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Warning: Anxiety Relapse Ahead

Posted Nov 08 2009 10:01pm

The wonderful thing about the modern age is that all of us generally have tons of information and services at the tips of our fingers.  In the United Stated for example we have access to all types of information at blazing speed, a ginormous health care apparatus, and a zillion options to handle almost anything ailing us.  And yet given all this, you will still have an anxiety relapse.

In other words you can know all there is to know about your condition, take meds, have access to world class widgets and all the rest of it and days, weeks or even years later anxiety can hit your grey matter as fast as the rotation of a pulsar (i.e., super fast).  You could have been feeling fine for a long time and may have even forgotten about your hellish experience with anxiety but can suddenly find yourself in the midst of a panic attack and start wondering … what the hell is going on?

In my experience most people that search for anxiety related issues on the internet are having an anxiety relapse after a lull in symptoms.  Or it could have been that their symptoms lessened in intensity but now have increased exponentially without any known cause.  So why does this happen?

Why? Why you? Why now? Let me ask you a question. Why does knowing the cause matter?  In my view this is a waste of energy and produces more stress.  You could chase your tail for decades and never know why.  Anxiety disorders generally occur because of a string of complex connections between your genes, your environment, your thought processes, your biases, false beliefs, assumptions, brain chemistry, and thinking errors.  So there you go, but chewing on these facts won’t help you cope.

Honestly, and you might hate me for saying it, anxiety disorder is generally a life long ailment.  You could be the lucky winner if an anxious free life, but chances are that you will end up like the majority of people with an anxiety disorder that don’t get that winning ticket.  But let’s not get too grim about this whole thing.

Keeping the proper perspective and the appropriate level of expectation is the key to handling this situation.  You must understand that anxiety will raise its ugly head, assuming your anxiety disorder has been confirmed, again and again.  If you not only understand this but accept it as reality then you’re more likely to respond in a healthy way.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow but its true.

Also, in terms of dealing with anxiety relapses the game plan stays the same.  And in fact it would be beneficial to incorporate the things that help you cope with anxiety into your daily life.  So don’t just exercise, eat healthy, meditate, deep breath, see a therapist and use all the other tactics you implement just when you’re consumed with feelings of intense anxiety.  Think mitigation.

You have to make coping a part of your life, and when necessary, ramp up the intensity of your efforts to counter the effects of the recurring spikes of anxiety that you will have throughout your life.  I would say hey just keep the stress down and you’ll be alright, but that’s not a realistic approach.  After all if you’re alive you are, at least to some degree, stressed out about something or other almost always, just life.

My advice is that you should maintain your anti-anxiety regiment as I outlined above but also make sure that you don’t blow things out of proportion when a relapse occurs.  This is a huge problem with anxiety sufferers.  They tend to escalate things to their extreme with expeditious haste then find themselves in a pit of misery and uncertainty.  No need for all that.

Have a frank discussion with yourself one of these days, especially if you’re having an anxiety relapse right now.  Tell yourself that anxiety does not kill, anxiety will not make you go crazy, and the spike that you’re having will subside.  Challenge yourself to not give in to false beliefs created by your scared mind.

Ultimately having anxiety is … what’s the word, Arrghhh. That’s not a word but its a feeling I’m sure you get a lot.  Just frustration, anger, worry and fear, pure blah.  Again, despite this you have to stay focused on the reality that anxiety is a chronic condition that can be managed and will not cause heart attacks in and of themselves.

You can still be happy, but don’t get stuck and lost just because you encounter setbacks, it happens.  Don’t beat yourself up because this is not your fault, you’re not weak, your not dumb or crazy, simply anxious.

Some people have herpes (sorry kind of gross), others bad knees and so on, well you got ‘bad nerves’.  Don’t get sucked into any pity parties and be patient because you will bounce back.  Just remember what good ole Confucius once said “our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising everytime we fall”.

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