Recovered Chronic Anxiety Sufferer

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Hi everyone.

I'm new to this, but wanted to share my story/experience/knowledge with you all and help in any way I can.

I know from my experience with anxiety that success stories are somewhat hard to come by. The reason for this, I believe is twofold. Firstly, once people 'recover' from this ilness, they carry on with their lives as normal, often without much of a thought as to how they were before. Also, I believe that for people who have a sucess story to tell, the thought of going on forums such as this to share their experience can be quite a daunting one. Oftentimes, people want to leave that chapter of their life behind, and not be reminded of it. I know this because I have been guilty of both of these reasons. This is worth bareing in mind; my point being that a lack of success stories isn't because they are rare, but because of the reasons detailed above.

It's hard to say specifically when I 'recovered' from experiencing chronic anxiety. If I were to give a rough idea, I would say that I have been 'anxiety free' for around 2 years. Previous to that, I had experienced chronic, debilitating anxiety for roughly a 2 year period. I, like everyone else, considered myself the worst case - beyond help. I experienced all manner of symptoms; you name it, I experienced it. I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and GAD. I saw a therapist, attended group sessions with other sufferers, but to no avail. I frequented forums such as this one and read post after post, all the while feeling more anxious and more dispondent (probably due the lack of success stories.)

I will mention now that I am in no position to advise on medication issues. As bad as I thought I was, I refused to go down the route of medication. This is not to say that medication is a bad approach, but it was one that I chose not to take, and thus feel insufficiently experienced to advise on this specific topic.

I will keep this first post brief. I would like to think I have been where you have been, and came out the other side. Recovery is not a linear path whatsoever, one of the reasons why I cannot name a specific point on my journey where I was rid of anxiety and its symptoms.

My 'recovery' was down to multiple factors. Predominantly, educating myself tirelessly on every nuance of this illness. I have a degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry, so understanding how things worked at a biological level really helped me. I combined this knowledge with a new (read: fairly basic) understanding of Psychology, plus several self-rationalized 'a-ha!' moments to gradually alter my mindset over time.

I am not a special case. There is not a rare combination of factors that meant I could achieve recovery and you cannot. I am here to attempt to answer questions you may have (not medication related, apologies) and hopefully help you along your own journey. I work a 9-5 job, and have several hobbies, so I will attempt to respond to anyone between these times, but I may not be able to answer all questions.

If you do not want to ask a question, then please take this post as a tiny bit of inspiration to push you along your journey to recovery. You CAN and WILL be rid of your anxiety disorder, that I can promise you.

To your success,

Matt

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  • Posted

    Hi matt

    I am so glad you starter this post an that you have overcome anxiety especially without medication that's amazing

    Can you tell me was your anxiety daily and what physical symptoms you had an of course how you managed to overcome it

    Thank you

    Sam

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    • Posted

      Apologies, Sam. I am new to this and replied to the original post rather than to your post.

      Please see my reply to your post below.

      All the best,

      Matt

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  • Posted

    I would like to say 'thank you' for this post. It imakes a refreshing change to read some positive words such as this.For me personally it has given me hope that I shall not be in this horrendous viscious circle of anxiety and panic for ever. It obviously pays to keep trying. If something doesnt work out, try another avenue.

    I still feel I have some way to go, however I appreciate that there is no quick fix.

    Onwards and upwards

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  • Posted

    Hi Sam,

    I hope you are well.

    Firstly, I would like to quickly point out to yourself, and anyone else who reads this, what prompted me to start this discussion. It might seem odd that someone who has been free from chronic anxiety for a significant amount of time would randomly make start this discussion.

    The idea of sharing my story/experience/knowledge is one that has occurred to me a few times. Up until this point, I have put it off, perhaps mainly down to reason number 2 mentioned in my original post, combined with reason number 1 (I simply don't thnk about 'anxiety' all that often anymore.)

    I heard a discussion on the radio on my way home from work today in which anxiety disorders were the main topic. This is ultimately what prompted me to start this discussion. I thought that even if my experience/knwoledge could help one person, that's better than not helping anyone.

    Apologies for that tangent, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Back to your questions, Sam.

    In the beginning, and for the majoirty of my journey, anxiety was with me at all times, from the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to bed. And when I woke up in the middle of the night, there it was of course. It never left, there was no respite. 

    I suffered a combination of physical and psychological symptoms that seemed to vary in degrees of severity. Physically, off the top of my head, I suffered from palpitations, a heavy sensation in my chest (like I couldn't take a full breath), chest pains, feelings of a lump in my throat, sweating, shortness of breath, blurred vision, diziness. Psycologically, I suffered from bizarre/ridiculous irrational thoughts, I thought I was going crazy, feelings of unreality. This list of symptoms are non-exhaustive, and like I said previously, they seemed to vary in degrees of intensity and prominence.

