I have just joined this forum. I have regular bouts of severe and obsessional anxiety and also less frequent bouts of depression. I'm in my mid-forties now and have had some sort of these symptoms since I was in my early teens. I had been using substances to numb symptoms (and also emotions) for several decades, but I am happy to say that I recently successfully completed a 13 day residential/medical detox and have now been home for a week and have not used this substance at all 🙂
The anxiety is felt so physically, it can be very paralysing. It is often not related to particular thoughts or concerns, seems to just take over my body and then the brain follows trying to pinpoint the cause, but this almost never calms the physical symptoms.
I have seen many psychologists and psychiatrists over the decades, but nothing has gotten to the root cause of the very uncomfortable symptoms. Doing breathing exercises, actual exercise, taking a bath, trying to relax have not been successful.
Hopefully I can pick up some tips or suggestions from these forums. Thanks for reading and all the best 🙂 P.S. I would also like to help others in the forums if I can.
Hi Maisy Nina,
Welcome, I am so sorry you had such a long wait for a reply. I haven't been on the forums much this past week but I usually look for posts that have not been answered yet. Of the things you have mentioned, I have little experience other than depression which I have been dealing with since about 12 (now in my 60s). This is a really good step for you to take as the forums are non judgemental and in most cases there will be a number of people who can relate to you. As you read some of the other posts, you will realise you are not alone and that helps a great deal also. I would suggest (if you have not already) reading through some of the posts in the Anxiety section of the forum, perhaps you will be able to get some insights from other members on how they are dealing with similar issues.
I also want to say how courageous you are to have kicked the substances to the curb, not everyone does so well done on your detox, it is a huge achievement and you can feel very proud of yourself 😇. You will also be able to encourage others who are trying to do the same because you now have that experience behind you.
It says a lot about who you are, that you want to help others as well as helping yourself here, I hope you find it helpful with your healing journey.
If you are a reader (ebook, audio or paperback), I can suggest a few authors you might find helpful, Gabor Mate, Peter A Levine, Bessell Van Der Kolk, Deb Dana / Stephen Porges, these are all authors with books on Anxiety, Trauma response, etc. Perhaps they will help you understand your anxiety better and help you find your triggers, once you know your triggers, it will be easier to understand what is going on when you have an episode.
I hope you will find this helpful and feel free to chat some more.
Thanks for your thoughtful and encouraging post 🙂 I have watched both Gabor Mate and Bessell Van Der Kolk, I also have Bessell's book The Body Keeps The Score (or something like that) that I still have to finish or maybe even start again and finish!
Thanks re detox, it certainly was a unique experience haha but now I am off both addictive substances for 4 weeks tomorrow, and I am very happy about it and although I am new, I will definitely offer kind advice to those asking or who are interested in the topic.
I hope your depression is behaving itself at the moment, I can relate to that very much. I neglected my mental and physical health quite badly over the last several years, but I am happy to say that I have gone back to regular walking as a part of my day and it must be helping (as well as being of alcohol etc!) as I am calmer and happier and more productive/motivated in the last 2 weeks than I have been in years. Instead of lying in bed to avoid the world and crying all the time I am getting back to looking after myself and my space and am so happy to be feeling so much more peace and positivity. I wish that for every person, no matter what they are dealing with.
Thanks again and I am sure we will chat again soon ❤️
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Thank you so much for your strength in posting here, and welcome to the forums. First of all, amazing effort on your 13 day detox, that is such an achievement after an extended period of use or misuse. Well done.
I'd like to ask, what has your experience been with the coping strategies that you've tried? Have you found that the symptoms have persisted, or have they stopped temporarily then come back?
I too struggle with anxiety, and I do several things to manage feelings of anxiety. Journalling tends to help offer some relief - this could be a written expression of your feelings, or perhaps doodling or colouring in a black-and-white picture, or even writing about something completely unrelated to what you're feeling. I also listen to a lot of music. Energetic, dance music is my go-to if I'm not feeling great. Talking to friends, family, or loved ones also tends to ease anxious feelings for me, whether I'm chatting with them in person, on call or over text.
I hope this can resonate with you. Please feel free to chat with us more if you'd like, we're here to support you.
Take care, SB
Good Morning 🙂
Thanks for your message. Today I have been out of detox 2 weeks and happy to say I have no desire to use those substances at all!
Sorry to hear that you struggle with anxiety too, it can be debilitating 😞 The strategies that you have mentioned are good ones, but for me, once I was in the grip of a terrible bout of anxiety, the feelings were so physically crippling I didn't find anything but substances worked (although I am sure they made it worse in the long run, it just took me years to get the courage to ask for help and get it). Since I have been home I have made it a priority (especially while I am temporarily not working) to include good walks in my day. I am just about to embark on my longest walk so far in a few minutes. If I am feeling ok at the time, I feel it may help to control oncoming anxiety? Still not sure about it yet, but again since being home for 2 week I have had less intense anxiety and basically no depression at all! Part of it may be because I decided to change my mindset and be more organised and less chaotic in the way I live my life? I do enjoy the adult colouring books too, but that would only calm me or focus me if I was mildly anxious or depressed. I was put on some extra vitamin supplements while in detox and I am still taking them - one of them is magnesium and I could be wrong, but i think it may help control anxiety. Have a look at some natural supplements? I will still see my dr about prescription meds for anxiety that are not benzo-based like the ones i had to come off as well during detox. I have tried several that were useless at helping me, but I will research some more.
Not sure i have helped! But thanks again for your thoughtful message, it is much appreciated! i hope you have a good and peaceful day (oh yeah, I am literally taking my days one at a time and making notes of things i have to do or appointments instead of trying to keep everything in my head - that can make me anxious as i was afraid i would forget something).
Take good care! Love to speak with you again 🙂
Hi Maisy Nina,
It sounds like you are doing all the right things to improve your health, I know how hard it can be to get motivated so well done. Being off the substances will improve the depression, although they can mask the symptoms, they can also make them worse in the long term. You are taking back your life, nothing is more empowering than that, so keep up the good work you are doing.
I have found with certain books, you need to be ready for them and you may not have been ready for Bessell's book the first time. It is one of the many that is on my long reading list, I started it but will start again when the time is right. Go with your instincts in terms of what subjects will help you at any given time.
I had many years of not even knowing that I was dealing with depression (for me it is dysthymia and chronic major depression) because I was so young when it started and mental health was not an open subject in those days, you were just expected to 'suck it up and get on with it'. I was in my 40s before I was diagnosed, by then a lot of damage was done so it is a long journey back for me, I still struggle most days with the day to day stuff but joining the forums earlier this year has been a positive step for me and I hope for you too. It is such a comfort to be able to talk openly about the things that you are struggling with, or even the occasional wins you have, with people who get what it is like to deal with mental health issues.
Keep taking care of yourself, you are a brave warrior soul 💖
2 weeks out of detox is another incredible feat, well done! 😊 I'm glad to hear you're also changing your mindset and going on walks, two very important ways to improve wellbeing. Taking days one at a time is also fantastic, that's how I live my life when I'm struggling as well - it helps everything feel less overwhelming.
Great to hear from you again!
I appreciate you checking in! I am going really well at the moment, thank you for asking. I just decided to log in here to see if there was anyone I could encourage and then your message popped up. I am keeping up with my nutrition and exercise and of course staying of the alcohol (7 weeks sober tomorrow) and I am positive these things are helping my mental health. I am still on a public waitlist for some counselling, but I am feeling calmer and happier so I am going to find a new part-time job and then next year go back to full-time once I find the right role for me.
Thanks again, I really appreciate your message and hope you have a good evening x