Thursday, 22 December 2011

Adapting: From order to chaos...

So much has happened recently. I have moved house and started the mammoth task of decorating the whole place. This is why I have not blogged lately. It has all been very stressful. Moving house is obviously stressful enough as it is but when you're doing so much work on it it is tough. There is so much disruption which is something I don't deal with well. At first I felt overwhelmed at what we had set ourselves up for. Now we are more settled and I am getting used to to the fact that it will be an ongoing project and not something which will be sorted quickly - the way I usually likr it. I'm feeling a bit more relaxed about it even though there is still so much to do and the place is a bit of a mess. Of course before we bought the place we knew it needed doing up but I underestimated how much. It will be fantastic when it is finished! All in all I think my anxiety has not been too bad. The first two weeks I felt quite depressed as I realised the state of the house and the timescale to complete it. I like to have a firm idea of when things will be done. I just like to know. But I did not know when. I only knew it would be a long time. There it is - the uncertainty of something unsettling. Unlike with many other anxieties there is no threat involved but this is an anxiety about things being in order rather than dangerous. As exposure therapy suggests though you can overcome the anxiety by living with it and eventually it will fade. We become used to the presence of something uncomfortable. The house it a mess but I am ok - mostly anyway. :0)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Progressively in control

I had my last appointment for my CBT for GAD on Wednesday. It was my follow up appointment after my treatment finished three months ago. During the three months I have managed my anxiety quite well. I have felt generally less anxious in that time because I have the knowledge to deal with it if I need it. Oh how we like reassurance! I have also been quite confident in using this knowledge successfully - most of the time. My practitioner was very pleased with my quick progress due to my grasp of the CBT. She commented on how relaxed I seemed compared to previously. I felt it too. I felt as though I was more in charge of my life and as though I have achieved what I set out to. Rather than eagerly waiting for her words of wisdom so I could sort my mind out. Let's hope I can make sure it continues...

Friday, 4 November 2011

Down and up

I have been feeling a bit down and self critical for a long while now. I decided to buy a book on Depression. It is by Robert. L. Leahy who's books on anxiety I have read and they were very helpful indeed. It is called "Beat the Blues Before They Beat You". There was a description of how someone with depression thinks, of their thought processes and it is pretty much how I have been thinking. In a nut shell, constantly feeling that I am not successful enough, things don't go right and generally being self-critical. Since beginning the book I am already feeling a bit better. Just learning about the thought processes of a depressed person helped to make me realise that it is not my life or me that is wrong but simply the way I think. I have started to be more aware of my thinking and am feeling I have made some progress. Long way to go though...Another thing has happened to help me progress with the depression is that I have re-discovered my old self! These problems change you. The anxiety makes you feel scared of everything to the point where all is dangerous and must be avoided. OCD also makes you fearful of what might (but probably will not) happen with a sense of responsibility for it all. Depression makes you low and hopeless. Believing that you cannot do anything and are not enough as a person and with no way out. It is all very wearing and your personality changes to reflect these negative feelings. Or at least this is my experience. I have recently, at the same time as discovering the above book, reminded myself of my old self. The person I was during the short periods when I was free from all of this particularly during my teenage years. I thought I used to be joyful and enthusiastic. Where has that gone? By remembering who I was I tried to reconnect with that person and am feeling like I used to. Not all of the time but a lot of the time. Using the CBT for OCD and GAD (anxiety) and the book on depression gives me the skills to get a grip on these debilitating problems and to get back to being me not the person they have made me become. I must remember who I was before. The fight goes on...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Slap in the face...

Us people with OCD can always find a reason not to do something. Things are too scary, too risky, too dangerous. There is always a reason to say no. I was invited to Turkey last week and at first thought it best not to go. Apart from the many “risks” involved with holidays I considered reasons not to go such as I am moving house soon therefore, I need to save money, I need to save my annual leave from work and I might be needed by the solicitor for example while I am away. I then decided I could really do with a holiday because of all the stress of moving and all the usual anxieties I go through and so I began to reconsider. I thought I was probably being typically over cautions because the facts are I could afford it, I will have two weeks annual leave left which is plenty for moving house and since I would only be away for one week if the solicitor or whoever else needed me they could wait that short time. I decided to go and felt good about the decision. I thought any “normal” person would decide to go and felt rather bold and decisive for once.

