Today’s post is all about Anxiety Setbacks and tips to get past them. It was prompted by this email:
Ive had an antsy weekend and slid down the pity pot today and yep that’s where I stayed. I feel like I’m walking in circle and going backwards. Nothing I’m doing is working.
Have you got any tips on setbacks because that’s how I feel. I am so anxious my knuckles are white.
I had an anxiety setback myself just yesterday in fact. I got to work and felt very nervous and self conscious and really disconnected form the people there. It was Monday morning after all and people were all checking in and saying hi and I’m not usually there on Mondays. It did go away after an hour and a half but my anxiety made me very uncomfortable and I wanted to just get the hell out of there.
What is an Anxiety Setback and why do we have them?
A setback is when you slide back into anxious thinking or having panic attacks and feel you have lost all your progress in dealing with your anxiety. Maybe you were doing just fine then BAM- all of a sudden some of your weird anxiety symptoms come back, or your thoughts go into the negative. One thing for sure, setbacks do happen, and since most of us are pretty hard on ourselves, they aren’t easy to deal with.
I did touch on anxiety setbacks in this post which I suggest you re-read - and I am talking to myself too, lol- especially in light of yesterday:
How to Reduce Anxiety to Normal Intensity
What happened and why did this setback happen?
I felt so capable and brave the last time I went into work, so what happened yesterday to change all that?
In going back and reading over that post above I can identify a few key points.
I’m reminded that anxiety is a normal human emotion exaggerated and not to get too freaked out about it.
Was I very freaked out yesterday? Oh yes I was.
Yesterday I felt the first pang of anxiety and my mind went off to the races. (Oh shit, not again. I’ll never make it through this shift. What am I going to do?? etc.) Implying that what was going on with me was something I had to TAKE CONTROL over- I better stop these feelings and thoughts at once! Or, or…
Well I might have a panic attack!…
Tip #1- Check yourself: How did you react when you started to feel anxious? Were you calm and reasonable or did you over-react like me?
I’m reminded to be kind to my mind.
Was I kind to myself when I need to be yesterday? No, if I have to be totally honest, I was highly irritated that I felt anxious and was mentally berating myself. My thoughts were Yelling at me “This SUCKS! God damn it, keep it together!!”
Tip #2: Ask yourself- Are you being kind to yourself in your setback?
I’m reminded not to add any second fear. Did I do this?
Oh yes I did! Like I said as soon as I got that first anxious twinge, my mind’s negative talk was off to the races. It scared the living daylights out of me..
How am I going to make it through my whole shift? I can hear people talking and laughing in the other room, what should I do? How can I handle being here? What if someone tries to talk to me and I can’t answer them? What if I faint? What if what if what if???
Tip #3- Are you separating first fear from second fear? If not, can you try now?
I’m reminded that I need to be prepared to be anxious for awhile. That’s part and parcel of being in a setback. You go back to feeling anxious. How well you bear it and what anxiety self help tools you use will help determine how long and how severely anxious you will be in the interim.
I started doing the new Qigong breathing technique I learned to help calm myslef. So very glad I have been practicing this because it did help. I shifted my weight left and right when I felt faint and that helped too.
It did stink to feel so anxious, but it did pass and I am so very grateful for that.
Tip #4- Are you prepared to feel anxious for awhile or are you fighting & resisting it with all you’ve got?
The post also reminds me not to be discouraged. Just because I had this setback doesn’t mean all my progress was lost.
Well that part I did get. I didn’t berate myself afterwards too much.
Once I started feeling better- after that very loooong initial hour and a half I did feel very positive and triumphant inside. So I’m happy to report that I didn’t stay stuck in the bad feelings. That is an improvement and I have to mark my progress so I don’t forget.
Tip #5- Are you falling into discouragement and self pity? If so, can you stop now?
When you find yourself in an anxiety setback, follow the tips above. Remember to check your thoughts, make sure you are being very kind and gentle to yourself, and don’t beat yourself up.
Finally, and most importantly, remember that all your good progress is not lost!
I wish you peace,
Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear.