The Ultimate Root - Fear Of Anxiety Itself - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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The Ultimate Root - Fear Of Anxiety Itself


I've did some thinking... And came to an interesting aspect.

If you fear that you may start feeling anxious for no good reason - well that's like a ticking bomb, it's no good and can cause lots of different anxiety disorders including SA.
You may not even fear being rejected or anything specific at the beginning, but the fear of becoming anxious itself makes you anxious which in turn powers the fear itself even more and as you enter this vicious cycle if at the time you are around people, you inevitably start acting awkward, your voice starts trembling, so on and so forth, it's not hard to predict what thoughts would follow afterwards - "I'am not good around people", "I don't have enough social skills", "I'am socially awkward" etc etc..

So I've been thinking, what are the rational and logical ways to deal with this fear of anxiety or 'fear of fear' ?
Like, why would you NOT fear of being anxious, in other words - based on what facts could we say that the fear of anxiety is irrational and why is it irrational?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:22 PM
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I've also pondered this mental travesty extensively, and have settled on the conclusion that; one must counter-intuitively 'hack' their own mind. It's an oxymoron; and doing so, is unintentionally giving the problem fuel. Knowing all this, I'm still anxious about experiencing 'uncontrollable' anxiety against my will. Look up my thread titled, 'SA reflex'.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotBSC View Post
I've did some thinking... And came to an interesting aspect.

If you fear that you may start feeling anxious for no good reason - well that's like a ticking bomb, it's no good and can cause lots of different anxiety disorders including SA.
You may not even fear being rejected or anything specific at the beginning, but the fear of becoming anxious itself makes you anxious which in turn powers the fear itself even more and as you enter this vicious cycle if at the time you are around people, you inevitably start acting awkward, your voice starts trembling, so on and so forth, it's not hard to predict what thoughts would follow afterwards - "I'am not good around people", "I don't have enough social skills", "I'am socially awkward" etc etc..

So I've been thinking, what are the rational and logical ways to deal with this fear of anxiety or 'fear of fear' ?
Like, why would you NOT fear of being anxious, in other words - based on what facts could we say that the fear of anxiety is irrational and why is it irrational?
Yeah, you bring up a good point. I've thought about this a lot over the years, because I really do believe that some (maybe a lot) of it boils down to a fear of the fear.

I think it depends though. What I mean is, it's not always that simple I guess. The best I've been able to determine is, my anxiety started because I learned at a really, really young age not to trust. A lot (most?) people are not trustworthy, and you should always question their intentions. I learned this from my abuser, through years of repeated abuse, so I guess you can say it was like the thoughts were reinforced, over and over again...her behavior would prove to me repeatedly, through years, that she was not to be trusted and that if I stepped out of line the whole world might or might not come crashing down, depending on her mood I guess, and who else may or may not be around. The world can be a very violent and unpredictable place, that was my world growing up.

I've always felt like I never really fit in...always....since the first day of preschool when I was four years old. So it's always been there.

I've been in therapy (on and off, mostly on) for the last thirty years. In my mind I've known for a long time that none of the abuse was my fault (I think) but it's difficult, maybe impossible to get rid of those feelings of mistrust.

I could go through therapy for another thirty years, unless I take a dirt nap before then, and I don't think my mindset would change much, because of the things that were reinforced over and over again so many times at such an early age. I know a lot of my fear is irrational. But I also can't deny that a lot of it is rational. The facts are that the world can be a very violent, unpredictable place, you really have to be very, very careful who you trust.

I hate to say it but some of the lessons my abuser taught me turned out to be at least partially true. It really kills me to say that, to put it that way but I think it's true.

So, I think a lot of the fear, for myself anyways, is rational. Not sure if this will make sense to anyone but me, but well, there it is, for me.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:47 PM
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This type of reasoning comes from being unable or unwilling to understand yourself imo. This "fear of fear" is you being aware that you are fearful, but not thinking passed that, only settling with knowing you are anxious. There is always a reason. This is kind of putting the cart before the horse as the feeling of anxiety has to be triggered by some sort of stimuli. This stimuli can be from the environment or from your mind - maybe delusions(I considered this fear of fear as such. "Psyching yourself out" in layman's term). So even if this fear of fear was a thing, the solution would be to overcome whatever triggered the thought or be mindful that you are triggering yourself into a snowball of poor choices.

bye
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dotBSC View Post
If you fear that you may start feeling anxious for no good reason - well that's like a ticking bomb, it's no good and can cause lots of different anxiety disorders including SA.
You may not even fear being rejected or anything specific at the beginning, but the fear of becoming anxious itself makes you anxious which in turn powers the fear itself even more and as you enter this vicious cycle if at the time you are around people, you inevitably start acting awkward, your voice starts trembling, so on and so forth, it's not hard to predict what thoughts would follow afterwards - "I'am not good around people", "I don't have enough social skills", "I'am socially awkward" etc etc..
Actually, I've met many people at various anxiety and panic support groups dealing with this exact situation.

