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What to do with anxiety that goes beyond feelings


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Much of anxiety coping recommendations, such as Claire Weekes’ (whose advice is so comforting), are about accepting that your body does feel awful and to ‘flow’ with it.  Learn to trust that it is only a bodily sensation and you will in time lose the dread of it.  That has been helpful for some of my anxiety, but I had an actual embarrassing occurrence brought on by anxiety a couple times in my life (many years ago) that have ‘proved’ to me that in some cases, though rare, more can happen to me than just cruddy bodily sensations.  

 

Has anyone else experienced something like this?  Does anything work to help?  I know my fears of this occurrence are largely ‘mental” but I just can shake it.

 

I had been able to ‘forget’ this fear for a number of years while on Paxil, but once my withdrawal symptoms hit my body back in May of this year, and I got back to work in August (I am a teacher-we are back in regular school, not virtual), my WD anxiety whipped my memories back and I fear it every day that I got to work since I am in front of people all the time.

 

Thanks for any thoughts or shared experiences.  

2006 Was on Zoloft 6  years. 20mg 

2012 switched to Paxil. Eventually down to 10mg

November 2019-tapered for 1 1/2 months-5mg and then every other day

January 1 2019-off completely.

Did wonderful for 4-5 months

May 2020 began experiencing WD symptoms

Strong anxiety from the moment I wake up, Pit in my stomach through midday, sometimes beyond, Depression for about a month-may have been withdrawal or just sadness over feeling back in the dregs of anxiety, Panic symptoms, resurfaced phobias, Anxious thoughts, Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning regularly and unable to fall back asleep.

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@Gustl Hi. I sympathize with what you are describing. Yes, I've had those thoughts and feelings, too. Particularly what you describe in the last part of your med signature....strong anxiety from the moment of waking up. Depression. And on and on. However, over the past year, that has subsided little by little until it's no longer an issue. There were times when I thought I was going to be in that pit forever, but now I know it's not true. I see an inkling of that realization in your post, so hang on to that.

 

Claire Weekes' book was a comforting book way back when I started this journey. Since then, I've kept reading other sources, all of which help. 

 

Here's what helped me the most:

1. CBT with a good therapist. We used the book, "Mind Over Mood," by Greenberger and Padesky. Available on Amazon. The thought records work wonders.

2. Dr. Amy Johnson on YouTube. She is all about our thoughts and how normal this whole mess can be, and the best ways to deal with it, and her approach is surprisingly easy and effective. She's written a short book titled, "The Little Book of Big Change," but I find her videos are the most helpful. She puts out a new one every Monday on YouTube. Might help to read her book first so you know how the philosophy works. Whenever I'm having a low day, I go and watch one of her videos. Right now, this is my go-to coping tool.

3. Eckhart Tolle videos on YouTube. All about the power of NOW. Lots of stuff on anxiety. He's so easy to listen to, and you can learn a lot. Book = The Power of Now.

4. A paradoxical trick - inviting the anxiety in. Yes, when having an anxiety  meltdown, I invited more of it in. I would lie down, relax, do some deep breathing, and then say to myself, "Bring it on. Let's get as anxious as possible. Let's see what you can do." Believe it or not, I just couldn't make myself get really really bad, and the anxiety started losing its power! it was scary to try this at first, but the more I practiced it, the anxiety just ran out of steam because I had more control. Not the kind of control where you try to get rid of it - that just makes it stronger. Just a control in handling it. Worth a try!

5. A note about trying to "forget" your fear. That doesn't work. It's like saying, "Don't think about pink elephants." Suddenly, that's all that's in your head! You can apply #4 above to this in a different way. Sit quietly for a few minutes, do some deep breathing, get as comfortable as you can. Then let the fear come up. Try to look at it objectively, without judgement. Where is it sitting in your body? Notice what it does when you have it....cause headaches? Puts a pit in your stomach? Just let those feelings be and be with them, then focus on a different part of your body where you're not feeling it. Kinda like meditation.

 

Best of luck!

 

Celexa - 20 mg May 2015 - March 2016 (Felt quite good)..... Celexa taper from May 2016 - Nov 2016.....Depression and Anxiety returned June 2017

July, 2017: Zoloft = 25 mg;  Aug. 2017 = 37.5 mg; Nov. 2017 = 50 mg thru Jan. 23, 2018.

