29 April 2013 Hi Will. I just wanted to say thank you so much for the book and all of the help and guidance you give. My biggest problem has been scary thoughts and I have found it so upsetting as well as frustrating because to a large extent I have been trying to get on with life as normal. I ve been off work for a few weeks since it all started and I think that was wise as I didn't realise anything was wrong until I had a bad panic attack (didn't realise what it was at the time, like so many others!). Once the initial part was over and I understood what was happening, I tried to get back to normal but couldn't because of these terrifying thoughts which never seemed to stop and your book really focuses on this area. I know now that I m only at the beginning of working this through and I would say to a large extent I m not yet 'in the flow' as I m having to say to myself 'calm' or its just a thought, let it go at the moment. I also find the balloon image very helpful. However, I m sure with a little more time the thoughts will flow more naturally. I have realised I was waiting until my thoughts calmed down before I was getting on with my life whereas I realise that I need to keep going as far as possible letting the thoughts happen as they will.
Isn't this whole thing bizarre? I was always the most calm person - everyone always said - you are so calm. Then it of the blue this! I think that is why the scary thoughts frighten me so much - because they are the polar opposite of the way I have always felt, if that makes sense? Also,I had the same as you - I went to the doctor because I couldn't sleep and she wrote 'perfectionist' on my medical notes like it was some kind of problem whereas I d always seen it as a positive!
Thank you so much again
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2013 08:17:30 +0100 From: T Subject: Re: The Mind Works To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the reply and thanks for the new book. In relation to improving the website I'm not really sure. Personally I like the way that it is. To be honest I don't think people like myself would be too bothered about what changes could be made in terms the lay out etc, it's the content that is key to me. The content is superb and there is a real honesty about it which I think people relate to. Sorry I can't be of more help.
Anyway......back to my problems :-)
I just wanted to explain my issues a little further, I find that it also helps just to write these emails as it allows me to express things that I normally keep to myself. I did have a couple of different therapists but I found that they didn't really understand what I was talking about in relation to not being able to switch off. I think this is where your help is invaluable, you have been there and know exactly what I'm talking about.
A big issue for me, during times like this, is when I talk to people I find it hard to just concentrate on what I am saying. The worry about blushing is there at the back of my mind. I then think I'm crazy because I'm talking about one thing but my minds voice is there in the background, not allowing me to switch off, it is keeping me aware of the fact that I'm anxious about blushing in front of people. This drives me nuts, it really does. I think how the hell can I not just think about what I'm talking about instead having this underlying fear that I struggle to switch off while I'm speaking. I then worry that I've conditioned myself to do this and that I will never be able to switch it off. I hope you understand what I mean by this as this is my main area that I need to work on.
I never used to be like this and I think this is why nobody would ever realise the issues that I have. At school my report cards would always say too talkative. I think that my anxieties have thankfully not changed my character but this feeling of anxiety does wear me down. To the point were I feel that it holds me back from really enjoying things. This has all stemmed from an incident a few years ago in work when I blushed and a few people made a really big deal of it. Since then I feel like I have been on constant look out for it happening.
Over the past few years when I have felt good, it's when I have been better with the worry about blushing. So I therefore know that it's the worry and not the actual blushing that is my fear/problem.
If you have any advice about not being able to switch off from my worries when I'm talking/socialising, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the work that you do and I'm so glad that I found your website and your book, you do a great job. I passed your website on to a therapist that I was seeing and he has subsequently passed it on to most of his patients. I am from the UK but live in Asia so if you weren't before......you are now international. Thanks again. T.
PS-If you put any of my comments on your site can you please just refer to me as T. The line of work that I'm in doesn't really look too kindly on people with anxiety/mental health problems. It's actually crazy that in this day and age that there is still such a stigma attached to this.
To: email@example.com Subject: RE: More questions about anxiety
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 09:56:10 +0300
Hi Will! Things just seem to get better! Looking back to the first e-mails that I posted you back in December, things have changed dramatically - I was so lost with myself back then! I understand this condition so much better nowadays, and I now know what the fighting means. It has always been this > If I got some idea about something "causing" my anxiety, that's when things started to get ugly (before I understood what fighting my thoughts meant).
For example. The medicine I'm taking, drinking coffee, etc etc.. anything that "could" cause this - but no, that's not the problem - the problem is trying to convince myself consciously that "It's not the medicine" and continuing that "questioning" or "explaining to myself".. It's very simple when you get it, but it took time to get it. I could call this illnes "finding myself again", since I was so lost with myself back in time. Even my friends told me that I look 100x better than 5 months ago, which was really good and "inspiring" to hear! So I'd say, yes. Your solution works!! Thank you!!!! – D. Finland
Brilliant D and really good that you're getting to grips with this - you know where I am as always as times can be difficult but understanding and faith can get us through. cheers Will.
