Am I paranoid? ocd? or have an eye problem?

by priya

Question:

I have been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, ocd, dysthemia and fbd. What is fbd???

When I try to calm down or take anti anxiety meds, my mind keeps looking at everything paranoidly. Either peripheral vision if I'm nervous or wandering eyes. I keep asking to myself, what's this? what's that? why is she staring at me (even if it's my mom), are they looking at me? etc... this makes me look like I'm interested in them or some kind of paranoid. I can't concentrate on what's happening in front of my eyes. I keep scanning at sides with these questions. Is there any cure for this weird eye problem??? Because of this I am not able to do what I need to....outside home. My eye doc said I have no problem with my eyes.

Answer:

Hi Priya,

That all sounds pretty exhausting. I think what you are probably experiencing is one of the possible side effects of your anxious nervous system.

Look at it this way, everything that happens in the body when you are anxious is to do with its attempt to keep you safe. Your body and mind have been tense and stressed out so long that they think that you are in some terrible kind of danger. That’s why you feel anxious most of the time – the brain doesn’t want you to relax because it’s been getting signals from you (because of any one of a number of stresses that have been going on for a while, or because of your reaction to them) that there’s a danger out there. It figures that if you aren’t on guard all the time something bad may happen and the brain’s number one priority is to protect itself.

So, in your case, (and many people get this to some extent) your eyes are on the alert for signs of danger, so you are picking up little movements from the corners of your eyes that, when the nervous system is more relaxed, you wouldn’t notice. It’s the same thing with why you are feeling a bit paranoid.

All of these symptoms will start to settle down if you can start taking on board some of the recommendations from this site.

Number one, you need to start teaching your body to relax. Once your body can relax, your mind will also start to relax.

Another important thing is to say to yourself when you have those thoughts, “it’s just because of my nervous system, and I don’t need to take those thoughts seriously. I’m not better yet, but I’m going to start doing things that will help myself and little by little those kind of thoughts and feelings will go away.”

It may take a while, but I believe that you can get over this - you just need to start making a few changes, a little bit at a time.

Good luck Priya,

Jude

P.S. I don't know what fbd is - I haven't been able to find anything that makes sense in your situation. You'll probably need to ask your doctor.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit to this site! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a question!.

Can I take herbal medicines in combination with anti-anxiety drugs?


(Australia)

Hi Jude, I found your website yesterday and it was just at the right time, I am so grateful for your expertise on the topic and for the fact that the materials are not too expensive so everyone can buy them.

I'm in a deep hole... a body full of anxiety (attacks since I was 16 now I'm 44). I'm on anti depressants and anxiety tablets and I'm going to a physiologist. She was the one suggesting meditation. After reading your website, buying your book and the Yoga Nidra mp3 (which I performed 3x already), I feel for the first time in my life that I will be able to temper the beast. I always thought that the only way to get rid of anxiety was through medicines as I was told it is a shortness of a chemical in the brain. Of course there is the doubt, such as: if it is so easy why do people still have bad thoughts and can't cope with it anymore.

I felt really good after the Yoga Nidra. However today I cannot stop thinking...arghhh.

I probably do the five steps 150x a day, but again it is the first time in my life that I look the beast in the eye instead of tensing up.

Anyway I'm sorry I go on like this as I do have a question.

Is it possible to take some special herbal medication, more specific than B complex even if you are on Escitalopram and Alprazolam?
I am for the moment on heaps of medication because of a heart condition witch is reoccurring and is companioned with long stretches of pain relief medication which then affect the stomach so I can hardly eat anything.

And how many times can you do meditation or relaxation? Can you overdo it?

Hope to hear soon from you.
Warmest regards,
Greet Recoules

Comments for Can I take herbal medicines in combination with anti-anxiety drugs?

Click here to add your own comments

Herbs are often very useful!
by: Jude

Hi Greet,

It sounds like you have taken a big step forward in your recovery – I congratulate you and encourage you to keep going! Remember, learning to relax more and more is never harmful. Whenever you feel doubt – do the five steps; whenever you feel confused – do the five steps; whenever you feel frustrated, tense, have a racing mind – do the five steps! Slowly but surely it will make a difference. It can be an up and down process, but you’ll get there in the end.

To answer your question – because you are on quite a lot of medication you do need to be a bit careful about adding other things to the mix. I would advise you to ask your doctor if she thinks it would be OK to start taking some Withania somnifera tablets. This herb has been shown to help normalize adrenal function and increase resistance to stress. I believe it may make you feel bit drowsy in combination with your anti-depressant/anxiety medication, so you should start with a small dose, but ask your doctor.

