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I'm not an anxious person - your thoughts

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Waterbear, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Just got back from a lovely 2 mile walk to clear my head (pain level at an all time low!). I've been having an anxious day. The best thing about walking is it's time to think and relax. Here are my thoughts.

    I've always had some level of anxiety in my life, since childhood. However, it was just "nerves" that came and went without effecting me much until I lost my job 3 years ago. I think I had a sort of nervous breakdown then, really bad panic attacks and other stuff like that. I was in this state for about a year, and due to insurance craziness, was never able to seek medical help or even really talk to anyone.

    Before this time, I never said the words, "I have anxiety." or "I'm having panic attacks today." I say those things all the time now.

    I think, I started identifying myself as an anxious person, as if that was a personality trait, as if that is part of me.

    But what if, I just stop saying that? What if I no longer say I have anxiety? What if I stop identifying myself as an anxious person. What if I just told it that it's done now? I'm not a victim of anxiety and I'm not suffering from anything.

    Your thoughts?
    yb44, Ellen and North Star like this.
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Waterbear, I started having panic attacks shortly after my first big back/pain episode about 20 years ago. I also started to identify myself as an anxious person, and would often say things like "I have an anxiety disorder". I don't like medication but I always had some Xanax in my purse just in case. When I started working on the TMS over a year ago, I learned a few techniques on this forum that have really changed my life. The one that had the most profound effect was from a simple video someone posted about how to accept the anxiety/panic. I will try to find it and post it for you. Also, anxiety is the same as pain in the TMS world, it serves as a distraction. For many months as soon as my pain got better, my anxiety got worse, like a seesaw. I am really amazed now how much better my anxiety is. What a relief! I am going to find that video for you and if you haven't already, I really recommend trying it. It is so simple, but its what worked the best for me.
    Carmela and North Star like this.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

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  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Another thing that is very helpful that I learned in another video similar to these is to actually greet the physical sensation and to welcome it. Whenever you feel anxious, there are always physical sensations. When I feel anxious now, the first thing I do is ask myself "How do I know I am anxious?" Then I sit quietly somewhere and I go through my sensations one by one. I sense the shaky legs and then I say to myself "hello shaky legs. Welcome. You are okay to be." Then after a bit I move onto the next sensation. It is very clear to me now how much my fear and resistance only fed the panic. Its not always easy because often the sensations are very uncomfortable and fear inducing. The hardest for me is when I feel lightheaded or off balance.
  5. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Waterbear, Anxiety used to be a huge thing to me. I'd wake up in the middle of the night shaking and with my heart racing. It scared the daylights out of me. Which of course, made it worse.

    First, Anne has given you some great thoughts and -wow- those video clips are great! Thanks for posting those, Anne.

    Last night, anxiety tried to visit me via dreams. I have been re-listening to Lissa Rankin's book on mindbody and she talks about the importance of approaching a cancer diagnosis in a hopeful way. (I don't want to digress too much so that's an abbreviated thought.

    Guess what the theme of the dream was? Cancer. TMS pain hit one usual area and quicker than a gnat on speed, I diagnosed the big C. "It's TMS," I told myself. The pain then jumped to another favorite area. "OMGosh! It's metastatic!" TMS said. "Shut up and go back to sleep," I replied.

    Gah. It's exhausting being me.

    Anyhoo. In times past, this would have kept me wide awake with panic. It's taken practice but I feel like I've got a much better handle on anxiety.

    The other thing I do is talk to myself. Sort of like what Anne does. Only I'll address the anxiety as though I'm talking to my best friend. "What are you anxious about? How realistic is the fear? Is this life threatening?"

    Then I'll move to positive statements like Dr. Schubiner talks about. This establishes new patterns. "I am a calm person. I fully and completely accept myself. I am the head and not the tail. I am strong and getting stronger…" You get the idea. I'm learning to trust my gut with the words I need to use at a particular time.

    I hope this helps!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson, yb44 and Ellen like this.
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I think you are on to something very important. The stories we tell ourselves and others about who we are create our reality. An important part of TMS healing is changing that story and the labels we use to describe ourselves. I have stopped telling myself and others that I am disabled, have physical limitations, anxious, depressed, have special needs, etc.

    And when something does pop up, the techniques that Anne and North Star have posted are great. Then anxiety is just an experience in the moment that will pass, and not an identity.
    mike2014 and North Star like this.
  7. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Loved what you said, Ellen!
  8. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    When I wake up and before getting out of bed in the morning, I tell myself what someone recently posted:
    "Today is going to be an easy and fun day." It helps to get me started on positive feet.
    North Star and Anne Walker like this.
  9. Carmela

    Carmela New Member

    I'd like to watch that video also. I can't kick these migraines. I'll try anything!
  10. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Good videos!

    I’m intrigued by the concept of asking for more. I could easily see myself doing that for the physical parts, which don’t actually scare me that much. Sort of like, “Sure, go ahead make me throw up, I don’t care.” I have the courage to do that much.

    For me anxiety is mostly in my mind though. I do the “what ifs” and “made up stories.” I know they are all false, but my brain likes to entertain the idea that maybe terrible things will happen.

    Do you embrace and ask for more negative thoughts too? I’m very scared to do that. I push those thoughts away as much as I can.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  11. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Waterbear, I think the whole point of the videos and the exercise itself is to sense into the physical sensations connected to the anxiety. It may feel like its all in your head but I promise there are corresponding physical sensations. If you ask the question "how do I know I am anxious?" and the answer is "because I am having an anxious or unpleasant thought" then you need to focus a little more on what is going on in your body. The two are connected. Anxiety is the anticipation of something in the future that may or may not be a real threat. Anxiety is the feeling of fear and worry. The feeling of uneasiness that anxiety causes may generate a lot of thoughts with "what ifs" and terrible outcomes, or those thoughts may generate the uncomfortable physical sensations. They feed each other. So if you can learn to sense into how you know you are anxious, the corresponding physical sensations, and then soothe them by allowing them to be without resistance, then the impulse to have the corresponding anxious thoughts may lesson. Also, when you notice you are having the anxious thoughts, the "what ifs", exploring all the potential terrible, you can identify them for what they are, just anxious thoughts. For me it is helpful to sense into the how the anxiety is manifesting in my body and disarm it by accepting it. As far as the negative thoughts, it is probably best to notice that you are having them and then redirect your mind in a more positive direction whenever you can.
    Waterbear and Ellen like this.
  12. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this post guys. I put it in my favorites list. I want to say something to Waterbear. Its great to feel the sensations attached to your emotions about anxious thoughts, that does work well, but don't try to make your fearful thoughts worse. That will just feed what you don't want. Learn to reframe these thoughts with a swishhttp://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/tony-robbins-the-swish-pattern.4016/.

    Remember though the fear of fear is not to be feared so you don't want to imagine you cant win this battle ok. Whatever comes dont judge it or fear it, just let it be and in case of pictures, you have the power to change what your thinking about. Think about it.
    Waterbear likes this.
  13. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    I have been having some anxiety lately. I have been using all the above process and it works. Thank you Waterbear for the original post. Thanks Ann for the videos. What this man shares is what I was taught by Dr. Evans. And, I keep hearing this as a good process from other types of practitioners. This is a great thread!
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

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  15. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Matthew and Ellen, I'm so glad this is helping! I am continually amazed at how creative TMS is. I often think that it truly does know me the best. It knows just how to get me. But it is a comfort to have techniques that are effective in disarming it.

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