At the moment I'm looking for a new therapist which I realized is kind of hard to do. Today I went to a therapist who specializes in psychoanalysis. She told me that a therapist who does CBT would be better in my case(which is probably correct) but she added if a person has had general anxiety as long as I've had it, it is basically incurable.
That was kind of a downer to hear. Ok, most of my time I have had my anxiety in check and felt 90% ok without therapy so anything that can improve that is already a victory but I always hoped that with therapy I could actually heal my disorder or at least there would be the hope or possibility of complete healing. According to this therapist that is not possible?
The word "cure" is a tricky one when it comes to anxiety. I think most of us would agree that we have never actually been "cured", but that doesn't stop us from looking for one.
Typically, people with chronic anxiety have ups and downs their entire lives, with some periods of complete anxiety "remission" and others when anxiety stops us in our tracks. This has been the case for me. I've always been anxious, but after being Dx'ed with panic disorder at age 18, I've been on a roller coaster ride with anxiety. I have to stop sometimes, during the rougher times, and remind myself of the good periods...the times when I've lived virtually anxiety free, living a normal life.
I've come to realize this many years later, that more important than looking for a forever "cure" is the fact that I've learned SO much about my anxiety and have learned how to cope and get through the bad times. When my anxiety sneaks up on me...I simply employ all of the fighting tools I've learned and practiced, to get it back under control. Each time I go through this, I am able to recognize the resurgence of anxiety much quicker...and get back into the fray without delays. That helps me a lot. That's not to say that after a few months, or years of little to no anxiety...that the resurfacing of anxiety and panic doesn't crush my soul and break my heart, because it does. That's a normal reaction.
You've already found tools that work for you, that you have seen tremendous success with. There will most likely be times in your life when you'll need to depend on those tools to get you through a rough patch. Concentrate on your past successes, and visualize yourself getting back to a good place. I think trying the CBT is a great option, it has been helpful to so many people with anxiety.
The "downs" stink for sure, which should make us learn to appreciate the "ups" that much more. Try not to feel defeated, as hard as that is...by putting your coping mechanisms back in place, you WILL get back to a life of manageable anxiety again. It may take some time, but that's okay too. If we accept that these things take time and don't happen overnight, it makes the process a bit more tolerable.
Hang in there...and please let us know how you're doing, we understand what you're going through!
Basically learning to cope up to the point that it won't ever take over my life again is what I would consider as cured. Anxiety is a natural feeling that everyone has and needs so it would be stupid to get rid of it.
If I was afraid of drowning and did nothing to change that, I would always keep that fear all my life. If I learned to become a good swimmer though, I still wouldn't be keen on drowning but my fear of drowning would be way way less to zhe point that I wouldn't be concerned with it anymore.
That is what I want to achieve with CBT. In that sense you're right. Instead of looking for a way to lose the fear of drowning, it is better to find a way to learn to become a good swimmer.
I know it won't be easy but I'm literally a good swimmer. I was really determined to become a good swimmer and trained a lot every day for years and years. That took time as well. There were no short-cuts. That was the only method that worked, I have that same determination with my anxiety. I taught myself to become a decent swimmer by myself but only after I had a trainer I really improved. That's what I'm looking for in a good therapist. I managed to lead a 80-90% anxiety free life by self-therapy and hope a good therapist can show me a better technique just like my swim coach did to improve my coping technique.
It's just a downer when a therapist blandly tells you you're chronic anxiety disorder is basically incurable because it gives you the impression that your case is hopeless.
Yeah that does give you that down feeling. What should be said is it cant be cured but it can be managed. And tell you what kind of treatments there are. I think it makes the situation seem less hopeless when they at least tell you what kind of treatment is out there. But when you just say well theres no cure. thats makes it seem hopeless.
I think with anxiety sometimes it isnt that bad and you feel normal or mostly normal. the good days. And then there are the bad days where its lousy and it feels so awful and hopeless. Still when its being treated with the right needs then there is more good days then bad so then most of the time you can feel normal.
"Anxiety is a natural feeling that everyone has and needs so it would be stupid to get rid of it. ".........
^^You're absolutely right, however, there is a big difference between purposeful, situational anxiety in response to stress and an anxiety disorder where our anxiety becomes overwhelming, often without an obvious trigger.
How would a therapist have definitive knowledge of the absolute intractable nature of an anxiety disorder? This is at best a guess and at worst pandering to a medical model of anxiety (or neurotransmitter imbalance) that is wrong. Anxiety is fundamentally logical, meaning there exist real reasons why you respond in thought and behavior to various internal and external stimuli, and while changing thought and behavioral patterns can be downright challenging, it not only is possible but occurs daily to those of us with and without disorders. The extent to which these modifications can occur is one of the great joys of your own personal road to recovery—no one ultimately knows, but evidence suggests that a near total recovery is possible if the appropriate tools are employed. Good luck, and seek the input of professionals who have humility and optimism about the possibility of triumph!
I want to get out of this constant anxiety symptom thing where I can;t function at all but I don't expect not to have my phobias and fear and to wory about things. I hate flying and tunnels etc etc and I am sure that won't go but this permanent state of distress and no life at all is intolerable!
As I look back at some of the anxiety "episodes" that I have had (there have been many) they appear to come during very stressfull periods or during major life changes.
I would say in the last 30 plus years, I have had maybe 15 major periods of anxiety that have lasted a month or more. Some severe and some mild depending on the stressor at the time. Some I have dealt with easily and others I have needed assistance (therapy twice).
I can honestly say that after each episode or period, I really felt like I was over it for good. That I beat it and that it would never return. Thinking like this would only set myself up for a dissapointment when it would return.
I was anxiety free for 6 years at one point. I really thought it was over. My Father passed away last year and I survived that period of grief without anxiety. I really thought it would never return after that life changing event. But I think stress with me has a delayed reaction. Call it post tramic stress or whatever. On the 1st anniversary of Dad's death, my anxiety was through the roof. I cried on my way home from work and cried hard. Panic attacks began later that night in my sleep and went on for about a week.
The anxiety from then along with the attacks has subsided a bit but I am still dealing with the residual anxiety and unrealization. I still go to work and do other things in my life that need to be done but its still a struggle.
Is anxiety curable? Looking at my past history, I would now say no. Is it managable? Absolutely! Dispite all the down periods in my life, I have had more up times. Loads of fun and happiness. Did anxiety stop me from getting married, having kids and building a life? No! I did what I needed to do to recover. Is dealing with anxiety tough? Well, it is probably one of the most difficult thing to deal with as far as I am concerned.
I think the trick is learning to manage the stress in your life so that it keeps anxiety at bay. This is another hard thing to manage. Did I have any control over the death of my Father? I would have done anything to keep him here but I am not about to play God. Do we have control over world events that create stress for everyone? Not really.
I hope I didnt get too far off base with this topic. We all need to remember that we are very sensitive people and will always be prone to anxiety to some extent
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