Author Topic: Anxiety Disorder  (Read 313 times)

Stillness

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Anxiety Disorder
« on: November 20, 2017, 02:46:48 AM »
I've been meditating in the morning and evening for about 2 weeks consecutively now. However, I suffer from Anxiety disorder which is truly painful to say the least. When I sit, if my anxiety can become very strong (which it has been for last 3 days) I feel incredibly unpleasant sensations throughout the body. My stomach has awful butterflies, the bad kind as if you've just gotten news of a family members death or something horrific. My entire body is pricklingly hot, I'm breathing fast and my heart is pounding. Now, I know that Vipassana reveals the interconnection between mind and matter (body), and I have realised that my anxiety is actually a physical aversion i have to the sensations on my body - I previously hadn't noticed this but I realised the nature of this after my second Vipassana retreat. The problem I have is the difficulty I have in sitting because these sensations are connected with hopeless, racing doomsday thoughts that make me really upset and depressed. The more anxious and upset I get as I sit, the more unpleasant sensations I begin to feel and eventually, after maybe 30/40 minutes I can no longer remain equanimity at all and become overwhelmed with painful rumination etc etc. At this point, my body feels electrically charged with hot flushes etc in a very very uncomfortable and disconcerting way. During stretches when my mental state isn't in turmoil I can meditate without getting like this, but during these tough times how can I continue the practice? I believe it's the only way to cure my OCD also. One more thing I might add; does practicing samadhi (watching the breath) promote spiritual growth the same as practicing Vipassana? Should I do my morning sit as Samadhi and my evening sit as much Vipassana as I can?
How can I keep up the practice when I find it so hard?
Thankyou
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 03:19:48 AM by Stillness »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 05:54:43 AM »
The difficulty is usually the way, time and patience are necessary for you to address your anxiety. Practice will hopefully reveal to you the needlessness of your fear, an ability to be comfortable with the physical sensations of fear, and a detachment from accompanying thoughts.

Don't get concerned about what practice you're doing when, but I think of priority should be improving how kind you are to yourself. Make sure you're as relaxed as possible for your sittings, whether it's a comfy chair, incense, a quiet environment, etc.

All the best with it

Laurent

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2017, 01:16:42 PM »
Hello Stillness,

Can you tell us what you exactly practice when you meditate?

playground

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 04:50:49 PM »

I love the story about how Big Pharma developed Valium to
combat depression, anxiety, agrophobia, social anxiety, etc.

Valium works, people feel better after taking it.

Big Pharma found out, earlier than most others, about the
calming, stabilizing effects of niacin on mood and emotionality.
Niacin is better known as vitamin B3.  Big Pharma can't
get a patent on vitamins, so  they took the vitamin B3
as their molecular model, tweeked it a bit, and came up with
valium.... yes.. valium is a nothing more than a patentable
version of niacin (B3).  But.... valium doesn't work as effectively
as B3, and valium has side effects.  It also costs 50 times more.

B3 isn't toxic.  Valium is toxic.

perhaps trying vitamin B3 would make things better.

There are 'flush' and 'non-flush' versions of B3.
Both offer benefits for mood/emotional stability.

google for Abram Hoffer / Hofer and niacin.  There's
loads on this out there... on youtube and the interwebs.

It's just a suggestion

be happy :)

Stillness

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2017, 03:29:18 AM »
Thanks everyone appreciate you're advice so much. I will definitely look into vitamin b3. It would be so good if it helped me continue on with my practice constantly. I choose not to take Benzodiazepines (valium etc) because I feel as if you need to be in a natural mind state to meditate. I can deal with this through meditation and I hate the side effects. I have more awareness and equanimity regarding my mental health but believe me, when things get bad my practice just goes straight out the window. I'm practicing Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Kihn as taught by S.N Goenka. I just really really want to deal with my anxiety through meditation but I can't practice vipassana when I'm in so much turmoil. I hope as I progress my anxiety becomes a thing of the past... or at least something I don't become overwhelmed by. Ultimately Vipassana should do this I just have to have balls to sit down and observe sensations no matter what... much harder than it sounds :)
Thanks

Laurent

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 04:36:26 PM »
You could try to observe in a gross way, not focusing on parts but on the whole body, noticing when you inspire and expire. May have a soothing effect. Focusing methods may sometimes make one avoids looking reality as it is to look for something special, subtle...
Just observing dukkha as it comes out, while being attentive to respiration, as a tool to calm the body and mind, may have remarkable results.

georg7887

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 08:44:05 PM »
Hallo Stillness!

