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Just wanted to offload my frustration with my anxiety.

The problem is anxiety symptoms are so powerful and so wide ranging that I convince myself I have a new disease every day. My latest worry is hydrocephalus, yesterday it was cancer.

I'm so sick of this, I've been to the dr about it but it has such control sometimes. How do I stop thinking such scary thoughts?

It's become the stumbling block in my recovery and I hate it, it upsets me so much.

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I'm afraid I don't have much advice as I'm still in the early days of my own recovery, but do you have a branch of Headway near you? I met up with my local Headway branch this week and they were so helpful and told me that they can arrange free therapy to help with anxiety, so it might be worth seeing if you have a Headway branch near you (they can come and visit you in your home).

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Braingirl I think you need to speak to your neuro & ask for a referral for counselling. I had a basic CBT course which tries to interrupt the flow of negative thoughts developing before they get too big to handle. Sounds like that would be something that would benefit you?

I do feel for you as we've all been there, I remember praying at bedtime every night to wake up the next day. I also joined Headway which gave me a lot of support & info and helped me understand what had happened to me & to be able to rationalise it in my daily life.

xx

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Girl,

You and most of us have been worried but remember you are in the early stages of recovery.

We do think "hmm I wonder if I have this and that" at this moment I get breathless and think it could be serious but I haven't walked since op and I am so unfit.

Wishing you well and try not to stress yourself as you must get better xx Stress is bad for us and I know I'm always
saying it but try and think happy thoughts and something that has made you laugh be it past or present.

Also listen to Jean Bolte Taylor on line. She is great (well I like her)

Good Luck xx

WinB143 x x

Edited by Winb143
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Lauren...its good you are having counselling. When you are having these scary thoughts try and think of something or a memory that makes you smile and feel good. It may be a start to help you to relax more.

Have you tried Headway as suggested, as they have face to face support groups that may benefit you greatly? Just a thought.

Take care xx

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Hi,

I just hit 9 months and it has been raining for three days. The rain brings a heavy head and dizziness for me. It also brings thoughts of what if this happens or what if that happens. When you are feeling good you think, "finally, I think I'm gonna make it." The down days can be difficult. The first 3 months I would not buy myself a thing for fear of not making it. The feeling of dread is just awful.

As you start to feel better the thoughts do become less and less, but, I still have moments.....I also pray every night to wake in the morning.

It's so interesting how we all do truly think alike and have the same type emotions and feelings.

It's always good to talk to someone that can help give you peace.

Iola

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Hi Lauren,

I'm still there too so you're not alone! I also worry about hydrocephalus at the moment due to my head pain and of course I think about any pains elsewhere too.

My Occupational Therapy lady recognised my anxiety and she comes regularly to do some anxiety exercises using different parts of the body. I find this really helpful.

One of my friends also visits to do some hypnotherapy and this is really useful too. I am really relaxed when she is with me but the point here is that I should use the thoughts and scenarios to be able to do it to myself if I get worried. For example, a certain place or a name should mentally bring in happy thoughts and cause me to relax.

Certainly think about hypnotherapy as it might really help you too.

Alison x

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Hello!

I feel somewhat ‘qualified’ to continue the conversations in this thread. I believe if BTG were handing our prizes for ‘Most Anxious of 2013’, I probably would be one of the front runners for an award!

By way of background, people with brain injuries are more likely than the general population to develop anxiety.

When you say that you convince yourself that you’ve a new disease every day, this is called ‘catastrophic thinking.’

Personally, this way of thinking became out of control for me after my son was born in 2012. (Incidentally, my SAH was in 2009.)

No matter what was happening around me, I would twist it to the worst case scenario. If someone was carrying a knife, I’d imagine them falling and plunging the knife into my baby. If they were holding a cup of tea, I imagined them scolding him with boiling water. If I was carrying him downstairs, I’d imagine us falling and him sustaining an awful injury. These images were continuous and I had very little respite from them. I saw my GP and arranged counselling.

I learnt about catastrophic thinking –which is about always obsessing about the worst case scenario. Fortunately, it is possible to disrupt this thinking process. One way of doing that is to manage the thoughts, not try to put them out of your mind and discount them. The thought needs to be confronted, a bit like standing up to the school bully!

