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Thread: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

  1. #1
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    Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Hi all,

    I hope you're doing OK!

    My anxiety levels have gone through the roof lately, but the one thing that's getting to me is that my panic and anxiety actually increases when I try to relax.
    I don't know if it's the idea of 'letting go' that scares me, or if relaxing is 'letting my guard down', but even the thought of lying or sitting down relaxing makes me feel anxious, to a point where I have to keep finding things to do, which becomes a real problem when it's time to lay in bed and get some sleep, and causes a flurry of symptoms and a racing mind the second I try to get some shut eye.

    Is this a common thing, or is it just me!?

    Thanks?

    Phil

  2. #2
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    It's something that I have experienced in the past, yes.

    Living with anxiety often coincides with running with increased adrenaline. As long as you are busy and occupied, the adrenaline is being 'burned off'. As soon as you stop...not so much.

    This is where acceptance comes in, which is a common technique across virtually all successful anxiety treatments. The idea here is to encourage your central nervous system to come down without feeding it more conscious ideas that something is 'wrong'. If you lay down and experience symptoms, YOU will start to react to them, which in turn feeds your subconscious mind the idea that something is wrong. It's not really, it's just sensation.

    Next time you lay down, sit down, try and sleep or even simply relax, practice the idea of accepting that symptoms are here for now. That doesn't mean that it will be this way forever, just for now. They're only symptoms right? You have all the experience to prove to yourself that nothing worse than sensation occurs. The more you can divorce yourself from the fear of the sensations, the less they will happen in the first place. Takes time, but it does work.

  3. #3
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    I actually found a trick to go to sleep that's worked quite well the last few nights, so hopefully that continues.

    Still struggling badly though. Mostly with the not feeling 'with it', and not necessarily dissociation, but thoughts about really, where I actually have to remind myself where I am. It's impossible to convince yourself you aren't going mad. It happened today sat found the dinner table, and I was actually very calm when it happened. My mind wandered and the anxiety followed. So confused with all this at the minute.

  4. #4
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Quote Originally Posted by PHR View Post
    Hi all,

    I hope you're doing OK!

    My anxiety levels have gone through the roof lately, but the one thing that's getting to me is that my panic and anxiety actually increases when I try to relax.
    I don't know if it's the idea of 'letting go' that scares me, or if relaxing is 'letting my guard down', but even the thought of lying or sitting down relaxing makes me feel anxious, to a point where I have to keep finding things to do, which becomes a real problem when it's time to lay in bed and get some sleep, and causes a flurry of symptoms and a racing mind the second I try to get some shut eye.

    Is this a common thing, or is it just me!?

    Thanks?

    Phil
    Hi Phil
    l'm the same when l try to relax awful anxiety kicks in my anxiety is shocking at the moment, l hope we both find away of relaxing l am listening to some mindful music at the moment it helps me sometimes, trouble is my mind works overtime heres hoping we get some peace xx

    best wishes

  5. #5
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Quote Originally Posted by MRS STRESS ED View Post
    Hi Phil
    l'm the same when l try to relax awful anxiety kicks in my anxiety is shocking at the moment, l hope we both find away of relaxing l am listening to some mindful music at the moment it helps me sometimes, trouble is my mind works overtime heres hoping we get some peace xx

    best wishes
    Sorry to hear you are struggling so badly.

    Mine is at an all time high too, constantly either panicking or on the verge of panic, like, all day!
    I honestly don't know what to do. I hired a new psychologist a few weeks ago who doesn't care about the symptoms, and tells me to just ignore them and tolerate them whilst I keep exposing myself to my anxiety... easy for her to say!

    I honestly don't know what the answer is, my mind is like a swamp.
    I've just given up trying to relax, and on the flip side have found moments where I can, but they are very fleeting.

    Always here if you need to chat.

    Phil

  6. #6
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post

    Next time you lay down, sit down, try and sleep or even simply relax, practice the idea of accepting that symptoms are here for now. That doesn't mean that it will be this way forever, just for now. They're only symptoms right? You have all the experience to prove to yourself that nothing worse than sensation occurs. The more you can divorce yourself from the fear of the sensations, the less they will happen in the first place. Takes time, but it does work.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHR View Post
    I hired a new psychologist a few weeks ago who doesn't care about the symptoms, and tells me to just ignore them and tolerate them whilst I keep exposing myself to my anxiety... easy for her to say!