    For me to convey one unifying method to recovering from chronic/accute anxiety is quite difficult. That's not to say that the process of recovery is difficult itself; I don't believe it is once you have developed the correct mindset and fully embraced/internalised it. My hope is that by answering people's questions, I can paint a picture as to how I believe you can 'cure' yourself. My ideas and methods will hopefully develop as this discussion matures and other people contribute.

    One thing that is vital to understand is that your recovery will not happen over night. If you want to be rid of this thing, you're in it for the long haul and you will WIN. And ironically, the rather sad thing is... You won't actually realise you've recovered. Why? Because anxiety and everything that comes with it will simply not cross your mind any more.

    Another thing worth noting, and it might seem counter-intuitive at first depending on how far along your journey you are, is this - ANXIETY IS NOT BAD. Embrace this thought, internalise it, because it is true. ANXIETY IS NOT BAD. Stop labelling it as being BAD. Yes, it can be unpleasant, uncomfortable, maybe unbareable at times. But, fundamentally it is not BAD. You need to fully internalize this fundamental concept for you to begin your journey towards recovery. This is not aimed solely at you Sam, but at anyone struggling who is reading this.

    I hope this helps a little. Like I said, hopefully my ideas/concepts/thoughts/methods will develop during this duscussion as I respond to people's questions.

    All the best,

    Matt

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    • Posted

      Hi matt, thanks for your story

      I am 22 and have dealt with anxiety for a long while, I take propranolol however I try to be stubborn with it and only take it when I really can't cope. As I want to try and settle and overcome my anxiety. All I do is.research about it, as I figured if I understood as much as I could then maybe I wouldn't be so.anxious all the time. I don't even know what I'm anxious about half the time but it effects me in my day to day life, I shake uncontrollably, I gag or dry heave, I sweat as feel sick and dizzy.. (which I'm petrified off aswell) the list goes on. I panic about showing myself up and because of my previous experiences. I'm aware of my condition but Its the physical side of it, I'm always over thinking and I get back and neck pain. I can be tired and feel lethargic or it could take me hours to sleep, I rarely take trips as I've had bad experiences before, I don't drink or go out with the girls much and it effects my social life. I'm my own worst enemy really. It's like a bad habit and I feel like I'm always going to be this way.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for getting back to me I can fully appreciate and understand why so many don't talk about recovery seeing as sometimes even talking about anxiety can set the symptoms in motion

      I'm having a very hard time believing this is anxiety for me I have family that tell me it is all the time my mum even dragged me to the doctor an made the doctor give me medication ( I haven't took them ) I'm 34 lol an my mum is persuading doctors lol I think I find it hard because I have a host of other illnesses I was fine till thyroid cancer which was taken in 2009 had another few good years then 3 years ago developed h pylori the treatment left me with a ulcer and silent reflux which I didn't recognise till 2 years later when I was hospitalised I had lost 6 stone I was a mess but I came out an tried to get back on top of things unfortunately 2 major things happened in the space of two weeks my husband left after being together 16 years ( my 1st boyfriend and love ) and my dad died from medical negligence blood clot I guess I didn't deal very well with these things buried my head an it only became apparent how much it affected me 4 weeks ago when I had emergency appendix removal I was a mess I mean mess I cried non stop an panic was in overdrive so I'm a fairly level headed woman and can see how it could all be anxiety yet because of my other medical issues my mind won't allow that it can be anxiety it's adamant that I'm going to die

      I have suffered severe breathlessness everyday since surgery not hyperventilating jus a heavy sorta restricted breathing this worries me the most as well as few chest pains aching muscles nausea and other bits ( all on the extensive anxiety checklist ) I guess at some point I will one day wake up an think c'mon now it's all anxiety I hope that day is soon I hope I can be strong like you an overcome it an one day be able to share my story and help someone even just 1 person that way maybe it will be worth the suffering fingers crossed lol

      Thank you again I'm sorry about the essay lol

      Take care

      Sam

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    • Posted

      I have been reading this new revelation on anxiety related attacks with immense interest. More than ten years ago, I worked as a public interpreter and was darting around cambridge where I live, I would suddenly get this inexpicable fear of sudden death syndrome. It would just come over without my realizing of it.! And this carried on for 3/4 years. If it happened that when  I was driving to a new assignment out of Cambridge, I would stop my car and try to rush back to the nearest hospital or stop the car and call for an ambulance. It repeated itself like this so many times that in the end I had to stop being an interpreter and imprisoned myself in my flat for a long time. But,later, at Addenbrookes hospital, I attended several sessions for a corrective cognative-treatment that then I was off the hook for a consideranle time. But lately,I am now 74, a pensioner,these symptoms have reappeared again. Livin completely on my own and not having a daily conversation with anyone, eventually dulls the brain and the soul. Therefore, the barain is free for creating its own morbid thoughts. I live at a shelterred accommadation, and none visits( I put it down that because I am not English) as there is would be limited cultural interexchange, and as one gets older,striking friendship is quite difficult too.

