When Fear Washes In: Health Anxiety and Other Fears of Death

IMG_6303Fear is a part of life. Sometimes we can keep it at bay, but eventually, with certainty, it will creep in like a red tide on an otherwise calm beach. We try to run, but it’s faster than we are. We try to hide but it discovers all of our hiding places. Eventually we realize that the only way to effectively work with fear is to turn around and face it and to cultivate practices that push it back out to sea where it’s reabsorbed in the great vastness of those bigger waters.

Fear can show up in many ways, with many faces. We fear for our children’s health. We fear that we’re in the wrong relationship. We fear that the strange lump we’ve just discovered is cancer. I can’t tell you how many of my clients struggle with health anxiety on a regular basis. “Every time my throat hurts I think it’s cancer,” one tells me. “Every time I feel pressure in my lower abdomen I think I have ovarian cancer,” another shares. The more sensitive you are, the more prone to anxiety you will likely be, and the more attuned you will feel to every slight nuanced change in your body. This is the blessing and the challenge of being a highly sensitive person.

If we’re going to learn how to stop being pulled around by fear’s ever-changing tactics, we must learn to develop a solid place inside that can bolster us against the shifting tides of fear. We must learn to turn deeply inward, to silence the parade of fear-chatter that can easily dominate, and to connect with a greater source. This requires time and practice, which are hard to come by in an increasingly fast and impatient culture. We want what we want when we want it. We want fear to release its grip but we don’t want to do what it takes to allow that to happen more frequently and easily.

All time-honored traditions teach practices for cultivating a strong inner core. The Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah talks about the central inner column. The Christian contemplative tradition teaches Centering Prayer. Buddhism teaches meditation as a way to develop an unwavering anchor point that can tolerate the shifting tides of time.

The metaphor I often use is the Well of Self. When we can tap into a source that allows us to fill this well with clear, effervescent water, we feel clear, strong, and confident inside. We’re able to make decisions and trust our decisions. And, perhaps most importantly, we’re able to turn inward into this essential resting place and find the center point when fear washes in. It’s this center point that allows us to find anchor when the waves of uncertainty that define this life wash in. When the well is full, when the central column is solid, when the mind is clear, we can handle the tides of life. A brush with death – whether real or imagined – might rock us to our core, but we can recover and ultimately find the place inside where we know beyond knowing that everything is okay.

I’ve stated many times on this blog and in my courses that at the core of most intrusive thoughts, including those centered on relationship anxiety and health anxiety, is the need for certainty. And embedded inside the need for certainty is the fear of loss and death. The more sensitive you are, the more aware you are of your fragility as a human being, and the more aware of your fragility you are, the more you will fear death. We know in the place behind knowing that death exists. We know that life can change in an instant. How the ego clings to the illusions of certainty, including alluring vines of intrusive thoughts, as a way to avoid facing the inescapable truth that death exists!

In my experience, there’s only one thing that cuts through the fear that tries to convince us that we’re not safe and we’re going to die and instead roots us in a body-knowing of our inherent okayness: a spiritual practice of some sort. This may be a traditional religious practice of connecting to God, it could be a Nature practice, it may be a somatic/dance practice, it could be working with your dreams (which are direct communications from the unconscious). Most people know when they’re dropped into the realm beyond this five-senses realm and tapped into a greater Source. They know it from the palpable downshift that occurs in their breath and being. They know it from the sense of calm and wellness that rise up, as if roots now extend from the soles of their feet and their upturned arms have turned to branches of light. We’re tapped in, dropped down, and unraveled in the best possible way.

There have been a few times over the past many years that I’ve struggled with my own fear of death. One occurred about ten years ago when I suffered through a winter of eco-anxiety. Month after month I struggled with intrusive images of a dying planet, one where my children wouldn’t be able to survive. What’s always fascinating about fear is that it follows the principle of like-attracts-like and, thus, gravitates toward itself. What I mean is that when you’re stuck in a fear-pit the mind will seek out evidence to support your fear. It’s like a woman who longs to get pregnant and all she sees are pregnant women everywhere she turns. When I was neck-deep in the eco-anxiety, everything I read and saw supported my fear that our planet was doomed for destruction. I also fell prey to the habits that I guide my clients away from every day, especially reassurance-seeking. Countless times I asked my husband, “Do you think it’s going to be okay?” An optimist at heart (although firmly grounded in realism), he would always say yes. I could take in his reassurance for a few hours, but inevitably I would stumble upon something that would support the other side, and my stomach would lurch all over again.

