How Do You Cope With A Normal Stress Life If You Have an Anxiety Disorder? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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How Do You Cope With A Normal Stress Life If You Have an Anxiety Disorder?


SA is just one of my problems. I also suffer from severe OCD and persistent anxiety. When I suppress OCD, my anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms like tightening heart attack like sensations in my chest.

I've talked about this in previous posts. Lots of people here have said that the way to cope with this is to simply live a stress free life. Minimize stress as much as possible, so that the effect of these symptoms are minimized.

And in theory, that works. But does this mean that people like us cannot do the same things that other people can? There are lots of people out there who are working hard, moving mountains and pursuing their dreams. Almost all dreams require hard work and the stress that it brings along. So does this mean that we cannot live that lifestyle?

This isn't a rhetorical philosophical question, I'm serious. What is the way out? Is there a way out? Or do we have no choice but to buckle under this force?

So far one solution I've heard of is meditation. I have this theory that anxiety is caused by high brain bandwidth (which would explain why so many anxiety sufferers are also very intelligent). You're being overwhelmed by too much information happening in real time......so meditation would help you calm your mind and narrow your focus to one thing at a time and make it manageable. I don't even know if that works because I haven't tried it that much.

And another solution is medication......which comes with horrible side effects. Never tried it either. People say its best not to get down this hole.

I'm getting desperate here. I have all these dreams and aspirations and I'm losing hope. I wonder - Can I really live the life I want? Is it possible with all these problems?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 07:54 PM
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dreams and aspirations? lol. you must be pretty young still. I wouldn't say doomed. and depends on your dreams. if you dream about being marginalised then yeah that one will come true. can't say I ever dreamt of having a menial factory job and so few friends and no future and still hardly being able to speak to anyone. actually not being able to speak should have been a dream I've had because it sounds like plausible dream material.

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 09:59 PM
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Absolutely you can live the life you want!!!

I guess i can relate, as im very restless, and most of the time i cant sit still for too long, which is hard to do. Like brain gets overrun and burned out quick, resulting in low moods/depression.

Still an way of life, but the approaches i take in helping soothe it all. Medication: i know there is too much meds that zombie you out, so i stick with just Anti-Anxiety (Lexapro) which has helped tremendously.

The other thing i am practicing, is Learning to Rest. Like, take time to sit/lay down and just let go. That is an challenge, however, i feel it has improved energy levels, and balances out the overdrive.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 10:28 PM
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 11:20 PM
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This is something that's always bugged me. My stress levels are always at Nightmare level, and it has nothing to do with taking on too much responsibility or trying to do too many things at once. I spend all my time trying to solve aggressive problems that are destroying my life. I can't just turn off the threat of homelessness, physical illness, discrimination, etc.

I do absolutely everything I can to eliminate stress in my life. And the only thing that works is ... solving a problem. Meditation helps a little bit, but a lot of the time I'm too stressed out to sit. Sitting and meditating when I'm really stressed out is a sure recipe for a panic attack. The only kind of entertainment I can still enjoy is watching a show on NF while I eat. If I'm unproductive for any longer than that, my anxiety spikes and I have panic attacks.

But I'm not going to destroy myself with medication (even if I could afford it) because the medication won't solve any of the problems that create my stress. So far as I can tell, there are only two ways to deal with stress: solve whatever problem is creating the stress, or eat the stress until it finally destroys you. My current health is a great illustration of just how dangerous prolonged stress can be.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 09:12 AM
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_meditation

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truant View Post
This is something that's always bugged me. My stress levels are always at Nightmare level, and it has nothing to do with taking on too much responsibility or trying to do too many things at once. I spend all my time trying to solve aggressive problems that are destroying my life. I can't just turn off the threat of homelessness, physical illness, discrimination, etc.



I do absolutely everything I can to eliminate stress in my life. And the only thing that works is ... solving a problem. Meditation helps a little bit, but a lot of the time I'm too stressed out to sit. Sitting and meditating when I'm really stressed out is a sure recipe for a panic attack. The only kind of entertainment I can still enjoy is watching a show on NF while I eat. If I'm unproductive for any longer than that, my anxiety spikes and I have panic attacks.



