, you talk about accepting it and letting it slip away slowly.

  • creature

    Why didn’t anyone tell me this when I was 14!!

  • ColinBrandonChia

    After reading this article, there was so much hope. Thank you.. Happy to know im not alone.

  • Hafvandr

    Hello. I
    found this article when I Googled:”can the universe free me from anxiety”. I read
    it and thought to myself: – Really? It’s
    just me trying to tell myself something? I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks on
    and off for the past 11-12 years. I’ve been on anti depressives, anti psychotics’,
    Valiums and Sobrils. I’ve been institutionalizes several times and talk to my psychiatrist
    on a regular bases. The panic attacks
    have, as you know, also been quite physical, but now I’ve learned to “relax” to
    the degree that my anxiety doesn’t evolve into these attacks. And for the past
    year or so, I’ve been function to a degree in which I’m able to participate in
    my wife and children’s life’s. I’ve also been free from medication. But, over the summer my anxiety has started to
    manifest itself in varies places trough out my body. It is no longer subjective,
    it’s become somatic. I’ve pain in my arms and hand, my feet’s and legs, chronic
    pain that just won’t go away. It varies in intensity, but it’s always there.
    This has lead to cold feet’s and other discomforting symptoms, which triggers
    my anxiety further. I’ve had many physical checkups, but they are all normal,
    besides a fatty liver and polyps in my gallbladder. I’ve also learned that the
    effect that chronic anxiety can have on your body can be quite severe, and lead
    to permanent nerve damage, which also triggers my anxiety. I’ve tried to focus
    my thoughts in meditation, but it seems impossible to me. My thoughts races and
    I just can’t get control over them. I manage my anxiety by freezing or numbing
    myself as much as possible, analyzing myself if you will. In spite of this, I
    can find no message in my hellish experience. First I think I’ll have to find a
    way to relax my body, because the focus of my anxiety is now directed towards
    my body, its pain and hyper sensitivity. I can’t even walk for seven minutes before the
    pain and discomfort gets to distressful. My muscles are so tight that my doctor
    can’t get any reflexes from it when checking for it. Any thoughts or suggestions
    on my troubles? I’m at my wits end in fighting and/or embracing this condition.
    Any feedback will be appreciated. PS! I’m
    Norwegian, but I’m sending a distress signal on this channel, because there are
    no good forums on any of the Norwegian websites about these human conditions.
    Thank you. PS! Again. I know why my anxiety and panic attacks started, but I don’t
    know why they continue to this day.

  • ambie

    This is a lovely post, but im still so confused.. Iv had anxiety for maybe 6 years now, im only 17 and i had to drop out of school for it at 13. I dont go outside or talk to anyone except my mum and sister, even then it makes me feel awkward and shy.. I just dont understand how to meditate or listen to my anxiety.. I feel like you should be a teacher and help those like me who just arnt in touch i guess 🙂

  • Merili

    I had my first real panic attack around April of this year. The days that followed I had, what I like to call “mini episodes”, and I didn’t understand why. My first instict was to try and find some kind of medicinal help to get my anxiety under control but I knew deep down that I was only looking for a quick fix to my symptoms and was trying to avoid the real reason for my distress. I finally accepted what I had been trying to keep hidden for years, that I was very unhappy. Unhappy with the way my life was turning out. I had lost all self esteem and all confidence in my abilities. All of these insecurities stemmed from the fact that I was a 28 year old that couldn’t find a job, didn’t have a boyfriend, and had no idea how to get out of this slump.
    A couple of days later I decided to stop wallowing in my self pity and go out and do something about my self esteem issues. I went to a used book store and by some Devine power I came upon a book called “Simple solutions for building self esteem” and this book changed my life! (Not trying to promote the book, promise! Lol). It helped me deal with deep rooted self esteem issues and even introduced me to mindfulness, which I am absolutely in love with. It also introduced me to some simple meditations that have helpede learn to listen to myself.
    Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I had another panic attack. Like the first time, I didn’t understand why. I thought I was doing so well but as I sit here and reflect on the days before my panic attack, I now understand why. I had been feeling so great, that I literally stop doing my self help exercises, my meditations, all the things that helped me feel better. I had stopped working on myself. And it finally caught up to me. I was also in denial. I kept thinking that this was just a minor set back and that eventually I would go back to normal but the days kept passing by and my anxiety was still bugging me.
    I now see that “working on myself” is a life long commitment. I need to become more aware of what my anxiety is trying to tell me. I have to learn to not beat myself up because having a panic attack does not mean I have failed at something but that something is wrong and I need to pay attention. I really hope that my ramblings help someone out. I just felt like sharing my story to let people know that they are not alone.

