My anxiety breakthrough...

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My anxiety breakthrough...

Postby Jeliota on December 14th, 2007, 5:07 pm

I have some vain hope that this post may help someone.

I had begun to use this site improperly, finding in it more ways to test and question my physical well-being. I managed to move myself back into a brand new state of high anxiety, which really wasn't that far of a trip.

I got into an endless cylce of self-testing and self-examination that really sent me down the tubes. I was doing so much compulsive testing and holding body parts in such strange positions to test for strength and look for atrophy that I was actually causing additional pain, weakness and fasciculations.

I started my own little CBT routine that forbade any sort of testing or self-examination. I finally eliminated all coffee (OUCH!---but which, by the way, can make you need more magnesium). Every day I would exert active control over my thought processes--as much as possible (and later, only as needed)--and keep a daily medical journal. I put myself on a schedule that was so hectic that I barely had time to think. All my activities were personally rewarding (for instance, you can dislike grading papers, but if you get them graded as soon as they are turned in instead of procrastinating--and put extra effort into commenting to your students--it becomes a rewarding experience, much like what you thought teaching would be before you became a teacher).

A lot of days I would get through with the day and think, "Did I have any twitches today? I remember one this morning, I think." Going to bed, I would get quiet and still, and my twitches would find me; but somehow they were more muted and less frightening than before. While I know that anxiety doesn't cause BFS, I do believe with near absolute certainty that anxiety greatly increases the symptoms.

I still have the odd thought about my pulse or some such crazy thing, as mentioned in a previous post, but in my better frame of mind I've been able to put these things into clearer perspective. And whenever something unusual occurs, as it does with regularity with BFS, instead of wondering about it endlessly, I go straight to this site and use the search feature. I've found that in the years this wonderful community has existed that multiple people have experienced every symptom immaginable.

For really the first time since July, I don't secretly think I have ALS. It's a darned good feeling. If anyone is interested in trying CBT for yourself, I highly recommend it. If you don't know anything about CBT, there are plenty of books available, or you can make an appointment with your local mental health professional (which is what I recommend even though I didn't do it).

Anyway, PM me if there is any way I can help.

Paul.
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Postby Chipper3 on December 14th, 2007, 5:21 pm

GREAT!!!!!! What you have done is what everyone should do. Thanks for the post.
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Postby skunktail on December 14th, 2007, 5:37 pm

Your my hero. Good for you! :D
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Postby PhiStar on December 16th, 2007, 7:27 am

:wink:
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Postby Jeliota on December 16th, 2007, 8:12 am

By the way, I started my CBT about 6 weeks ago. There was a small immediate benefit that went away when challenged (by new symptoms). And it took me a while to really and completely put the plan into practice. It's hard to change behavior and thought patterns. I kept plugging away and had my real breakthrough about 1 1/2 weeks ago.

I don't know if this is normal timing or not. But if you try CBT expect to have to really work at it to succeed. It's not a pill.
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Postby dyingyoung on December 16th, 2007, 12:43 pm

Hi,
cbt near where i live ws hard to find so i bought a book on it. I think we too can train our own minds into a more healthy way of thinking.

Rob
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Re: My anxiety breakthrough...

Postby whataprettyworld on December 17th, 2007, 4:33 am

Jeliota wrote:I have some vain hope that this post may help someone.

I had begun to use this site improperly, finding in it more ways to test and question my physical well-being. I managed to move myself back into a brand new state of high anxiety, which really wasn't that far of a trip.

I got into an endless cylce of self-testing and self-examination that really sent me down the tubes. I was doing so much compulsive testing and holding body parts in such strange positions to test for strength and look for atrophy that I was actually causing additional pain, weakness and fasciculations.

I started my own little CBT routine that forbade any sort of testing or self-examination. I finally eliminated all coffee (OUCH!---but which, by the way, can make you need more magnesium). Every day I would exert active control over my thought processes--as much as possible (and later, only as needed)--and keep a daily medical journal. I put myself on a schedule that was so hectic that I barely had time to think. All my activities were personally rewarding (for instance, you can dislike grading papers, but if you get them graded as soon as they are turned in instead of procrastinating--and put extra effort into commenting to your students--it becomes a rewarding experience, much like what you thought teaching would be before you became a teacher).

A lot of days I would get through with the day and think, "Did I have any twitches today? I remember one this morning, I think." Going to bed, I would get quiet and still, and my twitches would find me; but somehow they were more muted and less frightening than before. While I know that anxiety doesn't cause BFS, I do believe with near absolute certainty that anxiety greatly increases the symptoms.

I still have the odd thought about my pulse or some such crazy thing, as mentioned in a previous post, but in my better frame of mind I've been able to put these things into clearer perspective. And whenever something unusual occurs, as it does with regularity with BFS, instead of wondering about it endlessly, I go straight to this site and use the search feature. I've found that in the years this wonderful community has existed that multiple people have experienced every symptom immaginable.

For really the first time since July, I don't secretly think I have ALS. It's a darned good feeling. If anyone is interested in trying CBT for yourself, I highly recommend it. If you don't know anything about CBT, there are plenty of books available, or you can make an appointment with your local mental health professional (which is what I recommend even though I didn't do it).

Anyway, PM me if there is any way I can help.

Paul.



Being a newcomer to the site (about a month or so), my first thoughts on finding this place where relief and excitement. Within days of coming here my MS symptoms (and fears) gave way to ALS symptoms...well twitching and fears. Some of the posts I read actually terrified me.

It suddenly became blindingly obvious to me that this site was not really about BFS but was really a group of nervous and fearful people who wanted an explanation for something new they where experiencing in life....these new sensations where being percieved as life threatening when in actual fact logic and common sense indicated that this was not the case.