It’s safe to meditate or practice yoga nidra 2 or 3 times a day – so for instance two yoga nidra and one meditation practice for up to 15-20 minutes each to begin with. It’s important to balance your practice with activity. If you feel drawn to practice more often, see if you can find a meditation teacher who runs retreats designed to unwind stress over a period of a few days. It’s really beneficial to have the support of an expert.

I really wish you well with your recovery,
All the best,
Jude

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit to this site! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a question!.

My biggest fear is passing out in public.. Should I worry?

by Jacqueline
(Nevada)

Question:

I was making great strides with my panic after reading a book that said I could not pass out. I recently had a doctor tell me that it IS possible to pass out from a panic attack, which has put me back into a tailspin. I found articles online that say it's possible, as well. What is the real answer? I've been having attacks and anxiety for over 2 years, and have never passed out... I would like to think that means I won't. Help!

Answer:

Hi Jacqueline,

Logic suggests to me two things:

1) The only physiological response during a panic attack that would be likely to cause someone to pass out is hyperventilation, or in other words, over breathing.

In practise this is usually taking many short in breaths without any equivalent deep out breaths. This leads to a decrease in carbon dioxide in the bloodstream which leads to a constriction of blood vessels causing lightheadedness, dizziness, tingling in hands, lips and feet and, potentially, fainting.

If you've ever wondered why people are sometimes given a paper bag to breathe into when they are freaking out about something it's because they are hyperventilating, and breathing the same air in and out into a paper bag starts to bring their carbon dioxide levels back to normal.

2) If you've never experienced this in the last two years, it is extremely unlikely that you will in the future. It's been found that people who experience panic attacks tend to have a specific set of triggers and reactions and these don't change significantly. So you are unlikely to develop new symptoms.

One of the important steps in dealing with panic attacks is not, as many people suggest, taking deep breaths, which implies taking deep breaths in. The important thing is breathing out! As you breathe out your body tends to begin to let go and relax, to feel heavier and more settled. So, focus on lengthening your out breaths and let the in breaths take care of themselves.

If you follow the Five Step practice regularly throughout the day, not just during a panic attacks, then the likelihood of passing out because of a panic attack is practically zero. Don't worry, you'll be fine!

All the best with your recovery,
Jude


Click here to post comments

Join in and submit to this site! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a question!.

Is feeling excessive happiness when I see other people a nervous problem?

by Rachel

Question:
I always sit at home and study for exams. When I go out in the evenings I feel happy just in the presence of a person. I can't concentrate on studies when someone sits with me. I feel like I want to stop doing anything serious and start playing with them. My heart is concentrated only on them. Is this an anxiety related problem? I have general anxiety disorder too.

Answer:

Hi Rachel,

That’s a really good question! And the answer is yes … and no. Good old Ayurveda holds the key to understanding this, but in short, it’s not exactly a nervous problem but it is to do with your general make up as a human being. You could say it’s the same part of the body’s energy system that has made you susceptible to general anxiety disorder that makes you excitable and easily stimulated when seeing other people..

Ayurveda calls this energy Vata. It’s what creates movement in the body. Ayurveda says that those of us who have a predominance of this energy, or who have exacerbated it, may find that their minds can get quickly caught up in ‘what ifs’ (“what if I fail my exam?” - “what if this relationship turns out just like the last one?” - “what if I never feel well again?” - and so on) and the body responds by getting tense and anxious. In some ways, you could say that this is a creative and imaginative response to life - too imaginative in fact! (The other energy systems in Ayurveda are the energy of stability which is called Kapha, and the energy of assimilation, called Pitta.)

In a similar way, it’s this Vata energy that can also make many people who suffer anxiety issues excitable or easily stimulated, in this case by the presence of someone else when you plan to do something that needs focus. On the positive side, when Vata energy is lively in people, it can lead to feelings of exhilaration, creativity, vivaciousness; on the down side it can lead to oversensitivity, indecisiveness, flightiness, inability to concentrate and anxiety.

Excitement and anxiety are actually very similar, it’s just one state has positive associations and the other doesn’t. There have been times in the past when I’ve been so excited by an idea that I’ve had trouble sleeping! Not so very different from anxiety preventing sleep.

The other thing, Rachel, is that studying for exams is pretty intense. Most people will find it easy to be distracted when they should be doing something else that perhaps they would prefer to not be doing! It’s pretty normal to be distracted by other people in these circumstances, and it’s pretty normal to be happy to see someone when you’ve been on your own studying for hours.

