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I have really bad anxiety

By October 13, 2009 - 5:33pm
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I have an anxiety disorder and I've talked to therapists and nothing seems to really help. Because in the back of my mind I always have that thought that people really hate me, or that my boyfriend is going to dump me and in the end I always end up fulfilling my own prophecy. Is there anything else I can do. Please help

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Hi, Cluless11,

Welcome to EmpowHer. And thank you so much for your question.

I know what it's like to have an anxiety disorder, as I have dealt with one for years. Anxiety disorders can ruin your life if you let them, and it sounds like you're having a lot of trouble with yours.

How long did you talk to your therapists?

Have you ever seen a psychiatrist, to talk about possibly taking anti-anxiety medicine?

Learning to deal with (and, hopefully, negate the effects of) an anxiety disorder involves several things.

First, you have to learn how to recognize when it's ABOUT to happen. This is a lot different from realizing that it IS happening -- that's often too late to stop it.

When you learn to catch yourself before you start going down that path, you need to learn how to talk yourself back. You need to talk reasonably to yourself with things you KNOW are true. Positive thoughts aren't what I mean. Here's an example.

Say someone has an intense fear of flying. When any turbulence begins, they have an anxiety response that has to do with fear of the plane crashing. They can almost see it in their minds, like a movie. Their stomach lurches. Their mind gets nearly paralyzed with the fearful thoughts. They can be physically sick.

This person needs to stay aware of what's happening in order to not go with it. For instance, when the turbulence starts, they need to be able to say to themselves, "Planes are made to handle turbulence and do it all day every day all over the world." Factual sentences that help. When they see the fearful "movie" of the plane crashing, they must THEN run the CORRECT movie in their heads -- see the plane landing safely. And when the bumpy air has gone away, they must start all over. In other words, they must see the threat as having gone away. And when the plane does land safely, they must say to themselves, "Yet another safe, successful flight." There must be rational thought that helps talk back the anxious thought.

Your case is a bit more difficult, because the "facts" associated with the anxiety are harder to find. But you must find them. When you think that someone hates you, you must say to yourself, "there I go again," and learn to catch yourself. You must be able to say "I have no evidence of this" or "Actually, she wouldn't go to lunch with me if she didn't like me." You must work at taking apart the "anxious" thoughts with rational thoughts. Over time, this is easier to do.

Anti-anxiety medicine can help a lot, especially in the beginning. If this is something that is making your daily life difficult, it may be time to look into this possibility. Even if you just take them for a few months, they will give you the experience of knowing what it's like to live without anxiety (or with much lower levels). Anxiety medicine can be taken daily or it can be taken just on occasion, depending on what you and your doctor or psychiatrist choose.

And this is an awesome book, which I absolutely recommend. It's The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, by Edmund J. Bourne. It is a large paperback workbook that will guide you through exercises meant to help you get rid of these fears. Here is a link to it on Amazon:


There are 140 customer reviews (they are on that page as well) and the vast vast majority give it 5 out of 5 stars. It covers everything from panic attacks to phobias, different kinds of therapy and medicines.

Does this help? Will you write back and let us know?

October 14, 2009 - 10:08am
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