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  • #93843
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    It’s been a while and I am glad to say that I am fine.

    This past Thursday I experienced a lot of anxiety in the morning. Anxiety that someone would take my seat in class, and just anxiety for things reasons I know not. It faded as the class went on, but when I got home the anxiety came back. I don’t understand why if I wouldn’t be having class again until Tuesday. Dread I suppose.

    However, Friday, and the weekend was fine. It was good and I was not anxious at all. Monday was good as well. No anxiety about the upcoming day.

    Today was a bit overwhelming. I had a hard time not running to class even though I was 20 minutes early. Everyone just has a habit about showing up to class early even though the professor doesn’t arrive until 5 minutes before. I felt comfortable in lecture after I sat down, but to be honest, as soon as the professor opened the door, I leaped up to get into my seat. Lab class was great, which is not something I expected to be saying. I talked to the two girls in my group and we worked well in the experiment. I was the one doing most of the instructions and gathering of things, they seemed not too sure about what to do, I felt comfortable leading the group. However, I know that this is only because it was a small group. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I felt so comfortable, that I even managed to ask them if they wanted to work together for the upcoming group project, even though group names are not due for another two weeks. They said yes, and I was glad to get it over with. We then talked about our upcoming exam, our quiz, and yoga. It was good.

    Unfortunately, while I did good socially today, my general anxiety was high. Especially when it came to driving. I was worried I was driving too slow, that I was withholding traffic by not driving faster, that other drivers were probably irritated by me, even when I was driving the speed limit and when the cars in front of me were pretty far away. Turning on streets was especially when I thought that. I felt the sense to hurry up. It was very overwhelming. When I parked I asked myself, am I too close to the street or too far apart. My general thoughts were, “can I go now? are there any cars coming? there are no cars coming, I better hurry, oh no, I am going a bit too fast, I better slow down” etc. It was like this the whole time. Unfortunately, I do not think practicing mindfulness would help me in this case, I’d get caught up in thoughts with myself, and I would get distracted.

    My anxiety today also revolved around crossing the street, not arriving on time, being too late, coming across stray dogs, etc.
    So my question is, what can I do in this case? How can I make it manageable? I really do not know what is worse, having general anxiety or social anxiety.

    Thank you for that part about comparison. You are right, “Comparisons can be counter productive. People see too much into symptoms, thinking things like: oh, I don’t have THAT symptom, that means that person is too different from me. Thing is the symptoms of anxiety are different but anxiety is always… too much fear at too young of an age to deal with it healthily.” This really is what it is.

    I am glad you are doing better, “Well, I am still healing, every single day, practicing mindfulness and more mindfulness, paying attention and I am seeing more and more each day. The more I notice, the more I see what I didn’t see before, the more there is to see the day after. I do not anticipate “the day AFTER” that is, me being healed and living “happily ever after” in a state of eternal comfort.” This brings up a big question for me, and it has to do with what Cheaw Hon said. She said she overcame her anxiety and issues. However, while not trying to compare her to me, I couldn’t help but ask myself, is there a way to overcome our disorders? Or is it something that will be with us all our lives? The rational part of me says that it is not possible and that since it has gone on for far too long that regardless of how much I can manage it, that there will always be remnants of it.

    Thank you for asking me how I was doing. I got too busy with school work that I forgot to respond.

    #93846
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    Glad you are back and that this thread is ongoing. As to your last question: can one’s anxiety be completely gone? Depends, maybe for some, not for others. Anxiety is fear connections in the brain. What happens is that that fear is not one connection that can be disconnected and problem solved. Fear is connected in many places in the brain, and different individuals, different connections. For some fear is connected to driving mostly, for others it is connected mostly to… spiders, these are connections: Driving/fear, spiders/fear…. for some people fear is connected to driving and spiders and going to classes and this and that, multiple connections. And the more connections in the brain, the more there is to disconnect and the more healing time it takes.

    The more you heal the less connections of fear, you relax in this area, in that area, things get better. You do what you can.

    Right this moment, as I am sitting on this chair, I felt anxiety, became mindful that I am feeling anxious. Maybe it is that I overate a bit, being bloated makes me anxious (Neural Connection: bloated/fear) Also i am sitting by the wood stove and feeling warm (Neural connection: too hot/ fear). I know I need to go to the mat, away from the wood stove, yet I am sitting by the computer and feeling too warm.

    I am noticing these things but I need to do something about it, go away from the wood stove and lie on the mat, breathe, relax, and as I lie down, my belly will feel less bloated.

    So I am going to do these things and will write to you later how that goes!