Then came the trouble. After making my “good” decision when I arrived the weather was terrible so I could not enjoy the usual beach and sea stuff that we generally go for then two days after arriving there was total disaster when I ended up in hospital because I caught an infection in my digestive system. I was on a drip and had to have antibiotics by intravenous injection. I have been given tablets I need to take and am on a special diet. I am feeling rather sorry for myself. I basically got no holiday and am thinking how could I have got it so wrong. I know I am not the only person who has gone on holiday and ended up in hospital but that does not make me feel much better. It really feels like a slap in the face when I felt I had done so well to beat my anxieties and over cautious behaviour and make a normal good decision.

I have become more fearful of germs and bacteria now too. I don't have that type of OCD but have tendencies towards it from time to time and this does not help. Hopefully that will pass. I hate feeling sorry for myself and it is not endearing...but I do. Boohoo. I will get over it though as you do.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Anxiety rising...

Over the last couple of weeks my general anxiety has risen, I guess because of the house move. Luckily I don't have a feeling of anxiety at all times like I did a few years ago. It is only when I come up against an issue. Although that is becoming more frequent because there is more going on and things seem more stressful than they would usually. While I am very enthusiastic and very much looking forward to the move it gives me an unsettled feeling. It is as though a big important event is left undone and I need it completed before I can rest again. I keep having the feeling that I cannot cope with things I would usually not worry about quite as much. I had a lack of confidence all last week and I am wondering if that is related to the anxiety caused by the move. I tend to dwell on the negative too and last week I acknowledged my low self-esteem at the moment and spent too much time thinking about it which of course made me feel worse. The key of course is to spot when my thinking is a result of my anxiety rather than a reasonable reaction to a real situation and then try to leave it to worry time, challenge the thought or/and problem solve as I have been recently taught. Using the worry time is very useful indeed. Sometimes I am better at enforcing it than others but I usually manage to do it. Lately I think I could have used it more. Yesterday I was in quite an anxious state about various things and my list for worry time was long! It does help to clear my head and come back to things later. I feel more in control that way becuase I have managed to leave it to later and as a result my head is clearer and calmer so I can think more logically and plan what to do much more effectively.

My OCD is becoming more challenging too. It took me 20 mins to lock up before work on Wednesday which I was really gutted about. But I had it back down to 13 mins on Friday. It is an anxiety rollercoaster at the moment!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

To the test...

Times are becoming stressful so it's going to be a test for my new skills learnt from my recent CBT for GAD (worrying) treatment.

Two weeks ago I was coming up to my grading for my green Karate belt so I was quite anxious. When I am anxious about something important that anxiety can affect me more generally and I can end up being worried about all sorts of smaller less significant things. I ended up having a freak out about work. That all calmed down though until later in the week when I had another freak out, again about work. Then last sunday it was grading day! Very exciting but nerve wracking of course. I got through the day with fewer nerves than usual and successfully obtained my belt. Whoooo hooooo! Very happy.

The week to follow was to prove stressful again when househunting. Yes one of the most stressful things we do - move house! We spent hours looking for something and were lucky enough to find a house last week. I am thinking I am going to have to fully engage all my new learnt skills if I am to get through it with my sanity in tact! The hardest thing is to let go of the many thoughts which come when I am trying to do something else such as sleep! All the what ifs and buts that come with such a big thing. I suspect my worry time/thinking time list is about to get longer.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


I have become confused recently. I try to analyse everything I think. If I feel down, anxious or just not right I have to understand why I think and feel that way so I can sort it out. Also, I try to order my anxieties, problems and concerns in my head so that they are easily understandable and accessible. The problem here though is that I spend too much time thinking about all this and putting everything in order. Like I said in my last blog I have managed to leave worries to “Worry Time” but now I think I have ended up, without really noticing, spending that time overthinking my state of mind. Perhaps I can invent another branch of worrying just called “Analysis Time” where I can analyse to my heart’s content about the way I feel?! I could have a whole tree! Some might say that worrying and analysing is the same thing which maybe it is but I guess that is the OCD making me be more specific and exact. I will now include “Thinking Time” along with my ”Worry Time” for anything that is not, to my mind, a worry as such. My little attempt to not be too exact as I really would come up with the whole tree. Too complicated! I am hoping this will allow me to leave any kind of overthinking to later when I can do it in a short 20 minutes max session. Ending with a few minutes relaxation such as breathing techniques or whatever helps at the time.

