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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been ridden with anxiety for a good ten or twelve years now.

I have been victim of child abuse (albeit not raped), and have been unable to cope since then. During the initial phase, I tried to cope by thinking it was my fault, and then compensating with trying too hard to learn sexual behavior theoretically in order to feel safe and valued again. Any contact with something that resembled the abuse situation stirred a very strong anxiety response, and with time, I learned avoidance.

When I was 20, I had some sessions with a therapist, and it helped me to understand my defense mechanisms and such, but it didn't helped to get to the root. I was still too anxious when trying to engage anything sex related. A couple of failed experiences too also cemented the association that sex was a bad thing, or as I have put in another thread, it made me think that sex = threat to ego.

Recently, I've been reading on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and trying to implement little aspects of it to deal with the anxiety that permeates this aspect of my life. At first, I tried to recognize and understand whenever I had negative thoughts that snowballed into anxiety. I was able to acknowledge the occurrence of these thoughts and was then able to know what situations triggered anxiety and why.

And then...I had my first panic attack. Since I had the tools from CBT, I tried to calm myself and put it in perspective, but to no avail. I tried to frame my thoughts - recognize that they are unrealistic, negative and unhelpful, but they still were intrusive and still had power over me.

After recovering from this initial panic attack, anxiety has been taking my day-to-day life without me being able to stop it. Another day I went to meet a friend at the mall and when i met her, I was blushing, rushing and unable to make sense of anything. I was light headed and frantic and I didn't knew why. And today, I just went to sleep, but woke up suddenly with heart palpitations and feeling uneasy and distressed. That is freaking making me concerned about my health and ability to cope with life in the future.

Right now, I'm feeling threatened by just about anything - I don't know if I'm going to able to get a job, if I'm going to be able to do anything really. I'm just nervous about everything, because I feel like I have control over nothing. I'm afraid I'm going to be unable to cope and recently, I have been unable to cope with life. Every measure I've tried has been proving either uneffective or seems to worsen the anxiety. I don't know what to do anymore.

And I can't afford going to therapy again, since I'm unemployed and my family has no means of helping me with this either.

This is a distress call. I need help.
 

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Hi. First off, I want to say so sorry about this. I suffer from PTSD and get panic attack all the time.

Do you know what trigger the anxiety right now? What I mean is, do you feel like the stress you are dealing with are making it worse?

And also, have you thought about getting help from your state? They have programs where people can get medical if they are unemployed and then you can see a therapist to get more help. (I am not sure where you are located by the way, so I am going to assume you are in the US?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for replying, @KelseyT

No, I don't live in the US. However, i'll look into if there's a program of sorts where I live.

I laid in bed, tired but okay. I wrapped myself under the blankets and started to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Just when I was about to make the leap into dreamland (Right when your inner monologue starts make less and less sense and it just goes into fading), I suddenly got alert and flipped myself to get on my back. I felt my heart pounding, and I thought "Why am I so worked up?"

I felt a bit bad for not going to a party I was invited (I was really tired to go), and thought about what I would be missing and how that is jeopardizing my relationships with my friends. Then, I jumped back at the reunion I had today with another group of friends where one of my girl-friends attempted to make me dance in public, to which I fought against. "I was really out of my element and it was just a reaction to what was being pulled at me.", I told myself. I tried to get back to sleep, but then i got concerned that soon my sister would burst through the door, turn lights on and start talking as she does, and my little nest of peace would be gone. Then, I just got anxious about being anxious, which made a positive feedback loop.

There was no specific trigger this time, that I'm aware of. I'm guessing that the blabber that these last thoughts before sleeping are made of had something that triggered the attack, but I'm not aware of what it was.
 

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Thanks for replying, @KelseyT

No, I don't live in the US. However, i'll look into if there's a program of sorts where I live.

I laid in bed, tired but okay. I wrapped myself under the blankets and started to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. Just when I was about to make the leap into dreamland (Right when your inner monologue starts make less and less sense and it just goes into fading), I suddenly got alert and flipped myself to get on my back. I felt my heart pounding, and I thought "Why am I so worked up?"

I felt a bit bad for not going to a party I was invited (I was really tired to go), and thought about what I would be missing and how that is jeopardizing my relationships with my friends. Then, I jumped back at the reunion I had today with another group of friends where one of my girl-friends attempted to make me dance in public, to which I fought against. "I was really out of my element and it was just a reaction to what was being pulled at me.", I told myself. I tried to get back to sleep, but then i got concerned that soon my sister would burst through the door, turn lights on and start talking as she does, and my little nest of peace would be gone. Then, I just got anxious about being anxious, which made a positive feedback loop.

There was no specific trigger this time, that I'm aware of. I'm guessing that the blabber that these last thoughts before sleeping are made of had something that triggered the attack, but I'm not aware of what it was.
I would try to look for a program in your country that can help you out. Plus, if you honestly just can't find a job because of your condition, is there a program that can help people out who are on disability of some sort? I am sure there is help out there where you can have some type of income coming in and see a doctor for your anxiety.

In the US, if Social Security grant your disability case then you will get a monthly benefit check if you just cannot work because of your condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would try to look for a program in your country that can help you out. Plus, if you honestly just can't find a job because of your condition, is there a program that can help people out who are on disability of some sort? I am sure there is help out there where you can have some type of income coming in and see a doctor for your anxiety.

In the US, if Social Security grant your disability case then you will get a monthly benefit check if you just cannot work because of your condition.
Thanks, I'm looking already and there are some universities that have some beneficent therapy groups.

Also, thank you for your concern, but I think I may have misrepresentated my worries about job. Anxiety is not the cause, it's just another response to the fact that I have some waiting time before being enabled to work in my field - I've recently graduated and I need to register with the council before going to work in my field.

I've tried to do some Therapy Writing yesterday, and I'm feeling a little better about what bothered me. And, I'm going to feel silly now, but I was also having some muscle twitches in my chest due to my workout, and I thought it was my heart racing too fast, since it was quite rhytmic. Turns out I took that as a panic attack symptom and got a panic attack due to that.

I will be okay, but I'm glad you took your time to help.
 

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Anxiety can be one of the features of depression, might be worth considering.

If not, or you can't access medical help, maybe consider meditation? I get wound up at times, and was having problems with anxiety last year (ended up with dangerously high blood pressure, but that would be because I am middle aged, don't you go worrying about that now!).

Anyway, a friend recommended this site, and it is really, really good. Given your past it still might not dig out the roots of your anxiety, but it could help to free you from the unpleasant physical manifestations of anxiety. The short programme is free, and the rest would cost less than a single session with a therapist.

Meditation | Mindfulness | Guided Meditation | Stress Management | Andy Puddicombe | Headspace

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anxiety can be one of the features of depression, might be worth considering.

If not, or you can't access medical help, maybe consider meditation? I get wound up at times, and was having problems with anxiety last year (ended up with dangerously high blood pressure, but that would be because I am middle aged, don't you go worrying about that now!).

Anyway, a friend recommended this site, and it is really, really good. Given your past it still might not dig out the roots of your anxiety, but it could help to free you from the unpleasant physical manifestations of anxiety. The short programme is free, and the rest would cost less than a single session with a therapist.

Meditation | Mindfulness | Guided Meditation | Stress Management | Andy Puddicombe | Headspace

Best of luck.
I'll definitely try to implement it. Thanks for sharing!

I used to be depressed in my teenage years, but got over it as time passed. I'll keep an eye open, but I hope not to be depressed - that'd suck right now. I've been talking with people around me and I've accepted that I'm under a great deal of stress, and much of it was tried to be ignored by me. I'm trying to accept my situation and deal with it accordingly, rather than just wishing for it to go.

Meditation is surely a thing that I'm willing to learn - sometimes is hard to quiet the mind.
 

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I'm sorry. I also tend to have panic attacks at night and I don't know what really triggers them. I think it tends to have more to do with what is going on in my life in general than just the immediate thoughts, because I've woken up from a dream having a panic attack (although the dream was about a "murdering" entity that causes single mothers to commit suicide, and looks like a red hoop).

I sometimes try to breath slowly when I start to hyperventilate, and to focus on the breath going out (and to really allow all the breath to go out and to savor the period between exhaling and inhaling). Another thing that has helped was when I focused on tensing my feet, my legs, my stomach...up to the face, ears, head, and then relaxing them--trying to allow my whole body to relax. But sometimes nothing seems to help in the moment.

When I look back at the times I had my panic attacks (I don't have them all the time) there was usually some complex issue being triggered. Like, maybe I felt like my job was making me take advantage of people, or that maybe I was developing romantic feelings for someone that I did not want to (unrequited--which makes it a bit safer unless you're still talking to them).

I wasn't abused as a child but I lost my virginity to a date rape and I feel like I still have some issues from that (otherwise I don't know where they come from). But I stumbled across some information about tantric sex therapy that I think looks promising. It suggested things like taking a break from sexual activity when you feel uncomfortable, and gazing into the other person's eyes to try to connect again and feel safe. Obviously, this could only be done with someone is understanding, close, and trustworthy.

If you are under a great deal of stress then it would be helpful for you to learn and practice some methods of stress reduction. It looks like you're already interested in CBT, and then meditation and visualizations might help too. It's easier said than done (for me, at least!) Good luck! You sound like you are determined and focused on working through this and I don't doubt you will find some new breakthroughs soon.
 

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Regular sleep schedule - This one was hard, but it really paid off. Good sleep hygiene, carefully structuring my day so I'm calm by bedtime, plenty of bright natural light in the bedroom, and probably a lot more I've forgotten.


Lots of sunlight - Being near windows when I'm indoors, spending more time out of doors. In the cloudy parts of winter, I supplement with a blue-LED panel.


Low use of drugs (which, yes, includes coffee) - I have caffeine about once a week.


Frequent, vigorous physical exercise - Running, cycling, and hiking definitely stabilize my moods and make me more relaxed. A short run is nice, but I get the most mood benefit from things that last more than an hour.


Yoga, massage, steam - Being anxious makes me tense up. Tense muscles make me anxious. I break that cycle by really relaxing the muscles.


Minimal refined carbs - I don't know why, but the more sugar and white flour in my diet, the more prone I am to mood swings.


Supplements - My doctor recommended a B-100 and a sublingual B-12 daily to minimize the effects of stress. If I skip them for a while, I really notice. I also take fish oil, which studies show helps with depression.


A quiet home - I used to have loud upstairs neighbors, and their presence created a continuous baseline of anxiety that made it harder to deal with other things. Having a quiet refuge makes it easier to recover from the stresses of daily life.


Meditation - The practice itself makes me calmer. But the real benefit for me was in learning to treat my moods like weather: something to endure but not worry about. I used to get anxious about being anxious, and depressed about being depressed. I'm much better now at just riding out the waves of emotion that we all have.
 
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