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Anxiety Makes You Feel Unreal and Disconnected

August 15, 2012 Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

Anxious because you feel unreal, disconnected? Now find out what to do! Stop being terrorized by anxiety and panic attacks. Check this out.

Panic attacks suck the reality out of us!

I talked two people down from panic attacks recently and both of them had been worrying that they had lost touch with reality. They felt totally disconnected to the world around them. In talking to them, they were so convincing. I almost believed that this episode was different. But I let go of my own fear for them. (My worry doesn't help anyone.) I quickly assessed that they were not, in fact, psychotic. They were speaking rationally and eloquently.

And I remember from my panicky days how I felt different and disconnected.
And this feeling different and disconnection totally charged up my panic. It went through the roof! Making me feel even more disconnected. This is because anxiety is what we feel when we are disconnected. Anxiety comes from a feeling of separation. That there is something missing in us that doesn't allow us to handle situations. A false assumption that we are different than other people (thus separate).

Feeling Unreal and Disconnected Is a Very Scary Illusion

Anxiety makes us feel unrealIt feels so much like it is possible we won't come back to ourselves. Like our sanity is about to go off a cliff somewhere, never to return. This is terrifying! And feeds the anxiety. An already huge snow ball, rolling around, gathering yet a wider girth. Intense panic ensues.

If your panic is that intense:

Stop and remind yourself that this is just panic, not death, not psychosis, not a cliff.

Remember: I cannot guarantee much in life, but I can guarantee that things will change, you will not stay here forever. That is impossible. This too shall pass.

Remember: You have most likely been here before and came out the other side, it only feels like this is more intense because it is happening right now. It was probably this intense before and you survived (or you wouldn't be reading this.)

Know: You can get rid of problem anxiety

Please tell me what is on your mind!

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace,
share here: Twitter@JodiAman, Google+
inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace.

APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, August 15). Anxiety Makes You Feel Unreal and Disconnected, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 13 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/08/anxiety-makes-us-feel-unreal



Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

T.
July, 3 2014 at 9:11 pm

Still have the same thing for a month. Will the feeling ever go away? Does it help to not focus on it? What else can I do? I can't stand feeling this way.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Denis
July, 10 2014 at 8:11 pm

I been suffering with this for 4 years now. Mine started when I overdosed on supplements and I nearly died from a heart attack, I totally zoned out and was fighting for my life. In the beginning my anxiety was so strong I was scared to go outside, i would get panic attacks for no reason just thinking about it. Everything was dangerous, I had fears of my heartbeat and losing air and etc etc. Obviously going through hell derealization was there right along for the ride. I would get it just by going outside, everything was strange. I hated talking to people because then It would be worse for some reason.
As my anxiety slowly started getting better and I started to be less afraid. Derealization as well eased off quite a lot, dont get me wrong I still feel it from time to time but its not like 24/7 like before. It gets me every day a little here and there but for the most part I try not to think about it.
One thing that it still does it gives me depression, after I just had a great day all day long didn't think about it at all, dont experience it. A thought comes back to my mind "none of this is real you are in a dream world" it hits you again and this causes a lot of depression for me. I have to say I had gotten over anxiety and dont worry about anything hurting me anymore. But derealization is just such a profound experience that I dont know why the mind does it, it is too damn scary to ever forget about it. Hope one day I can totally get over this. You guys are not alone there are millions of people that have experienced this, its horrible but you are not alone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 11 2014 at 11:58 pm

Hi Denis,
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and a bit of your story. I think that others will benefit from this. Derealization and depersonalization can be unsettling and frightening, but you're right -- millions of people experience it, no one is alone, and it is possible to get better. Again, thank you.

T.
July, 3 2014 at 4:38 pm

It's also awful because you feel like you can't enjoy anything, since it doesn't feel real!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 7 2014 at 7:06 pm

Good point! Keep reminding yourself that an activity is, in fact, real. Journal about it, take pictures, etc. as reminders that you and the world are real. Hang in there. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your comments/questions!