I am lucky in that I can now visit here and not be moulded and swayed into convinving myself that I am the one who is different and who has ALS....as good as this board can be a specific times it ultimatly offers reassurance and reassurance is only good for a short while before the nagging doubts start again.

I do not wish to appear to be belittling the board but I do think that the psyche and thought patterns of many on here indicate where true recovery can be found.
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Postby dyingyoung on December 17th, 2007, 3:37 pm

Couldnt agree more whataprettyworld!
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Postby jazzman on December 18th, 2007, 1:00 pm

Jeliota wrote:While I know that anxiety doesn't cause BFS, I do believe with near absolute certainty that anxiety greatly increases the symptoms.


Actually that is not true (the first part). The most common symptoms of an underlying anxiety disorder are BFS symptoms. It baffles me why so many here think differently. Do any search on anxiety disorder and you will find twitching, etc listed as a common symptom. It certainly was the cause in my case and my CBT therapist told me that many of her clients complained of the same symptoms I was having such as twitching, cramping, and burning all over. I had a lot of stressors in my life and didn't really realize it until I started CBT. Besides everything I had to work on my therapist had me make some changes in my diet. I had to eliminate almost anything that artificially stimulates the nervous system (caffeine, raw sugars, alcohol being the biggest) since an anxiety disorder is really just an overworked nervous system that gets that way after years of not managing stress correctly. Of course once it gets that way the physical symptoms kick in which turns underlying (hidden) anxiety to the high anxiety that most of us become aware of (due to the symptoms of course). Once I learned better stress management and adjusted my diet for a while my anxiety went down resulting in less symptoms. It took a long while with a lot of work and patience. I now only twitch following bad stress or overdoing things like alcohol. Generally though it fades in a few days if I get back to my routine including daily deep relaxation.

Anyway, I wanted to congratulate you. You're doing the right things and I think you are already seeing that pay off. Great job.
Last edited by jazzman on December 18th, 2007, 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby j7m on December 18th, 2007, 1:49 pm

Jazz,

You make some good points - specifically the length of time it takes to get anxiety under control. I think there is a lot of misleading posts out there about how quickly some think they can overcome anxiety. Many may assume that a week of relaxed mental state and mood should quickly settle things down. This is not the case as an abused NS will take some time to get back in balance.
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Postby cornelia on December 18th, 2007, 2:35 pm

I couldn't agree more. I think anxiety accumulates, it may take years until it overwhelms your nervous system. So it will take a while, and possibly life style changes to get back to health. I think I read it on a post on this forum, it is like being overweight. You didn't get overweight in one day, and you will not lose the weight overnight. Couldn't have said
it better myself. :wink:
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Postby jazzman on December 18th, 2007, 2:50 pm

You're both right j7m and cornelia. My therapist told me that it typically takes a couple of years of practicing good anti-anxiety habits and good stress management before your nervous system returns back to it's normal state. She told me that is why many people give up or refuse to think their problem is anxiety related because they get impatient. I just told myself if it takes 2 years then so be it. After about 6 months I started seeing results and that encouraged me to stay the course. The main thing I had to do was stop obsessing over and constantly thinking about my physical symptoms. That was quite a bit of a challenge however once I got past that I started seeing some real improvement. It sounds to me that is what is happening with the author of this thread. He sidetracked himself by being busy with other things. Whatever helps you to stop thinking about your symptoms will work as long as whatever that isn't stressful in itself.
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Re: My anxiety breakthrough...

Postby rilke23 on December 18th, 2007, 11:00 pm

Jeliota wrote:
I do not wish to appear to be belittling the board but I do think that the psyche and thought patterns of many on here indicate where true recovery can be found.


I agree and disagree :/

I think some of the loudest voices, and certainly those most likely to start an "omg I am dying!!!!!!" new thread are scared newcomers. The perception that they are in the majority might have something to do with that.

I do feel the urge to preface almost any post I have about symptoms with 'I don't have a terrible disease and have learned to deal with all this crap and so can you!'

You're right about one thing for sure though, the only escape from anxiety is 100% within... unless you count xanax :)
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Postby whataprettyworld on December 19th, 2007, 5:06 am

cornelia wrote:I couldn't agree more. I think anxiety accumulates, it may take years until it overwhelms your nervous system. So it will take a while, and possibly life style changes to get back to health. I think I read it on a post on this forum, it is like being overweight. You didn't get overweight in one day, and you will not lose the weight overnight. Couldn't have said
it better myself. :wink:


I thank you :wink:

Seriously though, I think that is the HUGE thing with anxiety. Firstly GP's do not actually tell you what anxiety is....they blow you off with the 'just anxiety' explanation, if they took the time to explain what exactly has happened to the CNS and that it has been damaged and that it is not 'all in the mind' I think the anxiety dx would seem far more realistic and valid. Also, it can take years of hard work to repair the damage that stress has caused to the CNS and many people just doubt the anxiety dx when things do not improve after a few weeks.

Maybe people should invest less time in studying all about a very very rare disease which they do not have and use that time into looking into their lifestyles and attitudes and getting to understand how anxiety could have led them to where they are today.
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Postby Jeliota on December 19th, 2007, 8:23 am

cornelia wrote:I couldn't agree more. I think anxiety accumulates, it may take years until it overwhelms your nervous system. So it will take a while, and possibly life style changes to get back to health. I think I read it on a post on this forum, it is like being overweight. You didn't get overweight in one day, and you will not lose the weight overnight. Couldn't have said
it better myself. :wink:


Did you just call me fat?
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