Doing nothing works

Hello

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.

STOP AVOIDING!!!!

*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!)

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11 Replies

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  • Thanks Beevee

  • Hi beevee once again a great post

    I keep reading over and over bug struggle to accept

    Had a bad day yesterday felt really sick and I went out got the choking gagging feeling and panicked and got very tearful

    I know I must let the feelings be but feel scared

    Sorry to be negative but got busy few days and dreading them

  • Please don't apologise Presley. There is nothing to apologise over. If anxiety created positive thoughts, there wouldn't be a problem would there? I know how difficult it is but you just have to keep chipping way and keep practising acceptance. It's early days so don't be too disappointed. Remember, it is the anxiety which is making you think the coming days will be bad so just meet it head on and don't shy away from any of it. Meet it head on. What is the worst that can happen? If you feel rubbish, negative or scared, just let yourself feel that way and don't do anything to try and change it. All that negative energy which has built up over time needs to escape via those thoughts and feelings so don't try and block their path. Let them go.

    Beevee

  • Me again. 😘

    I just wanted to make it absolutely clear that blind acceptance, without really understanding anxiety can be done but does make it more difficult. As I mentioned in my original post above and elsewhere, knowledge is key because it takes way a lot of the unknown and fear making it easier to accept that all the crazy thoughts and feelings are caused by anxiety and you will eventually stop battling against it all which keeps the flaming thing going! So, read the Letter to Myself, read Dr Claire Weekes' books, look up the Anxiety No More website, look up videos on YouTube from David Daish (which recently came recommended to me) and absorb and understand how anxiety works and what it can do. It will make acceptance (the cornerstone of recovery) so much easier.

    As always, don't expect miracles because your nerves are sensitised after being battered by worry and stress and take time to calm down but don't put a time limit on yourself or expect to be healed just because you read about anxiety.

    In many ways, having the knowledge and understanding means you are "walking the walk." Applying that knowledge and understanding at the height of your suffering is "talking the talk." You make up no ground when your mind and body is calm. Most ground is made up when you are in the thick of it and still practising acceptance i.e. I feel rubbish, I feel scared but I'm carrying on with my day, regardless.

    Beevee

  • Hi beevee

    Well I've survived the weekend so far went to a concert last night with 13 thousand people then slept ok

    Woke up feeling nauseus in the hotel sick of the feeling

    Can't beleive how ill I can feel

    Breakfast soon then train home

    Sorry for being negative but I can't imagine feeling normal again

    Did you ever feel as bad Beevee?

  • My issue is usually my shortness of breath. It's constant. But then again, I'm focusing on it as well.

    As a former smoker, I'm terrified of my 15 years of smoking and the damage I've caused. And the one year of using a vaporizer or e-cig. But, I'm 33 and I passed a spirometer test to be cleared by my Doc of COPD.

    So why am I so short of breath!!??

  • Also, great post by the way.

    One article I read about long term anxiety that I really like compared it to running. The author stated that if a person was to run, and constantly run, never allowing their body to rest and pushing through the pain, then eventually their body would just shut down and begin to fail it's normal processes.

    They compared this to long-term anxiety. Eventually the body just wears out because it's constantly being ran to the extreme with negative and anxious thoughts.

    My anxiety has always revolved around my health. It's the constant fear of : "What if"...What If they missed something. What If I really do have a lung disease. What if the vaping is really what caused the issue and they're just too new to figure out the side effects. (I haven't vaped in a year, or smoked in a year)...What if the spirometer test was wrong!

    Of course, over the last few weeks I've been more frigthened of ALS or Ms, and wasn't complaining about my breath. But in my mind, I convince myself that I was always worried about my breath, I was just distracted because of my muscle weakness.

    This health anxiety cycle is killing me.

  • My mum smoked 20 a day for 40 years and is in her 70s. Non smokers get lung cancer. In many ways, I think alot of it is the luck of the draw. If the specialists say your lungs are fine, accept that your symptoms are caused by anxiety and move on. Difficulty in breathing is one of the many symptoms.

    My mum often joked that she was cutting down to smoking just one cigarette after a meal. She had 20 meals a day 😂

  • Is there more to this letter or is this it? Did you personally write this? I think I understand the limbic system......at moments sometimes minutes I almost feel as if the anxiety is gone but then it returns. Am I on the right track? Wish there were someplace near me for a live support group like there is for alcoholism.

  • Hi Roma

    I cannot take any credit for the letter and yes, there is a whole lot more besides the bit I posted. Google "Letter to myself - Nothing works."

    All of the learning material I mentioned is based on one principle which is ACCEPTANCE, ably supported by knowledge and understanding of the anxiety condition.

    People who don't really understand why they feel like they do spend all their time looking for answers to make it all go away. They fight it because it is the natural thing to do. You have to do the opposite with anxiety which may not sit comfortably with people but that is how it works and takes practice

    If you ride a bicycle and you feel yourself wobble and start to fall, the natural thing to do is to turn away from the direction in which you are falling but this makes you fall. If you turn in the direction that you are falling, the bike will right itself. If you learn to ski, you are taught to put your weight on the outside ski when turning so you lean away from the mountain which feels weird and scary at first. The natural thing to do is to lean in towards the hill but you just end up on your arse! In other words, you have to do the opposite to what comes naturally and resist the temptation to engage with the anxiety.

    Regards

    Beevee

  • Hi beevee I have tried googling this before 'letter to myself, nothing works' but I can't seem to access it it's all archived. Could you point me in the right direction where I can find it please? I'm really trying to accept my anxiety and go with it but I am struggling it's a very hard road and fighting myself seems to come naturally but I do feel determined that I AM going to get through this and I am going to get better X

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