Will the fear of anxiety ever go away?
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In this week's podcast we are responding to the following question: "I have had Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I was a child. I'm in my forties now. I'm in counselling for my anxiety. Every time I make progress I wind up taking a step back. Which I then beat myself up for. The problem is I'm still afraid of anxiety. I know it can be annoying but harmless. But I still fear it. I think the fear is it will never go away and will get worse. Shann and Ananga do you still have a fear towards anxiety when it acts up?"
Points covered in this podcast:
We are both grateful to say we no longer fear anxiety.
Shann: I can honestly say I don't have the fear of anxiety that I used to because of the tools and resources that I have in my toolkit and because of the work we do together.
Because we're in it and we are doing all we can to support others and to support ourselves.
It's not something I enjoy when it acts up, but I'm not as afraid as I once was.
Ananga: I feel the same. I'm very relieved and grateful to say that I don't fear anxiety itself anymore.
I used to. I used to get strong feelings of panic and I would fear what was going to come next. I knew it was going to mess with my mind and my body and make me feel really awful and very scared. But since I started learning and playing with different tools and techniques to overcome anxiety I quickly regained some confidence because I knew what to do if anxiety flared up and I think that is the key: to have tools for dealing with anxiety and with the fear of the fear.
A Kind Understanding
It's also helpful to understand that when we are in recovery from anything it is very common for us to feel we've made some progress and then we might level out and feel like we're not getting any further, or we might slip back.
That happens very often and is almost to be expected.
If we have high anxiety about anxiety then we get anticipatory anxiety when we think we're recovering. We might think "I'm doing really well now, but what if my anxiety rears up again?"
So sometimes we're subconsciously feeding that anxiety loop where we are worried about a set-back and that in itself is causing more anxiety.
The key thing that I have learned from years of managing anxiety is that having tools and coping skills is very important. Good tools so you know that if you are going to have an anxiety flare up you can stop it. And I'm happy to say I haven't had an anxiety attack for many years because of this - because I have these firefighting tools and I know what to do when anxiety tries to flare up.
Tools are the Key
Shann: Learn some anxiety calming tools, then when your mind gets carried away and you start to fear that your anxiety is going to spin out of control you can tell yourself: "I know what to do" and you will find relief in knowing that.
Ananga: Once the mind gets the idea that we have tools and we are on it's case then it starts to quieten down.
Listen to the full podcast here: