The following are extracts taken from an letter published on the Internet by an anxiety sufferer called "A letter to myself - Nothing works"
The author wrote the letter to themself but said it could apply to anyone who has the experience of the severe discomfort of an anxiety-based disorder first-hand or for those who have relationships with someone (family, friends, and associates) who has an anxiety-based disorder. Readers will realise that the information can be for everyone everywhere.
I urge you all to read it in full and to absorb what it is saying because knowledge and understanding are absolutely vital to overcoming anxiety.
"The feedback patterns that exist within the mind of the anxiety-based disorder sufferer are present within everyone. The only difference between a sufferer and a non-sufferer is the intensity and frequency of the symptoms.
Inappropriate fear is a common bond across all humanity, it is constantly advising us all of potential solutions. We can choose our response to fear for both the advantage and disadvantage of ourselves and others based upon our interactions with ourselves and others.
Once we understand and implement the curative strategies we can go one better than “non-sufferers” and become people who truly understand how we removed our anxiety.
With this knowledge, we become empowered by the true understanding of the benevolence of the fight-flight response. We realise how safe we have always been.
We have personally experienced it, in real time, we have faced it. We have faced ourselves, made friends with our ourselves, understood ourselves and surfaced with a confident smile of wonderful possibilities hitherto undreamed.
This eventual position gives us the clarity to completely understand ourselves, and our relationship with the wonderful world around us.
To use a bit of positive ‘spin’ we anxiety-based disorder sufferers (and ‘ex-sufferers') are the lucky ones, we have the advantage of not having to search through subtle and fewer mental and physical effects to gain this insight. It is a wonderful insight.
The effects for us are initially obvious, often and designed to be in the forefront of our minds. This is not to say that we cannot remove them. It is all well and good knowing the dynamics behind the fight/flight response first hand if we miss the most crucial of all points ... "Can I make it stop?"
The answer of course is "yes", the initially tricky part is facing the fact that in order to make it stop we have to make no effort to stop it.
The proof that you ultimately can effect your anxiety is the fact that you have enhanced anxiety in the first place. You are the creator of your anxiety. You know how easy it is to influence, for the entire timeline of your ‘disorder’ you are the one who has been in control, you have always been making all the decisions.
You have high anxiety, you are the one who is manufacturing it, you are also the one who will manufacture 'the cure'.
This information will untangle as you read further into this letter.
Let's summarize the information to come, if we look at the conceptual patterns described at the beginning, it will assist you in deciphering, memorizing and ultimately applying all the information with speed and accuracy for the purpose of switching-off your anxiety-based disorder, and eventually turning your understanding to your advantage."
"There are many people both internationally and locally who understand anxiety. In my opinion the best are those with credentials which champion the acceptance approach.
Here was my 'cure' for my anxiety based disorder...
It is the search for the exit that convinces our protection system (fight/flight) that there is a problem; this causes the fight/flight to kick in to protect us from that problem.
Stop searching for the exit and the fight/flight will learn that the problem does not actually exist. Stop looking for whats wrong with you, face your fears in your own time and on your own terms and anxiety will shrink.
Is freedom from anxiety really a matter of simply accepting fears/symptoms and making myself do things in the normal way?
Yes, once you understand that you are not in any danger. Initially this seems most difficult, indeed almost impossible, however once we are armed with the mechanical knowledge of the bodilly systems involved and their limitations, we attain the confidence to try.
What occurs in an anxiety disorder is the following:
1) You use avoidance techniques
2) Your Limbic System* (see below for explanation) has access to your senses.
3) It watches you perform an avoidance action in response to a fear sensation/ symptom
4) It concludes there must be a danger purely by analyzing your actions/choices.
5) It initiates the fight/flight response to keep you safe.
6) You feel the fear it produces.
7) You use avoidance techniques.
In other words you create the disorder by avoiding perfectly normal and healthy bodily functions. If you keep avoiding, the Limbic System concludes that there must be a disorder, and it keeps you on alert!!!!
What happens in anxiety removal is the following:
1) You do not avoid or escape, instead you understand that the fear not required and you do not react regardless of the presence of the fear sensation/symptom
2) Your Limbic System has access to your senses.
3) It watches you not reacting in relation to your fear sensation/symptom
4) It concludes that there is no danger.
5) It initiates the rest digest response
6) You feel the relaxation it produces.
7) You no longer feel compelled to avoid or escape.
*limbic system is complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).
Once again, please google the full letter and read it. It is enlightening.
Best wishes (as always)
Beevee (champion of the acceptance approach!)