This is an attempt to free my mind from the burden of so much unnecessary and unhelpful thinking but to also address any real problems I might have and try to see the difference between the two. I find I have so many genuine issues that it is important to acknowledge them, understand them and straighten them out but it is equally important to set aside a time to go over them to save me from spending all my time thinking about them which is not helpful.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Monkey Mind

I completed the CBT course for GAD and am doing quite well. Each time I begin to worry excessively I leave the worry to Worry Time. I am more able to problem solve and challenge my worrisome thoughts. Accepting uncertainty is slightly easier than it used to be but still a frightening thing - the not knowing! All in all it is going well.

However, since stopping all the constant worrying another problem which I had previously been aware of has been further highlited to me. I have terrible concentration and mental discipline! My mind is more peaceful (joy!) but I have found that, after of years of giving in to compulsions and thinking what my mind tells me I must, I have almost no concentration. Before I had the constant worries going over and over in mind like a tape playing over and over but when my mind is free of that such as at the moment I still have jumping thoughts and no discipline. My mind does still gravitate to worries, fears and often negativity. I manage to postpone the worrying but my mind is still jumping around with doubts etc.. How do I tame my "Monkey Mind" as it is called? The constant chattering. How do I learn to concentrate after years of not doing? Any tips please? I am using mindful awareness at the moment. I have recently been trying to think in practical terms and not to allow my mind to wonder too much i.e. focus on what I am doing right now. When this works I feel good. It enables me to concentrate on what I am doing while preventing the worrisome thoughts, fears and negative thinking etc..

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Almost there

Well I am nearing the end of my CBT course of treatment for my GAD (worrying). I have taken the postpone worrying and "worry time" further. I have learned to challenge the problems at worry time rather than just going over them which will hopefully in the long term help me to automatically challenge my anxious thoughts immediately before I can begin stressing over them. Secondly I have tried to "Let go" of worries where you remain passive and observe rather than engage with them. The latter is not so easy! I find I can manage this with minor issues or things I have no control over but for anything more intense or troublesome I need to know I can come back to it later or it will nag away at me all day. Maybe oneday...

Now I am tackling the acceptance of uncertainty which is the main catalyst in worrying. This is the thing! The main aspect of my problem which I really need to come to terms with. But it is the just not knowing...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Worry time...

Some of you will be familiar with "Worry Time" which is when you save worries for a certain time of the day each day when you can worry about all the things which usually endlessly and ineffectively occupy your poor, tired and harassed mind for a large portion of the day. You do this for just 10 or 20 minutes (max) each day. It has proved very useful. I had heard if it before but always dismissed it as something which was not possible for me. Because of the intensity of my anxiety I always thought it was useless to even attempt it. However, I learned through one of the modules that I am able to put aside worries even when in intense fear. I had infact done this previously in troubled times. I just needed this highlighted and then to work on it. I now save worries up and it seems effective so far. It not only has the advantage of not worrying the whole time but your worries fade if you don't give them fuel. Worrying has a snowball effect. It grows and becomes stronger the more you think. The more you think the more you add to it so the more fearful you get and the more anxious worrying you do. If you postpone it it is likely it will fade away because you become occupied with other things. By Worry Time I am often not really bothered any more and sometimes don't even use the worry time!

Friday, 27 May 2011

CBT Sessions going well...

So far my appointments have consisted of going through various modules covering an overview of worrying, why we worry, challenging beliefs about worry being uncontrollable, dangerous (although this one is not my belief), and also interestingly challenging positive beliefs about worry. I do various "experiments" each week to challenge my way of anxious worrying. It is surprisingly effective, although of course there is a long way to go. It seems quite easy at the moment because I am having a relatively easy period where anxiety is concerned and the real test will be when times are harder but this information gives me some confidence that I might be able to gain some control over it all. When my anxiety is bad it is pretty intense so my aim is to master the skills while it's quiet!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Needn't have worried...

So I went to my assessment appointment with the psychologist. They do want to focus on what is happening now but understand the anxiety goes up and down so appreciate I might be ok at present. We are going to use the CBT model. I am, of course, familiar with CBT but only for my checking with OCD. I am not familiar with how this will work with anxiety and worrying. My next appointment is by telephone next Friday lunchtime. I'd rather do these things face to face but that means letting my boss know and I really don't want to provide those details to my employer.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Hoping the wait is worth it...

