Am I going to have anxiety disorder for my whole life?

by Sarah L.
(U.S.A.)

I’ve suffered from anxiety ever since I was about 16 and now I’m 28 and it really hasn’t got any better even though I’ve tried lots of different things. It might go away for a day or two but it always comes back.


Answer:

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your question – you were the very first to submit one! As a thank you I have sent you a free copy of the Anxiety Unravelled ebook. Hope it’s useful.

Back to answering this question…

First and foremost, I want to say that you definitely can recover. Life can feel normal again, just as you have experienced - even though it’s only been for a day or two at a time. The fact that you can experience ‘normal’ days is a very encouraging sign and suggests that you will be able to get on top of your anxiety very quickly once you really understand what it is that’s causing it and then making a few simple changes to tackle those causes. It’s almost always one or more of the factors listed on the Anxiety Unravelled Causes pages.

Secondly, I don’t know of any health condition that can actually be cured, in the sense of there being no risk of it ever recurring. So whilst you can recover from anxiety disorders, you will need to be mindful of when your body/mind is going out of balance and take the steps you need to get back in balance again (this is nothing too drastic really, it’s all about looking after yourself – see Tips).

The mistake we all make is in thinking that we should be able to live our lives in just the same way as everyone else.

We are all different. For example, eating mainly salads will make some feel great - energetic and full of life, whilst others will feel weak, low in energy, cold and jittery.

Some will get a real kick out of the thrill of skiing or sky diving, others may feel agitated, sleepless and anxious for some time afterwards.

The sensitive can’t understand why others can’t feel things the way they do and the insensitive think they should toughen up.

Likewise, when our stress levels get too high, some people are prone to anxiety problems, others are more prone to anger issues or heart attacks and others are more likely to suffer depression and inertia.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that there is always a cause behind episodes of anxiety even though it might not be immediately obvious what it is. This is often because it’s after a stressful period that anxiety problems arise, not necessarily during the stressful period. So it’s hard to make the connection. Once you become familiar with the kind of things that will tend to throw your nervous system out of balance (for example lots of studying into the night or partying) rather than cutting those things out of your life altogether you can just reduce them and pay special attention to some of the things that will be soothing to your system – for example, some extra meditation or yoga nidra, settling foods, oil massage etc.

There is lots that you can do to speed up your recovery and prevent you from ever being overwhelmed by anxiety again. But, it’s important to accept that this is a weak point for you, make some appropriate changes and stick with it!

I wish you the very best for a speedy recovery.

Jude

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Life long anxiety victim
by: Anonymous

I'm 55 years old I am only now coming to the conclusion that it's been anxiety that has affected my entire life.When I was very young I can remember laying on the floor and having what must of been an anxiety attack.The feeling was that ad every going very fast,when someone said something,to me it sounded like they were talking fast.I've never allowed myself to let anybody become close,I always felt as I wasn't good enough.Idont associate with any of my family or my wife's.seeming the battle and or cause has been anxiety.I believe in our God almighty and that belief and my wife's need for me to be there for her(wife suffers from M.S.)has kept me from giving up completely.Stress kills,God heals.


by: Jude @ anxietyunravelled

Hi, I think that so much less was known about anxiety 50 years ago - not to mention that it apparently wasn't as prevalent back then. It's unfortunate that information was less available, as it really helps us to be less afraid of the fear when we know what it is. Hopefully you have found some tips here that you can take on board to help you. J.

im sick every day
by: tearany

I don't know what to do I'm tired I have severe anxiety attacks every day all day I don't remember how it feels to breath normally I have to fight for my air I hate getting out of the bed in the morning because I know I'm going to be sick I tried a lot of remedys and doctors but they all say the same thing breath that's what I'm trying to do I feel so weak because the anxiety has taken me over I cant eat because I cant feel my food because I cant breath my child hates me because I'm sick people hate me because I'm sick no one calls to check to see if I have killed myself my whole family including my daughter moved away together because they dint want me to come to their house my illness has made me lose everything I love and I feel I cant get it or them back I'm going to be alone for the rest of my life because no one believes me that I am sick and I don't know what to do


by: Jude @ anxietyunravelled

Dear Tearany,

I’m sure most people that visit this site can relate in some way to what you are saying and I really feel for you. You are right – anxiety is a kind of sickness. But it’s one that we experience because of a combination of long term lifestyle and thought patterns and our response to our life circumstances. Fortunately, most of those things can be re-learnt.

The key is to really understand the underlying causes of anxiety, take action to make the necessary changes and commit to continuing those actions even if it feels like you’re not getting better - because if you make those changes it is absolutely guaranteed you will eventually start to recover. Maybe not in the short term, but gradually over time you will because it is a completely logical process.

