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Topic: Positive thoughts not taking away the *feeling* of anxiety. Medication?

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. PaulJF
    PaulJF avatar
    2 posts
    26 September 2021
    (My first post.)

    I'm wondering if this seems realistic, or if the desire for a magic-bullet cure is deranging my clarity on the issue:

    Sometimes I get anxious out of nowhere, sometimes a day or two after a strong coffee, and always a day or two after any booze. So I can reliably induce this awful feeling in the bottom of my chest chemically, but also it can apparently come out of nowhere. If I don't pay attention to the feeling, my thoughts are anxious thoughts, "what's going to go wrong/what if I get "found out" (even though there's nothing to find out)/what if I've not set my phone reminders correct and I miss something critical..." (etc etc... you know the drill).

    But if I then notice the feeling itself, and I choose to recognise this awful feeling of impending doom as a chemical imbalance in my brain, I'm able to calm myself a little and stop with the catastrophizing somewhat, but the feeling itself doesn't go away.

    So, if my half-baked theories are correct, a chemical imbalance in my brain is making me FEEL like there's a reason to be deeply worried, and then my thinking brain is struggling to find real world things to fit that feeling. It's not my thoughts that are creating the feeling, the feeling is engendering the thoughts.

    IF this is correct, then it would seem fixing the chemical imbalance with medication is a smart move (with eyes open to the side effects). And I feel like CBT and such can give me tools for dealing with the feeling, but medication might stop the feeling showing up in the first place meaning I don't even have to deal with it.

  2. Monty-Finn
    Monty-Finn avatar
    4 posts
    26 September 2021 in reply to PaulJF

    Hi Paul,

    What I get from your post is significant self-awareness. (Good job, you.)

    I've always thought of anxiety as a series of dominoes in the brain. you trigger the first domino, and then the other dominoes fall, one by one... each domino, is a physical reaction - tightening of the chest. tension in the shoulders. difficulty to take a deep clarifying breath. the 'noisy breath' as opposed to the 'silent easy breath'.
    sometimes, we don't know what triggers the first domino - and here's where a mental health professional can help you. but the body just follows through...

    some of us go into fight, or flight, or freeze. all because something triggered domino number one.
    it might be worthwhile keeping a journal. eg: Monday morning, felt anxious. physical symptoms were...
    Thursday afternoon had a small sense of 'doom', but otherwise ok. Sunday, I realised I had spoke to XYZ, or the NEWS was distressing... sometimes, when we 'see' information - it can help us find an 'a-ha' moment...

    For me, the 'domino / trigger' idea helped me make sense of things. and when I notice that I'm feeling tense or anxious. I actually work on my posture. I lift my shoulders up to my ears, move my shoulders backwards, and then drop them down. then I take a deep breath (open mouth). and just let the air fall in to the lungs and fall out. my brain doesn't know how to keep pumping 'panic chemicals' when part of the body response (ie: shoulder tension and breath) is 'not coming to the party'. This has helped me a lot actually.

    1 person found this helpful

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