Jan. 2018 - May 6, 2019 = taper Zoloft from 50 mg to 12.5 mg.  Aug. 11, 2019 - felt so bad that I reinstated at 25mg. Hold at this dose until Feb. 3, 2020

Feb. 4, 2020 = reduce dose to 21.875 mg. Hold for 10 weeks. April 14, 2020 = 18.75 mg. Hold for 10 weeks.  

June10, 2020 - start cycle of 2 weeks to taper slowly from old dose to new dose, then hold at new dose for 6-7 weeks.

June 23, 2020  = 16.666 mg.........August 26, 2020 = 14.75 mg ....... October 28, 2020 = 13.15 mg

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ChessieCat

 

This excellent resource has a diagram explained what happens to the body:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety.htm

 

These can be helpful too.  If you learn the script, or at least the start of the script, you may be able to use it when you notice any signs that the panic is starting:

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes) Female voice - getselfhelp.co.uk
 
Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes) Male voice - getselfhelp.co.uk

 

And the same site has:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/thoughts.htm

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/unhelpful.htm

 

This page contains links to other resources on the same site.  Scroll down to see the list:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/selfhelp.htm

 

This site is by one of SA's moderators who has personal experience with psychiatric drug withdrawal:

 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help ...

 

And SA's topics:

 

"Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms


Change cognitive framing - Redirect - Another Way

NEW!!!              INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder               NEW!!! 

 

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015  Current from 14 Nov 2020:  Pristiq 0.50 mg

My tapering program                                      My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

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This restorative yoga posture helps me with anxiety.  If (like me) you're not limber enough to get your legs on the wall, hooking your legs on a chair also works.

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020 Begin 6-week Ativan-Valium crossover.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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ChessieCat
21 minutes ago, Gridley said:

you're not limber enough to get your legs on the wall,

 

Or have back issues.

NEW!!!              INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder               NEW!!! 

 

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015  Current from 14 Nov 2020:  Pristiq 0.50 mg

My tapering program                                      My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

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Thank you all for the recommendations.  It’s good to have more tools.  The books, videos, and sites look really good.  In some ways, though, my challenge comes from being more or less a ‘performer’ in my work.  I don’t have the freedom to step away and do breathing exercises or yoga.  My panic moments happen while I am actively in front of a classroom or on stage in front of the school.  These calming activities can help in preparation for these daily times and I have employed some of them, but my reoccurring challenge is that panic and fear of what did happen in the past will happen again when I am up front.  

 

Even as I listened to Dr. Amy Johnson or the First Aid for Panic audios (which I really enjoyed, by the way), there still is a common theme in those resources that goes like this: your panic is just a collection of feelings that will go away and nothing really happens so learn to not fear it.  I have unfortunately had a few episodes where something indeed did happen and while it only happened 3 times in the course of my 45 year life, I find it so hard to ignore it and say, “It won’t ever happen again.”  

 

I don’t know where to go from here.

2006 Was on Zoloft 6  years. 20mg 

2012 switched to Paxil. Eventually down to 10mg

November 2019-tapered for 1 1/2 months-5mg and then every other day

January 1 2019-off completely.

Did wonderful for 4-5 months

May 2020 began experiencing WD symptoms

Strong anxiety from the moment I wake up, Pit in my stomach through midday, sometimes beyond, Depression for about a month-may have been withdrawal or just sadness over feeling back in the dregs of anxiety, Panic symptoms, resurfaced phobias, Anxious thoughts, Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning regularly and unable to fall back asleep.

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ChessieCat
31 minutes ago, Gustl said:

I don’t know where to go from here.

 

Perhaps seeing a counsellor and learning life skills and coping techniques from them might be helpful.

 

32 minutes ago, Gustl said:

I have unfortunately had a few episodes where something indeed did happen and while it only happened 3 times in the course of my 45 year life, I find it so hard to ignore it and say, “It won’t ever happen again.”  

 

Instead of saying "It won't ever happen again" you can change that to "it is unlikely to happen again".

 

On 8/2/2020 at 6:49 AM, mstimc said:

And one last piece of wisdom from my wife.  She told me that living my life afraid of being sick is just as bad as having a real disease.  That stuck with me.

