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

    I also recovered from anxiety without the need of medication. The reason I frequent these forums,is because anxiety is an horrendous illness,and the memories are still fresh,even tho I've been anxiety free (mostly) for near on 10 years. My recovery began when I came to terms that anxiety was the reason behind my symptoms,it sounds simple but it isn't. For some reason I never went on forums for anxiety,I visited forums fo the illnesses that I thought I had,which made me 10x worse. I did the opposite to Matt, rather than delve deeper into my illness,I got rid of my computer and let nature take its cause.I'd find it hard to live without a computer now days,but back then,I would have done anything to feel normal.
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    • Posted

      Hi Pablo,

      Great to hear from another person who has recovered from abnormal anxiety. Another example to anyone reading that it CAN be done and you WILL succeed.

      Although your journey to recovery appears to have manifested ina different form to mine, I believe they both share something very important, and that is a form of realisation. For you, it was realising that ALL OF YOUR SYMPTOMS were being caused by an abnormal level of anxiety. It would appear that the moment you truly recongnised/realised/internalised the FACT that this was the case, you were able to accept and let go of your struggle.

      This was also a major stepping stone for myself on my journey to recovery. I, like you and many others, would convince myself that I was suffering from everything but anxiety. I thought I was going crazy, I thought there was no hope. It is when you realise that these very thoughts are actually manifetations of anxiety that things begin to click.

      I am not a doctor or a psychologist and I do not claim to be. However I am someone who has travelled this path and learnt many things along the way. If anyone reading this is seriously concerned that they may have a problem outside of anxiety, then by all means go ahead and get it checked by a doctor. If you have been to the doctors on multiple occassions, had test, and been told that you are 'fine'/'normal', then it may be time to start accepting this, and pinning your symtoms anxiety.

      Thank you once again for your contribution Pablo - the more success stories people see, the more inspiration and motivation can be instilled in them. When people understand that success stories are not rare, a new sense of belief can evolve and drive someone on along their own journey to recovery.

      All the best,

      Matt

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  • Posted

    Hello anxiousless

    I write on this forum from time to time.

    1)  In the hope that I can help or give advice (from my own experiences)

    2)  That I am interested/concerned about ALL the symptoms of anxiety that people are experiencing.

    I am a lifelong sufferer of anxiety, right from childhood through to the present day. I am now 75 years old.  I truly believe that some of us are "wired in" to anxiety, and it will always be there in some form or another.  However, in some respects it can be beaten, either with meds or self-training.  Firstly, recognise your anxiety: ie does it happen because of outside influence, or are you generally of a nervous disposition, or both.

    For instance, for 17 years we had the neighbours from hell!  People said "Why don't you move away", but we were here first and had made our property our home.  Police and solicitors were often involved, and it affected my health greatly.

    However, my prayers have been answered and "they" have moved away.  It feels like a massive black cloud has been lifted. This is what I call  outside influence.

    An inner influence, for example, is health anxiety, where the imagination runs riot.

    However, I have led a very full life, with a a good education,  full employment in responsible positions, worldwide travel, lots of interests, and still very much into fashion, make-up...all the things we ladies enjoy.  I have written some of these comments before, but I hope there is some encouragement within this post.  Good Luck everyone.

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    • Posted

      Hi CruiseLady,

      Thank you for sparing some time to contribute to this duscussion, and for sharing some details of your experiences with anxiety.

      To a degree, I do agree with what you say in that some people tend to naturally worry more than others, or as you put it, are "wired in". But it is also my belief that anyone can learn to control their worry and anxiety. I say this, because although I am not a professional, I have helped people myself. Family, friends, friends of friends. Every person is individual, every person's circumstances are unique to themselves. But I have seen major improvements in several people have I spoken to, from different walks of life.

      I believe a fundamental factor in ones relationship with anxiety, is how they perceive it. EVERYONE on this planet experiences anxiety; anxiety is a natural, innate mechanism built in to every single one of us, with the sole purpose of protecting us. It is when this mechanism get's out of control and one experiences the sensation of anxiety on a regular basis for reasons unapparent to them (or for irrational reasons) that it becomes a problem.

      I also agree with you in that on a broad scale, an individual's abnormal anxiety can be manifested in two ways; internally and externally. External factors are the things in your life that you have limited/no control over, such as your 'bad neighbours' example. Other similar factors could be work related, relationship related and so on. The internal factors tend to manifest as irrational worry, worrying about one's physical/mental health, a fear of fear itself, a fear of panic attacks etc.. For me, internal factors can be more difficult to deal with and overcome (when I say 'difficult' I mean it relatively in comparison to external factors). You essentailly have to alter your belief system and the way you process your thoughts to ultimately realise and accept that they are irrational in order to over come them. I believe that ANYONE can overcome both the extrnal and internal factors that contribute to their abnormal anxiety.

      Thank you again for your reply CruiseLady.