Can you describe more precisely how you deal with your anxiety during meditation. How do you observe it/or do you try ignoring it? Are you mindful when anxiety arises, when it changes, when it is absent?

In your last posting you mentioned that you really want to deal with your anxiety but you aren't able to do it during meditation. Your words I guess are a really important hint for your meditation practice.  You may try to observe, how you relate to anxiety when it arises. Do you really observe it mindfully? Is there a subtle underlying tendency to push it away from you, to make it vanish, etc.? Is there a desire to be anxious-free in the present moment? If so, recognize that and observe what reactions this wish/desire is bringing up. What arises in your body, what feeling arises, what thoughts arises, how to you relate to them. If you get lost and recognize it, gentle remind yourself that you are mindful again and carry on. Be kind to yourself during meditation.

I don't know how much "theoretical background" you already have, but deepening your understanding about dukkha and the 5 aggregates could be helpful to your practice. To me "Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening" is a perfect little helper to transfer theory into praxis.

dharma bum

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 03:07:46 PM »
i've found that for me, sometimes walking meditation is more useful than sitting meditation. sometimes i am too fidgety/nervous/anxious to be able to sit in one place. when i say walking meditation, i refer to taking a walk while being aware of body sensations. it is a bit slower than my usual pace. it is also more therapeutic to be out in the open, though that might be just an individual thing.
Mostly ignorant

BeHereNow

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2017, 05:08:08 PM »
Hi Stillness,

I am sorry to hear you are struggling.

I have struggled with anxiety and also found that the long sits Goenka-style made the anxiety and depression much worse.  What worked for me is a gentle yoga practice and breathing exercises to help calm the body and nervous system.  For a long time I did mostly yoga with less sitting practice, and this helped me become familiar with my mental habits so eventually I could observe them without the aversion getting out of control.

Working with the body, either with yoga, walking as DB suggested, or other modalities might be more helpful than continuing to sit through the terrible anxiety for some time.  When you do sit, focus on taking care of yourself, using the breath as a way to calm the body, and continue to bring love and warmth to the difficulty you are going through.

Eventually you will find that there is space beyond the mental formations that cause you pain, and that you can hold your suffering in that space of compassion.  Wherever you feel the pain, go bigger than that with your awareness.  Remember the vastness of the sky above and the earth below.  You are so much bigger than your pain.

Much metta,
Paula
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Alex

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 01:07:19 PM »
Seems like you already learned a fair bit about the interplay between mental and physical processes from an experiential perspective...

And now you’re asking yourself what practices suit you best at this point in your life… Good question!

You got some good advice already: maybe it’s not about specific technique, but about what are you actually cultivating when you are practicing? Are you nurturing ‘craving’ and ‘aversion’ or are you cultivating ‘kindness’, ‘openness’ and ‘relaxed awareness’. As suggested maybe some gentle or soothing bodywork might be more fruitful when you feel overwhelmed. Or something else entirely. Ask yourself "What do I need? What would benefit me?"

I feel much respect for your perseverance, but on the other hand it seems a bit like torture or trying to force your way through the anxiety as well?

Whatever you do, I wish you a lot of kindness.

playground

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2017, 11:14:37 AM »

I love the story about how Big Pharma developed Valium to
combat depression, anxiety, agrophobia, social anxiety, etc.

Valium works, people feel better after taking it.

Big Pharma found out, earlier than most others, about the
calming, stabilizing effects of niacin on mood and emotionality.
Niacin is better known as vitamin B3.  Big Pharma can't
get a patent on vitamins, so  they took the vitamin B3
as their molecular model, tweeked it a bit, and came up with
valium.... yes.. valium is a nothing more than a patentable
version of niacin (B3).  But.... valium doesn't work as effectively
as B3, and valium has side effects.  It also costs 50 times more.

B3 isn't toxic.  Valium is toxic.

perhaps trying vitamin B3 would make things better.