T.
July, 8 2014 at 10:12 pm

I apologize for my incessant questions, but I would just like if you could answer one more (I really appreciate your time)! Is it normal to feel like you can't really recall the person you used to be? And that each day, the previous day feels kind of blurred, like hazy? I also have moments where I have to remind myself of me. "Yes, this is my name, this is where I am, etc." I'm learning to not fear the sensation of unreality and as I have already seen a doctor and the tests came back fine, I just want to insure it's still just a symptom of anxiety. Then I'll be able to move into recovery and continue to live my life alongside this feeling rather than desperately trying to rid myself of it because that in itself won't make it go away :) Thank you so much!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 9 2014 at 1:20 pm

Hello again T.,
It's good to ask questions. Stuff like this is confusing and can be hard to understand -- even mental health professionals continue to ask questions and seek understanding. And asking questions means you care and are engaged in what's going on. That is an important aspect of recovery. And now getting to your question, rest assured that what you feel can be a very normal aspect of certain types of anxiety. Everyone's experience with anxiety is different, so not everyone experiences the exact same things, but yes, what you describe is common. The feelings you describe can sometimes be part of dissociations, times when people unintentionally "separate" from themselves for various reasons. Sometimes exploring what might be contributing to your sensations can be helpful. There can be underlying causes (and sometimes, a direct cause is never found), and when those are addressed, the problem diminishes. Finding a therapist you're comfortable working with can be very beneficial. You already have started a good strategy by reminding yourself of you and repeating your name, etc. Sometimes it's helpful to wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it very lightly to remind yourself that you're here in the present. One thing is very certain: given your inquisitive, take-charge attitude, you will move into recovery and continue to live your life as you!

T.
July, 9 2014 at 1:53 pm

Thank you! It's just such a weird feeling and at moments, I could really freak out, seeing my mom but not feeling like she's my mom. Or seeing a picture of myself and thinking, "Wow, that's me?" Even trying to recall how I responded to certain things makes this all the more surreal. But I feel more reassured now, as this helps to silence that voice in my head saying, "maybe you're going crazy! How else would you explain feeling so ghostly and out of it?" But I feel better knowing that anxiety, though having similar symptoms, affects each individual differently. I'm just reminding myself that it's okay to feel this way; it's normal, and no matter how weird I feel (and it gets pretty weird most all the time) it's normal and it won't last forever. But worrying about it just installs more stress and the problem could stick around longer than necessary. So I'm still going out and trying to focus on other things. I appreciate your input and time.

T.
July, 8 2014 at 10:13 pm

I apologize for my incessant questions, but I would just like if you could answer one more (I really appreciate your time)! Is it normal to feel like you can't really recall the person you used to be? And that each day, the previous day feels kind of blurred, like hazy? I also have moments where I have to remind myself of me. "Yes, this is my name, this is where I am, etc." I'm learning to not fear the sensation of unreality and as I have already seen a doctor and the tests came back fine, I just want to insure it's still just a symptom of anxiety. Then I'll be able to move into recovery and continue to live my life alongside this feeling rather than desperately trying to rid myself of it because that in itself won't make it go away :) Thanks again.

T.
July, 3 2014 at 4:34 pm

I am a teenager and have been feeling extremely loopy and floaty, like I can't root myself down anywhere. Like everything is unreal. I notice now that it only started after my first anxiety attack and I've seen a doctor, so I know there's nothing physical wrong with me. I've had a CBC, urine test, blood sugar test, the whole deal. It's been a month and this feeling is still going on, non-stop. Sometimes, when I don't focus on it, I don't feel it so much. But when I do, it enhances instantly.
I know it's anxiety because there are people I've read who feel exactly as I do. Concentration impairment, fear of not knowing what's going on, out of it, trapped in yourself, feeling depersonalized. I've been doing all I can to fight it; I still leave the house (after two 1/2 weeks), I eat healthy, I cut caffeine from my diet, I don't eat much junk food, I got a B12 shot earlier, I take vitamins, I don't go to bed super late.
...What else can I do? Does not thinking about it help? It's just like the days are a blur and I don't know what else there is. Will it ever go away?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 7 2014 at 7:05 pm

Hello T.,
Jodi is the one who wrote this column, but as she's no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the current writers of the column. You have terrific insight into what you are experiencing, and that's good. Self-awareness coupled with a willingness to learn about what's happening helps you develop a deeper understanding and ultimately to cope better. Unfortunately, that doesn't put an end to the anxiety, but it does help you keep things in perspective. You asked if it helps not to think about it. Yes, it does! However, that is way easier said than done. If we could all just "not think about it," we would all greatly reduce our anxiety. There is something along these lines that you can do. Instead of trying not to think about it at all (and thinking about it does focus your mind on it, which is what you don't want to do), try developing alternate things to think about to replace the focus on the unreal feelings. When "everything" feels unreal, find even just one thing that doesn't and focus on that. When you feel trapped within (a common feeling) yourself, find one thing to pull yourself back out (this is sometimes called grounding). As for your question about this going away, yes, it will go away! It doesn't always happen quickly, but anxiety can indeed go away.

Eric
June, 30 2014 at 12:42 am

I feel that the symptoms have not gotten away i'm not sure if i'm traumatized since that event

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

T.
July, 4 2014 at 1:30 pm

I can't imagine feeling this way for that long! I hope you feel back to normal asap!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

T.
July, 5 2014 at 8:03 pm

I just wanted to tell you that there's a book called "At Last A Life" by Paul David who experienced 1o years of the EXACT SAME THING. I haven't finished it yet, but so far he's saying to not be worried about it! Being concerned of your symptoms will only enhance them! It's your mind trying to recover from the trauma and it blocks everything out, so it goes o what I call, auto-pilot mode. Your mind needs a break and constantly worrying about it won't make anything go away! You just got to not give anxiety the power, stop worrying, know it'll go away but stop trying to figure out when and what you can do to speed up the process. You gotta heal, dude. So do I. :D

Eric
June, 30 2014 at 12:38 am

I just feel like this everyday, i've been feeling like this since christmas

Eric
June, 30 2014 at 12:31 am

Hello, my name is Eric and i'm 15 years old, and i thank God that i found this web site because now i know that i'm not the only that feels like this. So everything started in this last christmas, my cousin and his friends asked me if i wanted to smoke canavis, and in that moment i thought in my mind "should i do it or not?" I had really thought about it because it was gonna be my first time smoking it, and i decided to go for it, then started smoking it, i had hit it around 10 times, and after i was done, like 15 minutes later, i started tripping really bad, and my friends started laughing at me and they were saying that i was going to die, and that it was never going to go away, and i was super scared, i was talking to myself in my mind "why did i do it" i want this to go away, i dont wanna feel like this anymore, God forgive me for what i did" i was like that the whole night, i felt that i was going to pass out, my forehead felt really hot, and i started feeling like sweating cold, and i was shaking. Then after 30 minutes, my mom got to my freinds house because she was looking for me and my cousin, and when she got there, i tried to walk but i couldn't, i tried to act normal but i couldnt even talk, i felt super tired, and dizzy and felt that nothing was real and that i was in a dream, then when my mom got out of the car, i was walking but my balance was really bad, then when i saw her, i hugged her and i told her that i'm sorry and that i'm never gonna do it again. I had broken my moms heart because what i did, she trusted me and i lost her trust. Then i got in the car and slept. The next day i didn't know what was going on, i slept the whole day, an when i woke up, i was super scared, i felt that the synptoms had not gotten away, since then i have been feeling confused,sick,weak,disoriented, and anxious.Every day i wake up, this thing comes to my mind, what do i have? why do i feel like this? Why hasn't this gone away, why do i feel like nothing is real? why? And when i'm doing something like washing the dishes i ask myself " why am i washing the dishes, i just feel like life doesnt have sense. When i see myself i feel that i'm not me. I feel like i'm going crazy, i'm always scared of doing things. I dont know how explain it, its just so uncomfortable, it makes me feel irritated, and tired. I even get tired when i talk, and when i talk i dont feel that its my voice, and i feel that things changed in my house even when i know that nothing has changed, i just feel confused :c

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 30 2014 at 5:47 pm

Hi Eric,
I'm very glad that you found HealtyPlace. There is a wealth of information on this site as well as comments and stories shared by people who visit. You are right -- you are definitely not alone. Also, your experience with cannabis is not uncommon -- so there's another way you're not alone! Given that your symptoms have a very definite beginning that is linked to something physical, it might be wise to see a doctor for a physical exam to make sure everything is okay. Also, you make a very wise point in mentioning being traumatized. Many different things can constitute trauma, and because this was such a big thing that has a lot of emotion attached to it, it could be very helpful to process this with a therapist. He/she can help you work through everything and get back to feeling better again. Hang in there. You're definitely not alone, and you're not doomed to feel miserable like this forever.

elena
June, 27 2014 at 7:53 am

hi everyone hope anyone could help me on this fellings im so tired to think that i might lose my mind theres no days that i think ill go crazy i dont know what elese to think, specially its getting more worse when i seeibg crazy people or talking about crazy people, im thingking that might happen to me? And after that scary thought my hands get sweaty, shaking, also get palpitations. Dont know who else to talk to coz im afraid to tell them and think that im crazy. Also have constant worries about the future, think of my family house bills etc. I wish i was a kid again no problems no worries, im a happy woman always want to luagh, joker, party and have a good company with my good friends. But wen anxiety strikes me, the happy girl is over. I feel like i loosing contact with people. I always thingking why i got this sick? Wish wen i wake up in the morning its just already gone! But its not ;( and dont know untill wen ingonna attached with this bad dream. as soon as i wake in the mirn

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

elena
June, 27 2014 at 7:56 am

As soon as i wake in the morning its boom! Already think whats wrong with me hope any one could help me im so tired of this crazy thoughts ;(

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 27 2014 at 5:31 pm

Hi Elena,
Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but as she is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she's unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the current writers of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. What you mention is quite common and very frustrating. I think there will be readers here who can share some tips. For me, sometimes it works to play the opposite game. Whatever anxious thought pops into my head, I counter it with its opposite. That doesn't make it so I don't have all those anxious thoughts, but it does help me lessen their intensity by realizing they're not fully believable. Keep doing what you're doing: seek out many different tips and practice those that work for you. Hang in there. You're not alone!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 27 2014 at 5:35 pm

Hi Elena,
I like your observation that there's you the happy girl and then you when anxiety takes over. This means that you are aware that "you" aren't your anxiety. Anxiety is something that's happening to you, but the real Elena isn't gone. That feeling of going crazy is very common, especially with panic. It does sound like you might be experiencing panic attacks, but to be certain it's advisable to see a doctor or psychiatrist. He/she can evaluate all your symptoms to discover what's truly happening, and then he/she will help formulate a treatment plan so you can get better. And you can get better!

elena
June, 28 2014 at 11:38 am

Omg! Tank u so much tanya, i now know the thecnics of anxiety! When i feel anxious i just googling my symptoms and possitive advise im fine! The pannic just sunddenly stopped. The after a day I feeling it again then im thinking? Wait a minute i driving my self crazy thingking that maybe i have tumor,cancer, or undescover medical issue etc. Then just thingking hold on im fine anyway the just forget about it, its just scary illusions that making u feel anxious ;) actually im more better now ive already passed my heart attack worries, it didnt say bye bye but im glad ;)its just gone already and before i also have trounle breathing i even go everywher was so scared maybe i just gonna passed out and just died. Its just crazy thoughts! Hope we all get better soon just enjoy a good life, live to the fullest no worries and pray always god bless us all ;)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 29 2014 at 3:09 pm

Hello again Elena!
I'm happy that Jodi's column and the comments you and I exchanged have been helpful. I really like your reference to illusions. So many times our minds trick us into feeling anxious and scared and worried, but the threats are indeed illusions. The feelings of a panic attack of course are very real, but as you observed, things really are okay. (Of course, if there is a persistent physical problem it's wise to get it cleared by a medical doctor.) Your message is very inspiring, Elena -- we can get better and live life to the fullest! May all of our worries stay small!

Cameron
June, 25 2014 at 2:27 am

Hi my name is Cameron.
I wanted to visit this website and let me reveal my anxiety problems that are really scaring me. I get 3 panic attacks every year normally, but on June 22 I had the worst p, I felt as if the world was a big machine with people that don't exist, and I felt like I was the only one living in side of it. I started shaking and feeling dizzy, and the next morning I woke up I started crying because I kept thinking that my parents and family members were not real and that they didn't belong to me? Please help me doctor, person, Anybody.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 26 2014 at 9:54 pm

Hi Cameron,
Jodi is the one who originally wrote this article, but because she is no longer with HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. Hopefully her article was helpful in, at the very least, helping you understand that you're not alone in these scary feelings of unreality. You're taking a step in regaining a sense of control just by seeking out information and learning about your anxiety. That's a step in the right direction! While that's a good start, it might not be enough for you right now. Reaching out for help is a good thing. It usually is most effective to work directly with someone, such as a counselor, psychologist, or even psychiatrist (if medication is necessary). Such a professional can help evaluate whether this is anxiety alone or if other things are going on, too. I highly encourage you to seek professional help to get you through this. It's possible. That's why professionals are there!

Katie Sheridan
June, 21 2014 at 12:35 pm

I'm so glad I came across this forum. I've known that I'm not alone with what I'm experiencing, but this gives me some relief reading others posts! I've been dealing with this off and on for 7 years and zoloft always seemed to work. But recently (3 months ago) I had a severe panick attack and it just went down hill from there. I haven't had any relief. It's from the time I wake up until I go to bed. I tried zoloft again for the past 2 wks and I had a horrible reaction. So it's trial and error rim onto something new. I've been experiencing lack of concentration,achy joints, shakiness, headaches and on and on. I'm a young mother of 3 and I'm ready for my life to be normal. This is the most terrifying feeling ever. I do have an amazing support system and praying is a big relief

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 23 2014 at 7:37 pm

Hi Katie,
Welcome to the forum! It is indeed a great place for people to get information and exchange ideas. We hope you visit often! What you are experiencing is indeed a terrifying feeling. As you have already seen, it's not just you and you're not alone. It's great that you already have a support system in place and have found one way of coping and healing. Prayer can be powerful. The things you are experiencing could be side effects to medication or symptoms of the anxiety itself -- or both. If you are trying new medications, you must already be under the care of a doctor. That's good. He/she can help determine what's happening and help get you the right treatment. It's out there. Anxiety feels miserable, but it is definitely possible to beat it. Don't give up!

lora caldwell
June, 20 2014 at 12:38 am

please can you help me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 23 2014 at 7:53 pm

Hello Lora,
There is a crisis call center (for anyone in crisis, whether suicidal or not) for immediate help through crises such as the one you describe: It's called the Crisis Call Center, and the number is 1-800-273-8255. People are waiting to help.

Michael
June, 18 2014 at 2:37 pm

Hey everyone seen all your comments and I seem to feel like most on here. 8 week's ago I was watching a film with my fiancee and all of sudden felt like couldn't breath and had tingling all over never had panic or anxiety before as I am only 24. Stopped taking the meds from docs as I wanted to die not good. Since then things little better just no appetite and de personalisation time to time. Hope you all are keeping well?

Mariah
June, 17 2014 at 7:24 am

Wow I'm reading some of these post and I realize that I am not the only one feeling like this I been expierencing anxiety for about a month now I jus feel horrible! I don't know y I feel this way. It make me second guess everything that I do I jus hope this feeling goes away even though it doesn't seem like it will it causes me to not be able to sleep I the night and me to feel so empty inside I jus recently started going to therapy for this are there any tips u can offer it would really help?!?❤️

Sarah
June, 10 2014 at 8:34 pm

Thanks so much for this! I feel this exact way. I am just now coming down from a panic attack. I called and made a Dr. Appointment for tomorrow because I havr been having trouble breathing for the past week or two. I blamed it on allergies at first but after trying allergy medicine without relief I made the appointment. I am a nurse so i checked my oxygen and it was 99% . As the day went on I began that feeling of disconnect. The feeling that I am not myself, going crazy, losing my mind and wondering how long can I live feeling like this. Will I ever feel normal again? Well of course the answer is YES! Just reading that these feelings are "normal" at least when it comes to panic disorder. I would rather know that it is anxiety than continue to wonder if I am dying. I feel so much better now and I will read on about healing to try to prevent attacks from starting. :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 11 2014 at 6:28 pm