We can interrupt catastrophic thinking by what is called ‘reality checking.’ For example, if I saw someone holding a knife, I would note that whoever was holding the knife was a very careful, responsible person and they were deliberately standing away from my son. The chance of injury was zero.

I would also voice my catastrophic thinking to people I trusted and the mere utterance of the fear sounded so incredulous when I said it, that it would help make my thoughts more rational. Confiding in a sensible person is important. You don’t want someone telling you you’re being stupid! (Not helpful!)

There is a reason why catastrophic thinking happens. It is often the case that a person is generally anxious in the first place. The brain will try to give a reason for the anxiety – to try and justify it. This means jumping on any situation as an explanation. So when I was focusing on knives, boiling water and staircases, my body was in a general state of anxiety BEFORE these thoughts developed. Had I not seen knives, boiling water and staircases, I simply would have jumped on something else to be anxious about.

Perhaps you’re doing the same with your body sensations, telling yourself that something is seriously wrong. So irrespective of where the pain is, i.e. head, arm, foot, wherever; you will think of a serious condition to explain the pain.

It is likely that you are in a general anxious state to start with and therefore jumping onto anything to try and justify the anxiety. So if there were no body sensations for you to react to, you would probably find something else to worry about.

I have been where you are. It’s horrible but there are lots of things that can be done to manage it. Counselling / therapy are probably the most important. Additionally, meditation and relaxation exercises are helpful. An anxious brain is a very active, whirring brain with thoughts racing. Relaxation CDs (you can go on you tube for lots of examples,) teaches the brain how to be still. These moments of stillness give the brain a respite from the constant racing and can help with healing. Like a little holiday for the brain, if you will!

Exercise is recommended for both depression and anxiety – but I don’t know how you are physically at your stage of recovery. Perhaps this won’t be possible for you yet. In any event, I don’t mean you train like Usain Bolt(!), exercise can mean a 5 minute walk or some very gentle yoga. I have lots of yoga DVD’s - I am a big fan of it post SAH - and you can have yoga exercises for fatigue, anxiety, almost anything. (Again check you tube.)

I also found self-help books great. You could go online today and buy books as cheap as a penny, (they do make their money on postage, however!) but I found such books really good. There are countless books written on anxiety and you may find one that resonates with you.

Learning about anxiety was an amazing journey for me. Looking back, I am almost glad of the experience. I’ve learnt more about myself in the last year than the previous 37 before that. Other things came out of it too, i.e. I learnt that I needed to become more assertive and this is something I’m working on at the moment.

Anxiety is something that can be managed. You will be able to control it when you learn how to, and I’m sure therapy will give you the tools to start fixing the problem.

L xx

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  • 8 months later...

Keep going with the talking therapies they do help and may take some time but don't give up. Never had anxiety before the brain bleed and it is awful think about diet also and try to eat every three hours rather than having three big meals a day, that really helped me. exercise is also brilliant. when you are at point where you are panicking get up and run!

 

Jog dance jig about whatever! anxiety causes adrenalin flooding into brain and we experience fight or flight symptoms exercise can help to use up the extra adrenalin and calm us down. Good luck and dont give up. I am continuously having to say to myself, 'This will pass' and it does!

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Braingirl - I am SO sorry you are having anxiety problems.  I thought I would share an anxiety story with you as it is not only goofy but a good example of how that mechanism works in us.  My SAH was June 3, 2014 and I was in the hospital almost 7 weeks.

 

 When I got home I felt like I was still kind of missing from my place if you know what I mean.  The first thing that happened was that I came downstairs one morning (after an hour of sleep) and swore to my husband that I heard crickets in the house.  I HATE crickets!  Not sure why.  He told me they were outside and I was hearing things.  Mind you I DO hear things in that my ears are roaring 24/7.

 

 Eventually I saw my cats chasing after a gigantic shiny black cricket near my water heater door.  I flipped out.  Neither my husband or my son seemed as if it was any big deal at all which kind of upset me as one of my biggest anxiety's is that nobody believes anything I say anymore.  The next night I heard scratching noises from same closet.  Of course nobody else heard them so I was left to panic alone.  I looked at the door and there was a paw or face or something sticking out from under it.  That was it!  Nobody believed me until next night when a mouse was running around my son's bedroom - upstairs!  Right next to my bedroom!  I was hysterical and terrified for days.  

 

I had towels shoved under the doors in and around my bedroom.  I laid awake at night in tears.  My husband finally put traps out and caught 4 mice! Now I feel absolutely terrible that I murdered a mouse family.  I cry when I think about it.  lol.  The point is that nobody seemed to empathize with my anxiety which made me feel very alone.  I knew it was over the top but I couldn't stop it.  My current anxiety is that I feel the tube leading from my shunt has a "kink" in it.  Geez.  Our brains are amazing.

 

 Please try to talk to someone about your anxiety - somebody that can feel you.  I hope you feel much much better very soon.

Love, Carolynusa

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Anxiety post SAH can be really difficult to deal with and I think difficult to treat.  I think Lins story is absolutely facinating and very brave of her to write it.  It highlights how extreme anxiety can be and how it takes many different forms.  Lins was based purely on imagined thoughts contrasting with Carolynusa which was based on reality but again an extreme reaction.  Again brave to tell the story, you all are.

 

I suffered from extreme anxiety shortly after I got out of hospital.  I attended rehab as an outpatient and saw a consultant psychiatrist but it didn't really do much good for me at that time I don't think as I was lost in my own little world.  

 

I don't remember much of what was said at my appointments but I remember one story that I clung on to.  

 

I had really bad back problems when released from hospital so bad i couldn't sit in a chair I had to lie down. I convinced my self that the reason for my back problem was because something went wrong during the coiling procedure and a coil got lodged in my back! Then I suggested that they scan my back because they would find it!  Now I remember this psychologist looking at me and saying that I had to believe him... that this was impossible, it couldn't have happened and i had to trust him.  At the time I became really upset that he didn't believe me why could no-one else see this? i was so convinced that I was right and they were wrong.  Keep in mind I was completely lost in my own little world and my anxiety was extreme and I was in a pretty bad way.

 

So how to treat?  Its very very difficult.  Slowly as my brain got better I started to believe my consultant(but this took a while!) I got further counselling a few years later and that helped enormously.

 

I look back now and think how did I ever think that.  I'm not a stupid person and before my brain injury I would have known how impossible this was.  But I was convinced I was right and I even thought at one point they were trying to cover something up! 

 

Carolynusa you summed it up our brains are amazing!  

 

i hope you all get help with this you need to keep talking but you also need to listen to what people are telling you.

 

Good luck and take care

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I awoke from being out of it for approx. 1 year and was told by hubby you may forget things and you cannot

walk, I thought he was fibbing, I can remember all my brothers and sisters names huh !!!

 

I got out of bed and fell on the floor, bum showing, modesty gone I was calling for my family to help me.

Eventually they came, too late I wet myself lol. (it happens) !!

 

I am now 4 years on and I cannot worry as it will make us ill.

Stress/Anxiety is not good for the brain so keep calm and smile when possible,  look back on how far we have come.

 

We are survivors so lets all be thankful and smile (order of the day, look at a loved one and smile).

Love

WinB143 xx  Too much info Win xxxxx

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  • 1 month later...

I am 10 years recovered. Many highs , and recently, many lows. Anxiety is a huge part of my life.  Anger, fear, 

 

 

…..the need to hide away. The difference between my former life,….pre- SAH,…….and now , is immense. All I can say is,….just keep trying,….the alternative is nothingness. 

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You'll get there Bill just keep positive when possible. 

 

I sometimes get the hump/rats,  so I walk out as I will take it out on my Family who took care of me when I

was out of it.   Not their fault they have been so loving to me.

 

I cannot stand my husbands driving and have become a back seat driver, drives him potty.

 

He also throws dogs toy and it makes me jump whereas I never before SAH.

 

Be Well and smile when possible xx

 

Regards

WinB143 xx

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Hi Everyone

It's been a while since I last posted anything although I look in regularly and as I agree with almost everything people say, can't think of anything else to say.

My SAH was 23 months ago, so coming up to the big 2 year mark and I thought I was getting steadily better, but every so often I'm affected by real anxiety, low self confidence and depression. I also find it difficult when out in shops and just out walking as I get an overwhelming strained feeling behind my eyes as if it's all too much for my brain to process, but as soon as I get in the car or go indoors (home or work)everything's fine.

I try to go and out and meet new people but when I do I panic and want to go home, I don't find it easy talking to people.

When I came out of hospital I had very good support from the Stroke Association who came to visit me regularly for about 6 months, I think the hospital organised it, I've been thinking about getting in touch with them again. When these periods of anxiety and depression pass then I don't feel I need to get help from anyone and when I'm in the middle of one of these periods I don't think anyone can help, so it's Catch 22.

Anyway, that's all for now and probably another 6 months! I'm glad the Forum exists anyway, it's been very helpful for me even if I can't always think of something to say.

Liz

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Hi Liz :) great to see you posting !

Happy SAH Anni-versary for your 2 years coming up.

 

I think getting in touch with the Stroke Association again would be a good thing, even just to talk about how you are doing.

Well done on getting back to work, you should be very proud of how much you have achieved.

 

Remember we are always here for you good days or bad :)

Take care & keep in touch xx

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Liz,

 

I know all about anxiety.  I told my friend the other day that I have at least 3 of those feelings where you almost got hit by a car 'whew, that was a close one!' feelings every day...still.  I laugh at how silly the things that startle me are.  One day it was a small hole in the dirt!  Anyway, I also have what I call preparatory anxiety.  I think things are going to be so bad or I'm not going to be able to handle it or I'll get lost or whatever.

 

If I have to go somewhere new, I check out the location ahead of time to ease my anxiety of now knowing where the place is.  I do think this plays with my self confidence as well.  It's hard to feel like a confident person if you're always worried about what is going to happen when you don't do something not just right, but averagely.  Failing.  I try and challenge these thoughts all the time and if I do, I feel much better about myself.  I just accept that I have to do and behave how I do.  I had a SAH for goodness sake.  I'm alive.  

 

~Kris

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I have posted elsewhere about my current state.  After advice from a good friend, who is a psychatrist, I finally admitted - to myself and my GP that I am clinically depressed.  It is, apparently a common after effect of a stroke (and that's how I regard my SAH these days - as a bleeding stroke - said with different nuances depending on how I'm feeling!).  I have started taking anti-depressants and have embarked now on a course of CBT - so far, it's about a month since that all started.  It's been an up and down month but, with the combination of the two (I have seen the GP today and also talked to the therapist) - I am beginning to see the value of starting both and continuing, for the meantime, to do so.

 

I so recognise your anxieties, Kris! This morning, I'd got up in plenty of time, even though, at the moment, I'm not sleeping well, and was sitting with time to start the puzzles in the paper when, suddenly, the clock chimed 11.  My GP appointment was at 11.20 - a journey of about 10 minutes away.  My brain said - you should have gone by now, you'll be late and I went into panic mode - trying to rush to find my coat, the car keys (rushing is counter-productive, always).  But then I stopped and said to myself - don't panic - and the fact that I did that, I think, is evidence that the two courses of treatment are having an effect.  And, I actually arrived early at the doctor's although he told me that, having related the experience - I had not allowed myself to look at my watch!

 

The super-planning too - when I'm going anywhere new - or even somewhere I've been before!  Already, I have a super-plan of the run-up to Christmas in an Excel spreadsheet and, by the time that is finished there will be a plan of every meal over the festivities, depending who is with us on each day.  It is the only way I can operate now - the flexibility of coping with changing circumstances "on the hoof" has deserted me.  Likewise, dealing with sudden changes when out and about - sudden noises, changes in levels underfoot, a large vehicle passing - I'm spooked.  Once, long ago now, I had a little New Forest pony - officially for my children but, really, for me! His registered name was "Tiny Tim of Tomlins" - but he was known as Tim (when he was being good) or TIMOTHY (when he was being naughty - which was the majority of the time!)  Tim saw invisible ghosts and ghoulies in every hedge or turning and, nowadays, I liken myself to him!  He had been abandoned by his mother as a foal and was hand-reared as a result - a trauma for him.