It’s also good to know this about yourself. For instance, in a similar way, I know that I will rarely be able to buy anything for myself if I’m shopping with other people. It’s just too distracting. It makes it really hard for me to make any decisions about what to buy. So, for you, it’s good to know that if you need to study, you are much better off doing it on your own. No study groups for you!

This is a fascinating subject and one that could fill many shelves of books. I will definitely be making more information on Ayurveda available here in the future. For now, you may like to check out Deepak Chopra’s website which has some great information to get you started.

Good luck with your studies!

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit to this site! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a question!.

Palpitations Creating Health Anxiety

by Tony Phillips
(Galax, Virginia USA)

Question:

I have suffered with anxiety and panic for 17 years. The panic not so much now, but the anxiety is a constant companion. I came off medication in march, and I am tying to be healthier overall, diet, weight loss, exercise, and just started talk therapy. What bothers me is palpitations and PVC's (skipped beats). I have been checked out by my physician with blood work, EKG, holter monitor, and she assures me it is from anxiety. The problem is, the palpitations are making the anxiety worse. How can I stop this heart/health anxiety and get my mind on healing and not on feeling like I am dying?

Answer:

Hi Tony,

First of all, congratulations on making all those changes in your lifestyle – it’s very brave to come off medication and a very positive thing to give your system a chance to rebalance. You should feel proud of yourself.

It seems like your palpitations and skipped heartbeats are one of your major triggers (see the Anxiety Unravelled Causes pages). Almost every anxious person has an area or two that is especially anxiety stimulating. These are usually symptoms that the body has produced as part of the anxious state. So of course many of them are scary and they tend to create a negative feedback loop. In other words, anxiety produces the symptoms, which produce more anxiety, which keeps the symptoms in place. Then, naturally, we start to worry about worrying about the symptoms and we tend to think, “if only this symptom would go away - I could cope with everything else and get better more quickly.” This is all completely normal and everyone encounters this on the road to recovery.

So, how to stop feeling anxious about these particular symptoms? How to stop feeling scared of something that is scary? The following are the four most important things, as I see them:

First, you don’t need to completely lose your fear of the symptoms in order to get better. If the palpitations are a source of anxiety for you, that is not likely to change. What you can start to change is how you respond. You can begin to fool your body/mind that these aren’t scary symptoms at all. Being able to do this even a little bit will make a difference. Which leads me to…

Second, the way to do this is by practising responding in exactly the opposite way to what is natural to you. In other words, you make a special effort to relax your body instead of tensing up and to give yourself a pep talk instead of beating yourself up about it. The usual sorts of things we say to ourselves are along the lines of “oh no, not again, why can’t I just deal with this, I’m never going to get better if this keeps happening, this is hopeless” and so on. What will help your brain send out the signals that it’s OK to stop producing these symptoms is more like, “ it’s OK, it’s just palpitations, they are harmless, I’m just having these symptoms because I’m not better yet, the doctor says it’s nothing to worry about, I’ll be OK, I’ll just keep practising all the things I know will help. It may take some time, but I’ll get there eventually. The more I can let go, the more quickly I’ll recover.”

Third, one of the most helpful ways of dealing with anxiety producing symptoms is the Five Steps (check out Stop Panic Attacks in Five Simple Steps). These steps are just as relevant to easing any stressful situation as they are to dealing with a panic attack. In brief, they are 1. Know it’s safe. 2. Rag Doll (i.e. flop your whole body) 3. Breathe out 4. Accept 5. Let go. See the page on this site for more information.

Fourth, keep on doing what you can to restore balance to your body/nervous system. There are lots of helpful things you can do and this site is devoted to offering tried and true, logical approaches to help you on your way. The more you can teach your body to relax, the more quickly it will get the message that it doesn’t need to send out the chemicals to keep it on red alert any more. You don’t have to succeed at this all the time – any shift in that direction will start to make a difference.

Tony, it may take a while, but you will be making progress all the time, even if it sometimes feels like three steps forwards and two steps back. As you move forward your symptoms will start to ease and one day, magically, they will disappear if you give your body a chance and just keep on, keeping on. Few people realise that having an anxiety disorder can feel like facing incredible danger everyday and that sufferers develop amazing courage as they recover. You have already made really courageous steps.

All the best with your recovery, Jude.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit to this site! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a question!.

How do I stop wondering about life and death mysteries ?? scary !!

Question:
I had a traumatic accident long ago and tried lsd once and had a very bad experience with reality. Thinking about death always brings these feelings back now 20+ years later. I think I made an association between dying and panic. So bad I can hardly watch TV cause TV has so much death in its programs.

Answer:
Well, that’s quite a question! I’ll do my best to give you some suggestions, given that I don’t know very much about you.

First thing, I think you’ll find it helpful to take some Flower Essences. I would understand you possibly feeling sceptical about this but I have seen remarkable results with babies and small children, animals and even plants which suggests that the placebo effect here is negligible, so please give it go. I have found them to be enormously useful in lots of different ways but, specifically, one client whose fear of death was a real problem for her reported that after a few days of taking the drops she just didn’t think about it anymore, which was a surprise for us both. The remedies may not have such a dramatic effect for you but at the very least they should help you to cope.

So, see if you can get hold of the following Bach Flower Remedies: Rescue Remedy – to take any time you are feeling overwhelmed. It should also help to clear some of the negative effects from your accident and drug experiences. Also a mixture of Aspen (for fear of the unknown), Mimulus (for more everyday types of fear) and White Chestnut (for unwanted thoughts). You should be able to get these from a health food shop, naturopath or other alternative health practitioner or possibly at some drug stores/pharmacists (and of course on line). See www.anxietyunravelled.com/Bach-flower-remedies.html for more details.

Now you have raised a big topic, so bear with me ☺

It has been said that you can’t get rid of darkness by fighting the darkness. You can only get rid of it by bringing in light. And I think this is what is needed in your case, rather than trying to reassure you about the intelligence of the universe! Just start by doing practical things to bring more ease to your nervous system.

Have you noticed that when you are say, tired, or stressed, or hungry, or hungover, or perhaps you just woke up in a low mood, that everything is more difficult to manage and you are more reactive to everything? It’s harder to make decisions or feel enthusiastic about anything and life feels flat. You probably feel more irritable, impatient and over-sensitive too. Well, this is an example of how our physiology affects our thinking. Everything is easier when we are feeling optimistic, energetic and in good health - when we are in balance. A settled body = a settled mind. You can't force your mind to not think disturbing thoughts, but you can start to create a body/mind that isn't so reactive (bringing in some light!).

So, my suggestion for you is to focus some attention on settling your nervous system. When you are out of balance, or anxious and panicky, you are so much more sensitive to troubling thoughts. A thought that, when you are feeling good, you would just let slip away without giving it too much attention can take on huge proportions when your nervous system is unsettled. There’s masses of information on anxietyunravelled.com about how to go about this – most of it is relevant even if you are not specifically suffering from an anxiety disorder. So check out all the lifestyle, coping and dietary tips in particular.

More than anything, trusting that it is safe to relax, to deeply relax to the core of your being, is probably going to be most helpful for you. And then to use techniques that will help you do this. The Five Step Process to stop panic attacks (www.anxietyunravelled.com/stop-panic-attacks.html) is actually just as useful in any situation that is presenting a challenge. Use it regularly.

It may be, that because of your “bad experience with reality” that the idea of meditating or even relaxation exercises such as Yoga Nidra are just too scary for you to consider at this stage. I also had a bad LSD experience way back in my 20s and felt very uneasy for a long time after that about the nature of reality. More than anything else, it led me to look for answers and start exploring different avenues of knowledge but it took me a long time to feel comfortable with the idea of meditating. Looking back, I can see that it was after I understood how to take better care of myself that it no longer seemed scary at all. Turns out that meditating may have been the single most useful thing I ever learnt!

Meditating is something that can help you get to the point where you can truly see that accepting, letting go of resistance and learning how to let go of tension when you are feeling stressed is both safe and the quickest way to feeling better.

In the end, you don’t know the answer to the mystery of life, and neither do I. So much of the anxiety we experience comes from the feeling that the universe is not safe. But, is it helpful to believe that the universe is not a benevolent place? Not really. Often we believe our negative thoughts in preference to any positive ones, but how does that help us? These days we are fortunate to have the knowledge of countless people who have had near death experiences and the knowledge of many an eastern saint or ‘enlightened’ being that reassures us that we don’t need to fear death. At some point, when you are a bit more settled, you may be able to do some research on this – just a little at a time at first.

That’s all I have space for here, I hope it helps a little – let me know how you go.

All the very best,
Jude

Comments for How do I stop wondering about life and death mysteries ?? scary !!

Click here to add your own comments

I love this image -
by: Anonymous

- of bringing in light to get rid of darkness - it seems so obvious now!! We spend so much time fighting our anxiety instead of doing the things that are good for us. Thx.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit to this site! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a question!.