Hi Sarah,
Jodi is the one who wrote this wonderful piece. Because she's no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she's unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the current authors of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. You are absolutely right -- you will feel normal again, and what you are experiencing is normal for panic disorder. You've shared wise thoughts about your experience and approach, and I have a feeling many readers will benefit. Thank you for sharing. I'm so glad you found HealthyPlace and Anxiety-Schmanxiety! I hope you come back often and find helpful insights and information.

erika
June, 8 2014 at 1:07 am

Hi Jodi,I want to thank you for your post because now I know im not going crazy.I do have a question though,why do I feel like if im not really here but I know I am? My Heart strats raising & I start shaking and having tought as if I am going crazy like going to a menthal hospital or something....how do I control this? Please help me Jodi.I feel scared and dont know what to doo anymore!!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 9 2014 at 11:12 am

Hello Erika,
I'm very glad that you found Jodi's post helpful (and I can second her comments that you/others are not going crazy). Jodi is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she's unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the current authors of the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog. Regarding your question, it's quite common to feel that you're not here yet still know that you are. We can be fully aware of what is going on one level--we can know that we really are here--but because anxiety is so complex and involves many systems, we can have that "I-know-I'm-here-but-I-think-I'm-not" sensation. Our "rational" mind is at work, but other things in other parts of the brain (the primitive/reptilian part of the brain as well as different regions throughout the brain) kick into high gear, too, and that impacts our entire being: our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. That can result in a swirling mess that is overwhelming. But, as mentioned, that rational part of the brain is still there and is, on some level, aware of what's going on. The result is a very surreal experience that can actually exacerbate anxiety. When anxiety is very intense, professional help can be important and beneficial. Therapy and/or medication can help you through this. Know that what you're experiencing isn't uncommon. It's miserable, but it's not a personal flaw!

stacey
June, 6 2014 at 12:41 am

I have been reading everyones post I to have pank and anxiety for yrs now this really helps to no I'm not along

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 9 2014 at 11:02 am

Hi Stacey,
You are definitely not alone! I'm glad you found this wonderful community of people sharing their stories and experiences about anxiety. Come back often!

Marie
May, 23 2014 at 5:59 pm

Wow. Eveeything you are saying is true. I am alive, Ive felt better before. I can do this. But can I? I feel disconnected all the time for a long time now. I am 22 about to be 23 and havent done anything in my life. Im trying and trying before its too tlate but this anxiety and disconnection doesnt let me. Im so scared. Im always thinking of horrible things that can happen to people because I dont like one of them. I am screaming for help and no one understands. I only get peace when I pray but im scared. Idk what to do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 23 2014 at 10:57 pm

Hi Marie,
Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but because she is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. I'm Tanya, one of the current writers of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. You stated that you can do this, and then, as so many people do (and I myself have done), wondered if you really can. In just paying full attention to your statements, I can say confidently that yes, you can do this. You mention that you get peace when you pray. Don't focus on the word "only." Focus on the fact that you do find peace in something. If praying brings you peace, then pray and don't feel bad about it or worry that it's the "only" thing that you can do. You've found something. Congratulations! You'll gradually find more things, but don't pressure yourself. And given that you agree with Jodi's points, you know you're alive, and you know you've been better, you have what it takes to find it again. Remember that and know you are capable of achieving it again. Also, I'm glad you mentioned your age. Feeling what you are feeling (about not having done anything in your life) is very, very common for your age. You're in one of many transition periods that all humans go through, and during these times it's common to feel that you haven't done enough. As you make goals for your personal future and make a plan to gradually work toward them, you will begin to feel better. Obsessive thoughts such as those you mention can feel very disconcerting and anxiety-provoking, but they are harmless to others (but they do increase your own anxiety so they should be worked through, ideally with a therapist). You truly are in a good position to overcome your anxiety. Working with a therapist could go a very long way in helping you get to the root of your anxiety and create a toolbox of strategies for reducing it.