    Good work otherwise on noticing and the small group work and initiative at school.

    anita

    #93849
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    An hour and forty minutes later and I am back. What I did was decided to do a brisk walk in the cold enough air outside, about three miles, fifty minutes or so, then completed the 5 kg (light) weight lifting I do every other day, followed with crunches (core work) on the mat, some stretches following the two and then a short hot bath. I let the fire die in the wood stove and am wearing lighter clothes so I am not uncomfortably warm.

    There is more, but this is for now.

    Take care and find comfort in your loving and lovable dog!

    anita

    #93931
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “Anxiety is fear connections in the brain. What happens is that that fear is not one connection that can be disconnected and problem solved. Fear is connected in many places in the brain, and different individuals, different connections.” This makes sense. So technically we can’t unplug them all at once, but rather we have to work on one at a time, otherwise I fear I would not be doing an adequate job.

    “Right this moment, as I am sitting on this chair, I felt anxiety, became mindful that I am feeling anxious. Maybe it is that I overate a bit, being bloated makes me anxious (Neural Connection: bloated/fear) Also i am sitting by the wood stove and feeling warm (Neural connection: too hot/ fear). I know I need to go to the mat, away from the wood stove, yet I am sitting by the computer and feeling too warm.” I liked your descriptions. Not as a basis for comparison, but rather just to get insight as to how it works for you.

    “An hour and forty minutes later and I am back. What I did was decided to do a brisk walk in the cold enough air outside, about three miles, fifty minutes or so, then completed the 5 kg (light) weight lifting I do every other day, followed with crunches (core work) on the mat, some stretches following the two and then a short hot bath. I let the fire die in the wood stove and am wearing lighter clothes so I am not uncomfortably warm.” I like your routine, sounds very calming.

    “Take care and find comfort in your loving and lovable dog!” I will. I’ll admit that he calms me down. Whenever I am zoned out and distracted by things, or overwhelmed with the mountains of homework I have, he distracts me.

    #93969
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    Comparing different people’s anxiety and function is unfair because different people, different severity of anxiety. There are billion of connections of all kinds in the brain allowing me to put thoughts and words together in this very post. Fear is in many of my connections. Being mindful, I pay attention to the different circumstances that trigger my fear, that is fear is connected to so much in my daily life. I pay attention, more and more and over time, I realize there is no real danger here or there, only a connection in my brain formed early in my life, following early experiences. But it is not about one insight good for all times, it is moment by moment, paying attention: oh, here is this fear, oh, I see, here it is. This is not really dangerous… or this fear here is not helping me.

    Overall I find that fear, this excess ongoing fear does me a disservice. I believe it more and more and so, it is an ongoing process, healing, shrinking unnecessary, unhelpful fear.

    Till your next post here, take Mindful care of yourself…

    anita

    #94682
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Last week, I was doing so well. Right now, it is the complete opposite. I now understand what you meant when you said it was not a linear process and that it would not get better and then even better but that rather there would be some regression at times. I completely understand it now.

    Unfortunately, yesterday during the day, my anxiety was very high. Deep breathing helped, but I felt my anxiety escalating, creeping up on me, building and building. I could not calm it. I tried being mindful, but my anxiety was too much. Before leaving the house to pick up my brother, I ran through the house twice to make sure everything was off and that the back door was locked. After heading out to my car, I couldn’t help but think that I had left the lamp on in my room, which I knew I hadn’t but I couldn’t resist the urge to check anyway, so I unlocked the door as fast as I could, fumbling around, only to realize that yeah, the lamp had been turned off. Driving was fine. I was calmer than ever.

    However, when I got home, and as the evening progressed, my anxiety started coming back. I have an exam in biology today, so maybe that’s the cause. I suppose I’m anxious about not doing well, about failing. I noticed that as soon as I started studying for the exam, my anxiety would get stronger. I don’t understand why, I know the material. I suppose I’ve just been feeling burnt out. I don’t like that, it’s only 3 weeks into the semester and all ready I feel like I am pushing myself too hard. So I drank some tea but it didn’t help this time. I even noticed how anxious my dog had become throughout the day as well. He sensed my distress.

    It was hard to fall asleep. I wasn’t thinking about anything really, I just couldn’t sleep, it has become a habit for me to lay in bed for about 2 hours before I can get any sleep. I finally fell asleep, only to wake up at 2 am. I tried practicing being mindful, but it only made me feel worse. I was panicking, it felt like I was drowning in my anxiety. My whole body felt it. I couldn’t breath, I felt the goosebumps on my skin, I was nauseous. I tried thinking about the sky and the earth, it didn’t help. I couldn’t stay in bed, it felt like the onset of a panic attack. The heat was unbearable. It’s been about 3 years since the last time I had a panic attack and I didn’t want to have another one.