  • Hernandez Eloy

    I get this but at the same time it comes off so vague to me. I suffer from social anxiety and though it has gotten better through experience, I have my ups and downs. I graduated a couple months back after taking summer school due to me not meeting graduation requirements on time because of me constantly missing school. I couldn’t bear it, the anxiety just made day to day stressful and no one really understood me. Now it feels better but I’ve been at home wondering when to start life, I’m supposed to enlist in the army and sometimes I think about how it’s going to be with the anxiety, I kind of forget about the anxiety until I come across triggers and am reminded of it. I just dont get how I’m supposed to look inside? like what? it all sounds so vague. I get the meaning, I just dont know to put that into real world practicality. I feel uncomfortable, not due to me being a weird person but just because of the feelings. Weird doesnt give me anxiety. Anxiety gives me weird. Please respond, I need a better understanding of what I’m supposed to do. I’m 19 years old and I’m tired of these feelings. I want to go out and have relationships but the adrenaline is there.

  • KLP

    It sounds so easy….but it just isn’t for me. I wish I could do something with this information.

  • very good article

  • ajay

    Just a THANKS

  • justpassingby

    Your story just gave me so much relief and inspiration. Thank you!

    I have been suffering for many years and I am only now beginning to listen to the message.

  • kf242

    Many thanks for sharing this article with us. I definitely benefited from your words and will keep revisiting it when I need a reminder. Thank you!

  • Karma

    Don’t give up by vague answers..this is the right direction. It’s a journey, not a destination. I’m looking for answers too, and I’ve found real structural, step by step help. Try these simple to read books. They will give you ideas in structural form. “Centering & the Art of Intimacy, by Gay Hendricks PhD.” used, less then 10 bucks on amazon. Also, “Working with Anger, by Thubenten Chodron”. Again less then 10 bucks with shipping. They really help to get you to understand the vagueness. Its not the answer to all your questions, but it will help to get you to see what they mean by “look into yourself”, and what is cyclic behavior. Get a BOOK that helps, keep looking,…read and reread, its a learning curve…for all of us. Oh, and thank you for this posting, it is heart felt.

  • Karma

    You don’t hate work…take one big breath, let it take one more. Here is… some..helpful words..You are being swallowed up by fear. Most jobs although ridiculously regulated and busy, are designed to help people. Work in a grocery feed people, work in fast feed people that have no time to prepare their food. Work in make people look and feel better about themselves. …We produce products and services “to help each other”. Someone built the road, made the medication, made the toys… to give to each other. What does your job give? (different focus) If you do not like what you give, find a job that gives something that you want to give. Even if you do not see the giving…you are giving. The rules and intensity that come with jobs are always less important. Be a “C” student, and give yourself a break…The harder you try to perform, the harder it becomes to perform. Your focusing on negative energy. (somebody else’s idea of success, not yours!) Positive energy..all these people need to eat..I will help feed the hungry. If this does help enough. Try 2 part time jobs instead of 1 full-time job. part time jobs are often less intense. Part time jobs can lead to new discoveries in job fields…good thoughts today.

  • Karma

    Trying to help you have a lot of stress on body image and relationships. The college classes are adding confusing stress. First reduce your college load to the fewest classes and/or add something fun, yoga class?, golf?, tennis?, art? cooking? With less over all stress, even just a little less, you can breath a little better. Second, your relationship did not “fail” because of how you look! People get OLD..REALLY OLD..wrinkly, toothless, bald, slow..OLD. And they have love. Kind, gentle, hand holding, kissing, caressing… LOVE. You seem to be crashing because you did not take time to get over (mourn) the loss of your relationship, and/or you are confused to why it “failed”. Relationships “dissolve” for many reasons. The loss of anything we value, including relationships, is painful. Take time to heal, forgive both of your mistakes, and remember that you would not want someone to be with you if they really didn’t love you. You are lovable, unique. My I suggest a special place. I have a tree that I sit under and draw, or take photos. Me and trees have a lot of special thoughts and moments. Trees are good listeners. So are ponds, beaches, birds, pets, night skies… If relationships feel like a continuing problem for you, try taking a class on psychology. College is a time (least we forget) of self discovery. Try the book “centering & the Art of Intimacy” by G Hendricks. Excellent relationship information. Heal little butterfly, buy some flowers for yourself and your space today 🙂
    Also, starving the body sends it into overdrive, out of control. Feeding will help you crash, restart. Eating is not always easy. Find food that is interesting. Find a new restaurant, meal on the menu, or anything that makes you want to eat it, anything. Start with small meals, have an eating buddy. Put lots of food near you. (just for now) When you get an urge, you will have something near to pick at… stay alive. Someone in your future desperately wants to know you. Give them a chance, it might be a loving partner. 🙂