Monique
April, 28 2014 at 8:02 am

Hello,
I'm 25 years old, had my first anxiety/panic attack after smoking pot when I was a freshman in high school. I went a couple months where I would feel unreal or not myself-often becoming numb, not being able to fully concentrate. I just started a pretty tough program for school and unfortunately had another panic attack I assume due to stress. The biggest problem I have is understanding that I have this feeling again after beating it the first time! This time feels different for some reason like I won't be able to snap out of it. What are your thoughts?! Thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 29 2014 at 4:00 pm

Hi Monique,
It sounds like you are actually a step ahead of the anxiety game because you recognize the feeling and are already able to find some similarities and differences to the first time it happened. That's already quite helpful for you, even though you are still dealing with the panic attack and the fear of more happening. Stress can indeed bring about anxiety and panic. It can rear its ugly head even years after someone has overcome them. And because you are different now than you were when you were about ten years ago when they first began, it makes sense that they feel different now. Know that you beat them once, and you'll be able to snap out of them again. What worked for you before? Also, given that you are in a tough academic program, you fight find it very beneficial to actively work on stress management. There are many different things that people can do to keep stress at a tolerable level, and doing so will help keep panic attacks to a minimum. Perhaps you might find this to be a good starting point. If more panic attacks occur, you'll be equipped to address them and put a stop to them.

Naty
April, 17 2014 at 11:17 am

Hi! I'm 36 weeks pregnant and having PA from time to time. I used to have Pure-O about 7 years ago which I battled myself, no meds or CBT.
This time, around 4 months ago, start having PA not just related to my physical conditions as it was before, but caused by feeling 'not here' / 'unreal'. Though, I don't think it's full scale DR and PA takes no more than 30 mnts.
However, what starts bothering me most is the constant feeling afterwords, once PA gone. I used to feel some sort of relief. Now I keep being scared and think about staff like reality and time. Wondering whether this is pure-O returns but on different level. This all makes me hopeless and stressed.
Regards!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Naty
April, 17 2014 at 11:19 am

Just noticed my previous post saved as well, same topic. Thank you in advance for help and advise!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 17 2014 at 8:31 pm

Hello Naty,
Thanks for coming to HealthyPlace.com and for commenting. Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but because she is no longer writing for Healthy Place, she is unable to comment on posts. I'm Tanya, one of the new co-authors of Anxiety-Schmaxiety. Just for ease of reading, I'll write my response to your comments/questions here so you don't have to jump around. You mentioned feeling hopeless and stressed. That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like your anxiety (in the form of panic and obsessions, which can be very intense in Pure-O) was very problematic for you in the past. It's very common for people to worry that these things are going to return. First, congratulations for overcoming them before! That is something to own. Recognize your strength and know that you have the power to overcome again if need be. It is possible, although because I'm not meeting with you in person I can't be completely sure, that this is related to pregnancy. So much within our bodies changes when we're pregnant (I have two kids, so I've been there). One thing that happens, is that the body prepares itself completely (physically and emotionally) for caring for an infant/raising a child. It is natural for people to experience anxiety during pregnancy, and for that anxiety to increase near the end. You have a double whammy because you've had significant battles with anxiety in the past Not only do you dread its return, but you have the extra worry of it happening while you are caring for your baby. Have you discussed this with your doctor and/or a therapist? They might be able to provide insights specific to you and your situation. Also, how did you work past this before? Are there things you did that you can draw on again? Stress management techniques can be very calming and can prevent anxiety from growing stronger. Experiment to find what works for you, or do more of what already works. Exercise (modified for third trimester pregnancy), listening to music, coloring/art projects, rocking and reading books to your unborn baby...there are many soothing things to help yourself de-stress and manage your anxiety. What you're experiencing does make sense even though I'm sure it's unpleasant. Oh, and congratulations on your little one!

Naty
April, 17 2014 at 5:33 am

Hi! Just want to get some re-assurance. I keep having PAs quite often. They used to be related to my physical conditions concerns. Now PAs turn out to something more. I keep feeling quite unreal during PA, though don't think it's full scale DR, but just being freaked out about loosing control or faint. Then, once PA gone, I don't feel relief as it was before. I'm still left along with the kind of feeling of everything unreal, start questioning 'what's time? what's now or reality?' type of things. It does bring feeling of hopelesness. I'm 36 weeks pregnant, and surely used to have long running OCD or even Pure-O some years ago. OCD perhaps goes on a new level for me :-(
Regards!