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Originally Posted by dotBSC View Post
So I've been thinking, what are the rational and logical ways to deal with this fear of anxiety or 'fear of fear' ?
Like, why would you NOT fear of being anxious, in other words - based on what facts could we say that the fear of anxiety is irrational and why is it irrational?
Have you ever been in a situation where you were sitting or standing and somebody showed up with a water balloon and said: "THINK FAST!" Is thiniking the right approach?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-04-2015, 06:47 PM
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This is very true for me, I experience a lot of anxiety over the thought of becoming anxious while out somewhere or doing things.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by VanDamme View Post
Have you ever been in a situation where you were sitting or standing and somebody showed up with a water balloon and said: "THINK FAST!" Is thiniking the right approach?

If anxiety comes from the thought (not external stimuli like huge dog running towards you), then the proper solution is to deal with that thought, not just avoid it. The more you try to avoid it the more it will affect you. External stimuli is temporary, Internal (thought) stimuli is unpredictable and can be repeating for numerous times during the day. What you are doing, is giving the internal stimuli power to affect you even more than a real dangerous situation would affect you.

My current rationalizing of this fear is as follows:

_____
1. Anxiety likely won't happen if I will be relatively comfortable with myself and will have nothing to be anxious about.
2. Even if it WILL happen, anxiety is just a feeling, nothing dangerous, it can be uncomfortable but I can still function with it and it won't spin out of control if I won't be actively resisting it.
_____

It's almost good enough for me, but there are still room for improvements and refinements in this area I guess and as I'am not the only one with this dilemma, that's why I figured I will ask/share this question with you guys.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 04:32 AM
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I have had the fear of anxiety, but that's not the ultimate root.
The ultimate root is the anger, frustration and self-loathing I have for what I consider weaknesses in me.
I beat myself up when I feel like I can't conquer fears. I blame myself for having the anxiety, that it's a failing in me and why can't I just get over it.
The problem is, these types of negative thoughts are what caused the initial anxiety in the first place. It's a vicious pattern of thinking that I have to become aware of, and then change the thought processes. But when you have been blaming yourself for everything since a very young age (for me it was 3 years old or younger), it takes a lot of self-analysis and effort. It's not easy at all.

Life is not fair. Neither is mercy. This is the beauty of symmetry. -ME
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DiscardYourFear View Post
I have had the fear of anxiety, but that's not the ultimate root.
The ultimate root is the anger, frustration and self-loathing I have for what I consider weaknesses in me.
I beat myself up when I feel like I can't conquer fears. I blame myself for having the anxiety, that it's a failing in me and why can't I just get over it.
The problem is, these types of negative thoughts are what caused the initial anxiety in the first place. It's a vicious pattern of thinking that I have to become aware of, and then change the thought processes. But when you have been blaming yourself for everything since a very young age (for me it was 3 years old or younger), it takes a lot of self-analysis and effort. It's not easy at all.
It's very much arguable and debatable, but even in your case it probably still comes down to the inability to handle the emotions you don't like and aren't proud about - which is essentially the same like fearing the anxiety, only on a bit more abstract level.

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I beat myself up when I feel like I can't conquer fears. I blame myself for having the anxiety, that it's a failing in me and why can't I just get over it.
I would say that's a textbook case of fear of anxiety. You feel that your anxiety happens for no justifiable reason and you feel that you have no control over it as it pops up whenever it pleases making you miserable. If that's not fear of it then what is, right?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-05-2015, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dotBSC View Post
If anxiety comes from the thought (not external stimuli like huge dog running towards you), then the proper solution is to deal with that thought, not just avoid it. The more you try to avoid it the more it will affect you. External stimuli is temporary, Internal (thought) stimuli is unpredictable and can be repeating for numerous times during the day. What you are doing, is giving the internal stimuli power to affect you even more than a real dangerous situation would affect you.

Now, with the extra explanation, your question makes more sense. Often describing the situation well can make a difference. e.g. "I have SA. What do I do?" Since SA has multiple aspects that may or may not be an issue, providing an answer may address the issue but may not.

Looking at my previous answer, I was thinking about asking for extra details but wasn't in my best "thinking mode".

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Originally Posted by dotBSC View Post
It's almost good enough for me, but there are still room for improvements and refinements
In a way it's similar to public speaking. Many people are nervous (sweating, muscles shaking) but they can still deliver so overall it's not a big issue. However, as the fear response intensity increases, people start to stutter and then the mind often goes blank and you either have a hard time finding where you are in your speech or may even mix parts up. In that case it's better to address anxiety at the "root" so that the fear response is reduced or removed.

I wonder what you mean exactly by "there is still room for improvements and refinements".
One of my guesses is the possibility that the list covers many situations but it sill does not give you "100% guarantee" that you will be able to successfully deal with the anxious feeling. For that, my first reply would be applicable. Instead of thinking, you need to develop skills that can "deal" effectively with the anxious feelings. Different things work for different people but if as you mentioned, the intensity isn't that great, then practicing (and reasonably mastering) breathing, mindfulness or various interrupt techniques (e.g. snapping a rubber band around your wrist) may work.
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