    I got up, walked around for a few minutes, had trouble breathing, feeling cold and nauseous, but I managed not to have a panic attack. So at least there’s that. I went back to bed, not a good idea, feeling ill again. Got up, laid down in the living room on the new sofa, I just started at the clock for about 6 minutes, watching the blue numbers slowly change. I felt the leather underneath me rustle as I tried to get comfortable on the couch. I felt better, so I went to bed again. I felt vulnerable out in the darkness of the living room which is what prompted me to go back to bed. There it was, that fear. Fear of what is in the dark.

    It didn’t help that for dinner I had eaten pork yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems that I have developed an allergy to pork, and I was feeling the ill effects of that as well as my anxiety simultaneously. Not a good thing. I can’t stand feeling ill, so this is it for me, no more pork. That gives me some piece of mind.

    Now I really must get some sleep, it’s 20 past 3 and I’ve got to be up in less than 4 hours. Hopefully I can sleep, and hopefully I’ll have a better day.

    #94683
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Last week, I was doing so well. Right now, it is the complete opposite. I now understand what you meant when you said it was not a linear process and that it would not get better and then even better but that rather there would be some regression at times. I completely understand it now.

    Unfortunately, yesterday during the day, my anxiety was very high. Deep breathing helped, but I felt my anxiety escalating, creeping up on me, building and building. I could not calm it. I tried being mindful, but my anxiety was too much. Before leaving the house to pick up my brother, I ran through the house twice to make sure everything was off and that the back door was locked. After heading out to my car, I couldn’t help but think that I had left the lamp on in my room, which I knew I hadn’t but I couldn’t resist the urge to check anyway, so I unlocked the door as fast as I could, fumbling around, only to realize that yeah, the lamp had been turned off. Driving was fine. I was calmer than ever.

    However, when I got home, and as the evening progressed, my anxiety started coming back. I have an exam in biology today, so maybe that’s the cause. I suppose I’m anxious about not doing well, about failing. I noticed that as soon as I started studying for the exam, my anxiety would get stronger. I don’t understand why, I know the material. I suppose I’ve just been feeling burnt out. I don’t like that, it’s only 3 weeks into the semester and all ready I feel like I am pushing myself too hard. So I drank some tea but it didn’t help this time. I even noticed how anxious my dog had become throughout the day as well. He sensed my distress.

    It was hard to fall asleep. I wasn’t thinking about anything really, I just couldn’t sleep, it has become a habit for me to lay in bed for about 2 hours before I can get any sleep. I finally fell asleep, only to wake up at 2 am. I tried practicing being mindful, but it only made me feel worse. I was panicking, it felt like I was drowning in my anxiety. I wanted to puke from how strong it was. It radiated throughout my whole body. I couldn’t breath, I felt the goosebumps on my skin, I was nauseous. I tried thinking about the sky and the color of it, it didn’t help. I couldn’t bring myself to get up, the heat was unbearable. I felt like I was going to die. It was another panic attack.

    I finally up, walked around for a few minutes, had trouble breathing, feeling cold and nauseous, but I managed not to vomit, So at least there’s that. I went back to bed, not a good idea, feeling ill again. Got up, laid down in the living room on the new sofa, I just started at the clock for about 6 minutes, watching the blue numbers slowly change. I felt the leather underneath me rustle as I tried to get comfortable on the couch. I felt better, so I went to bed again. I felt vulnerable out in the darkness of the living room which is what prompted me to go back to bed. There it was, that fear. Fear of what is in the dark.

    It didn’t help that for dinner I had eaten pork yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems that I have developed an allergy to pork, and I was feeling the ill effects of that as well as my anxiety simultaneously. Not a good thing. I can’t stand feeling ill, so this is it for me, no more pork. That gives me some piece of mind.

    Now I really must get some sleep, it’s 30 past 3 and I’ve got to be up in about 3 hours. Hopefully I can sleep, and hopefully I’ll have a better day.

    #94699
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    What a post! Still amazing to me how well you write, no matter how you feel there is this one constant: good, detailed writing. No doubt in my mind you are a skillful and talented writer.

    As to the content of your post: yes, a regression in well being it is, and each one of those is also an opportunity to walk farther along the path of healing, as I call it.

    I could relate so well to everything you described so well: the nausea and feeling like vomiting, the cold (goosebumps) and hot sensations, the lying in bed awake… the OCD thoughts of leaving the light on and so forth. And I know the panicky feelings, getting scared of the fear itself and how worse can it get, adding fear to fear.

    When I got off the anti anxiety pills I was on for so many years I got those anxiety attacks. A few days after I gradually stopped taking any of those pills, that one evening, I felt the fear increasing in me and I thought to myself: I have to get back on those pills, I can’t handle this! And then I remembered an exercise I did before and tried it and it worked!

    This is the exercise: when you are significantly afraid and the fear is escalating, you become mindful of it, meaning you become aware that not ALL of you is scared, only part of you. You move yourself from being suffocated underneath the fear, freeing yourself that way so that you can position yourself side by side to the fear and observe it. You position yourself so you are no longer one with the fear but you can observe it from another part of your brain.

    It is like you can look at your foot and see your big toe. The big toe is part of you but it is not all of you. It is there, you can see it, but you can see it from a distance away. And if the toe hurts, it hurts, just it, not all of you.

    There are more thoughts I have about your post, but this exercise here, I wonder if you can practice it next time…Please do post again and again… You are doing very well in this non linear process, Aislynn!

    anita

    #94731
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you. I used to write a lot in the past, but now I feel stuck. I’ve never been able to finish a journal, can you believe it?

    “the lying in bed awake… the OCD thoughts of leaving the light on and so forth. And I know the panicky feelings, getting scared of the fear itself and how worse can it get, adding fear to fear.” Exactly. While I was out in the living room, it didn’t bother me at first to be in the dark, I felt too ill. But then that fear crept up on me. I didn’t know what to do except turn on the lights and go to my room as quickly as I could. And that anxiety attack… It was horrible. I felt like I was going to die.

    “when you are significantly afraid and the fear is escalating, you become mindful of it, meaning you become aware that not ALL of you is scared, only part of you. You move yourself from being suffocated underneath the fear, freeing yourself that way so that you can position yourself side by side to the fear and observe it. You position yourself so you are no longer one with the fear but you can observe it from another part of your brain.” This sounds like a good thing to do. To observe the situation from another angle.

    I will definitely practice the exercise you’ve just showed to me. I’m thinking it will work well with my anxiety attacks. However, will it work well when I am scared of the dark, or having frightening thoughts? Or would it make that worse? I mean, technically they are all fears, I just suppose I am more scared of the dark and the frightening thoughts than the anxiety itself.

    Is there anything I can do about my sleeping problems? I don’t like lying down in bed for about 2 hours without being able to fall asleep, sometimes it takes me even longer.

    #94735
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    You are already applying different tools to manage and lessen your anxiety. Sometimes one thing works and at other times that same tool doesn’t work. For example, many times drinking your tea worked but not last night. But it doesn’t mean it will not help in the future, just not last night. When you gather different tools, it is like you are walking around anywhere you go with a box of tools and you use what you can use at any one time: tea when you are at home. Doesn’t work? Something else. You find yourself afraid of the dark? here is a simple tool: you turn on the lights. At any one point you want to use another tool about your fear of the dark and you are ready for it, you use another tool, like observing your fear (of the dark) from another angle, or another part of your brain, a calm part.

    To practice the latest tool I suggested, start with a small fear and practice so you have the practice for a greater fear.

    Regarding not sleeping at night, yes, I hate it too, actually I was awake last night a lot. Tools for sleeping, the exercise I mentioned, listening and focusing on sounds, paying attention to the physical sensations and observing how those change, changing bed/ moving to the sofa… different tools, different accommodations at different times. Experiment. What worked last night may not work tomorrow night… walk around with that box of tools and try different things.

    anita

    #94736
    anita
    Participant

    Oh, here is a tool that might work for not sleeping: slow, mindful yoga stretches, or just stretches- when you feel a stretch in your body, your attention automatically moves from the thinking, thinking brain to the body: getting physical (by exercise or stretching) really works. Also, try slow motion movement, the idea behind Tai Chi, just doing some exercise slow, slow motion, that slows that thinking, rushing brain as well.

    anita

    #95054
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    While turning on the lights does seem like a logical thing to do when feeling scared, well, it makes me feel irrational for doing so. Now, I know I shouldn’t criticize myself but I can’t help but think I am being silly.

    I like the whole concept about carrying a tool box of different things that could help me. A metaphorical box, sounds really cool.

    I will definitely try slow mindful yoga stretches when I can’t sleep. Unfortunately, due to my lack of sleep these past few weeks, yesterday I was just so exhausted I couldn’t even do homework. I was too tired to function and fell asleep very early. I woke up tired, and once again I am very sleepy. Ahhh, this frustrates me.

