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Telling My Anxiety to Beat It

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week ago.

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  • #176691

    Celine Zavanella
    Participant

    Hi all.  My name is Celine, and as of yesterday, I decided I was sick and tired of living under the harsh rule of my generalized anxiety disorder.

    Completely over it.

    I am so tired of constantly living with the chatter in my head, going from zero to sixty the moment something as benign as realizing that I forgot to lock my car door happens.  I am tired of being worried about the grandiose schemes that I concoct in my head coming to life (they never do).  I have tried everything from meditation to yoga, deep breathing to clenching, anti-anxiety medicines, and now, therapy.  Most methods work for a little while, but eventually the anxiety comes back full force.

    Last night I realized that I had tried everything except telling my anxiety “No.”  Just say no to it.  I have educated myself enough to know that it's all in the way I see things, it's my brain that causes the anxiety.  Very rarely am I in a situation in which being anxious or afraid is warranted. Armed with that knowledge, I decided that this part of me needed a firm boundary.

    “No.”

    No internal discussions, no rationalizing, no hearing it out (anyone that has anxiety knows that if you allow the aforementioned, you will only being the downward spiral into hours of rumination and a full blown anxiety attack).

    “No.”

    No more Googling everything.

    “No.”

    No more allowing my anxiety to make me feel safe by never taking a risk.

    I have lived with this thing for twenty-seven years.  I am 39 years old.  I think it's high time I take my life back.

    “No.”  It's that simple.

    #176717

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Celine:

    You read very resolved, firmly determined. What an spirited, vibrant post. I hope to read from you again.

    anita

    #176819

    Celine Zavanella
    Participant

    Well, the first day was exhilarating.  This day is already testing my patience.  Landlord called, said the rent was late.  School nurse called, daughter was kicked in the mouth and a tooth is dangling.

    I had to say “No” very loudly several times when I felt my stomach acid churning and my heart rate shoot through the roof.  Then I had to do a self check:  Are either one of these situations ones that should cause me complete panic?  After a few minutes and some deep breaths, I realized that nothing was deserving of my usual fight or flight response. I could hear a little voice inside of me take control and say:

    Celine…just call the dentist and see if you can get the little one in for a check up, and call the landlord and find out where the check went to.

    Turns out, the landlord is out of town (hadn't seen the mail yet), and the loose tooth is just a baby tooth.  Going to fall out anyway, and there was no major damage done.  So yeah, anxiety not warranted.

    It's not even noon yet.  Bring it on!

    #176823

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Celine:

    Good to read from you again. I am glad I have this opportunity to follow your fighting spirit. Anxiety is not warranted, never is. Fear in certain circumstances, yes, but not anxiety. It took me a long time to realize it and I still am realizing it. There is no advantage to anxiety, none at all. It doesn't prepare us to handle danger, it only hurts us, wearing us down.

    I like you inserting your reasonable, realistic thinking into fighting your anxiety, saying No to it armed with realistic thinking, true to reality.

    anita

    #176901

    Celine Zavanella
    Participant

    Anita,

    I feel as if since the age of 12 or 13, I have always lived in fear. About a week ago, I was at a playground with my daughter and for some reason a memory came to me. It was from when I was 8 years old. The sun was shining, I was playing with other kids in the open area near my home, having a wonderful time. The visual memory wasn't as striking as the emotional one. What I felt was freedom. No worries, no cares, no fear. I felt peace as well. It has been so long since I have felt that way. Even as I type, tears are welling up at the joy I remember feeling that day.

     

    I miss it, Anita. I miss that freedom and sense of wonder. I just want it back.

     

    Thank you for reading, by the way. I appreciate your feedback.

     

    Celine

     

     

    #176997

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Celine:

    You are welcome.

    Yes, that magic of childhood, the sun shining, the joyful sounds of other children playing, that excitement, life seeming like an open field of possibilities, everything is possible…

    It is a wonderful feeling. I figured not long ago that this magical experience of childhood is biology causing that euphoria so to make it possible for a growing child to reach out, to learn, to approach new experiences, to explore. That childhood euphoria is a nature's motivation. As adults, I don't think we can re-experience it. We can only remember it.

    What is available to us, as adults, I believe, is realistic calm, such that we develop over time, calm in seeing and accepting reality as it is, best we can.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  anita.
    #177079

    LJ
    Participant

    Corina your post could have been written by me.  I, too, have googled myself to death and tried meditation, etc.  Thank you so much for sharing your idea to just say “no.”  I am going to try it and see how it works.

    #177359

    Celine Zavanella
    Participant

    LJ,

    I hope it works for you. Be firm, but loving. It is, after all, a piece of who you are. I know that seems odd, but it really feels that way. This aspect of myself developed during a time in which my world was unsteady and I felt alone and unsafe. So, when I have to say no, I say it with understanding but firmly. There is no room for discussion.

    As I type this, I am dealing with something that typically sets off my anxiety something terrible: heart palpitations. This is an area where saying no is rough, because each time I feel my heart flutter or thump, I attempt to tell myself something to make me feel better. My fear is that I am going to die. So then I try to come up with reasons they may be happening and start googling possibilities.

    No. No. No. NO.

    Tonight is challenging, however I am just going to be present and experience my emotions as best as I can.

    Celine

     

    #177449

    LJ
    Participant

    Thank you Celine.  Again, I could have written your post as I get those heart palpitations too and also feel like I am going to die.   I am getting slightly better with just saying “no” but it is a long road at age 62.  I am grateful for posts like this and my dear husband.

    LJ

    #177453

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Celine:

    Good to read more from you. Last time I felt panicked, those physiological reactions involved, I noticed that if I reduced the panic element, that is, the escalation of the fear, that the fear itself has a time limit. I felt badly, I feared that I will faint or otherwise lose control, that is the escalation, fearing something worse. Somehow stopping the escalation leaves the fear be what it is.

    Fear in itself is not pathological. Animals in nature feel fear and then go about their business, when the perceived danger is gone. Anxiety is fear that stays, that exceeds its natural time limit. It stays because of that escalation.

    anita

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