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mstimc

Do We "Hang On" to Anxiety/Depression?

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mstimc

This is a question I've often asked myself and shared with my therapist.  I'd like to know what the folks here think.  In some ways, do we "hang on" to our behavioral issues, be they anxiety, OCD or depression?  My anxiety/OCD was a beast, but it was a known beast.   There was a point where I expected to wake up with anxious thoughts, and early in my recovery process I was worried about the person I'd be without anxiety.  I once heard a Chinese proverb about change.  Change is like a man hanging onto a rock in the middle of a swift river.  He's cold, wet and miserable, but he's afraid of letting go of the rock and being swept downriver into the unknown.  Do we get so accustomed to living with our condition that the thought of living without it generates even more anxiety and fear?

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servadei

This is a question I started asking myself more frequently.. especially now with the New Year. I can definitely say my wd nightmare is over but I still have my anxiety disorder. I hate it, obviously, but I also feel like I wouldn't know how to live without it. It's like being scared of being happy because something bad may happen, so it's just easier to stay anxious... If I may ask, what did your therapist say? Did he offer you any good advice, and would you be willing to share it?

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mstimc
13 hours ago, servadei said:

This is a question I started asking myself more frequently.. especially now with the New Year. I can definitely say my wd nightmare is over but I still have my anxiety disorder. I hate it, obviously, but I also feel like I wouldn't know how to live without it. It's like being scared of being happy because something bad may happen, so it's just easier to stay anxious... If I may ask, what did your therapist say? Did he offer you any good advice, and would you be willing to share it?

Hi Servadei

My therapist said the desire to hang on to some form of anxiety is common with his patients.  We get so used to being anxious it seems impossible to live without it.  When I start to respond anxiously to a situation, he reminded me its okay to feel "concerned but happy".  Most problems don't deserve the intense attention and over-thinking we give them.  We can give them the appropriate amount of attention, but otherwise its okay to get on with out lives.  Sometimes I still wake up at night thinking"I need to take care of this problem".  But instead of letting it keep me awake, I tell myself I can take care of it in the morning, and there's nothing I can do about it at 3:00 a.m. anyway.  One thing he told me has stuck with me: "I'd rather be wrong than feel powerless".   Feeling like I'm stuck in a situation I can't change produced anxiety, but if I can do something, I feel "in control", and even if I make a mistake I can correct it.  Accepting there are some situations where I have no control is something I'm still working on, but at least I can recognize the problem and use CBT to decrease the anxiety and obsessive thoughts. 

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servadei
On 1/4/2020 at 11:24 AM, mstimc said:

Hi Servadei

My therapist said the desire to hang on to some form of anxiety is common with his patients.  We get so used to being anxious it seems impossible to live without it.  When I start to respond anxiously to a situation, he reminded me its okay to feel "concerned but happy".  Most problems don't deserve the intense attention and over-thinking we give them.  We can give them the appropriate amount of attention, but otherwise its okay to get on with out lives.  Sometimes I still wake up at night thinking"I need to take care of this problem".  But instead of letting it keep me awake, I tell myself I can take care of it in the morning, and there's nothing I can do about it at 3:00 a.m. anyway.  One thing he told me has stuck with me: "I'd rather be wrong than feel powerless".   Feeling like I'm stuck in a situation I can't change produced anxiety, but if I can do something, I feel "in control", and even if I make a mistake I can correct it.  Accepting there are some situations where I have no control is something I'm still working on, but at least I can recognize the problem and use CBT to decrease the anxiety and obsessive thoughts. 

I really like this. Concerned, but happy - I always feel like it either concerned or happy. Didn't even realize how limiting is that form of thinking. I think that recognizing the problem is half the job already, and I wish you luck with further CBT. I strongly believe that if you're persistent about it, you will, sooner or later, start noticing changes in your thinking and therefore live more freely. :) I would love to hear your further achievements with this particular problem, so if you have time and you are willing, please write further. :)

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mstimc

I'll be happy to post updates, Servadei!  That's one of the reasons I joined this group--to share successful strategies and show people we can get through it!

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