But I'm not going to destroy myself with medication (even if I could afford it) because the medication won't solve any of the problems that create my stress. So far as I can tell, there are only two ways to deal with stress: solve whatever problem is creating the stress, or eat the stress until it finally destroys you. My current health is a great illustration of just how dangerous prolonged stress can be.
I was going to point this out too, there simply is no truly effective way to deal with mental health issues if you’re in a constant and persistent state of “survival mode”....CBT is absolute BS to a person living under those circumstances, there’s no time challenge your negative thoughts or try to disregard the bits of discrimination that come with the territory’s being poor and for you being trans that must add to that on another level too. And I never found eating pills with absurd side effects to do anything at all the help my mental health so I long since wrote them off as effective treatment for my issues.

To the OP, all I can really say is the simple things can help you out more than not, so a good regular diet, regular sleep, regular exercise, & meditation will improve things but may not be a cure all just like pills and talk therapy aren’t cure all’s. If you’re not existing in a survival mode then those things can be a springboard towards living the life you truly want along with a good social support system, be it family or close friends. Good luck!
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sweet_tooth87 View Post
Absolutely you can live the life you want!!!

I guess i can relate, as im very restless, and most of the time i cant sit still for too long, which is hard to do. Like brain gets overrun and burned out quick, resulting in low moods/depression.

Still an way of life, but the approaches i take in helping soothe it all. Medication: i know there is too much meds that zombie you out, so i stick with just Anti-Anxiety (Lexapro) which has helped tremendously.

The other thing i am practicing, is Learning to Rest. Like, take time to sit/lay down and just let go. That is an challenge, however, i feel it has improved energy levels, and balances out the overdrive.

Is the Lexapro a life long solution or a temporary one? Does it come without that zombifying effect? I have been thinking about taking antidepressants too but I've heard that it can alter your outlook on life for months as long as you can take it.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by truant View Post
This is something that's always bugged me. My stress levels are always at Nightmare level, and it has nothing to do with taking on too much responsibility or trying to do too many things at once. I spend all my time trying to solve aggressive problems that are destroying my life. I can't just turn off the threat of homelessness, physical illness, discrimination, etc.

I do absolutely everything I can to eliminate stress in my life. And the only thing that works is ... solving a problem. Meditation helps a little bit, but a lot of the time I'm too stressed out to sit. Sitting and meditating when I'm really stressed out is a sure recipe for a panic attack. The only kind of entertainment I can still enjoy is watching a show on NF while I eat. If I'm unproductive for any longer than that, my anxiety spikes and I have panic attacks.

But I'm not going to destroy myself with medication (even if I could afford it) because the medication won't solve any of the problems that create my stress. So far as I can tell, there are only two ways to deal with stress: solve whatever problem is creating the stress, or eat the stress until it finally destroys you. My current health is a great illustration of just how dangerous prolonged stress can be.

I think you enjoy NF because you're focusing on something. When you focus on something, its a kind of meditation because you're taming the mind. I also used to think meditation was just sitting down in one place and trying to keep your mind clear.....but apparently its not like that at all. It's very hard to not think of anything. You have to have something to focus on like your breath or a symbol. When you focus, you are taking your mind away from everything else.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 01:39 AM
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@truant

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_meditation

Perhaps there is a way
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Doesn't help. Anything that isn't productive just produces anxiety. All mindfulness does is give me a front-row seat to the sh*tnado of my existence. At least when I'm working I'm not thinking about all the other things that are wrong with my life. Meditation just puts everything front and center.

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Originally Posted by Canadian Brotha View Post
I was going to point this out too, there simply is no truly effective way to deal with mental health issues if you’re in a constant and persistent state of “survival mode”....CBT is absolute BS to a person living under those circumstances, there’s no time challenge your negative thoughts or try to disregard the bits of discrimination that come with the territory’s being poor and for you being trans that must add to that on another level too. And I never found eating pills with absurd side effects to do anything at all the help my mental health so I long since wrote them off as effective treatment for my issues.

To the OP, all I can really say is the simple things can help you out more than not, so a good regular diet, regular sleep, regular exercise, & meditation will improve things but may not be a cure all just like pills and talk therapy aren’t cure all’s. If you’re not existing in a survival mode then those things can be a springboard towards living the life you truly want along with a good social support system, be it family or close friends. Good luck!
Exactly. If you're living in an abusive environment, you don't use CBT to help you cope, you leave the environment. But in my case, I can't leave the environment. I don't have any money for medication, a proper diet that meets my restrictions, or enough breathing room to take a day off. It's just stress, stress, stress without end, year after year. I use CBT to help me cope as well as I can, but there are limits to what it can do. It can't turn pain into not-pain. The only thing that will help me at this point is some kind of financial security.

