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I need help with anxiety

534 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  platorepublic
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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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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