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  • Anxiety for life?



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    Old 09-05-2008, 05:02 AM   #1
    allsorts
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    Anxiety for life?

    I want to start a very interesting topic that has been playing through my head for a while now. I've just come back from holiday after a gruelling, tough 2 months with my anxiety. While I was away I had time to think things over, and clear my mind so to speak. During this period, I tried to see if a change in surroundings, diet, and social interaction could maybe influence my anxiety for the better. The result? to a certain extent yes... But as soon as my mind became used to this, the familiar anxiety symptoms developed severely once again.

    So my question is, because our anxiety is caused somewhat by our over analysing and ritual routines to make our selves feel better, why are we put into the mindset that keeping ourselves busy, and doing this and that is the right way to treat anxiety? at least from a therapy point of view...

    It seems no matter what we do, our anxiety is always going to be provoked or caused again (if gone temporarily) by something else. Which is why it begs another question of whether anxiety is with us for life (long term), especially those of us who repeatedly experience anxiety daily and if so, what is the long term treatment? because the way I am looking at it, the treatment most doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and counsellors give is pretty short-term.

    I did cognitive therapy and yes it helped, it only did so ever-so-slightly. I will agree it is useful in those who do not understand anxiety or other mental illnesses properly, but for those who have studied beforehand and done their own homework, it doesn't really do much more. The most useful anxiety treatment I've ever done, was through medication. Now, yes it does stop a lot of different forms of anxiety, it is not useful on its own without some form of knowledge - in understanding your own illness, from own research or cognitive therapy. I say this because when the medication wears off, you have something else to fall back on when it isn't working. Also, two treatments in one is better than just one - from a long term viewpoint.

    So is for long-term treatment, medication the way to go really along with cognitive therapy? the most effective anxiety treatment I've done was when I combined Paxil to my existing knowledge and cognitive therapy. My friend on the other hand just took Paxil on its own without the knowledge or therapy and can't work out why his anxiety exists in other areas still... But why are doctors so quick to get us on and off both therapy and medication? Do they really think it works that quickly and permanently? It seems to be some kind of ignorance, or perhaps lack of understanding for these decisions, in my experience.

    Ultimately, do you think a person like me and anyone else who suffers from anxiety daily should be off medication? I was on anti-depressants for 2-3 years and when they worked they changed my life around. But now off them, my life has gone to a living hell, where doing something as simple as going to the shop can be quite demanding. However on the other hand, I have more energy, I have got back into shape again, I'm less lazy, I can now enjoy some of my old hobbies again and I don't feel as emotionally numb as I did before on anti-depressants. The trouble is finding the balance and I haven't found that yet. Whether anti-depressants are the answer or some anxiolytic medication, remains to be seen.

     
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    Old 09-05-2008, 12:45 PM   #2
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    Hi there! I just wanted to share that I have found for me, medication is what helps and I probably have to be on it for the rest of my life. I was on Zoloft for 8 years and it changed my life. I got off of it a year ago and thought I may be able to do well without it. Well, I was actually great for a year until recently. My anxiety came back horribly and now I'm on Lexapro. I just don't think I'll ever be able to be off antidepressants, at least not for a long time. I haven't done CBT yet, but I am going to a counselor now am going to start it. If it is beneficial, I still don't think I would be able to have CBT alone, without meds. I don't think I can ever get it under control without the medication. It's probably possible, and for many it is, but it seems extremely difficult.

    Crystal

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 01:15 PM   #3
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    I thank you for your reply.

    It does seem that those of us who have frequent episodes of anxiety, are never going to be totally free. Whether that be, having a year free of anxiety or a few months - it's usually always back. It's a shame that it finds its way back, and sometimes in new ways. Very strange.

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. I have lost hope of ever being free from anxiety.
    When I was in my twenties I used to say to myself: anxiety, my constant companion.
    I've had anxiety as far back as I can remember. I had a horrible childhood and had anxiety all the time. But, one thing that has finally become clear to me is that anxiety and depression become a habit and we seek out situations so that we can relive these feelings. I can clearly see it in my own life. How I wish I had seen this earlier in life.
    It doesn't matter if you change environment, etc, most people will seek out situations so that they'll feel anxiety if that's what they are used to feeling. In my own life, when I used to date, I rejected the men who most likely would have been good for me at least in some way. Some of them were well educated, some were controlling, some were broke. They were all different and I chose to marry the one who I was sure was going to give me the most anxiety and misery. Of course, this wasn't clear to me at the time. I rejected men over stupid things, but hung on to this one who was broke and unemployed and gave me anxiety even before we married. I see now that I on some level wanted somebody like him so that I all over would feel unsafe, put down and broke. A perfect situation so that I could continue to experience anxiety and depression. I have done a lot of therapy, been on medication and at least now I intellectually understand a lot, which is a good start. Medication never did anything for me except for diazepam which takes the edge of the anxiety.
    Anyway, in the future I am going to ask myself: am I making this decision or choosing this person so that I can continue my pattern of feeling anxiety.