  • campky

    Brilliant post

  • JaneF.

    Plain and simple: Love your self and learn to accept that life is not all pretty. There are times that things are harsh but that what makes life beautiful. Thanks for such a wonderful and inspirational share. Your post is really very enlightening.


  • Linda Andres

    I want you to know that I put a link to your blog on my post. As well, I quoted your comment about anxiety not being the issue but leads you t the voice calling from within. The post will go up tomorrow as a part of my mindful May but the link should be:

  • Kristen

    Thanks so much “Guest” for that amazing well written thought provoking and inspiring piece you shared here. I would love to know more about your journey to wellness and how you are doing.

  • kavin paker

    Thank you so much for writing it, as I have kept it on my “favorites” tab to read every now and then as inspiration.
    Hotel Munich

  • Raven

    I’ve been having anxiety issues lately, in relation to a long-standing anxiety disorder. I found my anxiety was being amplified by my allergy medication, but stopping the medication didn’t completely stop the anxiety. After reading your post, I’ve realized my recent anxiety is due to my upcoming 32nd birthday and a related fear of what will happen to me when my parents pass away. Now that I know the true issue, I’ll be able to speak to my parents and confront this fear constructively.

  • rkrasko

    This post is amazing, wish I would have read it sooner! I have had pretty severe panic and anxiety attacks ever since my second child was born (it was a pretty stressful pregnancy) to the point where I began having heart palpitations and PVC’s, which, of course, only made the attacks worse. I thought something was wrong with me, that my heart was bad and I was dying, but after multiple tests and exams (4 EKG’s, an ecocardiogram, two 7 day holster monitors, etc.) from both my doctor and a cardiologist I was told everything was fine and normal. One panic attack even sent me to the emergency room because I was having PVC’s that would not stop, again, I thought I was going to die! But again, the cardiologist on call said it was nothing to worry about, they will go away on their own.

    Reading this has made me realize that I was viewing my issues from the wrong viewpoint. I was seeing my symptoms as the cause, that is the heart thing was causing the anxiety, not the other way around. When I am calm and mellow, my ticker is fine, no issues, but when I am stressed and the anxiety is bubbling, then that’s when they kick in. Both my doctor and cardiologist have recommended counseling multiple times, I guess that should have been a sign to me that I was focusing my energy on the wrong issue.

    I always saw my anxiety as a handicap, something that would lessen my quality of life, something that would ultimately destroy me. But now, I am trying very hard to change that view, and will understand that it is a gift that needs to be accepted for what it is.

  • Guest

    Thank you so much for sharing your story ;; I’m still at my teenage years and this suffering has already taken so many years of my life.. I am now encouraged and will listen to this anxiety instead of trying to beat it this time 🙂 I feel relieved already, thank you so much!

  • Eva Tortora

    What a beautiful article! I really learned from it and realized I deal with things the same way! THank you!

  • Trtlhedache

    Wow, good for you Becky Boo! I have the same type of thing going on. At first I was terrified to listen to my anxiety because I thought it meant that I had to cut out certain people in my life, but when I sat longer (and by ‘sat’ and ‘longer’ I mean, weeks, maybe months of going ahead and letting it in) I realized it is a more fundamental change that needs to occur. One that has to do with getting what my idea of acceptance was from the people close to me. I realized that if I exited the relationship I was in, this would inevitably come up later, as it had in the past.

    So it’s a work in progress and I definitely feel myself getting caught up in my own habitual thought patterns, but I can always recognize it, thank myself for the warning, and take action if possible. Action is sometimes misinterpreted as “doing” something, which sometimes, it is the opposite. NOT doing. So complex yet simple. I feel I will always be learning. Yay for that! 🙂

  • Sam

    Im probably a bit late here to add to these lovly comments or to even expect a reply but I have just found this article. I really need some HELP…..

    This has definitely enlightened me as to how I perceive anxiety. The only problem is not only have I anxiety but I have an axiety disorder called OCD.

    This disorder is unbearable and I have taken the advice of listening to my anxiety. for quiet some time I have known what my anxeitys in life are and I know once they are resolved my anxiety will lessen or be gone. The problem is really my OCD and how it stops me being able to get these issues resolved. My OCD stops me getting things done. Now it completely stops me even getting ready to start the day as im angry and frustrated at having to wake up and spend hours fighting with my brain to brush my teeth the right way and showering takes me so long now its hardly worth getting in the shower. I feel stressed to the point that so much is piling up and if I could tackle normal day to day activities I could then have the time and work on my anxieties that are giving me panic attacks.

    I wish there was a simple way of looking at OCD like you have detailed about anxiety. Please write to me if you have any advice.

  • Sue

    Hi! I just read one of your articles on anxiety attacks and it described them as being a message from your inner self. I have suffered with anxiety disorder on and off beginning in late childhood, and just recently I had/am having a severe anxiety attack that has lasted a month so far. Does what I read in your article mean that the thought that triggered my anxiety attack is true? Just the thought of that makes my anxiety attack worse. Does that mean that the anxiety causing thought is true and I am just in denial and thats why im having an anxiety attack over this thought? Please help clarify. I dont know if I understood correctly, or if it is just my anxiety trying to see things negatively so that i worry more. Thank you!

  • Tilly George

    I have anxiety whenever I go on a schoo trip, a sleepover or any sort of thing with my friends, I used to get it when I went shopping with my best fiend, the night before id always feel sick and hot and cold and dizzy and like I was going to throw up but I knew I wasn’t. Because of this I have missed out on so many fun opportunities, reading this had inspired me so much especially Guest’s stories who I wish I could discuss more of this with, however if anxiety is basically a way of giving a message what is my message? I get it when I go to the theatre on school trips, mainly sleepovers, sometimes when I’m out with friends, when I go abroad on school trips, I want to live and experience but whenever I try to do even the smallest little events I get hot and cold and nausious and feel like I’m about to be sick so can’t eat or have nice drinks but then I never am actually sick(throw up) what could my message be cus I get it when I try do soemthing fun and full of experience? Please help I’m 16 almost 17 and tired of this taking over and draining my energy I’m normally optimistic and loud and crazy but when I get anxiety it changes me and I become no fun for people to be around, how can I find my message I’ve been thinking but can’t think of it’s meaning please help me l really would appreciate it, thanks Tilly xoxo

  • stjarna

    I stumbled upon this article this morning and find it so helpful. For seven years I’ve been waging a battle with anxiety. I’ve been looking to fight it instead of honoring it and it’s message. I know that I am fatigued by this fight and this article suggests an approach that I have not entertained. Perhaps I should. Thank you.

  • jodster

    I am sitting here with tears in my eyes as I finally hear what I have been searching for. Your journey gives me strength to face my attacks. I thank-you for writing this letter. You give me so much hope I will survive.

  • Mohamed Almustafa Bilal

    I suffered and still suffering from anxiety for two years was mild but when I kept trying to ignore it , it went wild. I’m a medical student who was at the the top of his class , now I hardly pass exams . Finally when I decided that things get really serious I tried behavioural therapy , it worked for a while then stopped working,.then medications whick only helped at the beginning but then made even worse.
    My doctor decided that I have to stop taking benzodiazapams after shifting between 3 different drugs .so these days I’m going through a severe withdrawal . I read this post at 3 am because I can’t sleep and I shouldn’t take drugs or all my past month suffering would be a waste . I read it not expecting I will suddenly find a secret solution to my condition . But I said it won’t hurt to try , so I tried meditation twice a day , I tried listening to my anxiety listening to my panic attacks , just sit down and not running away , sit down breath and wait for it to end . I think I’m getting alot better , but I don’t believe there is going back for me . I know that I was done after a panic attack I had in the tutorial hall , after I meditated for almost hour hoping that I won’t panic . But I panicked anyway , and I kept on panicking afterward. I really hated myself and I don’t know what I shall do, I think I finally lost every hope ,,,

