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Emotions behind anxiety

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by TG957, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anxiety is not an emotion, but there must be emotions hiding behind it's façade. Fear is obviously one of them. But often, when I know for certain that I have anxiety attack, I can't figure out what is my emotional state at the moment. It is often feeling like a noise and chatter in my brain but I can't "palpate" any emotion after ruling out fear.

    Any thoughts?
  2. cp1

    cp1 New Member

    Hello. I realize your post was some time ago, but I thought I would respond to you with what I understand, given that I've been dealing with extreme anxiety for years.

    According to anxietycentre.com, which is a really wonderful place for information, anxiety is a result of a hyper stimulated nervous system. This hyper stimulation occurs from a repeated stress response in the body, due to dysfunctional thoughts beliefs, whatever, in response to life.

    My actual therapist describes anxiety as this state of unresolved conflict within oneself.

    I, personally, agree with both.

    Where I struggle is with changing all of this, even with all the information available in the world on the subject.

    I would say, yes, there are emotions behind it.

    Let me add, too, that when you have an anxiety attack (I differentiate these from panic attacks, I don't know if you do), you're thinking brain is offline. And all the stress hormones are coursing through you, so I think to would be very hard to identify any emotion at that time. Its like you're beyond that point once you reach anxiety and the focus has to be on calming the body. I don't know.
    plum likes this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I believe fear is the emotion behind anxiety. I don't think there needs to be another one. I'd just go with fear, and start to discover what your fears are.

    I agree with cp1, above, that our fight/flight response can get stuck on, so that we are in a perpetual state of fear. Generally calming the nervous system is helpful. There are many ways to do this that are discussed on this forum. I think they are all helpful. I've discovered recently that eliminating caffeine from my life has helped a great deal. I always thought that caffeine goes thru your system pretty quickly so it shouldn't make you anxious all day if you only drink it in the morning. Then I came across some recent research that said that some people are slow metabolizers of caffeine and it can effect them for a long time. That has turned out to be the case for me. I feel much calmer now that I don't partake of it. But I do miss it.
    plum likes this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    mike2014, cp1 and TG957 like this.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you, cp1! If I can't find a specific sort of emotion behind the anxiety, I start meditating. At daytime I am often successful, at night, often not. What I pretty much stopped doing is reaching out for xanax at night. I used to wait for 20-30 minutes and if I could not go to sleep, I would just pop a xanax pill, and it would work. Luckily for me, xanax stopped working and I had to learn other ways. Meditation seems to be working much better than xanax, but the turning point was my attitude. No longer I get frustrated and fearful when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. I just meditate and wait, my brain's chatter finally calms down and I go to sleep! No hangover from xanax and feeling in control of my life is a nice feeling, too!
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, caffeine does not seem to be a factor for me. I tried to get off it and did not see the difference. I don't drink coffee, maybe once a week, but I do drink black tea. With tea or without, until I started meditating and learned the mechanics behind my anxiety, I was a walking zombie at daytime, with narcoleptic outages, headaches, miserable. Almost killed myself when my brain shut down while driving. It was me no longer fearing my insomnia what made the difference. I was enslaved by it for 30 years and now I feel free ....
  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, TG957. I agree with Ellen that fear is the emotion behind anxiety.

    Years ago I had an anxiety or panic attack (I don't know which or if there is any difference)
    that came on because I couldn't sleep and worried about why. My roommate meant
    well but kept coming up with reasons I was not sleeping and was up-tight. He played
    amateur psychiatrist and it made me worry about so many things that I had the attack.

    I went to a shrink and he was of very little help, beyond getting me started on Librium.
    That calmed me and I was able to get a new job.

    By myself, not with the help of the shrink, I realized I had been working two jobs and wore myself out.
    Quitting both stressful jobs left me with nothing to do and that kept me awake at night.
    Then my roommate filled my mind with reasons for that. I was a prime target for an emotional attack.

    Long story short, our emotions often cause our pain. If you haven't yet, I urge you to start the
    Structured Educational Program, free in the subforum of this web site. It will help you to discover
    the emotions causing your pain. You may be angry about someone or something. Journaling about these
    things can lead you to becoming well again.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Walt. Yes, I have been journaling, working with a great TMS therapist and doing Alan's program. I am learning more about anxiety. While I agree that generally it is fear, in my case it is more specifically a fear of unknown. I get anxious when I have to be somewhere on time. Last week I had to travel quite far for an appointment using a variety of public transportation options I never used before. Night before, I absolutely could not control my anxiety, even though all those routes are quite predictable. I was freaked out over many things, including a possibility that a ticket machine at the train station may malfunction so I would not be able to buy a ticket - how ridiculous it could be? My rational brain just stopped working. Part of it is being a control freak - I am working on unlearning it.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Taking a series of public transportation on a route new to you would cause anyone to lose sleep. Think now how you were able to get to the destination okay. It could help next time on a journey into unfamiliar territory. Lots of us worry needlessly.
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Indeed! I am reading the book by Lissa Rankin "The Fear Cure". She talks quite a bit about needless worry and what it does to us, and how to let go. Highly recommend!
  12. cp1

    cp1 New Member

    I am so glad I decided to join these forums. There is so much helpful information here. thank you for sharing these posts, Plum. :)
    plum likes this.

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