     
    Old 09-06-2008, 03:33 AM   #5
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    Why would you want to make your anxiety worse though? I'm curious because this sounds quite strange. However, I can understand the concept of doing anxiety provoking tasks in order to achieve a goal of some kind - facing your fears. But, what you describe is quite interesting, do you mind expanding on what you previously said?

     
    Old 09-06-2008, 02:27 PM   #6
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    I think a lot of the same thoughts a lot of the time.

    I think part of coping with anxiety is knowing your limitations. And maybe it's not fair that some people have limitations and some don't, but it's not really fair that some people have cancer and others don't, either. In the past few years, I've realized that it could be worse. I could have something terminal. Anxiety is not a terminal illness. Neither is panic disorder.

    That said, it's not normal that I have to force myself to leave my house or go somewhere new. It's not normal that I lie awake and obsess about stupid things while my boyfriend sleeps peacefully. It's not normal that I become so nervous about NOTHING that I can't eat, and other people can do whatever, whenever, wherever they want. I have difficulty dealing with the fact that a lot of the time I feel weaker than other people because I overthink nearly everything, and despite my many changes of scenery, jobs, boyfriends, life situations and other things, I am still the same nervous wreck a lot of the time.

    I guess a lot of the time I will have a panic attack, and what I focus on is the end. Because it will end, and there will be times when I DON'T feel anxious. I guess I have just lowered my standards. I don't know if that is good or bad. My anxiety and panic has taught me to relax (or try), to savor the times when I feel happy or at peace or safe because I feel them more rarely than other people. Maybe some people walk around with that amazing feeling of safety and happiness and invincibility all the time and don't know how great they have it...but I sure do.

    I had a terrible time with SSRIs, and I use klonopin or ativan when I have to, but I try to use positive self-talk and some other elements of CBT to control my anxiety and stress. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I've been drowning in panic today, for virtually no reason. But it will pass with time, as it always does, and maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and feel better. Just my take
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    Old 09-06-2008, 04:08 PM   #7
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    As I see it, most people have something that they wished they didn't. Allergy sufferers, those with bad stomachs, those who smoke and wish they didn't, all have something they have to live with on a daily basis - so ours is anxiety. Not trying to minimize it, but it's something we all have to live with and deal with on a daily basis but hopefully we're all fine tuned into what could precipitate an attack or be able to realize that tomorrow will be better. Just my two cents worth.

     
    Old 09-07-2008, 05:33 AM   #8
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    Wow, two really nice responses there.

    I fully agree, everyone has a demon or something to deal with and ours is anxiety. I guess it just frustrates me that I can't do the things I want to do or should do because my anxiety gets in the way. Sometimes I have to really push myself and with that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't - there's no easy way of doing it. Sometimes, very rarely I wake up one day and have no anxiety at all, I can remember maybe 2 or 3 times over the past 5 years. I remember waking up, just feeling confident, on top of the world and not feeling scared and nauseous. That was a good day, and I remember questioning it and testing myself to try and see if I would feel anxious again, but I didn't. Unfortunately that day passed and everything went back to normal, but that was a good day.

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 11:51 PM   #9
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    same thing is happening to me.
    Last year - July I was suffering from severe anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia.
    Was on Seroxat and Ativan till March/April 08. I also did CBT Therapy which helped.
    I started having anxiety again from August ... that means it took me only 4 months to get anxiety back!!

     
    Old 09-10-2008, 07:02 PM   #10
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    Re: Anxiety for life?

    it is so weird how you can be doing so well for so long and just when you think you have it beat...pow. It has happened to me a few times but i do not seem to be as afraid of it as i used to be. Still don't like it but i think i must be getting use to it. Zoloft and ativan is what i am on now..still waiting for it to kick in.

     
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