 

NEW!!!              INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder               NEW!!! 

 

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015  Current from 14 Nov 2020:  Pristiq 0.50 mg

My tapering program                                      My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

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4 hours ago, Gustl said:

Thank you all for the recommendations.  It’s good to have more tools.  The books, videos, and sites look really good.  In some ways, though, my challenge comes from being more or less a ‘performer’ in my work.  I don’t have the freedom to step away and do breathing exercises or yoga.  My panic moments happen while I am actively in front of a classroom or on stage in front of the school.  These calming activities can help in preparation for these daily times and I have employed some of them, but my reoccurring challenge is that panic and fear of what did happen in the past will happen again when I am up front.  

 

Even as I listened to Dr. Amy Johnson or the First Aid for Panic audios (which I really enjoyed, by the way), there still is a common theme in those resources that goes like this: your panic is just a collection of feelings that will go away and nothing really happens so learn to not fear it.  I have unfortunately had a few episodes where something indeed did happen and while it only happened 3 times in the course of my 45 year life, I find it so hard to ignore it and say, “It won’t ever happen again.”  

 

I don’t know where to go from here.

One thing that works for me with this is to imagine the consequences if  *it* happens again whatever it is for you. What if you forget your words in front of the class? What if you throw up. Things happen and people get excited about them a few times and in a couple of years even you can't remember them unless you focus on that one incident relentlessly. Very few things in life have the catastrophic consequences we imagine they will.

 

So, chance of something happening is very low and even if it did happen, you'll very likely recover from it. 

 

Also, thinking about them does not really prevent things or help you deal with them better even though anxious people think that it helps them prepare if they can replay all potential permutations of how things would go wrong (my CBT therapist).

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg ,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months (don't remember dates), trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up), occasionally did this in difficult times 

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax/day, then 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, April  14 , 2019 - citalopram 1.8 mg (liquid), May 8, 2019 - citalopram 1.6 mg (liquid),  July 27, 2019 - citalopram 1.5 mg (liquid),  August 15, 2019 - citalopram 1.35 (liquid)

 

 supplements:  melatonin 1 mg  

 

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23 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

 

Perhaps seeing a counsellor and learning life skills and coping techniques from them might be helpful.

 

 

Instead of saying "It won't ever happen again" you can change that to "it is unlikely to happen again".

 

 

This is good.  I just contacted a counseling office.  I went to counseling years ago and it was good, but I reached a point where it seemed like the counselor had nothing really new to give me.  I’m a little afraid I’ll find the same at this new counselor.  I tend to be an avid reader and have read lots of anxiety books and also read sites such as this one.  Will the counselor just tell me things I already know (and I have to pay them for it)?  It can’t hurt to try, though, right?

 

I really like switch from “It won’t ever happen again” to “It is unlikely to happen again.”  That was a good insight and a relevant one that helped me yesterday when I considered it throughout my work day.  

2006 Was on Zoloft 6  years. 20mg 

2012 switched to Paxil. Eventually down to 10mg

November 2019-tapered for 1 1/2 months-5mg and then every other day

January 1 2019-off completely.

Did wonderful for 4-5 months

May 2020 began experiencing WD symptoms

Strong anxiety from the moment I wake up, Pit in my stomach through midday, sometimes beyond, Depression for about a month-may have been withdrawal or just sadness over feeling back in the dregs of anxiety, Panic symptoms, resurfaced phobias, Anxious thoughts, Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning regularly and unable to fall back asleep.

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19 hours ago, Onmyway said:

One thing that works for me with this is to imagine the consequences if  *it* happens again whatever it is for you. What if you forget your words in front of the class? What if you throw up. Things happen and people get excited about them a few times and in a couple of years even you can't remember them unless you focus on that one incident relentlessly. Very few things in life have the catastrophic consequences we imagine they will.

 

So, chance of something happening is very low and even if it did happen, you'll very likely recover from it. 

 

Also, thinking about them does not really prevent things or help you deal with them better even though anxious people think that it helps them prepare if they can replay all potential permutations of how things would go wrong (my CBT therapist).

This is really relevant for me too.  I find I do best when I can speak to my anxiety and say, “Who cares?”  