The turnaround happened for me when I consciously oriented toward a mindset of hope. That didn’t meant that I buried my head in the sand and ignored the fact that our planet is suffering. It simply meant that I recognized that I had a choice: to focus on doom and despair or to focus on hope and action. And as I focused on hope, I was able to reconnect to my bigger faith in renewal, healing, and wholeness. The less focus I placed on the fear, the quieter the voices became. The more I stepped into the circle of faith, the bigger it grew. This interview, while conducted a few years after my own anxiety had passed through, speaks to the anxiety I was experiencing at that time.

The other times I’ve struggled with health anxiety centers around my kids. I don’t think it’s possible to be a mother without worrying about your children, but if the worry snowballs into an avalanche, you’re in trouble. When I do find myself worrying excessively about one of them, I practice the steps that I teach in this post.

Keep in mind that when the ego lets go and you make a choice to stop worrying and instead hand over the reins to Life (since that’s where they are anyway), you will probably feel like you’re free falling. That’s when it’s essential to replace the negative habit of worry with a positive faith and prayer practice. For it’s only when you let go of worry can you align yourself with the flow of life and open the space for something wiser and kinder to enter.

Here’s my three step approach for replacing the negative habit of worry with faith and serenity:

1. Acknowledge the worry

Notice where it manifests in your body and place your hands on that part of you. Imagine the two most loving hands in the world covering your hands as you bring a moment of compassion to your fearful place. Also remind yourself that worry is not a character default but a consequence of your profound caring and love gone awry. Had you learned to channel your care toward faith early in life you wouldn’t have developed the worry habit. Bring compassion to your worry, reminding yourself that it’s a morphed manifestation love.

2. Gather it up

Together with the imaginary hands resting in your hands, see yourself gathering up the worry like a cloud and tossing it into the air. If you’re in a place where you can literally throw your hands and arms into the sky, even better.

3. Release it

Say a prayer or words of release. The prayer that I like is, “Please help open to whatever is in my highest good.” I may also pray for a desired outcome like, “Please keep my kids safe while they’re playing on the icy creek,” but I recognize that my prayer doesn’t necessarily effect the outcome any more than worry does. Still, when we align ourselves with faith and spirit instead of fear and control we’re raising our frequency and creating a healthier internal environment where serenity can breathe.

Whether it’s relationship anxiety, health anxiety, death anxiety, or intrusive thoughts of any kind, the more you can carve out space and time to cultivate your own practice, the more successful you will be at riding the tides of life that are crested with uncertainty yet powered by love.

44 comments to When Fear Washes In: Health Anxiety and Death Anxiety

  • Olivia

    Sunday evening (norwegian time) when your new post come, it is always a pleasant and loving moment for me. Many people already told you that, but thank you for your words and work. It made a difference in my live, gave a chance for my relationship with the beautiful women I love and most importantly, i’ve learned to give room and kindness to myself.

  • Nikki

    Sheryl,

    I loved this and I needed this in this moment. I love how you decided to have faith and hope… these are two things that I simply forgot about (and I know others have as well)…. I will tell myself from now on (every hour if I need to).. I have faith and hope that I WILL get through this!

    Thank you as always xo

  • Worry Girl

    Thank you so much for this post, Sheryl. It really helped to normalize my feelings of anxiety and worry, which can make you feel so alone. I love the practice of laying next hands on yourself and releasing the anxiety. I have had terrible health and death anxiety after the sudden death of my best friend at 27 years old. I have been playing a game of “whack a mole” (like you mentioned in a previous post) with symptoms. Once one symptom goes, another arises. I know the underlying fear is uncertainty and death. You mentioned that it helps to find something to believe in. My question is – what if you don’t yet know what you believe in? Perhaps if I had a strong belief about what happens when we die, I would be less fearful, as the outcome would be known. It is a bit of an odd question but one I have been asking myself ever since my friends death. Thank you again for your lovely work and impeccable timing!! Xo.