      I do get up in the early hours of the morning practically at exactly the same time with palpitations and cold sweat and it just cuts off my 8 hours sleep all the time. So I resort to having a nap in the afternoon. But I must say this, in addition to all this...since I have had my bell`s Palsy_ Lumber puncture...my immune system has become damaged somehow...this is my own interpretation! Now, I have been told that I also have mild sleep apnea which wakes me up in the night. But I would like to ask a question here. Has any of you suffer from having a regular uncut dreams...dreams of any kind of description? because this dreams for some reason wakes me up in the middle of the night and giving me fast heart /pulse rate and puts me ina horrible panicky -panick!!! Several night , it so happened that I had to call for an ambulanceand when they came, it was ambarrassing enough the symptoms gradually died out. But they always found that my blood pressure was too high!! Now, I take diazepam+Propranolol+temezepam......but during the day time I do feel tired.One thing that I do on purpose tellinm myself" I won`t be beaten by you...! I start doing some weight exercises, the homegym that I have. And on purpose, I also go to the gym. I feel good during the exercises...but when I cme home, within 24 hours the tiredness and the anxiety seeps back in again...My only social outcry is this facebook...!! It is pathetic but it is true...!! So, this is my story....!! I do not trust my GPs as theit knowledge on many things are too limited.And they are not adventurous enough(personally) to dig into matters to discover more....for us patients...!! So sorry, if I made any spelling mistakes...the tiredness takes its toll!!

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    • Posted

      Hi jbella,

      Thank you for taking some time to reply to my post.

      I am 25 years of age. My journey with anxiety began when I was 20, and I would say that somewhere between the age of 22 and 23 that journey came to an end as I learnt to control and ultimately overcome my abnormal anxiety.

      Like you, I would spend every moment reading about the subject, researching. But I will be honest with you, a time comes when you have acquired more than enough knowledge, and it's time to take some action. You could spend the rest of your life reading around the subject without applying anything that you have learned. And at the end of it all, you won't have a lot to show for it, other than a vast amount of knowlegde. Knowledge and understanding is great, it is a fundamental stepping stone on your path to recovery, however it is useless when it is not applied.

      Can you tell me what literature you have read on the subject, what approaches you have tried?

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Matt

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    • Posted

      Hi matt,

      I want to take action with my anxiety but to be honest I'm not really sure what that involves exactly..because I could have I would have done this year's ago lol but I have tried to change my thought process and negative thoughts. Well I definitely don't have a degree in microbiology or anything lol I've only.read several books,.novels about anxiety management techniques and other guides and forums recommended by psychologists etc and research about the physical symptoms in depth and if they are harmful etc as these are what I struggle with the most. But I am a nervous person yet strangley confident with regards to my work and when necessary, anyway I'm always very conscious. But I can see an improvement from what I have been like at my worst. It's just hard finding people who understand who are a similar age.

      Thankyou for replying :-)

      Jenna

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    • Posted

      Selam Coskun

      I Too havs had some of those symptoms and l went to a number of doctors.

      The good thing is they said itsmy Lifestyle.

      so make some changes to your lifestyle.

      & you will slowly see those symptoms dissapear.

      have a healthy lifestyle.

      bill

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    • Posted

      I am nearly 75...a pensioner of a very low rate...live in a council flat....no social life....no prospect for anything. I feel like I  have sent myself to exile on my own...I try to live as healthy as I can but once you are living in the very bottom step of the social hierarchy,,,,, no hope except for winning the lottery!!! My final change will come in a wooden box!!!:=)))
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    • Posted

      Hi coskun

      I'm not sure if this may be of interest to you but there is something called The Silverline, this is a 24 hour, free, confidential line that you can contact, you can talk to.professionals about any health issues or anxiety they also can put you in touch with others the same age who may be dealing with a that you are, they offer friendship advice. More than half 75 years old live alone in the UK and 1 in 10 loneliness but are reluctant to ask for help. 9 out of 10 people who have used this support group found this helpful. Have a look maybe.. Or maybe try to join a social club in your area.

      Hope this helps you :-)

      Jenna

      https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/

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    • Posted

      Hi I jus read your post and I really need help! I've never suffered from anxiety I don't believe or maybe it wasn't this bad until I had a surgery a few weeks ago, my surgery went fine and everything was good except in my head I jus keep having bizarre thought and I still do I always think something is wrong ! I get chest pains/tightness , headaches jus started daily! , and my head jus feels foggy and I'm always overthinking everything and it sucks so much. I read so many post and they make me feel better at the moment but then I get back depressed and then my head begins to hurt and I start getting nervous and the anxiety kicks back in. I jus want to feel better..

