Any anxiety sufferers out there??

Hi. I started this wonderful programme in a bid to get fit in my mid-50s after a life of no exercise, fags till 3 years ago and lots of lovely red wine. Health anxiety suddenly floored my 18 months ago and I have fought it tooth and nail - with running being my final right hook [I hoped]. Weeks 1-7 flew by and whilst I can't say I LOVED them, I did feel a sense of pride and felt better physically. But today panic attack symptoms came back out of the blue at the end of a 28-minuter. I was convinced I was having a heart attack and have convinced myself I now have weakness down my left side.

Really gutted as I thought I was putting all this daft anxiety stuff behind me. Anybody else struggle against this type of thing? Any advice for next run [as I will now be anxious that this will happen again...]


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16 Replies

  • Hi and welcome and really done on the non smoking I am just 2 years smoke free so know how hard that is :)

    I can also relate to the anxiety, mine seemed to be stopping smoking and work stress combined, although maybe not to the extent of your symptoms

    I assume you have medical help and advise etc ...

    All I can say is that for me running has helped immensley :) I have so much more to think or not think about whilst running .

    I sincerely hope it was a one off and please please don't let it sway you from the journey you started some 7 weeks ago , really this is so worth completing it gives so many benefits , not saying it is all easy and you have to put something in to it .

    Obviously I am not a doc etc so seeking advise is always the best thing if you think it is required.

    I really wish you good luck with your remaining runs and that you graduate and go on to achieve further goals :)

  • Thank you. Yes, I have spoken to GP, although anti-depressants are the only thing offered. Running is better. I won't give up!

  • Good for you, keep at it :)

    I know there is plenty of info out there on anxiety etc also just click away.

  • I've suffered with anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Stress is a major contributor for me and life was particularly bad until about 5 years ago when I went fully self-employed. I still get the odd attack now and again which I tend to put down to conflict at home and a lack of sleep. The running definitely helps me though - I like to think of my next run (distance, route, goals) when I think I might be getting a bit low.

  • That's a good idea. I'm working towards doing a 5k parkrun with my sister. Am up to 28 minutes and 4.6 km so nearly there!

  • It sounds like what triggered the attack of anxiety was pain? Am I right? Looking further down it looks like your GP has ruled out cardiac, so it is purely managing the anxiety? I am not a sufferer per se but I have had to teach myself a number of techniques to get through the very long runs training for my marathon. This is what I have to offer:

    1. Manage your breathing- there are lots of apps out there, yoga etc etc to help you

    2. On a run, When you feel pain, then panic - go to a brisk walk, apply the breathing, focus on a different part of the body that is hurting ( I promise this works, i do this when my legs are killing me on a long run) and relax your shoulders. If this eases you then start running again very slowly continuing the thinking

    3. Choose a mantra for these occasions to deploy all the gremlins perching on your shoulders- your name ( Ucandothis) is a good one? Mine is...' you are a strong and powerful panther' I shout it sometimes!!!!!

    Please let us know how you get on and run strong, run confidently, you can do this :)

  • Good suggestions - will give it a go! Love the shouting of a mantra!

  • I'm sure running helps clear the head and makes the fuzziness go away. I'm convinced it makes us think more clearly and have more focus. You can feel the cares of the day falling away as you run. Not at first maybe, but in the early run/walk sessions you are so fully engaged in what Laura is telling you - and putting one foot in front of the other -that you won't have time to think of anything else.

    We do have folks on here with anxiety. I can think of one who will be about somewhere, so I dare say you'll get some first hand information and tips

    Good luck!

  • Yep, I am. I've had gad and social anxiety for as long as I can remember (but only recently discovered that is what it is).

    From my experience (and sorry if this is really obvious!) but firstly, don't let this discourage you from your next run. I had a bad experience at week three, and put the next run off - for three years! Have only just got back into it, and am now wondering what I was so worried about.

    I'm working on recognising the negative thoughts as they appear, and banishing them straight away. So as soon as the 'what ifs' pop up, that would be a good time to start with your mantra (rather than waiting until the panic is building up). I find the best way to keep my head quiet is to play a soundtrack I can sing along to, I'm too busy thinking about the lyrics to wonder if it's possible to suffocate whilst running*, or if the house is burning down whilst I'm out! (that's why I'm using the app rather than podcasts) If I start overthinking when I haven't got music, I try to focus on counting backwards from 100. Tedious but effective!

    *honestly, if I think about breathing I forget how to do it. Not ideal when running, when you're told to focus on your breathing! Haha!

  • Thanks for all the lovely responses. I now feel fine and know that it was just a mini panic attack [my rational self knew that at the time, buy my gremlin head was on!]

    Will be back out there on Saturday.

  • Yep, I have struggled with anxiety on and off for many years. Have not had issues with panic attacks for a long time but I do sometimes get over anxious about health related concerns. Two things which I have found helpful are:

    1) Mindfulness techniques - there are lots of books on the subject. Look out for Headspace which also has an app. If you like Ruby Wax (which I do) then get her book 'Sane New World' which is all about mindfulness. It helps you recognise those feelings and acknowledge them but without getting caught up in them and entering in to a battle with them. Research on the neuroplasticity of our brains proves that we can change the way we think and in deed the way our brain responds. Interesting stuff but Ruby explains it better!

    2)The second thing that has helped me is running🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻 of course! Not just for the fantastic feel-good glow you get after a run but also for the positive impact it has on our overall self esteem. Love it!

    Good luck with your next run - go have a fab one😀🏃🏻😀!

  • Hi ucandothis. I completely agree with sandraj above. I can thoroughly recommend Mindfulness and Headspace

    for increasing awareness of our thoughts and feelings. Really worth a look here and here for the science.

    Good luck x

  • Hello!

    I am currently being medicated for anxiety and depression. I just completed week7 this evening, and whilst I do feel better on the whole, I still have really bad days where I get overly anxious, and I know that I'm thinking irrationally or that I'm letting my thoughts get out of hand, but I can't stop the feeling. This was how I felt earlier today and after my run I feel a lot better. Running makes me feel like I'm making progress because I'm achieving something. I've also had a pretty horrendous day at work, and whilst I still feel a bit upset about it, I'm not obsessing about it like I was beginning to earlier.

    I think that if anxiety has been part of someone's life for a long time, then we develop better coping strategies for when the moments do come back. I've become much better at 'talking myself down' out of anxious feelings.

    As for your next run, I don't know what advice I can specifically give. Now that you've stepped back from the situation, do you still feel anxious about something bad happening again? Think about all the great times you've had running/after a run and how good it usually feels. Try not to let one anxious moment ruin something that's positive =]

    Take care =]

  • Just look how many of us are or have been right there with you...

    Please..stay with it..we are running with you, literally,in all senses of the word.

    Running is will..if you let it... take you through this..

    Fear can be a fierce and clever enemy...but you can beat it.

    Look that beast directly in the it wither!

  • Wow - I can definitely do it now. Thanks folks. I will report back after Saturday's run which is my last of week 8.

  • I am currently struggling to progress as I keep thinking there's something wrong with my heart, I'm too tired etc. I know it's a mental battle as much as anything else but it's hard sometimes when something knocks your confidence. But you'll get there, there's plenty of support on here and just getting out there is such a positive thing to do.

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