    I honestly don't know what the answer is, my mind is like a swamp.
    I've just given up trying to relax, and on the flip side have found moments where I can, but they are very fleeting.
    Well, you DO know what the answer is. You've been given basically the same advice by somebody that has recovered from anxiety, and a trained professional.

    Nobody is telling you it's easy, so don't dismiss the advice because it's hard. It is (in my opinion) the only true way to recover from anxiety. It takes months and months, but if you even have fleeting moments of relaxation it means that recovery is happening.

  7. #7
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    Well, you DO know what the answer is. You've been given basically the same advice by somebody that has recovered from anxiety, and a trained professional.

    Nobody is telling you it's easy, so don't dismiss the advice because it's hard. It is (in my opinion) the only true way to recover from anxiety. It takes months and months, but if you even have fleeting moments of relaxation it means that recovery is happening.
    Hello mate, I hope you're well!

    Yeah, I know what she's intending, and I'm sticking to it. Working my balls off to be fair, running every day, forcing myself into my extremely complicated work, trying to force myself out of my comfort zone at every opportunity, and just letting all the panic and weird thoughts come and go (which I am really struggling to do, my mind is constantly figuring out what's happening) ... the symptoms just aren't easing, and are in fact getting a lot worse. It's just a stream of constant anxiety, and then when I do try and watch tele for an hour, I can't calm down enough to do it. Almost waiting for myself to just break even more, honestly feel like I'm losing my mind.

    I'm sticking with the 'no pain no gain' mentality, but it's honestly harder than I could ever of imagined.
    Just want to see a bit of reward for my efforts I suppose.

    Cheers,

    Phil

  8. #8
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Ok, I would also suggest NOT pushing yourself every day. This could be significant.

    Running can be very stressful on your CNS, it's just that the no pain no gain mantra isn't entirely accurate for somebody that is already stressed.

    Don't run every day, don't force yourself to do things you're not comfortable with. There is no downside to living with and accepting the anxiety, but it's not going to work if you keep topping up the stress.

    Try walking instead of running for a while. Try staying within your comfort zone a couple of days a week just to give the whole system some down time too.

  9. #9
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    Strangely, the running is actually the only thing that ever gives me a slight break from the anxiety. I was really sporty before the anxiety came all them years ago, so think physically pushing myself helps counter the anxiety helplessness. I run about 3.5km to 4km in the treadmill every day, and I sometimes feel slightly better for an hour afterwards. It's incredibly hard whilst I do it obviously, but is worth the pain sometimes.

    The anxiety has settled in my throat today, so I'm trying to carry on whilst the thoughts about my throat bombard me, and am just finishing this job before I go for my run. I think it's because I've had trouble eating for the last few days, and had to force food down me a bit. My mouth and tongue were all sore this morning too.

    Her only attitude towards the thoughts is just 'allow them', and her attitude towards the constant panic is that 'it won't hurt you'. So that's where I am.

    I do feel sometimes that I'm just keeping busy to avoid sitting quietly, so that frightens me, and obviously makes bedtime a nightmare!

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    Ok, I would also suggest NOT pushing yourself every day. This could be significant.

    Running can be very stressful on your CNS, it's just that the no pain no gain mantra isn't entirely accurate for somebody that is already stressed.

    Don't run every day, don't force yourself to do things you're not comfortable with. There is no downside to living with and accepting the anxiety, but it's not going to work if you keep topping up the stress.

    Try walking instead of running for a while. Try staying within your comfort zone a couple of days a week just to give the whole system some down time too.

  10. #10
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    Re: Increase in anxiety/panic, when I try to relax!

    The reason exercise feels good is that it will give you a short term high from serotonin. That's good, and not a bad thing. The downside for some people is that (especially running) it can cause CNS fatigue over the long term. Running 2-3 miles just isn't natural, and implies danger to the CNS. You're also breaking down tissue and forcing your body into a state of repair. Again, under normal circumstances stress can actually make you stronger. Your current circumstances aren't normal though, right?

    Perhaps try doing some HIIT training instead? Sprint for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, sprint for 15, rest for 15 etc. Even though the intensity is higher, the duration is lower. You would only do this for 5-10 repetitions before you'd feel exhausted, but it's much lower impact in terms of stress.

    Recovering from anxiety is as much about stress removal as it is learning to cope with and accept the anxiety.

    Make sure you eat right, make sure you get enough rest (even if it can't all be sleep). It all matters.

    There have been countless posts about people using intense exercise for anxiety relief because it makes them feel better in the short term, but they're still there 2-3 years later with the same anxiety symptoms. It has to be about balance.

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