Tomorrow, after one and a half years of being on a waiting list, I finally have an appointment with a psychologist. I do hope that they are able to help my anxiety in some way. My biggest concern is that for me it is a very on and off issue. When I am anxious it can be really terrible and crippling but then other times I seem to have long periods of calm. At the moment I am experiencing the latter which is wonderful but I do hope that I don't have to pay for that by it proving unhelpful in terms of discussing my experiences and what they can do to help me as they seem to want to focus on how I am right now. Waiting lists are tremendously unhelpful to ill health!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Slow progress

Well it's slow work climbing back up the hill again. My checking has improved slightly when leaving the house. I have managed to shave off about three minutes but there is still a long way to go. In am using CBT and my main point of focus is on walking away from things while gaining the strength to do so from the knowledge that ignoring that very thing will mean the compulsion is weaker next time.
I try to think of my goal and not just how scared and unsure I feel right now.

I am all for these bank holidays we're having in the UK right now but they really do not help with the locking up the house before work! Still, cannot really complain though :o).

By the way last night I used the tap in the bathroom and did not at all feel a compulsion to check it. That was a total one off. How is that?! Maybe I was in a brave and daring mood? Haha. Strange.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Back to the books...

Well it really is hard work. I was doing so well with my OCD until I had leave of responsibility and then it's all gone backwards as soon as I have returned to my responsibilities, namely locking up the house. I have struggled to lock the house up each day since I've been back from holiday with not much progress and have now dragged out the CBT book again. It's amazing how easily it returns when I'm not exercising my resistence. Like I said in my previous blog it's not back to square one but it's in that direction. This morning I think I made a little progress, especially with the window and taps. I am trying to remember that that overwhelming fear and compulsion to check is precisely the thing that will help me to beat it - by going against it. If I can just see each time that that very thing is what will take me to the place I was in before when I proved the doubt wrong by not giving in.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

As predicted...

Well my husband is back at work now after his two weeks off meaning that out of the last five weeks I have only had to lock up the house for one week. This means that my security anxiety and consequent checking has not been challenged for all this time. Even though I was very much improved before, I have reverted back to having the compulsions. Although, they are not as strong as they were originally so it is only a small decline. I think I will climb back to the top again and this time it's only a hill rather than a mountain - but it's still very though. Here goes exposure again. Eeeeek!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Rollercoaster weekend

Whoohoo! Good news. I got my red karate belt on Sunday! I'm very pleased. The grading is really stressful and scary but I think that makes it even more rewarding. I am noticing how much confidence it gives me generally. It all gets harder as you go up the belts of course but I am enjoying the challenge. My anxiety really did rise the day before. I was going over and over a thousand times everything I had to do and get ready and thinking have I done this have I done that over and over. I managed to calm down and think about something else for a while and the need for Overthinking passed thankfully as I needed to get some sleep!

It was a pretty stressful weekend all round actually. On Saturday we woke up to discover the kitchen was flooded! My husband managed to stop the leek before the plumber arrived thankfully. However, the water coming from the bathroom, was sitting between the bathroom floor and kitchen ceiling so he had to cut out a section to let it flow out. Not ideal! I realise thought that it could have been a lot worse as it was just a leaking pipe which needed tightening and had probably been slowly dripping away for weeks. It worked out ok though and the damage was minimal apart from the hole in the ceiling which will take weeks to dry before we can re-do it. Interestingly I did not start overly worrying about it which I out down to being preoccupied with my karate grading. Usually I would just worry about whatever is happening but when there is something which is very important to me such as my grading I seem to somehow let other things bypass me. I don't think this is the same how any "normal" person would think because I think the reason is that failing or missing out on the important thing is totally unthinkable and intolerable whether that is reasonable or logical or not.

Very emotional weekend!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Worry shift

I cannot manage in any way to stop checking my alarm clocks. Yes, I have to have two in case one mysteriously brakes in the night! I have managed relatively well in resisting checking windows and taps (apart from taps in the night - why is it always harder In the night?) and various other things using CBT but the thought of my alarm not going off and being late for work seems to be at the top of the fear list when it comes to checking - at the moment anyway. I seem to experience more checking at work these days than security checking at home too. Perhaps my fears have shifted and work fears are more prominent. Of course if I can learn what about work I really fear then maybe it will help me to gain more control of checking or even decrease my "need" to check by dealing with it directly. I think though that I am just worried about responsibility and security but what can be done about that? Until I start seeing a therapist I think I'll just have to struggle along with the clocks. I feel I have made some small progress with checking at work though. On average I do approximately one to two fewer checks. It's not much but it's a start. The little voice is always there..."but what if?"