 

Some days it’s harder to believe than others.  Yesterday I had a really good day because for whatever reason I didn’t have my morning cortisol spike.  I was just in a better mood and not so down.  The rest of the day had a peaceful feel to it.  This morning, though, the cortisol is shooting like usual.  It’s amazing how that can pull me down.

 

2006 Was on Zoloft 6  years. 20mg 

2012 switched to Paxil. Eventually down to 10mg

November 2019-tapered for 1 1/2 months-5mg and then every other day

January 1 2019-off completely.

Did wonderful for 4-5 months

May 2020 began experiencing WD symptoms

Strong anxiety from the moment I wake up, Pit in my stomach through midday, sometimes beyond, Depression for about a month-may have been withdrawal or just sadness over feeling back in the dregs of anxiety, Panic symptoms, resurfaced phobias, Anxious thoughts, Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning regularly and unable to fall back asleep.

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ChessieCat

NEW!!!              INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder               NEW!!! 

 

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015  Current from 14 Nov 2020:  Pristiq 0.50 mg

My tapering program                                      My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

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12 hours ago, Gustl said:

This is really relevant for me too.  I find I do best when I can speak to my anxiety and say, “Who cares?”  

 

Some days it’s harder to believe than others.  Yesterday I had a really good day because for whatever reason I didn’t have my morning cortisol spike.  I was just in a better mood and not so down.  The rest of the day had a peaceful feel to it.  This morning, though, the cortisol is shooting like usual.  It’s amazing how that can pull me down.

 

You've had a window!!! Hold on to those memories, they help remind you that this is chemical and it shall pass. Things like cortisol spikes and nausea and dizziness can throw us out and send us into a spiral quickly because if we have nausea then we must be disgusting, if we have a cortisol spikes, it must be anxiety, if dizziness, we must be depressed. What I mean is that sometimes physical symptoms cause the emotions because we can easily find things to be disgusted about etc. In the same way that disgust can cause nausea, nausea can cause disgust as well. Physical and psychological are related. 

 

There was a way to reframe adrenaline from anxiety into excitement. 

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/474909/

 

Hope you get more windows soon!

 

OMW

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg ,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months (don't remember dates), trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up), occasionally did this in difficult times 

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax/day, then 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, April  14 , 2019 - citalopram 1.8 mg (liquid), May 8, 2019 - citalopram 1.6 mg (liquid),  July 27, 2019 - citalopram 1.5 mg (liquid),  August 15, 2019 - citalopram 1.35 (liquid)

 

 supplements:  melatonin 1 mg  

 

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11 hours ago, Onmyway said:

You've had a window!!! Hold on to those memories, they help remind you that this is chemical and it shall pass. Things like cortisol spikes and nausea and dizziness can throw us out and send us into a spiral quickly because if we have nausea then we must be disgusting, if we have a cortisol spikes, it must be anxiety, if dizziness, we must be depressed. What I mean is that sometimes physical symptoms cause the emotions because we can easily find things to be disgusted about etc. In the same way that disgust can cause nausea, nausea can cause disgust as well. Physical and psychological are related. 

 

There was a way to reframe adrenaline from anxiety into excitement. 

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/474909/

 

Hope you get more windows soon!

 

OMW

Goodness, On my way!, Thank you for that encouragement!  That really meant a lot.  I need to celebrate those windows and not just get depressed that they’re short.  It is definitely true that my physical and psychological build off of each other.  I also really enjoyed the article from The Atlantic and look forward to trying to reframe my anxiety.  The reality is that I love my job, but I forget that inside of anxiety and instead dread it.  I’d like to refocus on excitement and try to channel my nervous energy there.  

 

Thank you!

2006 Was on Zoloft 6  years. 20mg 

2012 switched to Paxil. Eventually down to 10mg

November 2019-tapered for 1 1/2 months-5mg and then every other day

January 1 2019-off completely.

Did wonderful for 4-5 months

May 2020 began experiencing WD symptoms

Strong anxiety from the moment I wake up, Pit in my stomach through midday, sometimes beyond, Depression for about a month-may have been withdrawal or just sadness over feeling back in the dregs of anxiety, Panic symptoms, resurfaced phobias, Anxious thoughts, Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning regularly and unable to fall back asleep.

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