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Living with Anxiety


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HI there

Firstly, I would just like to say how grateful I am to come across a site like MentalHelp.net. I have periodically searched the web in vain, trying to find guidance and resources for living with anxiety/depression. I think the concept of your site is brilliant - from what I can ascertain, professionals will answer these posts, not just forum members. IS that correct?

My reason for searching for help is that I have been suffering from fairly severe anxiety/depression for over last 19 months. This is my third episode of depression (each episode lasting more than 18mths and each rendering me unable to work/live in my chosen areas). I have been taking anti-depressants for over 10 years (since 2nd episode), but recently have been taking Seroquel to alleviate my anxiety - Which in itself is limiting my quality of life, as it makes you very drowsy\lethargic.

I spent 16 months seeking help. I chose to work part-time so I could take appointments with counsellors, phychologists, psychiatrists, CBT specialists, even psychic !! But NOONE has been able to offer me ANY tools/guidance/practical skills to assist me when my anxiety strikes. ONLY Seroquel helsp - only by calming me and then forcing me to sleep. This is not how I want to live my life - I don't want to live with anxiety either but until I find practical help for these attacks, this is my fate.

CAN ANYONE offer me ANY practical tool to use when anxiety strikes. Yes, I have tried breathing, yawning, thinking of happy things - but once in its grasp, I am afraid I am rendered useless to it.

I am scared to be on my own - so mostly spend my time 'hanging out' with others which doesn't help my situation either. I need to start living but I am scared to start living without being in the possession of tools to help with anxiety? Does this make sense?

Frankly, I can live with depression. As debilitating as it is, it is not necessarily crippling. I find Anxiety to be crippling in that it is terrifying, leaving me confused and disorientated and completely at its mercy. I have so little understanding of it, even though i have read lots of books. WHY is it SO ELUSIVE. And what will help to eliminate it from my life?

HOpe you all had good w'end. I hope my questions will help others in their search for the help they need.

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  • 2 weeks later...


At this point in time we do have a high ratio of professional respondants to peer respondants here in the community. This is largely due to the newness of the place - we only opened it (re-opened after an absence of many years) a month or so ago. I expect that as the volume of posts grows, it will be harder for everyone to be responded to by the professionals here. My own background is in clinical psychology, by the way.

I'd like to get a better grip on understanding the sorts of anxiety you are experiencing. Have you been offered an anxiety diagnosis? The reason this is important (kinda) is becuase it would be helpful to know whether your experience panic attacks in addition to more constant non-peaking anxiety, and what situations are most anxiety provoking.

There are very specific anxiety therapies based on CBT with modifications that have been developed for treating particular anxiety problems. the standard CBT techniques (restructuring) are important, as are exposure with response prevention techniques too - but the later is only really important when the anxiety is very focal in nature (e.g., triggered by a few specific things). When the anxiety is more defuse, it is harder to treat. Mindfulness and acceptance techniques have been rapidly entering psychotherapies all over the map in the last few years, and such approaches also hold out enormous potential to help people cope with anxiety.

Please listen to these podcasts with Drs. David Barlow and Richard Heimberg, both highly influential psychologists who are on the front lines of developing new anxiety therapies. As Dr. Barlow points out, there are many people out there who experience panic attack symptoms but managed to not freak out about them somehow. This suggests that much of what is terrifying about anxiety is the way that people interpret it in the moment. Mindfulness techniques such as mindfullness meditation and allied practices (such as are taught in Dialectial Behavioral Therapy which are based in part on Christian contemplative meditation techniques) are important.

There is a set of therapy manuals and workbooks you ought to know about called Mastery of Anxiety and Panic (coauthored by Dr. Barlow) which represents a scientifically studied approach to anxiety treatment. You'll recognize a lot of it from your familiarity with CBT, but it's potentially worth getting a copy of.

Finally, have you considered developing a vigorous regular exercise routine as a way to work on relief from anxiety and depression symptoms? So long as you are physically healthy enough to do it and have the time (which you are willing to make, it seems) exercise can be a really good way to help manage symptoms.

Hope this helps you!

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It sounds like you have tried to deal with your anxiety in many ways. I, too, have anxiety and depression. I have not found anything to alleviate the anxiety, either. Most meds work only temporarily and my triggers for anxiety are so irrational it is often difficult to avoid them. So, avoidance has become a coping mechanism for me. You are right, though, it is no way to live life. In fact, I do not feeling like I am living, just existing most of the time.

It sounds like you have a lot of people around you. Are they a good source of support? That is what helps me. I have a handful of people I consider "safe" and I am able to do more when with a safe person. For instance, I only grocery shop when my brother or SIL can go with me. Or, I always arrange my children's activities so that someone I trust is there with me. This gives me a little more freedom because it creates a safety net of sorts. I know if I have a panic/anxiety attack, I can walk away from the situation and there is someone there with my kids. Or, the other person can diffuse or deal with the anxiety provoking situation.

Okay, didn't mean to hijack your thread. I think Mark made a lot of good points and, in fact, intend to look over some of the info he listed. I do hope you find ways to cope and that you can get some relief from tha anxiety.

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