    So, today I noticed a trigger. Police officers. I was driving to the store to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I live about 2 minutes from the store and I have to pass under this bridge where there is a big dip, and by big dip I mean like a hill. So, usually you go downhill and then uphill. Well, police officers LOVE that area. They usually wait there to pull people over. So I was driving, I was getting close, I kept looking at the speedometer to make sure I was going 35 mph. I was going about 2 mph under. The car behind me passed, and I thought to myself, I hope the police aren’t there, otherwise you’re in for a ride. Well, sure enough, the police were there. Not just one, but two and they had both pulled over some cars, for speeding I presume. So I continued on my way. I went into the store, got what I needed and then was going to go pick up my brother from school. Well, I was contemplating going around the other way to avoid the police, but my sister said not to. I was like, “what the heck, let’s do this.” So I pulled up at a stop, looked both ways and then started turning right. I got scared out of my mind when I saw the police office driving in the opposite direction of me. I then thought to myself, he’ll most likely be on the street right before the bridge, and yeah, both police officers were there. Again, I watched my speedometer like a hawk. Again, a truck passed me. They were most likely going 5 over the limit, and I wondered how they could drive over the speed limit full well knowing that the police were there, waiting to pull someone over. All was fine though. I arrived at my brother’s school. Parked, picked him up, and then proceeded to drive to another school where I pick up a boy for a friend of my mother who does not drive. Well… the school is near the police department, driving to the school you take a right and down the road is the police department. Well, today I was about to pull up at a stop sign and I saw a police office there. So I slowly pull up, and I’m waiting for him to go, he doesn’t so I signal for him to go ahead, then he signals back, telling me to turn. So I was like, okay then. Mind you, I was nervous. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but that got me nervous. I turned, and I waved a thanks at him and then I parked in my usual spot.

    I was paranoid at the fact that he was at the stop first and that he waited for me to turn, to then turn. Unusual? Was he hoping I’d do something wrong to pull me over? Or was he just being courteous?

    Needless to say, police officers frequent that area A LOT going to and from the station. They seem to always go above the posted limit of 20 mph and so sometimes when they are driving right behind me I get nervous because they are trying to drive a lot faster than I allow them to because I stay at a steady 19-21 mph. It is about an everyday occurrence that I bump into the police. I’ve never been pulled over though.

    Sometimes, and only sometimes do I not feel anxious around police officers. However, most of the time I just get nervous and fumble around like, “What am I supposed to be doing?” On the first day of the semester there was actually a police officer at my college campus by the stairs, and that made me feel very nervous. However, since I needed to go downstairs I actually waved at him and said hello. You wouldn’t believe how much I debated doing that in my head.

    So, police officers. Is it normal to get anxious and nervous around them? Or is it just my anxiety that makes it worse? Do I fear them because they are the authority? Or is it the thought of them pulling me over than gets me nervous? Any insight is appreciated.

    #95061
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    A police officer has the power to give you a ticket that will cost you hundreds of dollars and make you go to traffic school; they have handcuffs to put on you if you and take you to jail! And they have a deadly weapon… so, yes, I can understand being scared of police officers. i do too. Now in the U.S they turn on the lights and sirens only when they are going after someone. When I was in Israel I got scared out of my wits every time I saw a police car because they have the lights and sirens ALL THE TIME.

    anita

    #95263
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    How are you???

    anita

    #95339
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I am doing all right.

    I am glad to report that I am back to walking and jogging. I won’t be running for a while though.

    I’ve been feeling sick since last week and that has left me with very little energy to do much. That, coupled with the severe insomnia from the past few weeks has finally caught up to me. I am feeling utterly exhausted. All I want to do is sleep! I find myself sleeping in every time I get the chance, and I’ve been going to sleep very early for almost a week.

    Unfortunately, for the first time ever, I missed a due date for a homework assignment. I felt upset about that, and I started doubting my ability to get an A in that course. I’ve been so tired that I have little motivation to do school work. I just keep wanting to put it all off until the last minute. I couldn’t be bothered to do school work. I feel that perhaps in a week I might feel better, but right not I feel like I am drowning in quick sand when it comes to energy and motivation. I find that I had been pressuring myself to do a lot, and that stress of trying to get ahead is not helping my anxiety, energy or motivation.

    I find myself realizing that I am intimidated and that my anxiety flares up when there are teenagers around, high school age I’d say. Perhaps this is because I see how cruel and criticizing they can be. Or maybe it’s just my bad experiences from high school. I feel under extreme stress when I am around teenagers whether in line at the store, or anywhere really. I feel like hiding and just avoiding them forever.

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