There are 'flush' and 'non-flush' versions of B3.
Both offer benefits for mood/emotional stability.

google for Abram Hoffer / Hofer and niacin.  There's
loads on this out there... on youtube and the interwebs.

It's just a suggestion

be happy :)

I think, in the interests of being a responsible, and considerate, human being,
I should add some details here, about B3 dosages, and what 'flushing' means.

This is what flushing looks like: (5mins)


And see this video too: (5mins)


Basically your skin goes red, like you've spent the day under a hot sun,
and your skin feels hot and tingly.  This happens because your blood is
directed towards your skin.

If you're not prepared for it, it might be unexpected and scary.
But there's no need to worry, it's a harmless side effect... actually it's
quite pleasant.  You'll feel content, and calm, and basically good,
afterwards.  This feeling lasts for a few hours.  (Some people take
niacin recreationally)

Niacin dosage:  start on 50mg to 100mg, then gradually increment your
dosage by 25% until you're taking 500mg per day.
(The half-life of niacin is less than 1 hour, however, niacin breaks down to
niacinamide which has a 5 hour half life, see below)

You'll get used to it pretty quickly... the flushing effect starts to degrade
after a week or two. At which point you can increase the dosage to
restore the original flushing effect.

There's a non-flush version of niacin called  'niacinamide'.
This is essentially the same as niacin but with a nitrogen NH2 group
added to the molecule.  Niacin & niacinamide are both vitamin B3.

Dosage:  You can start on 250 or 500mg of niacinamide.
(The half life of niacinamide is approx 5 hours)
Aim to reach 1,000 mg of total vitamin B3, per day.
NOTE: total niacin + total niacinamide = total vitamin B3.

See how you feel at 1,000mg per day .. and then adjust
the dosage according to whether you feel better or not.

NOTE: Dr Hofer was giving people 3,000 mg of B3 for people
with severe disorders, psychosis, schizophrena, alcoholism etc.

High dosages of niacin were (perhaps still are) given to the
'clean up' workers at the Fukishma plant - niacin has a potent
detoxification effect.

More on B3 therapy:

Dr Andrew Saul (10 mins)


Niacin and Depression (2 mins)


There's lots and lots of stuff on the web & youtube
about niacin.

be happy :)

Stillness

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2017, 01:06:21 PM »
Niacin makes me feel good! Today I have taken 1 500mg niacin earlier and just took another 500mg and am currently flushing. Feel very relaxed enjoy it to be honest anxiety is gone and i feel very stable which is amazing. Thank you playground, I will keep taking niacin to be able to continue meditating and would love if it continued to better my mental health. I agree, the long sits that Goenka does did make me feel much worse ahaha! However, they did give me true belief in the technique and a good insight into things; they are intense, and sometimes detrimental to mentally unstable people, that's all. As for my meditation, I have been researching different meditation techniques and am wanting to learn walking meditation. I want to continue to do vipassana if I can keep it up. Although, it is advised not to practice other techniques according to Goenka, so I don't know if it's a good idea to learn walking meditation. I observe whole body sensations in avery gross way when I feel like I just can't do otherwise. In the meantime I will post back here to update on my practice and try and meditate with a calm approach.
thanks all!

dharma bum

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2017, 02:49:34 PM »
Quote
Although, it is advised not to practice other techniques according to Goenka, so I don't know if it's a good idea to learn walking meditation.

the requirement to not practise other techniques is only for retreats in the Goenka centres. in fact, in his lectures, Mr Goenka does mention that you can and should practise awareness of breath and sensations even when you're not sitting. i don't use any other techniques when i walk. i only try to keep an awareness of breath/sensations on the body.
Mostly ignorant

Stillness

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Re: Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2017, 03:16:15 AM »
Quote
Although, it is advised not to practice other techniques according to Goenka, so I don't know if it's a good idea to learn walking meditation.

the requirement to not practise other techniques is only for retreats in the Goenka centres. in fact, in his lectures, Mr Goenka does mention that you can and should practise awareness of breath and sensations even when you're not sitting. i don't use any other techniques when i walk. i only try to keep an awareness of breath/sensations on the body.

I will definitely do that!