 

My brain, our brains have suffered huge trauma as a result of SAH so, maybe we're all a bit like Tim - I helped him and he never blamed himself for the way he was - he couldn't.  We should learn to allow that we have suffered trauma and not to blame ourselves.

 

I'm not out of the woods yet - and, maybe, I never will be fully - just as, despite really working hard at it with a wonderful hydrotherapist for two years now, I probably will never stop wobbling completely - but I'm a whole lot less wobbly than I was to start with.  What I have managed physically, I can, can, can repeat with my mental state.  Even though I will never do a can-can!  Look - a sort of joke! 

 

Victoria

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Hi Liz,

Sorry to hear it's all a bit confusing dealing with the post SAH anxiety and just sharing my experience with this. My anxiety really reared up last December , a bit like a wild bull and just three months away from my two year and just when I thought things were beginning to plateau a little for me in terms of being a bit more predictable health and physical wise. Like kris said I would daily have overwhelming feelings of dread or panic especially when I was out somewhere noisy (shops, motorway driving) or just generally experiencing sensation overload but equally it could just be in my own kitchen drinking a tea! I had developed my own coping mechanisms , shields if you like, but they suddenly stopped working for me and it all got really horrid for a while.

My solution was I turned back , faced some of my fear and looked at what I was doing day to day and realised I had stopped taking my breaks, stopped being kind to myself for feeling overstretched by some environments that I struggled with post SAH and and I needed some help again to work through the fact that I hadn't really accepted what had happened to me and the loss of my previous standard of capabilities and my bottomless capacity for just doing. Ego and fear were having a field day with me. Many tears later, some really good CBT counselling sessions, a return to my mindfulness practice , a formal diagnosis of PTSD and I am now better able to recognise my anxiety signs and allow them to sit with me and then eventually pass, which they always do, horrid though it is while you are in it. I still startle really badly at the slightest of things and the reaction is vile but I now take myself off until I settle.

It's funny I carry so many tips from here with me for when the feeling comes; I suck a mint, (thanks win) , I drink water, The BTG mantra. I choose to always wear a hat and sunglasses and ear plugs in noisy situations. So I try to anticipate and allow that the feeling may come and then if it does I take myself off, sit a while and wait and watch then come back and rejoin the world. ( Victoria I love the idea we are all like Timothy the pony and it is learning that we need to stay in the moment , assess whether there really is the need to do something or let the 'scary' thought just disappear )

Liz please do talk to the stroke association, it's not uncommon to feel the way you are and it's good to ask for help, they will understand and keep doing what you are doing, little bite size chunks of still getting out there is better than big sessions maybe and slowly you will claw back more of your confidence and trust, that's my wish for you.

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Thanks for those words of wisdom Daff, when I'm feeling 'normal' like now I think I'm making a fuss about nothing and when I try to explain it to my brother he says it's not a side effect of the SAH, just getting older and lots of people suffer from anxiety for no reason. I think he thinks I've recovered and that's it, over and done with.

I also find it difficult talking to people because I've got nothing to say, I don't seem to get ideas or thoughts in my head like I used to. My mind is just blank most of the time, though I did have an idea at work the other day and went round shouting 'I've had an idea' making everyone laugh, but they don't realise it was the first time since the bleed and something to celebrate as it showed things were improving, but those moments are very few and far between.

There's also the shopping problem, though it must be saving me money! I can't spend long in the shops now because my brain gets a 'full up' feeling, I suppose my eyes are seeing too much for the brain to process comfortably, but watching television and going to the cinema is fine, odd isn't it?

Liz

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Hi Liz,

 

Now here is my idea, you go shopping where they have a café.  Have a nice cuppa and

get shopping with a list. 

 

When you finish shopping have another stop in café if needed and then go home.

 

Switch computer on put shopping away or ask Brother to do it !! lol

 

Come on here and give vent to any stress/anger you might have xx 

 

Good Luck

WinB143 xx

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