Monday, 21 March 2011

Back to normal...

Well I am back to work tomorrow. The rest is over. I am beginning to think about my week ahead and to anticipate what I have to do. Of course all the old anxieties are creeping out such as having to set my alarm which I check countless times and being back at work with a full inbox. This week and next I don't need to lock up when I leave for work as hubby has two weeks off work. I can look at this one of two ways 1) that this is good because I don't have to lock up :0) or 2) that this is not so good because it does not give me the opportunity to test myself and progress :0(. I can only imagine what my checking will be like once he is back at work! I will just focus for now on all the other checks I have to do at any time such as the taps and lights etc.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Cooling down in the sun...

OMG. It is quite amazing. I have been so relaxed this week despite being away from home. I did not stress once about anything apart from this morning when I had a minor freak out about all the housework I would have to do when I return home today. Who cares?! It can wait until tomorrow after karate. Also I did get overly concerned about the colour of my skin as I am quite fair skinned and the colour was a rather alarming shade of red but I soon rationalised that it always happens before fading within hours which it has now. It is almost as though I am one of those "normal" people who think that going away is relaxing and is actually the whole point of a holiday rather than an OCD persons who thinks it's the perfect way to torcher yourself for a week about everything and anything that pops into your mind. Wow! I am trying to think of how I have managed to be so anxiety free right now. Could it be down to learning to question my fears and rationalise them? And how long will this feeling of relaxation last? Back to work on Tuesday...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

So far so good

Well I am quite surprised. I expect to be even more anxious than usual when I go on holiday and find it hard to enjoy myself but not at all this time. When things are unfamiliar my anxiety seems to increase although I am now thinking that that is offset by the fact that I don't have any responsibilities to stress about while I am away and nothing is expected of me. Hurray! I can tackle the responsibilities when I get home and am hoping to keep up the progress of late but for now I really am enjoying a bit of sun and relaxation. :0)

Monday, 14 March 2011


I have recently been fortunate enough to experience life without anxiety, fear and worry. This is with the help of the books I have been reading and which I now pretty much live by. This rare feeling of stillness and peace in my mind is really quite blissful. It enables me to just be, experience now, get on with my life and enjoy all that life is. There is however, one other thing the peace creates - space. Actually, it's a void. At times I go from being a constant worrier to someone well, pretty much normal really. This is fantastic of course and something I want to maintain but what about the space? I have feared and worried my way through life and I feel as a consequence have not achieved what I could have. This mental freedom allows me to see this. The only thing I have done is take up karate in the last few months. The space in my life and the time I now have is an opportunity to live and experience which, progress permitting, I fully intend to do but I cannot help but feel a great sadness at the lost time and opportunities I have missed. Without the fear and worrying to make me afraid to do things and occupy my time what would I have been like and what would I have done with my life? I am now left thinking what can I do to make a start on making up for it? Can I? I feel as though I need to get to know myself properly aside from the problem so I can successfully achieve what I want out of life.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Help and holidays

Since the discovery of the great book ‘Anxiety Free’ by Dr Robert L. Leahy at New Year I have been up and down with my anxiety. One minute feeling as though I can gain / am gaining control of it and feeling as though things are promising then the next feeling as though the strength of the anxiety is still overwhelming. I realise though that progress will, of course, be slow. I have not seen my counsellor as planned because since reading the book I felt as though I could try to deal with it alone. I have though, continued to struggle and although the book is very good it is not enough. It was rather optimistic and naive to think I could take it on alone. Anyway, I have been on a waiting list for a psychologist since November 2009 and they have recently contacted me and am told I will start a programme within the next two months. I think it will be so much easier with someone guiding me through what I need to do. I have also bought a book called ‘The Worry Cure’ also by Dr Robert L. Leahy which is excellent and even more relevant since it is even more specific to my most challenging needs. Worry, worry, worry! I do feel optimistic because of everything I am learning from the books. Perhaps progress will quicken up once I start the programme.

Anyway, guess what?! I am going on holiday tomorrow for five nights which will be a challenge for me as I can be more afraid when I am not familiar with my surroundings. Then there is all the planning and preparation which can get me into a bit of a tizz what with making sure I have everything but hey - nearly there now. Please wish me luck for that. I am trying not to think about my workload at the office when I return. Also, I have another karate grading coming up so it’s challenges all the way!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Embrace the fear...