      Warm regards,

      Matt

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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

    I personally think that once you've crossed the line with anxiey (I mean proper anxiety,not the odd bought of nerves) there's no going back. That doesn't mean I'll spend the rest of my life anxious,I just think I'm more vulnerable to it. That's not always a bad thing,I know what to look for if I become anxious,and I know how to handle it,I don't think I'll ever have a major episode due to what I've learnt.
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  • Posted

    Hello I am currently suffering from health anxiety and like you want to beat this without medication but I'm struggling I don't no what I need to do to recover I have done loads of research but still nothink seems to be sinking in I feel alone in this battle as I seem to be doing all my family's heads in with the anxiety please could you help me
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    • Posted

      Ik this was 2 urs ago I am

      Courious how you are doing i current suffer from this and wondered if you have gotten better or could use support

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  • Posted

    Hi I suffer from really bad health anxiety I've tried everything nothing is working I just feel like giving up
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    • Posted

      Hi it's horrible isn't it especially when you don't no what to do about it..... I got told u need to do nothink and just accept the anxiety but I reckon it's hard when it's to do with health because you always come across different symptoms like if you had a bad head ach or a cold or bad chest it sets you off thinking this isn't normal....we need to keep thinking we will recover because it's proven there is people out there and on here who have done it we must be missing something important x
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  • Posted

    Hi, really glad to hear about success here!

    Did you experienced any memmory issues back then? Im am having them now and is the source of mine...

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  • Posted

    Here is my story:

    I didn't know I was anxious. I'm married with 2 children ages 8 and 10. We had tough few years when the economy crashed like many other families. We were evicted, lost a car, sat a few times at home in the dark. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, among other family stresses. Finances can really make your marriage tough, but we came through it and fast forward a couple years and I have a a new house, a new job I love, and my husband owns a successful business. Well, you may be asking yourself with all this positive change what happened? Your guess is a good as mine.... one day, shortly after moving jnto my nrw house, a news story triggered an intrusive thought surrounding my loved ones and I was in complete panic for the next several days. I was experiencing anxiety like never before.... as many of you have described, racing heart, sweating, tingling hands, bouts of crying, crippling anxiety. I thought I was a terrible person, and I was scared to be around my family. I made appointments to see my gynocologist, my general doc, and psychiatrist. I called my mother and she said that my brain and my body just finally gave up, that I've been operating at such a high stress level. I was only getting 5 or you hours of sleep each night aND my new job is highly stressful but I didn't necessarily feel highly stressed or overwhelmed. My mom gave me xanax and I started researching success stories, my mind was desperate for answers. Before I ever saw my psychiatrist here is what I leaned and what worked for me-

    1. Get a full 8 hours of sleep. I make sure to stop what I'm doing at 9:30 every night and prepare for bed. (I get up 6 every morning)

    - I practice breathing deeply and clearing my head, counting my breaths for a few min every night while lying in bed even if I'm not anxious.

    - Sometimes I drink calming teas

    - Take an Epsom salt bath (look it up)

    - give yourself time to heal mentally and physically

    2. I started taking A magnesium supplement which seems to help relax me. 1 pill after my evening meal.

    - Look up magnesium and anxiety

    3. Because my anxiety was originally heightened around my family I was determined to be around them all the time. My anxiety started to fade.

    - I didn't argue with the ridiculous however terrifying thoughts that ran through my head. I saw them, said ok and let it be. They started to fade and disappear quickly.

    - Don't try and force yourself not to think the crazy stuff. Teach yourself to react calmly. It's your reaction anxiety feeds off of.

    4. Talk to people, it was therapeutic for me.

    - I called my mother, talked to my husband, and my sister on day 1 of panic. My husband didn't understand because to him I've been a very strong woman, but he was supportive and con tines to be.

    - I talked to friends and it surprised me how many had dealt with anxiety before. I got advice from all of them.

    5. Don't avoid what makes you anxious.

    -Baby steps here. Gently expose yourself to your fears. I started to notice that violence in the Media was making me physically anxious. This anxiety was manageable though the media had never made me anxious before. I stopped being such a media whore. I'm not completely unaware but now when I read, see, or hear a news story, I just absorb and move on.

    6. Get physical

    - go to the gym, take a walk, ride a bike, play basketball with your kids (my fave)

    7. Don't forget the things you love

    - I mean hobbies and activities. Even if you are scared to death, do the things you use to do that you found joy in. Even if you find it hard to focus, just do it.

    8. Diet

    - this is a work in progress. Eat less processed foods, eliminate fast food. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

    9. Cut Caffeine

    - I know it's hard, I went through caffeine withdrawls. I still have some tea a couple times a week but before 6 at night.

    I saw a psychiatrist and she said that often times with working parents operate at such high levels of stress they done even see the breaking point coming. High stress is all you know.

    I hope this helps some of you.

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  • Posted

    Mine comes in reverse. I have ptsd from childhood and had anxiety in my early twenties it dissapeared and re emerged with ailments in my forties.peri menapause gift. I dont want to wig out with the ailments i have. I think its health anxiety because i get very scared my ailments can progress. I worry because they have not yet found a cure for optic nerve stuff and idk i get very scared at times. But its not where its just health anxiety on its own with no diagnoses. Panic attacks are brutal. I find it interesting in your degrees because i always felt it was some sort of virus or something that alters how the synapses work but i have no clue or proof. They have so many theories on this. From ebv on so who knows. Yes some how retraining your brain is possible especially if you are physically healthy because you can place so much faith in that, its just when there are ailments is it the same? 
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