  • Please share as I am interested

  • Ronnie


  • Ann

    Hello I suffer from panic attacks and ocd and lately my ocd makes me think crazy thoughts that everything will hurt me even breathing will hurt me so I get scared and start believing and start feeling like I cant breath I sometimes feel like I cant talk my self down and makes those feelings and fears go away I dont really eat anymore cause of it I hear that can make my problems worse im really scared im scared of medication cause of the side effects but im thinking of trying something natural if I got to cause this is ruining my life any advice would be great thank you

  • Guest 2

    As a sufferer myself, I think it is important to add that if you experience the symptoms of anxiety, see a doctor to get a full medical workup. Anxiety can mimic the symptoms of many medical conditions or illnesses, but it is also comorbid with certain conditions, illnesses, or dietary problems. If you are experiencing negative cognitions with the symptoms, consider seeing a counselor or therapist. It is not for everyone, but counseling often provides an educational foundation for the sufferer. Lastly, anxiety is not your fault, whatever the message you feel the anxiety is telling you. Anxiety is a medical condition like any other–diabetes, etc. Some people will have anxiety all their lives, regardless of the competency of their “self listening skills,” but they also learn to cope with it and thrive. We all have to be more empathetic and understanding of different states of being. Feelings come and go. Pain comes and goes. So, as fellow humans, we need to be attentive to the states of others and act on compassion instead of judgment. Sometimes the best help we can give is to allow space for others to exist in and to work out their problems in their own time.

  • Teeth

    Saying that panic attacks only come from you ignoring your body’s signs that you’re not being a good person is SO damaging, it’s unbelievable. The vast majority of this site is unhelpful on the level of The Secret, but this really takes the cake.

  • Cake Middleton

    Damn, I’ve been through exactly what you described. Afraid to leave my house, even my room, for years. Once I started to understand that it was my own beliefs that were making me feel so terrible I finally started to feel it slipping away. I’m not out of the woods yet, and it’s been a couple of months (close to half a year) of meddling around in my mind, taking two steps forward and one step back every step of the way, but I think I’m that much closer all the time. I feel like this article is just what I needed right now, so thank you. And for anyone else reading this who is just starting out: if you’re motivated, you can get through this, and it doesn’t even have to be difficult. It’s as difficult as you make it

  • Mona_haus

    omg. thank you so much!!! i was having a near panic attack while reading this. by the time i reached the end of the article i had completely calmed down. my whole life has been affected by social anxiety. I would make any number of excuses and lies to get out of doing things because of my anxiety, whatever the consequences maybe. I will listen and try to find understand my source of anxiety and I will work towards healing myself. thank you very much!!

  • Ashley

    Love love love this post. Thank you for sharing.

  • 1111

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Finally im starting to see and accept the message. This text was INSTANT relief to me! i will keep meditating and working on it! God bless!

  • Amanda

    Hello. I’m currently struggling with anxiety and your story matches mine I believe. So let me quickly explain and see if what I’m experiencing is anything like yours.

    It began one night when my bf of probably 2 or 3 years was affectionately touching me and I was super frustrated and didn’t want him touching me. I started thinking about it and realized I had felt that way about him for a little while. (I had some serious personal stuff happen to my family about a year before that has continued to this day-hence why I was maybe frustrated maybe). So I started googling why I felt that way. (At this time I was emotionally immature. I always hated myself, wanted to be someone else, and was extremely insecure as you said with needing acceptance and validation from others to feel good about myself and what not and am just now growing and learning about my self). I googled things like “do I love him?” “What is love?” And I pretty much had a nervous break down with extreme anxiety because I was convinced I didn’t love him due to all the signs on the lists and what not. And I was heartbroken.

    For the next couple of years it was on and off with the anxiety attacks about not loving him. It would get so bad and I wouldn’t eat for weeks and was acting crazy towards him, trying to convince him we should break up and that I didn’t love him. But I was so afraid of admitting I didn’t love him and breaking up with him that I would Google more til I found something that satisfied me enough to push it down and move on with the relationship. And of course over time til right now, 3 or 4 years later, our relationship got worse and is about to end. I have pushed him pretty far away.

    I had realized that I had my own issues and was determined to figure out why I felt this feeling that was associated with the same anxiety. So I really started to pay attention to all my flaws and relationship problems. I finally completely realized recently and accepted that I have been extremely insecure, which explained all my behavior and problems throughout our relationship. All the signs of insecurity matched me in our relationship. I really noticed and have accepted that I have hated myself. That I needed everyone to like me to feel good about myself, to feel confident, I have fears of rejection and abandonment and how I rely on validation from others especially my bf, and all those things like that. I have many issues.