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I think you enjoy NF because you're focusing on something. When you focus on something, its a kind of meditation because you're taming the mind. I also used to think meditation was just sitting down in one place and trying to keep your mind clear.....but apparently its not like that at all. It's very hard to not think of anything. You have to have something to focus on like your breath or a symbol. When you focus, you are taking your mind away from everything else.
But I can only enjoy NF because I'm eating. I can't enjoy it otherwise. I have to stop working to eat, so the necessity of preparing food and eating allows me to justify watching an episode. If I just sit down and watch something, I'll just have a panic attack. Just like I do when I meditate. The only thing that reduces my anxiety is working or solving some other kind of problem causing anxiety. So I just end up working all the time. 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I do nothing but work and fix things that are broken in my life. But my life breaks faster than I can fix it.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 10:47 AM
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I've been on paroxetine for 15 years now and these have been some of the best years of my life--mainly because it takes the edge off enough to allow me to sleep. Life sucks when you can't get a good night's sleep and you feel like crap and can't think clearly. I used to literally beat my head against the wall at night when I'd just lay there--hour after hour--ruminating about stupid crap--much of which was caused by my inability to sleep.

The downside is that it destroyed my sex drive, but I'm old and can live without sex. As a younger man, my never-ending quest to get laid was my reason for living.

Nobody loves me but my dog, and I think he might be jivin', too.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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But I can only enjoy NF because I'm eating. I can't enjoy it otherwise. I have to stop working to eat, so the necessity of preparing food and eating allows me to justify watching an episode. If I just sit down and watch something, I'll just have a panic attack. Just like I do when I meditate. The only thing that reduces my anxiety is working or solving some other kind of problem causing anxiety. So I just end up working all the time. 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I do nothing but work and fix things that are broken in my life. But my life breaks faster than I can fix it.

Sounds like conscientiousness.....that's why the justification for the time to relax is important. Have you tried prioritizing rest periods by seeing them as something important that will help you? An early comment on this thread also pretty much said - Sometimes you have to disconnect and let it go.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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As a younger man, my never-ending quest to get laid was my reason for living.

That's what drives us all
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 08:22 PM
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SA is just one of my problems. I also suffer from severe OCD and persistent anxiety. When I suppress OCD, my anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms like tightening heart attack like sensations in my chest.
I'm so sorry to hear about this. I only have a little bit of OCD which hardly affects my life like looking in the mirror to see if I look alright. What kind of OCD do you have?

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And another solution is medication......which comes with horrible side effects. Never tried it either. People say its best not to get down this hole.


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Originally Posted by Maslow View Post
I've been on paroxetine for 15 years now and these have been some of the best years of my life--mainly because it takes the edge off enough to allow me to sleep. Life sucks when you can't get a good night's sleep and you feel like crap and can't think clearly. I used to literally beat my head against the wall at night when I'd just lay there--hour after hour--ruminating about stupid crap--much of which was caused by my inability to sleep.

The downside is that it destroyed my sex drive, but I'm old and can live without sex. As a younger man, my never-ending quest to get laid was my reason for living.
I learned that medication like this can help some people! but it doesn't help me much or at all!
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 11:58 PM
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I take medication ... Nardil.

No, it doesn't change the circumstances of my life, but it changes my outlook and attitude.

This enables me approach things with a calmer, more rational and constructive mindset.
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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 11:53 AM
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Sounds like conscientiousness.....that's why the justification for the time to relax is important. Have you tried prioritizing rest periods by seeing them as something important that will help you? An early comment on this thread also pretty much said - Sometimes you have to disconnect and let it go.
Conscientiousness is about our feeling of responsibility for fulfilling our duties (or what we perceive to be our duties). My problem really has nothing to do with responsibility, unless you consider not being exposed to the elements and eating a duty and not (as I consider it) basic survival.

If I take "rest periods" here's what happens: I get less work done, I make less money, my stress goes up, my health goes down. That's a direct, guaranteed consequence for me. The more I rest, the higher my stress, the worse my health. I should be working more, not less.

I can't fool my brain into thinking I don't need to eat or keep a roof over my head. Which is why when I sit to meditate, my brain says: "Get up and work, you idiot." Who am I to ignore the wisdom of my higher consciousness?

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 12:20 PM
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No clue.

I have spent the last 2 years trying to live some kind of normal life. Employment is going to be the worst, because I literally cant exist day to day without being either fatigued, unable to concentrate, or just angry when I have to interact with people.

