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Old 02-18-2011, 06:26 PM   #1
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Talking Coping with Anxiety-- Still Trying to Feel Comfortable With this Concept

I am currently on 3mg of Klonopin a day, 50mg of Zoloft and 50mg of Vistaril. Despite being told NOT to take the Klonopin and Vistaril together, I always have-- in the morning, and I function fine. Which I suppose is more sad than anything, because it shows how much my body has become "tolerant" to the meds, and yet I still have anxiety.

I am seeing a new therapist who believes in Acceptance. Essentially, it's a way of thinking where you learn to really observe, embrace and ultimately accept the anxiety.

I have heard about this "acceptance" in relation to anger, emotions, etc. But the idea of doing it for anxiety? Is just plain scary! It's SCARY to experience the feelings of anxiety and/or panic attacks.

I'm just curious to know if anyone else has tried this method of accepting the anxiety. Again, the basic idea is that the struggle to control anxiety makes it worse, and prevents us from living our lives. But if we learn to accept that the anxiety feelings we feel are simply just that-- feelings-- that we can overcome it.

Any experiences with this? If not, how do YOU cope with anxiety?

 
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:29 AM   #2
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Smile Re: Coping with Anxiety-- Still Trying to Feel Comfortable With this Concept

Hi Remygeary, I can relate to your feeling concerning anxiety. It seems impossible to embrace something that appears to be occuring outside of you and about to destroy you and from which you're trying to escape. And that I suppose is the fundamental concept of acceptance: it's is not taking place outside of us; the anxiety is US, our feelings and fear, our emotions and it's locked right in the middle of our lives. I have suffered from Panic anxiety disorder and general anxiety for most of my long life. Getting through college was extremely difficult and teaching later on even harder. I managed by staying in therapy for almost all of my adult life. I used any number of drugs and all have helped at first, but within a few months they started to lose their effect and finally were useless. I was on beta blockers for palpitations and that helped me sleep much better and beta blockers stopped the palpitations cold! But these meds, like all the others, have awful side effects and when I developed a breathing problem I had to stop the BB. So, back to the dreams that bring on the anxiety and palpitations and wake me up with a racing heart, back to the fear of sudden death and so on and on.
Now at my age it can be anxiety or the end of the road. I'm old enough for that. I've broken it down like this. If the palpitation comes on during the day, very rare in my case, then I realize that it might be my heart. I've already discussed this with my cardiologist and he's said it's usually caused by a PVC and since I don't have heart disease, not to worry. I take him at his word and let the Irregular heart rate work itself out. So far so good. If the palpitations come during sleep, I immediately suspect anxiety and refuse to panic because I know that panic feeds anxiety, so I walk into it. Take some Xanax with a sweet juice and ride it out. It's not easy. We're very good at fooling ourselves and we're so used to reacting to the anxiety with panic that it's second nature to us. But believe me it works. I've been using xanax for twenty years so it's not very effective for me, but it does take off the edge a bit and that's enough. I tell myself I am the anxiety, the anxiety is me and I'm not afraid of me. I don't think about it either. I pick up a book, turn on the T.V. It's great if you have a friend you can call or a loved one you can talk to while the anxiety is going on. Better still, I go on line as I'm doing now and write to someone. This by itself will not stop the anxiety, but it will reduce its impact substantially. You have to win a few battles before this takes place, but once you take the anxiety into yourself it begins to lose its strength.

All the very best

 
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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Re: Coping with Anxiety-- Still Trying to Feel Comfortable With this Concept

Thank you, awlright! Sounds like you've been through quite an ordeal with your anxiety experiences. I'm glad you can relate to the scariness of accepting anxiety symptoms-- of really tuning in to them, allowing yourself to feel them. This technique might work for some. But right now, I just can't imagine myself going that "route" when there are other ways to manage anxiety (that don't necessarily imply that you're fighting against it).

I love what you said, "I am the anxiety, the anxiety is me and I'm not afraid of me." I think that's a really good way of thinking about it. Also, you mentioned that when you feel anxious, you turn on the TV, call a friend, etc. Essentially, you are providing yourself with distractions to the anxiety.

One therapist I spoke to said to "get angry" when you start to have a panic attack-- because the anger counteracts the feelings of panic. It sort of works, I must admit. Again, I think it's another way to distract your mind.

There's another method that I like, and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention it on here, but it has to do with distracting one's self from anxiety-- and it talks about other things too-- like making sure you eat a proper, well-balanced diet, exercising, etc. I definitely feel like this type of anxiety management technique is more "up my alley" than embracing the feelings of anxiety. In fact, before I really started doing research on anxiety management, I had a job where every morning I would come in and being panicked. The first thing I did was turn on my computer and play a game of Tetris until I could calm myself down.

Anyway, any other thoughts, experiences, etc. are appreciated and welcome.

 
Old 02-19-2011, 04:06 PM   #4
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Smile Re: Coping with Anxiety-- Still Trying to Feel Comfortable With this Concept

I guess it's like the old saying: there are many ways to skin a cat. Certainly you should stay with what helps you, but I believe that it's essential to try to discover what may be causing anxiety. Yes, I know that in my case it took a life time. However, today therapists are more scientifically trained than they were in my day. I belong to the age of the psychoanalyst, and they weren't very good at dealing with anxiety. In fact they believed that anxiety was necessary if you were going to make an effort to change your life style. When you did the anxiety was supposed to go away. We now know that science doesn't support that idea. Today with the right therapist in a few years you can achieve a good understanding on how your buttons work and what pushes them. From what you write it appears that you're well on you way to achieving that already. For me it was the way I was raised. My mother was very anxious. I couldn't leave the house without her believing that something terrible was going to happen to me. That kind of negative thinking is easily internalized by a child until it permeates his whole life. A therapist might say she was projecting her anxieties on me. I saw the world as a dangerous place under all circumstances; something, somehow, someway was bound to go wrong and I came to know life as simply "out to get me." Consequently my fight, flight trigger was quickly set off. I was in a pool and the water was anxiety! Even today that it's clear, I still have anxiety because once the brain is convinced of something it's very hard to change it, especially since I was being taught to be anxious while I was growing up. I would advise you to stay in therapy; learn all you can about your reactions. That way you may not have to go through life always having to find a new way to fight off and old enemy, as I did.

All the best my friend.

Last edited by awlright; 02-19-2011 at 04:10 PM.

 
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