    I have obsessed over all this for years because I couldn’t get rid of that anxiety feeling that I didn’t love him. So I thought I had to break up with him or else this anxiety feeling wouldn’t go away. Even when I read some insecurity sites today that explained my behavior I felt relieved for a little while. But that anxiety quickly came back. So I thought forget it! I’m breaking up with him, I’m not making him suffer anymore. So in one last attempt to see if I was wrong, I googled “what my anxiety is telling me” and found this and read the above comments. And it seemed to match me. So is my story anything like what you were talking about? How I feel I need to get rid of my bf to get rid of this anxiety, when really it’s telling me I need to work on myself? I have done some pretty good work on myself with in the last couple weeks, and am already looking at things differently. Im usually very negative and judgmental of course. So I’m pretty proud of my work so far. Which is a plus for me to actually feel good about my self lol. So is it more than likely me? And that I don’t need to get out of this relationship to make this anxiety go away?

    Sorry it ended up being a sort of long story.

  • Trtlhedache

    Hi Amanda 🙂
    Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling so much. I’ve had my struggles, even since this post – but I’m doing pretty good considering. I’m glad you have recognized that it’s possible to change from within, even if that change is only an adjustment in the way we look at things.
    I too have had a difficult time with family issues that I know were impacting my relationships outside of my family. My relationship with my mom has been difficult throughout my life. Things are a lot less strained now, but I really had to look at things differently in order for this to happen.
    I’m glad you are open to looking at things differently too. i think it’s the biggest gift we can give to ourselves. Acknowledging that it doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.
    I’ve had to kind of deconstruct some of my beliefs and sort out what was worth keeping and what was not. Still a process, but if you’re open to it, you can learn so much about yourself and learn to help rather than hinder your own growth.

    Here are some things that help me.

    Be kind to yourself. A good starting point for me was to practice self-care and listen to
    myself underneath the surface of negativity and anxious behaviors. Reconnecting with yourself, that part of you which is quiet and calm, will help you sort the rest out. Sounds like you are doing this, and that is awesome 🙂

    Don’t be afraid of your feelings. You’ll see a term in posts like this that goes “whatever you resist, persists” and I agree with that. Mindfulness helps with this. Through mindfulness practices, I have been able to help myself when I get out of sorts. If you google that you will find all kinds of useful info. I personally like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s books.

    I’m a major work in progress, and I’m excited about that 🙂
    Keep up your good work and don’t get too discouraged, because even setbacks are part of the process.

    Good luck with everything!

  • K DC

    I have gone off of Paxil, and took it slow and easy, I don’t remember big issues, other than I reached a point where I was dizzy all the time and then stopped at that point…..It does not have to be a big drawn out thing. And I certainly had my share of issue with skipped doses….interdose withdrawal was bad, but not the worst I have dealt with.

  • K DC

    1. Do NOT go off Klonopin quickly….it could take months. There’s many ways to do it….slow reduction, the dilution method, cross-tapering to another med that is easier to take slow progression down on. Ask for someone who dealing with withdrawal of meds…some facilities will have someone. If they say, no problem, just stop, Run-don’t walk away
    2. Those issues may not be related to the Klonopin, I would see a dr to eliminate organic causes, as well as a clinical pharmacist.
    3. Good Luck

  • K DC

    How do you intercept the anxiety? I don’t have a physical, mental or emotional signal that it’s coming. It’s there and I don’t even see it. It will go on for days, and it’s only when DH says something that I can deal with it, usually by taking a pill and/or sleeping (what I call a factory reset). The latter is obviously not an option in the workplace.

  • Jennifer

    This is the best piece of Information and advice I have recieved about Anxiety, ever! Your own experiences helped me search within to find mine a lot easier. I have anxiety and read this and I’m hoping from this point on I can learn and grow! Thank you so much for taking the time to help heal others.

  • Anxietyless and Confused

    My girlfriend of almost 5 years suffers with anxiety, I have read every self help book I could get my hands on, read every website I could read on the subject, but her anger is really starting to scare me.

