Thursday, December 11, 2008

«It Could Be Anxiety»

I've been doing better since my doctor's visit. There's only been a few times I couldn't eat much in the past week. I'd still say my overall appetite is less than it should be. I haven't gained any weight back, but at least I haven't lost any more. (Yes, I'm one of the few Americans you could call "underweight".)

I'm starting to believe more and more that the doctor was right when he suggested anxiety as being the cause. Although I couldn't tell you the source of the anxiety. Ever since he suggested that it might be anxiety, I've been paying attention when I feel sick. There's always a heightened anxiety along with it.

Another reason I say he might have been right is because I've been doing better since the visit. Keep in mind, I received no medication or treatment during the visit, and thus there should have been no change. (This thing has been ongoing for over a month, so I wouldn't expect a change now.) Because there was a change, I'm lead to believe that somewhere in my subconscious I was relieved that there wasn't anything wrong that he could find.

I suppose I've always had a little anxiety. I often catch myself or have it brought to my attention that my leg is shaking like a nervous twitch. I just figured it was just part of life. And of course, I get really nervous when I have to talk to people I don't now, but that's part of being shy. I've always been shy. (Although admittedly, I think I'm beyond the realm of simple shyness and approaching phobic.)

What concerns me now is why has the anxiety gotten to the point that it affects my health? I know of no triggering event or reason. Like I said, I don't even know the source of the general anxiety to begin with. Perhaps I'm just losing my mind.


  1. I don't think you are losing your mind. The anxiety is just manifesting itself in a new way to get your attention.

    Your body and mind are trying to give you a wake up call, IMO. The others signs went unnoticed or overlooked.

    I know you've heard me discuss breaking out w/ hives in the past when dealing w/ a certain person. That was my manifestation of stress that I was just pushing back and not dealing w/... but damn it, when I break out in hives, I deal w/ it. You know.

    Good luck guy.

  2. Marf, if I could be bold enough to make a suggestion?
    If it is anxiety then you should try using "breathing techniques". This is very easy - I learned it through years of martial arts training ( involving zen meditation). I also taught it to patients in a psychiatric hospital. ( Not suggesting yours is that bad !)

    Its very easy - just set aside ten ( up to half an hour if you can)minutes morning and night in a quiet place, sit releaxed and concentrate ONLY on your breathing ( that bit is not so easy but keep practising). Regulate your breathing so that it is slow and fairly deep. Breath in to a silent count of say 3 or 4 and out in a similar way ( you will find the pace that is right for you). Attend to your breathing and if other thoughts come ( which they will) dont attend to them. Attend ( in a detached way) to how your body feels as you relax it. You will use this to recall that relaxation wheen you need it at other times of the day ie you are learning to put yourself in a relaxed state and you can then use this in more normal day to day life.

    Then during the rest of the day when you cant actually sit and do this exercise you can nevertheless occassionally check out your breathing and how tense or otherwise you are. If you feel tense or anxious then slow your breathing as above.

    This DOES work. I know someone for example who had stagefright who learned to this and it helped greatly. I also use it myself for example before speaking in front of a large group of people.

    Worth a try if you think you may suffer from anxiety. I can be a bit of an anxious person but I have used this approach for years and people describe me as so relaxed I am almost horizontal!!!

    Take care

  3. @ Bunc: I went ahead and tried that. Didn't work too well. I can't stop my mind from wandering.

    That, and I start to notice things like my heartbeat. For some reason that gives me an odd squirming feeling, and it actually raises my anxiety level.

  4. Marf,
    it's not unusual to find it a little difficult at first - especially if you are prone to anxiety and not good at relaxing your mind/body. I would still advise that you persist and practice a little each day. You will get it and it will work to help you manage your anxiety.
    There's no snake oil here - this is pproven technique and is widely used. better still it costs nothing!

  5. Marf,
    a bit more - noticing your heart and getting a "squirmy feeling" - again if this comes dont fight it, just kinda observe it and then let your mind let go of the feeling.

    This is all part of learning to relax your mind. Thoughts and feelings do come - but they also go.

    Some people find it helpful to try to image something like a candle flame. They diond it easier to start with to have something to concentrate on rather than trying at the start just to have an empty relaxed mind.

    You mind find that helps. Try to think of a candle flame before you and do your slowed, deeper breathing.

    This is not like popping a pill, it takes a little practice but the benefit is that once you learn to do it you can switch to the relaxed state extermely quickly anyy time you are tense or in an anxious frame of mind.

    Anyhoo, up to you. I was only trying to be helpful.

  6. @ Bunc: You know what works best for me? Getting lost in code. I tell you, when I'm writing some sort of computer code I can get into a sort of "zone".

    My mind is completely on what I'm doing and I can go hours... 8 or more without drinking water, eating anything, or even going to the bathroom. I just don't feel any needs when I'm like that.

    But I can't always get into the "zone", and it's just avoiding instead of dealing with how I feel.

    I know you're trying to help, and I appreciate it. It's just my pessimistic nature to assume something's not working.


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