When anxiety strikes and I am convinced there will be terrible consequences how do I stop this horrible process of fear and thinking, thinking, thinking to resolve the problem and make it all go away?! The answer I am learning is that I cannot. Just as you cannot stop any thoughts which have intensity. I am learning that I have to willingly let them in. Now I have a better understanding of where my anxiety comes from I am not quite as afraid of the anxiety itself. I am in a better position to rationalise. I cannot allow my thoughts on solving the apparent but false crisis to take over and dominate my mind constantly but nor can I block them out. I am learning to accept the anxiety and recognise that it is initially there to help me since it is programmed into our minds during evolution - this makes it easier. Slowing down my thinking and breathing helps. It is natural to think very quickly when you're anxious and end up lost in a world of fear and negativity. I hope that my new found knowledge on evolution will help. It certainly gives me confidence. Only time will tell...

Friday, 21 January 2011

Mindful amongst the madness

Well I have been practicing mindfulness for a while now and I am pleased to say it is very helpful. Things are hectic at the moment. There's allsorts going on at work and my personal life is busier than usual so I find my head can be quite cluttered. Add to this a touch of OCD and a bit (or lot) of anxiety and you can have mayhem. On Wednesday I was thinking about all that is going on at work, trying to figure a few things out. Then my mind turned to personal stuff, then to my weekend away "up north" to see my family and it all got a bit much until I remembered I could observe what was happening instead of fretting about it. Get some emotional distance which I did and the stress slowly seeped away leaving me feeling quite calm and in control - well more so anyway! Sometimes I just replace thoughts with what is happening here and now to rest from it all and refresh.

Of course my new found understanding of the origins of my anxiety is a great help for my symptoms. When they appear I am better able to rationalise. My concentration levels have increased since I am not feeling that constant low level anxiety where I am always on alert so I can look for danger. I notice though, that this does reappear and I need to register it then let it go. Progress is very good but it is still, even though it's easier, a constant battle.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Ready for the test?

I have used CBT to help with my checking compulsions for a long time now and found it quite effective as long as I really make an effort or it slips back again. Of course there is always a compulsion to check which I resist and this is accompanied with a sense that I am taking a risk in resisting - such as OCD is. I find now though, since I have gained a better understanding of the reasons behind my needing to check the sense has decreased somewhat making the compulsion weaker - or maybe my resistance is stronger because I understand? I am not sure which. I think I can deal with the checking most of the time. The big test will be for my generalised anxiety disorder when there is an incident which makes me unduly anxious. Will I be able to rationalise it now knowing why I have such fear?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Inspiration and revelation

Inspiration can come from the most unexpected source at the most unexpected moment.

Over Christmas I watched a film I had not seen for years. I saw it as a child when it first came out in 1984. It had an inspiring message and I loved it. This time I watched it with the same enthusiasm I had the first time around but found it inspiring for a very different reason. One of the main characters, Johnny Lawrence, has highlighted to me the dramatic impact anxiety has had on my whole life. I was struck by his carefree attitude, his energy, enthusiasm, optimism, friendships, achievement, and a love of life. Attributes which I feel I would benefit from if it were not for the burden of feeling that even the most insignificant of situations appear to carry a multitude of dangers. The character is actually the bad guy (and not a typical source of inspiration!) but nevertheless the filmmakers have given him these qualities and regardless of the fact that he is entirely fictional it has made me think. It does not have to be real because the attributes are realistic. I could be doing so much more with my life if I were free from the restraints of undue anxiety. It was a suffocating feeling to realise this. However, I did not feel defeated and an immense feeling of strength and motivation was added to my desperation to resolve my problem and start living fully. I was struck by the realization that what is more frightening than living with anxiety is not living a full life because of it. But how can I achieve that?

Once again I looked for any literature I could find that could help me and was amazed when I immediately found a fantastically helpful book called Anxiety Free by Robert. L. Leahy PhD. This book is a revelation to me. It explains about anxiety, evolution and our ancestors and how it is part of our biological heritage. Of course it is not a cure but it really makes sense to me and has helped me to understand why I feel the way I do. Understanding why is the key to overcoming it. I can recommend the book to anyone suffering with an anxiety disorder.

Life used to be something to be endured, but now I think perhaps it can be enjoyed. Knowledge is power as they say.