    Last night, while I attempted to engage her in idle conversation before bed, I was informed that she just needed a second longer to finish her post on Facebook. When I heard what I thought was her all to familiar sigh, I thought she was done, I again attempted to engage her in conversation. Needless to say, she was not done, and I was called rude, childish for wanting her attention at the worst possible time, among other things for not giving her time to finish, I stopped speaking, I allowed her to finish what she was doing. I quickly meditated on the problem, I resolved with myself that I would be more mindful of her actions, and would not do it again.

    Several minutes later as I was ending my meditation, she shook me violently for falling asleep, blamed me for making her anxiety flare up, blamed me for my horrific timing again, and that I always seem to want her attention, and I needed to grow up because she couldn’t respond to me at the drop of a hat whenever I needed her to.

    I do not know how to handle this situation, but what I did do, was tell her that I was sorry for interrupting her train of thought, I explained I thought she was done, I was sorry that she wasn’t, and said it would not happen again. This was not enough for her, and for two more hours, I was informed I needed to feel guilty for my actions.

    Can someone please give me some insight, so that I might stop feeling so out of control and lost? I managed to finally fall asleep by about 01.30am, and woke up at 03.00am, and again at 0.500am, and 06.20am for work, and she probably slept in until almost 11.00am. I thought I handled it properly, but clearly I did not, because I do not speak anxiety, I speak logical, and a desire to find the resolve to problems.

  • Leslie

    My anxiety is car related. It has become so intense over the past 5 years that we moved close enough to my job that I can walk. My fiance drives me everywhere, because I am just not ok to drive anymore. I used to love it. Even riding in a car, though, is extremely hard for me. I cry. I cringe. I cling to the door handle like it’s my lifeline. I’m just so scared to be in cars now.
    My fiance and I got hit by a kid who ran a red light a few years back. It really wasn’t a big deal. There wasn’t a lot of traffic as it was late, and no one was hurt. Then, someone hit my step-dad. Again, it was a small incident with no injuries. A year or so later my fiance got creamed by a teen girl who ran a stop sign. She got him good and the car was totaled. His shoulder was hurt, but mostly he was fine. It really seemed like he was lucky it was only his shoulder that got hurt.
    Oh, I’m just getting started.
    So, then on Friday the 13th (of all days) 2012, I was driving home from work. Great day! I go to turn into my driveway, which means slowing down on a 65 mph country road on most days. On this day I had to stop to let someone pass in front of my driveway first. Unfortunately the boy who was quite a ways back when I stopped never noticed me, because he was playing with his phone. He slammed into me, and I saw him coming. There was nothing I could do. His car was totaled. Mine was, too. Somehow, even after being plowed into by a 65 mph moving vehicle I was fine.
    And then 3 months later my son was a passenger in a car accident in which he and the driver died. Almost 3 years later I’m still a mess in a car. There have been no accidents since then, although there have been near misses. But I’m always afraid that someone is going to hit me, whether I’m driving or not.

    I just read this article. It made me cry to think that just maybe it’s me holding onto all of these happenings that is causing my anxiety. I am going to try to face the message. I can write about it. I will try it all just to feel like I’m a normal person again. I miss driving, and mostly it just is physically painful and embarrassing to deal with.

  • Katie123

    Hi. I just want to say that this really did help me. I’ve always been an anxious person, but around 3 weeks ago I started getting nervous and panic attacks. It’s sort of like my mind and body is in a constant panic attack. I just started my second year of college and I’ve never felt this way before. Is my mind trying to tell me something? How do I understand how to fix this feeling?

  • Aria

    I am deeply moved by this article. I have always known there was something (for lack of better words) not quite right with myself. In the past few years it has been getting gradually worse, and I finally was diagnosed with Anxiety. I’ve never properly understood it or to be honest what actually triggers my anxiety. Recently I have been looking for some help/answers and I came across this article tonight by chance. I wouldn’t even say it was the best point of view, I’d say it was the REAL and ultimate answer/cute to anxiety. It makes so much sense and especially since the exact way she described her own personal experience with anxiety is identical to my own. I honestly have an overwhelming sense of hope as I write this. Now I know that I can begin to heal myself, on route to a more fulfilled, happier life.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • reedee

    I would like to suggest that a change in diet can help alleviate anxiety exponentially. I had to go on an elimination diet and one of the unexpected benefits was my anxiety almost disappeared. I found I had a major gluten intolerance and other sensitivities. I nowtry to stick with a whole food diet. I still get myself worked up sometimes, but nothing like it was before, and therefore it is easier to bring myself back to center. Plus, there are studies that show gut bacteria can play big role in anxiety. Finding a good probiotic and addressing stomach issues like SIBO can also make a huge difference. These are just a few ideas that may help – sometimes it can be a seemingly unconnected physical issue that is driving the problem.

  • Brandon Palecki

    That’s beautiful man!

  • Sara Alwhatever

    YOU ARE AMAZING not everyone would have this much courage.. thank you for sharing your story

  • DianneD

    Thank you so very much for sharing this information. For almost a year I have been dealing with very distracting anxiety issues, that has rendered me weak and fearful of taking risks and living my life as happily as I want it to be, when I know I can do much better. I never really thought about embracing my fear and my pain and thinking of it as part of my own. Just the realization has brought me immense relief and calmed my mind. Cheers to you.

  • Megan

    How did this situation end up? This sounds exactly how I feel now what did you do in the end? Did you break up with him or did you get rid of your anxiety whilst staying with him?

  • onmyway

    I have never had someone explain it so well. I am in tears as I am currently trying to work out my own struggles with anxiety.Thank you for sharing your story, it truly has helped me gain a new perspective.

  • Liin

    I’m in the “coming out of my shell” because of anxiety caused by need for approbation. When I thought everything was fine, it came again, and I just discovered that there was an event, exactly a year from today, that I still can’t accept, because I wanted it to be different. I know that’s impossible so, I’m crying like a baby, and praying to God to help me accept this for once and for all, and let it go because it’s affecting my well being every single day.

    Thanks for the article, you don’t know how much some of us need this kind of positive perspective about something so ugly to experiment.

  • Pat

    Roughly a year ago I began suffering, It all started one night when was on my way to the gym and started to have a pain in my thigh, I turned around and went back home and went to bed, I woke up roughly two hours later in a panicked state with extreme pain in my leg while covered in sweat. I thought I tore something in my leg and went to the hospital the following morning.. They told me I had dislocated my knee and to go to a physical therapist, I spent the next 3 months working on my knee… Then all of the sudden it was in my other leg, i then went from Doctor to doctor to figure out what was wrong… With no answers. Finally after a year of constant pain I asked my doctor to test me for celiac disease which after having a biopsy done confirmed I did indeed have Celiac, while it took my some of my pain away… I couldn’t shake the anxiety that arouse after being stuck in my room and watching my life go by, I’m 22 years old and in my senior year of college… Before this happened I was working 2 jobs while in school… Now I have lost my drive and cannot stop worrying.

  • Guest

    Hi trtlhedache how did you know you had been disconnected from yourself as I’m going through anxiety aswell

  • Guest

    Hi Arlarv
    How did you know you were disconnected?

  • diane yankin

    Keep working on the BF..I received so much help today from this…had severe anxiety all morning..I usually have low blood pressure, but this morning it spiked and my heart rate went way up to 95…I have trouble trusting and believing with reason my bf stories, yet he loves me more than anyone ever has, he is out of town and solving financial issues which cause me trust issues…suddenly I was so stressed, doing breathing exercises, EFT etc…I took a break, went into the kitchen put the radio on and hear the song ‘life is just a bowl of cherries so live, love and laugh at it all’ suddenly i realized I was making the struggle, I was making life hard, I needed to just lighten up, trust God, let go of control and be happy in the moment…it was miracle, my blood pressure went to normal like it usually is, pulse rate too and I felt peaceful…I divorced two husbands in the past because I felt I didn’t really love them, now as I look back I think it was all me, I felt insecure and didn’t sufficiently love myself, I had same story as above, I hated to tell them about my real feelings of not loving..I thought they were just not ‘the one’ one of the men was actually a gorgeous Italian film star, who really loved me….who knows, if I had loved him in return he may not have handled it well, as so many women thought they loved him…maybe he loved me cause I was a challenge LOL…anyway….we all need to address our fear of love and insecurity regarding it or we continue to hurt others. This man now I truly love as I have healed for many years before embarking on a relationship, yet, I feel I have my moments of doubt and they scare me. I will continue to remember this, probably fear of loving and being loved. I think we all make up scenarios or illusions in our minds that portend a ‘story’..the only story we need to live is choosing one of happiness and life and love….and listen to whatever music makes our spirits soar!

  • Karan Malhotra

    Facing how we feel as we go about on our experience of life is the key to growth and fulfillment.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    I hope it will encourage many others to lead a path of growth and fulfillment