      I've been to the hospital because I jus freaked out one day and they didn't say or do much! I jus feel like nobody understands me and I jus need help!!

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    • Posted

      Hi ad just like to say thanks for sharing this every symptom you described I get the lump in the thort and palpitations are Deffo the worst. Am 28 years old now I started to get these when I was 23 so 5 years now I have literally tryed everything apart from educating my self about how the mind works hopefully am bright enough to take it all in. Iv tryed exercise I love to train in past 5 year iv probs a varied 4 days a week at the gym but my anxiety is so bad the past month with lack of sleep through new baby two other kids stress work iv had ambulance come out twice and it's horrible because I am a really confidant person at work speaking to anyone really but this is taking over my life iv hardly seen my friends recently cannot speak to people with out think about my heart when there talking iv tryed all kinds of Meds and no Meds only things that slightly works is diazepam then after a few weeks u become depent and up the dose so it's a slippery slope health is wealth I just wish I could feel normal even for a couple of day any links to research and read for me thanks ano it's a long read and my grammar is crap.

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    • Posted

      Hey Matt,

      Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad you're feeling well now, and able to leave this part of your life behind while also being able to reflect on it. I suffer from a lot of the same symptoms plus digestive distress. It helps me to understand things on a biological level. I took psychology for 2 years at uni and have always remained interested in it. I also developed physical anxiety after a series of health scares (and health anxiety has always been when I obsess over, to the extent of OCD about it - checking body regularly, not calling the doctor, etc).

      This all came crashing down when I developed cervicitis before my 30th birthday. I had a few things happen:

      - Cervicitis which made me bloat and bleed.

      - Fell off my bike and had to go to A & E - my second time being checked in a hospital and potentially x-rayed.

      But lastly, and this is the big one. I took 2 courses of antibiotics back in August for a UTI and then this ongoing cervicitis. They weren't sure what was going on with my smear tests and had to get regularly checked (thankfully it all turned out ok). The antibiotics caused me to develop a lot of digestive issues which I had mildly been experiencing after drinking for months previous. Since then, my stomach (particularly upper GI) has been in a near constant state of distress. I suffer from periodic panic attacks when my symptoms come on. The first time it happened I was eating while taking the course of antibiotics. It felt like I suddenly wasn't digesting my food (and I was eating a curry). I had left it too late to eat that day as it was, and between that and the pill combo I developed gastritis and oesophagitis which made me feel like my throat was closing over and I had to gag. Since then, I have been in turmoil. My upper stomach often gets gassy, I need to burp a lot, I will feel sick after certain foods and I have lost control over my diet (unfotuantely with reflux and stomach issues things like raw veg aren't actually all that good for the condition).

      I'm better than I was - eating better, sleeping better - but still not rid of these conditions. Over and above the obvious worry not being able to swallow for months caused me, and the food phobia I developed (since overcome), I just can't get back to normal. My stomach feels like it's very jumpy and irritated, and even though my tests are coming back ok, I can't bring myself to get an endoscopy over it, and it's not completely clearing.

      I find when symptoms start, even if I'm not anxious about them anymore, I still can't think straight. It's like with my digestion out of whack, I feel really tired and scared and I'll panic over absolutely nothing. My thoughts feel really jumbled when I don't take probiotics for days, for example.

      Do you think that the microbiome is influencing my mood? I know that serotonin and dopamine are synthesised in the gut and I do think when I'm gass, as crazy as it sounds, I feel totally weird mentally.

      I know this is a strange one but your opinion would be appreciated. It feels very physical and I don't believe it's 100% anxiety of post traumatic stress from being ill!

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    • Posted

      Hi Matt

      Would really like to know what are the methods and strategies you used to get rid of GAD and panic attacks. I have accepted my condition and got a little better than what I was six months back. However I still get the attacks at least 4 times in a week which was earlier every day. I am coping with my illness but feel coping badly. If you can elobrate how you were able to achieve complete recovery . I have been diagnosed with GAD and panic attacks about 20 months back, it only six months back that I have come to know the nuances of the illness)(fairly limited knowledge though).

      Thanks

      Regards

      Jyoti

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    • Posted

      If there is a cure, I would love to know. I have it since im 19, am 31 now, have spent thousands trying to get rid of my GAD and Panic Attacks but to no avail.

      I personally have now realized its something I will have to deal and work with for the rest of my life

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    • Posted

      Hi Matt

      Would like to know what are the techniques or strategies used which made you recover from chronic anxiety. I have gone thru Cbt session and though it has helped me to a certain extent I am unable to progress further. Feel have stagnated in the last 3 months or so. I have tried mindfulness as a technique but don't consciously remember it at the time of attack. Can you guide and advice how u achieved complete recovery.

      Thanks

      Jyoti

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