If you need a little guidance on how to go about it try our 14 Day Treatment Plan (this doesn’t mean you will be better in 14 days but it will set you on the right path). Your recovery is in your hands.

One last thing – it’s easy to forget that the people around us suffer when we are sick – the more they love us the more they suffer and the longer that we are sick the more challenging it is for them. Most people just don't have the inner resources to deal with chronic illness in others.

All the best,
J.

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Fear of anxiety lasting the rest of my life.

I have been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for the last 11 years. Currently I'm 33 years old. Please help me to get out of fearing that it will continue for rest of the life :(

I feel anxious most of the time daily despite doing regular exercises, meditation. Please suggest to me how to stop thinking anxious thoughts all the time.

Answer

Dear A.,

I know that it’s really hard feeling anxious all the time and I really sympathise. It can feel like you have no control over what’s happening and the fear of it lasting forever, never really knowing why it’s happening, is very real.

It’s great that you’re meditating and doing some ‘exercises’ and I encourage you to keep doing that everyday. My experience though is that for many people meditation alone isn’t enough (although it is very important). This is why I recommend approaching the problem from lots of different angles and this is what anxietyunravelled.com is all about.

Anxiety isn’t just about your thoughts – the whole body is involved. So, you need to look at your lifestyle and diet, teach your nervous system to relax with yoga nidra deep relaxation and really understand how everyday things affect how you feel. Then look at the ‘Unwanted Thoughts’ page.

You definitely can feel better A., and I think if you look back over the last 11 years, although you may remember it as feeling really terrible all the time, there will have been some days that were not quite as terrible as others. You may not know why that was at the moment but take a look at the Causes page of the website and you’ll see that there are lots of fairly common experiences that will tend to aggravate a sensitised, anxious nervous system.

Be sure to check out the Tips and start bit by bit practising some of them, especially the ‘Five Step Process’, which you can use many times a day to start teaching your body that it’s OK to relax. As your body starts to relax, your mind will begin to relax too.

Keep up the meditation because it really helps us to see how our minds work and increases our ability to let go of troublesome thoughts.

Tackle your anxiety from lots of different angles if you can. Little by little you should see some improvement. But remember that for most people it can be very up and down, as even non-anxious people can have good days and bad. Just keep going with your routine.

It can feel a bit overwhelming and confusing when you’ve been given lots of ideas about how to tackle anxiety. In the Anxiety Unravelled ebook there is an Action Guide which will take you through a step by step approach to recovery. If you don’t want to purchase the whole book, I hope to have the Action Guide available separately with the next few months.

I really encourage you to have a good read of the website and not to despair. Start doing the things that will start to settle your body and mind and stick with it. You will get there, I’m sure. Good luck. ~ Jude

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Anxiety can it be inherited or is it part of our childhood?
by: Ashlee

I am from a family of anxious people. Myself my bother and two sisters experience anxiety but in different ways. One sibling has panic attacks, one has terrible nightmares and one has always had low level self respect. We all experience low self esteem and have been in therapy for anxiety related issues at different points. We had a lovely childood, we are all over 30 and our parents are still together however we were never 'daddies little princess' or popular in school. I have often wondered if anxiety is an learned experience or if one can be inherently wired to be anxious in some way? All four of us find we whisper words in public (like a tic but not) especially when hung over. I tend to say words like "I hate you" or "I love you" in public and it makes me feel like an idiot. I am tired of feeling anxious all the time and don't want to pass it on to my children.

It's a bit of both
by: Jude @ anxietyunravelled

Hi Ashlee, Scientists are still trying to find an ‘anxiety gene’ and work out why some experience anxiety under stress and others don’t. So far, they only seem to have been able to determine that anxiety is ’30-50%’ inherited, which doesn’t seem that helpful to me.

The best explanation I’ve come across is from Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine). This simple but profound health philosophy suggests that we are all born with a particular combination of body type and constitutional tendencies and there are definite strategies that we can use to bring out their positive characteristics and minimize the negative ones.

So, just as there are some people who will say that they only have to look at a cake to put on pounds and that they need to watch their diet and exercise to keep their weight under control, there are some people who need to watch their lifestyle habits to keep their anxiety tendencies under control. In other words, you aren’t doomed to anxiety for the rest of your life – you just need to take on board a few simple strategies. Ayurveda has lots of helpful tips about how to do this and you’ll find most of these on these pages. Don’t be fooled by how simple these seem – following these guidelines can make a significant difference.

It seems clear to me that we are born with certain tendencies, but this doesn't mean we are doomed. Even genetic tendencies need to be triggered. Our environment, what we learn from our upbringing, how we lead our lives - all these things can be controlled and changed. And this gives us power back over our anxiety rather than feeling like victims of it.

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