    • I don’t think you need to know exactly what you believe in. You simply need to begin to engage in daily practices that help you connect to a source beyond our five senses, whatever that is for you. It could be nature, gardening, music, volunteering, having a cup of tea and reading spiritual texts. And, first and foremost, you must be willing to grieve. I’m so, so sorry for the loss of your best friend. The grief is the balm that soothes the chatter, and it cannot be bypassed.

  • AR

    I think your posts are a gift from above. Seriously whenever I’m struggling with something I get a message in my inbox that helps. It’s coming up on the anniversary of my emergency brain surgery where I actually died and came back. I was really struggling today.Your post made me realize that I have always wanted to fill others wells as a way to cope with my own loss. I really just wanted to thank you for the amazing work that you do. You are an absolute blessing!

  • MelleS

    Hi Sheryl!
    The metaphor of the tide you use in this post reminds me of the dreams I use to have when there are transitions in my life. I often dream of tsunamis which tries to drown me but every time I find a way to breath : the first time it was a tree that had been submerged but stayed strongly rooted which helped me breath because it generated a bubble of air. This time I didn’t pay attention to this dream and I didn’t understand my unconscious warned me to turn inward. It was in my early 20’s, when my ex-boyfriend was buying a house where we were meant to move in together. I didn’t turn inward so I didn’t find the place of wisdom you talk about (I guess It’s the tree in my dream) and that’s when my relationship anxiety started.
    Now, each time I make these kind of dreams, I know It’s a warning and I pay attention to it and try to turn inward despite my fears to do so. With this post and with the break free course I have more tools to turn inward with more courage and consciousness.
    Just thank you.

    MelleS

    • What a beautiful image and, yes, the tree is a metaphor for stability and wisdom. I encourage you to work with that image even now as a way to stay rooted amidst the overwhelm of big emotions (water often represents emotions in dreams) whenever they arise.

  • Kim

    Hi Sheryl. I had been hoping you’d post on this topic for some time. I barely struggle with relationship anxiety anymore (yay!). Unfortunately my fears have turned to the fear of losing family, specifically my fiance Josh. I picture terrible things then how I would deal with them. I worry mainly about car accidents. I also worry about getting in a car accident myself all the time. The way I try to curb this fear is by telling myself ‘the only control you have is over how safely you drive. the rest is up to God’. This helps to calm me down although I still get very scared.

    Like you mentioned above I think about the world ending and the end of the human race. It brings about so much anxiety. I also fear bringing a child into this world. I think, what if I do everything I can to protect them but it’s not enough? We plan on starting a family as soon as we get married in November. While this brings about so much excitement, it also stirs up lots of fear.

    At least I am able to recognize that these are fears that I can manage through self-love and prayer. I will have to start putting it into practice more often so that I don’t let these fears dampen my spirit too much. I want to enjoy life, not fear it 🙂

    • Yes, the more you practice prayer, the more effective it will be, and eventually the negative images will be replaced by positive ones. It’s a practice, for sure!

  • Ange

    Hi Sheryl,

    I have been following you for some time now and have wanted to comment so many times and today is the day 🙂 Your words always seem to come at exactly the right time (as so many others have commented) even when I didn’t realize they were what I needed. This morning in a rare moment of solitude I read your post and the floodgates have opened. In particular your comment about “where we know beyond knowing that everything is ok”. I realize that I am not at the place where I know beyond knowing that I am ok. I have also known and been told that a spiritual practice would be of such huge benefit to me. Your message has reminded me there is still healing work to be done and that it is time to explore what that spiritual practice might look like. Thank you so much for your beautiful writing and your wise words…

  • Silver

    Thank you Ms. Sheryl! It’s very saddening to keep looking for certainty as you said. ‘i wonder if I would heal anyway, I try my best to do things that could help me but every thing gets exhausting. I am very impatient and always fear having mistakes. I have this very bad habit of I want to have this as soon as possible at the grasp of my hands. I always give up, since I can’t figure out why I get sad whenever I can’t make my partner happy, maybe I am a people pleaser or just my wounded self telling me that I fear loss that I need to do something even if the result is not genuine or just to make her feel good. I barely even know myself and if my partner is very controlling because she fears that I might fall in love with other women. I tend to notice alot of women because they are very attractive physically, which I keep saying to myself that sometimes that’s where my partner is lacking even though she is pretty. She’s not pursuing her dreams but instead gets holed up in her house and she’s very sickly which I try to understand. We have a very different core values but I try to understand hers which centered in (love, christianity, relationships) While me tends to roam around in (success, cars, adventure) which doesn’t really matter in the future. I also have the tendency to blame most of our arguments to her which is very inappropriate, I feel that I don’t want to talk to her everyday which makes me resentful while seeing other guys try their best to talk to her. I don’t even know if I will cry on the day of our wedding, maybe I’ll cry due to my hypersensitivity and anxiety contemplating whether I am in a wrong relationship or that I’m not that into my partner or we’re not compatible with each other.

    No one can understand me at all if I told her my problem she says that I don’t love her, and that makes me want to leave her for good so that she could be happy. I’m always bored all the time and I try to do excercising, praying and meditating but still it makes me so depressed and left out of life. I hope someone can understand me

    • Have you taken the Break Free course? Are you in therapy? I’ve noticed that you comment frequently on my site but I don’t know if you’re doing the work required to break through the stuck places and blame and find your way to wellness.

      • Silver

        I can’t afford any of those sorry 🙁 I keep trying my best but still I go back around getting stucked. I keep saving but it’s too expensive for me to purchase here in the philippines. Someone died in our family right now and I asked myself why I don’t feel too much grief unlike other people. Sometimes being apathetic kills me inside not having any feelings for people around me.

  • Meg

    Sheryl,
    Your messages always help fill me up. My husband was recently in a motorcycle accident and I find my anxiety has been creeping in and taking over. My goal this summer has been to maintain a sense of peace inside; to build a center of light that I can tether my soul to. His accident definitely blew out much of the light/peace I was maintaining. It sometimes reminds me of the proverb “he who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” Many people refer to this proverb when speaking of uncontrolled anger but I found it also resonates with my anxiety running wild. I can’t thank you enough for helping me to rebuild my “city” and for spreading your own light.
    Meg

  • Bra77

    Sheryl lately I’ve been dealing with the intrusive thought “is this love or lust?” My partner and I have been together for a year and a half and she is wonderful. She’s the women I want to spend the rest of my life with. The funny thing about this thought is that we are abstinent and have never had sex. The closest thing to sex we have had is she has touched me through my pants and I’ve kissed her breasts. Am j crazy for having this thought or could this be real? Whenever we hang out we start to kiss and I’m scared that this is all lust and no love. Lately j started to masturbate and maybe this is what has started it? I really don’t know Sheryl. Please help

    • Bra77

      Also I find other women attractive and sometimes fantasize about them. Is this wrong?

      • Silver

        Hi Bra77 We are experiencing the same thing, I just don’t want to have lust for my partner. I don’t even know if I want to marry her. Goodluck to the both of us

        • Bra77

          The irony of it is that I will admit my partner isn’t the best looking and that’s okay. I fell in love with her by our conversations and who she is (kindness, compassion, love, sensitivity). She’s my best friend and the women I want to spend the rest of my life with. One day she is going to make an amazing mother. Just watching her with little kids melts my heart. Maybe these thoughts are coming up because we are going to different schools to continue our education and will be an hour and a half away from each other.

  • Nicole

    Hi Sheryl!
    This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As J and I have moved back to the same city together, I can feel my thoughts getting stronger and louder (that’s what a transition will do for ya!)

    It’s pretty discouraging since I was doing much better for quite some time, but the few steps back just means I have more work to do. I really loved how this post talks about hope and action. Right now, I am taking action by doing the inner work, moving towards J, and I’m hoping that I will get back on my feet soon.

    This work comes in layers and layers, and I’ve learned so much about myself!! All that mucky stuff: my insecurities, my fears, my false beliefs, my flaws, my past pain- I never knew how much it affected me until the anxiety started. Now all I can do is meet myself with kindness and work hard for myself, my relationship, and my future!

    Thanks, Sheryl!

  • Years ago I read a CBT manual and although much of it didn’t resonate with me, I loved the analogy the authors used about worry and gardening.

    If we sense a worry inside of us, it can be likened to a weed. When we try to remove it from our thoughts, we must grab it from the root or it will grow back instantly. For me, taking a worry at its root means questioning the beliefs behind the worry. I literally sit myself down when I find I am worrying and gently ask what is going on. What is the fear behind the worry? I often ask out loud as this clears the process for me and allows me to access my emotions and ‘hear’ myself. I ask God to help me and then as I am comforting myself I usually start to cry. This takes me into my body which is where release happens.

    I also use your wonderful tool called Action. I ask myself, What can I do in the real world to support myself? and then I do it.

    All of these processes are possible because I feel open to grieving and it is the amazing process called therapy which has facilitated this.

    I think that worry is often stuck grief and as soon as I become aware that the mind by itself can’t heal the worry because worry is just a surface manifestation from a deeper place, I allow my body and spirit to do its work. Our whole beings are geared towards this process if only we allow it.

    Dreams are also such a healing and helpful resource; I love to consider their codes, to face their truths. Someone long ago told me: your dreams are your friends. All of the tools we use are our friends. And the work you do Sheryl, this is a friend, the best kind of support.

  • Becca

    Hi Sheryl
    Love this post as I do all your posts, I have struggled with various types of anxiety over the years including health (mainly related to a risk of breast cancer in my family), relationship, death. Since finding your site about 6 months ago I feel I am working through these anxieties and learning not to be afraid of the intrusive thoughts that fear creates. So thank you for this 🙂
    However I wanted to ask you more about what you say in this post about tuning into your dreams as they are ‘direct communications from the unconscious’. I often have quite vivid dreams, sometimes these can be about ex boyfriends or a male colleague who I enjoy talking to. I love my partner of over 4 years very much and although do have relationship anxiety every so often I know I want to be with him because he makes me happy and I enjoy his company so much, he is my best friend, find him very attractive etc. We are planning to try for a baby next year ad have talked about marriage too. But do these dreams mean my unconscious is telling me that he’s not enough? Or are they just manifestations of the fear anxieties I might have had that day?
    Thanks

  • Francine

    I wonder if anyone else relates to a feeling of loneliness while going through this transition…

    Although I have found this wonderful site and a community full of people feeling just like me, I keep experiencing this (fear)thought that I am progressing beyond everyone around me (in my immediate environment – family, friends, partner) on this path…as thought no one currently in my life will ever be able to fully relate to me and everything I’ve been through. It’s quite an isolating experience. The voice in my head tells me that I will transform and change beyond recognition, and will no longer be compatible or be able to relate to/with my partner. Or that he will not be enough; that I will need someone whom has delved into the same spiritual inquiry. I suspect this is another fear-block…

  • Shireen

    Can you please write a blog on the correct way to journal? I have been writing everyday but my anxiety becomes worse, I think it is because I am writing about the thought itself. After I write about what is the core to my anxiety, what is the next step?

  • Mia

    The articles always calm me but then soon enough the thought appears “well your story is different to this situation” and the spiralling thoughts begin again. I have a wonderful partner and relationship. But then HOCD crept in. The ROCD. So I dug and I dug inside myself and tried to search for a “root” fear. And my mind has now crept onto the idea that the reason why I’ve felt this way is because I don’t want to settle down and I infact want to “experience more” in my life and not have “missed opportunities” and the only way I will grow is if I explore every possible path in my life. I hate this thought/feeling. I have strived for the relationship I now have and it’s like now I have it I don’t want it. And that makes me think maybe I was searching for this relationship to try and calm the anxiety I have experienced previously in my life. These “realisations” have absolutely terrified me and make me feel nauseous to the very core. I feel incredibly distressed and don’t want to feel this way. I’m hoping it’s just a defence mechanism but then other lives seem more exciting and less scary than my relationship. I thought I was working towards my “true self” and now I’m scared I have a different “true self”.

    • It sounds like a defense mechanism to me. Yes you likely don’t want to settle down (very few people do), and once you realize that the work is to grieve the end of singlehood. That can be a big grieving process for people. And I don’t think you’ve arrived at the true root fear, which is more likely around the fear of uncertainty (exactly what this article is about).

    • Mia

      Thank you for your reply Sheryl.. My fears and thoughts change on a daily basis it seems. I used to know who I was and had a strong sense of self but now I question everything. I question that maybe my entire life and actions have been governed by my anxiety, and now that I’m beginning to dig deeper I’m feeling like I’m finding a whole different person. I guess what has spiked a lot of this is the fact that I am 25 and my twenties are expected to be “finding myself” and trying all sorts of different things. I never felt like this before. Is this anxiety? Is this growing up? And I becoming a different person?! I knew who I was 6 months ago. I was happy, confident with my life plans and goals, excited about my career and amazed at the relationship I had which was blossoming and promising. I’m scared to dig deeper – I am scared of what I will find. I am scared I will find someone who wants to fly off and do all these things you are meant to do in your twenties which have NEVER appealed to me before. But then a voice says “you need to do these things to become a strong and independent person”. I’m so cross. I was strong and independent before! I was working towards my goals in life! Why now tell me different?! I want the answer to be my fear or uncertainty but then a future with my boyfriend is not uncertain (when I was feeling myself 6 months ago), it was secure, promising and exciting! I had someone who broke up with me a couple of years ago as they wanted to travel – I thought “what will you find there that you can’t find here? Why are you leaving a loving relationship behind?” – I loved that sensible loving side of me! I want to tear my hair out when I think of that person compared to what I’m feeling now!

  • Erin

    Hi Sheryl,
    I was wondering if you could do a post sometime, at your earliest convenience, about weight obsession (constant scale checking) and anxiety? I appreciate your time and attention. Blessings on you and yours. Your posts have been true gems to me. Thank you. Thank you!

    • That’s not something I will likely write about any time soon, but you can apply all of my other work on anxiety to this issue. The storyline changes but the work remains the same. And in the meantime, get rid of your scale!

  • hayley

    Is picking flaws/ making your partner out to be a bad person a defensive mechanism? Sorry if this is too personal. But tonight I was abused when a family member threw me by my neck. I truly felt like my boyfriend didn’t care at all, and i got mad at him. even though he came and picked me up ( he has only just got his p’s in Australia). And I’m pretty sure he got in trouble. He put on music we both like in the car and drove me around. He plays that pokemon go game and he was making me laugh. I looked at him and felt safe i think, but there was just a wall stopping me from pouring my heart out. He’s an introvert, not overly emotional as i am and honestly i want to br okay with it and i think i am, but i pick at that factor of him like it makes him a bad person. And that him wanting/needing time to recharge means he doesnt care. He is dealing with his own wounds,i know he had a harsh childhood and his father has some troubles but yeah. This is rambling because I’m still a bit shaken but thats my rant

  • bumblebee

    Hi Sheryl

    my partner confess n feel guilty because he asked other woman to have sex with him. but the woman refused him because she respect me
    he apologized to me a lot, he just wanted to know how’s cheating look like, eventhough nothing happened, he just simply asked her..
    and we planned for the wedding in September
    ..I still feel hurt n lose some trust.. I don’t have any idea whether I need to cancel the marriage or not
    what’s your thought about it?
    thankyou

    • Laura-loves

      Hi everyone, I am really appreciating all those comments on the articles. It is great knowing not to be alone. I suffer from a very bad relationship anxiety with all those “irrational fears” and horrible intrusive thoughts (they usually start with “What if” and end in a worst case scenario. But this article was so interesting to me, as I actually spoke to my counsellor about it last week. I always thought the first time I was anxious was in previous relationships, but I then remembered something.

      I remembered the day as a child when I suddenly realised what death was. I was always a daddy’s girl, same as my brother was a mummies’ boy :). I share a great connection to nature (growing up in an area in Germany with lots of forests, which is now by the way my little resort when I feel anxious). And I remembered one night when we saw something in the news, or we heard some news about a persons death and I realised that this person would never come back. And I also realised that some day my father, whom I love so deeply, might die. And as he tucked me into bed that night I cried bitter tears, and I remember begging him not to die. To never leave me. And he said “well we all have to die some day” and I felt powerless, I had no control over it and that there was absolutely nothing I could do to change that.

      Now I see a lot of parallels in my fear. Fear for me are usually situations that I have no power or control of. I used to date guys only for a very short period of time and usually break up with them before they could break up with me. I used to jump from one relationship into another and cheat, because I was with men I didn’t love, but I was terrified of being left alone. Or left in general.

      Now my fiancé whom I have been with for almost 4 years is the most gentle, loving soul and I could not be more grateful to have him. He is the first man that I ever truly loved and now I have this horrible relationship anxiety. What this blog and the last 4 years have taught me though, is that we cannot control everything. And that I am so, so happy that when fear was in the driver’s seat, I chose love instead. and I worked my bum off to make it work. It is still a fight. I fight this anxiety, this monster so much every day. And some days, sometimes for weeks I am allowed to be happy, before it comes back. And I noticed that the more I fight, the longer those happy periods have become. The less strong my anxiety attacks have become. So it is working. To all you beautiful, gentle and loving people out there: it will work, and some day we will beat anxiety and learn to live with it rather than having it control us.

      I can honestly refer you to Sheryl’s “Break Free from relationship anxiety” course – it is absolutely worth it and I come back to it every couple of weeks when I feel anxious, as it is like my safe port. I was in a very bad state this morning, but as I have typed this I feel that I can already start to see the horizon of this dark night. Even the darkest night will pass.

  • bumblebee

    Thankyou Laura-Loves !! I always coming here everytime the anxiety hit me as I can’t afford the course yet , I’m very grateful of Sheryl’s beautiful work. Her work almost always succeeded brings me back to the sannity, peace of mind .

    What I realized recently ,when I love myself , it’s impossible I that I don’t love him.
    My fiance still want to marry me , I was unsure before but when I read my journal I was the one who had an affair in my mind at first , I always had a fear of him cheating with her , lots of jealousy n it reflects onto him in reality

    I didn’t take my responsibility of worth, trust .. I let my mind run away from my own reality , I betrayed myself by having an affair using them in my mind ..

    I love him with all my heart , I’m so grateful because he gave me a pointer to come back to myself

  • Mia

    I’m having a particularly bad evening. TERRIFIED that the continuous digging I’ve been doing has reached the core. And core I don’t want. A core that tells me everything I have lived and believed has been a lie and I need to rip apart my grounding and start afresh. Why if my relationship and home are so good then does my mind make me feel excited at the thought of leaving? Why does it tell me I want to do things I have never been inclined don’t I do before? Then justify them and say I was living a sheltered life where I used family and relationships as a comfort blanket. That the only reason I’ve decided against travel and moving and being alone is because I was scared. But once I’ve filled my well I will no longer be scared and I’ll be free to live my “true self” which isn’t meant To be kept cosy and safe by the home I’ve created and The relationships I’ve forged. I’m doing very very badly tonight and although I’m seeing my therapist I don’t think he tales my relationship worries seriously as I’m in my twenties.

  • Mia

    I can’t dig any deeper as the answer there is that I have used this relationship as a comfort blanket and a safety net. It’s kept me going whilst I can find confidence in myself and that I’m not really in love with him anymore and now I’ve “filled my well” I can use my new grounding to disappear off and live a different “full” life that I was apparently too scared to do before. This is terrifying and I’m horrified with myself!