ANXIETY: I get extremely anxious about most things... - Headway


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I get extremely anxious about most things these days. Is this normal. I had a SAH in 2017.

17 Replies

Hi Rachel, you've come through a great deal by the sounds of things, I think it would be more unusual if you weren't anxious. What support are you getting now? Have you got a neuropsychologist to talk to? I hope some of the people on here that have had the same experience as you can help.

But if it helps, my neuropsychiatrist told me that people who have had brain injuries are predisposed to anxiety and depression, not just because of what's happened to us individually, but also because of disruption in the white matter in the brain, and that depression/ anxiety could reoccur later/ at different times (that's what I understood basically - I had a concussion by the way - so not the same as you) .

I'm now slowly weaning off my SNRI after about 16 months on it - which seems fine - but when it was prescribed I really, really, didn't want to take drugs at all, and didn't think I was anxious or depressed at all (I'm pretty sure I told the neuropsychiatrist as well - I apologized at a later appointment!)

But I hadn't realised how anxious I'd been until I took the pills, and it basically went away - though admittedly some of that effect also came from getting in front of people that understood what was going on with me, and seemed to think it was perfectly normal (a huge relief after the GP and neurologist number one saying I should be back at work). I think practicing mindfulness also helps me by the way.

Hope you find some solutions x

Yes thank you for your response. I have seen a neuropsychologist & she unravelled quite a lot of stuff. I currently take “Mirtazapine” before I go to sleep & this does help me a lot. I know I’ve come a long way as Rehab docs said I’d never be able to live independently. I live a very good life now but do get anxious about the smallest of things. Learning to deal with this is quite hard at times. Kind regards Rachel

Hi Rachel, you've done fantastically to get to this point. So sorry about your anxiety, that's rough. I expect the background of Covid isn't helping either, it rather adds to everything else. Do you ring the Headway helpline for support?

I found that if I was getting anxious, I could sort of break the train of thought by doing a three minute meditation exercise on my phone (Headspace app) - I don't always remember to do that though! Have you tried a mindfulness course (MBSR) I did one early on and it was amazingly supportive, the local authority here offers them free of charge, and there is at least one virtual course on your phone too - here's a link - i haven't tried this one myself though:

If that helps?

Keep posting here though 😊

Jen x


Yes I’ve done a mindfulness course but didn’t find that helped at all.

Any other suggestions?

Rachel x

Rachel497 in reply to Rachel497

And no I haven’t telephoned Headway ! I am very proud and don’t like to ask for help. To the annoyance of my family and friends 😂

Hi Rachel, that's a shame about the mindfulness, doesn't suit everyone I suppose, and probably depends in whether the leader makes sense to you or not too.

Sounds like we're both on an SNRI actually - I'm on Duloxetine. They work on serotonin and norepinephrine rather than just serotonin like the SSRIs. It's worked well for me, alongside regular appointments with the psychologist.

I think I definitely get more anxious when my fatigue is kicking in - have you had help with pacing yourself and taking breaks during the day? What sort of support have you had to help you cope?

I know what you mean about not wanting to ask for help, but after the initial mortification wears off, it is lovely when other people pitch in to help 😊 I think those close to us sometimes feel helpless, and are relieved if there is something they can do?

On Headway - it's not about getting help as such, it's about being given support and possibly useful information from someone who understands the whole weirdness of brain injuries. I'd be inclined to think about it more as a way to empower yourself? Brain injury is such a weird experience, I think any new perspective can help. Possibly other people on here might be able to explain how Headway helps them?

Hope you get some support and relief from your anxiety anyway 😊

Please can you tell me what SNRI is? I thought you referring to a condition that you’d had. Sorry am a bit slow on certain things.

Kind regards


Hi Rachel - sorry, should have said, its just a type of antidepressant. Hope you get some more support for your anxiety, it sounds really difficult to live with.

Jen x

Yeah me too!

Hiya Rachel497

I get anxious over most things these days i.e goin to the shops, walkin the dog, even talkin on the phone but my neuropsychologist has helped me out by tryin breathing exercises before I go out or breathing exercises in the car before I go into the shops etc.. it has helped but the anxiety is still/always there..

Before my AVM burst I did everything independently but now I feel I can’t even go shop on my own.. some people just don’t get how it can feel to be anxious!

Rachel497 in reply to Wazza84

Thank you for your reply. This forum I think will be my life saver! Have no idea what an AVM is I’m afraid. I was someone who always thought that anxiety was a weakness of other people. I thought it was something that you could just shrug off! Now I have it myself I realise it’s a condition which needs medication to alleviate. Thanks for responding though - so good of you.

Wazza84 in reply to Rachel497

This forum has helped me too.. an AVM is an arteriovenous malformation.. which is abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting arteries and veins.. which burst in my brain stem..

I too thought anxiety was fictitious and all in your head and people don’t get it or understand it.

I used to be very independent these days I can’t go out doors alone.

Rachel497 in reply to Wazza84

Wow that is terrible!

It really is normal, so many people don’t have any idea about what to do and we need some sort of solution. A bad thing is when we don’t trust ourselves to be able to change this situation for the better. At least here you will always find people who will listen to you and we will all be on your side. It is difficult because we are all here only virtually but we hold your sentiments and feelings in our hearts. Please take care and let us know how you are

Thank you so much for your reply. I agree that it’s only fellow sufferers who understand us. It’s not a great thing to have had at all. I feel that I have come back from the dead. I had to learn to walk, talk & write again! Everyone says how well I’ve done but they have no idea at all of the daily struggles we face. I’m so pleased that there is this forum to vent things.

I absolutely agree with what you write, it’s just small steps forward which make me grin


👏Yes totally agree with you.

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