I got into a relationship. I can't handle the relentless stress of it. Everything is ****ing stressful. Sex is stressful. Not having sex is stressful once you get used to it and have a sex drive. Going places is stressful (SA), meeting family is stressful (SA), haven't bothered yet tbh. And our clash of problems is a nightmare.

So basically the "most natural" of all things, I can't ****ing do without it being unimaginably stressful.

On top of that, my OCD, which pops up to torment me whenever I am stressed.

Course / employment or whatever, ****ing nightmare.

Social interaction, ****ing nightmare.

Unable to sleep properly.

Internalised relentless criticism.

Chronic loneliness.

Depression.

And its all hidden. People just think I am lazy, or unintelligent, or whatever. They would collapse if they had to tolerate the load I do.

So yeh, basically, I have no ****ing clue how you live a normal life, when everything that isn't supposed to be that stressful (like, just existing when you have pureO OCD) or sex, or ****ing anything, is 6/10 stress levels, when you are chilling..

Over the last 2 years I have put myself through everything my therapist wanted me to do. It's almost broken me. Anxiety hasn't diminished, I have just gotten better at putting myself into situations of stress and not entirely exploding.

At least my chronic pain has gone.

In another year I will get back and let you know if its achievable. Right now I don't feel it is.

Enough about me, lets talk about you, what do you think about me?
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 01:10 PM
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This isn't a rhetorical philosophical question, I'm serious. What is the way out? Is there a way out? Or do we have no choice but to buckle under this force?

And another solution is medication......which comes with horrible side effects. Never tried it either. People say its best not to get down this hole.

I'm getting desperate here. I have all these dreams and aspirations and I'm losing hope. I wonder - Can I really live the life I want? Is it possible with all these problems?
There is no easy answer. Medication works for some people if the side effects are not to bad. Talk therapy may help a bit. Mindfullness to stay present in the moment and not think about bad things in the past. Exposure therapy to help reduce your fears. That is basically the best way to get better. Very difficult to do in practice though. Exposure therapy takes a whole lot of willpower and motivation. But if you can manage to do it I think it helps. Mindfullness works if you can focus on the present but I have trouble with that as well. My mind wasn't to keep ruminating on the past.


So yes you can get better and don't lose hope. But its hard and difficult work. Im 41 now and a hell of a lot better then I was in my teens and 20's but no easy solution.


Stay strong and positive
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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-05-2019, 01:19 AM
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I think the problem wrt to stress is that some people need more support than they're given. And the justification for not giving that support is the assumption that everyone has to handle around the same amount of stress. Invisible stressors related to mental health conditions are essentially ignored. So if you're not handling your stress, the theory is that you just need to learn a few fancy techniques to get your life back on track.

So all the focus in the MH industry is on pushing people to be self-sufficient. But what if some people do actually have more problems than they can individually handle, no matter what they do? Then all the techniques in the world won't save them in the end, and the necessity of learning all those techniques just becomes another burden on them.

CBT, exposure, mindfulness, diet, exercise, even medication all "work" in the sense that you can derive benefit from them. And for people with manageable problems, that may be all they need. But they may not be enough for people facing serious challenges. If someone's being eaten by a bear, you don't tell them to be mindful and use CBT to reframe the pain of being eaten alive -- you kill the ****ing bear for them. Right now, there are millions of people being eaten by the bears of mental illness, poverty, and other problems and they're being told, basically, to just try harder to fight the bear.

This is a societal problem that everyone expects individuals to solve on their own.

For forty-seven years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming ... but how?
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-05-2019, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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There is no easy answer. Medication works for some people if the side effects are not to bad. Talk therapy may help a bit. Mindfullness to stay present in the moment and not think about bad things in the past. Exposure therapy to help reduce your fears. That is basically the best way to get better. Very difficult to do in practice though. Exposure therapy takes a whole lot of willpower and motivation. But if you can manage to do it I think it helps. Mindfullness works if you can focus on the present but I have trouble with that as well. My mind wasn't to keep ruminating on the past.


So yes you can get better and don't lose hope. But its hard and difficult work. Im 41 now and a hell of a lot better then I was in my teens and 20's but no easy solution.


Stay strong and positive

Yeah it takes enormous willpower and courage. It's hard because we need to maintain that energy for our whole life.



I feel like talk therapy can't have any more benefits now because I've been talking to counselors for years and I feel like there's nothing more to talk about......but the talking itself feels good because its just human contact.



Good to know that you're in a better state now than before
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