Dave
April, 9 2014 at 2:16 pm

Hi, I'm wondering if you may be able to help, or defer my fear for me. Please.
I've recently been feeling awful. A new level of weird. I never really had panic before, or anxiety but in the last month it's suddenly spiralled out of complete control to the point where I don't know how I can fix it, or see a future without it.
I had a pretty intense situation for about 6 months with a girl, which never really took off, but I put a lot of myself in to it and it sapped me of myself. It's complicated, but essentially I have a broken heart. We also work together and it was all very secretive. I think living a lie has corrupted my brain. That's the first bit.
I have also been drinking a lot of alcohol and dabbled with cocaine. Not loads, but the odd bit every now and then, with alcohol.
I then also hurt my back quite badly while playing football.....
So, while down about the first situation I was hitting it very, very hard, and then also had my stress relieving activity (exercise) taken away from me. I cannot exercise while my bad is so bad. So I have been sitting around. Hang overs became really bad. The last time I partied I was feeling pretty down, but I got incredibly drunk and took some cocaine (again, not loads) and it feels like that has never really warn off.
I feel like I am in a nightmare and on a bad, in a way, on a 'bad trip', but it's real. I've stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine for 7 days now and I feel sick.
I worry about my sanity a lot. I think I've lost it. I have a heavy weight behind my eyes, my vision feels odd. I feel dizzy, lost, and mentally I feel like I am not myself anymore. Everything seems pointless and I have lost sense of chronology. My memory is strange and my head is clouded.
I don't know how much of this is the caffeine withdrawal but really I think I'm trying to convince myself it's ok.
I have been to the doctor and I will see a psychologist next week. I feel incredibly sad, and mental.
Will I be okay and how do I fix it?
Thanks x

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dave
April, 9 2014 at 2:34 pm

I don't know weather this feeling of disconnection is 'snowballed anxiety' or whether I have just snapped. I've only told one person about it as I don't want people to think I'm a nutter. He's my best friend and he's been really good about it. His wife has anxiety. I'm really scared.
Thanks for your time. x

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 11 2014 at 12:42 pm

Hi again, Dave!
"Snowballed anxiety" is a great phrase, for anxiety does indeed snowball. It feeds on itself and can grow quite big. Fortunately, no matter what it feels like, it isn't bigger than you. You can indeed stop it from growing and then make it shrink back into a snowflake. It might take time and work, but it can happen.
It's nice that you have someone to talk to about this. It's sad and frustrating that those of us with mental health struggles have to feel as though we can't talk about ourselves for fear of being judged as crazy, as nutters. A consequence of this is that, because everyone is afraid to share their experiences with anxiety (or other mental health issues), it makes people feel that they're alone in their difficulties. That couldn't be further from the truth. It's just that people are afraid to share and talk because of the stigma associated with mental illness. While you don't have to talk to anyone you're uncomfortable with, do know that you truly aren't alone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 11 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hi Dave,
My name is Tanya. Jodi, the person who wrote this article, is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she's unable to respond to comments. I'm sure she would do so if she could! First, it's important for you to know that feeling cared and that you've snapped is a very common feeling. You're not alone, and there's nothing "wrong" with you for this! Having lived through difficulties and issues with mental illness myself, I understand that it truly can be frightening. You have many different things that you're dealing with, and it's all piling on top of each other to give you this awful feeling. You wisely observed that when you were injured, you lost one of your positive stress-relieving activities. That has a big impact on one's sense of both mental and physical well-being. Your questions of whether you will be okay and how to fix it are very legitimate and I'm sure scary to ask. Of course I am not in a position to evaluate you and your situation, but I will say that because you have been to a doctor, will be seeing a psychologist, and clearly are taking measures to understand yourself, your anxiety, and how to heal, you truly have the potential to overcome this. Be patient with yourself. Anxiety likes to hold on and fight back, but in the end, you are stronger than it. Work with your doctor and psychologist. You won't be stuck forever.

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