On Sun 24/02/13 6:45 PM , M wrote: Will, I have downloaded your book to my android tablet, it is in a download folder,but when I click to open,a message pops up to open with either HTML viewer or my browser which is Opera, which ever I choose the words are garbled,unreadable.I think it needs a different browser/software to view,could you advise. Regards
Hi M sorry about the delay - I will send you another PDF which is the version currently being printed - if you even want the word version I can do that - sorry not really sure what has happened it was adobe PDF I use. thanks again Will - ps will send from hotmail address
On Wed 6/03/13 10:07 PM , M <@googlemail.com> wrote: Will, all OK now, many thanks, book has been a revelation. Regards, M
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: More questions about anxiety Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2013 20:11:09 +0300
Hello Will, its D! Just updating once again, Since last time I sent you the e-mail (5 days ago), I'm doing atleast 10000x better. I switched my AD's to another pills, which are pretty much the same but different name (I don't know if the switching helped me "moving forward", but I don't care actually) But these good days, yes good days, have been much different than the other "good days" I've had during the time I've had anxiety. I'm not saying that I'm back to "old me", but it makes so much sence with the tensing thing you're explaining! Ofcourse I've had these anxious, and strange thoughts, but it's easier to not tense about them, and keep "flowing". I don't know if there has been a single thought that really has stopped me to think any further during this time. And by the way, I got promoted to jaeger (or a rifleman, don't know the right word for it) today in the Army, so I'm almost a soldier now, hah. Thank you!!! I'll be in touch! :)
1/2/13 Hi Will Thanks for the reply.
I started to read your book in a train on my way to home, and I noticed that in the advice columns, there are some people that "thinks" exactly like me, never really paid attention to advice columns or pretty much 'anything' there focused, since my sitzuation was really bad when I got your e-book. I found that all the questions (or atleast many q's) and answers can be found in the book. Im so glad I opened the book today, since I can focus on the reading nowdays much better and understand better! Thank you! Ak ..Finland
Re last Chapter - Hi Will just a big thank you again for being my saviour! Simply and utterly my life has taken such a change for the better - I can so much identify with flowing more freely these days, I no longer watch everything I’m doing and just get on with things. I simply can’t hold anything in, it seems so weird I got like I did but it really engulfs you when you can’t escape it? Remember those bad nights I had back in January? Absolute treachery but thanks to you I hung on in there and got through it. So many times we think ‘what we think’ is unacceptable, weird, pathetic like you say and it proves then very much to be the catalyst for that tension spring. Very much a turning point for me when I knew I could get through those bad times simply by coming down when the depression and negative onslaught were almost endless. It still happens from time to time but I like to see it now as a challenge rather than a curse! My latest triumph was my wife giving birth to a new baby son last week....Many thanks Will Ben
Re book update - On Fri 4/01/13 7:08 PM , Ruth sent: Hi Will, Thank you for sending me a your book. I really appreciate your genuine care and concern for people who suffer with anxiety issues. The book is excellent and the letters really help to make it relevant, as different people have differing problems/concerns which they can identify with. I have come to the same conclusion about fighting this illness as, by nature, I am a fighter and want to be in control of events etc. I am also a perfectionist and a 'deep thinker'. Some days are good now as I am learning to 'not do', but then it comes flooding back sometimes and I feel I'm back to square one. Persistence is the key I think, but not struggling or fighting as it never works. I mentioned..... I wish you all the very best with the publication of this book and do thank you for taking the time to write. Kind regards, Ruth
16.12.12 Hi Will This makes perfect sense! One of my biggest (and most annoying) symptoms is that I'm constantly talking to myself in my head in a forced, conscious way. It's like I feel the need to repeat my thoughts internally as if in conversation, like I can't just let them flow by naturally, instead I have the urge to "pluck" the thoughts out and make them conscious (self talk). It's not even just anxious thoughts, but any thoughts in general. And I think this is just fear -- a way to try to control my thinking, because if I can control it, I think I will feel better/safe. But of course that doesn't work. It just makes me stuck in my head. Also, it's just become a habit I need to break. But last week I kind of had a break through after reading the update you sent. Something "clicked" more than it had before and I found myself able to let go of my thoughts easier, whereas up until then I was still trying to force/think myself back into primary thinking. It really is very simple once you get it, isn't it? And I think I am finally getting it! Thanks Will Mike
Old Book Reviews
14/3/13 Hi Will,
For a number of reasons, I have been reaching for your book more often in this last year than ever before.
The reason I am writing, is I was wondering if the book has had the electronic updates added, including "The Rule of Ten" update, as I am considering purchasing another paper copy. Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer paper pages to the electronic equavalents.
Craig - (timing couldnt be better! - please note if you 'have' purchased my book in the past - you will be sent the new Ebook out at no charge)
Many thanks for sending this to me. I am currently getting through your book and am finding it really good. I have also read Paul David's book and so far am finding that "The Mind Works" kind of explains the actual "accepting" and "not doing anything" principals in a way that helps you to understand it more from a brain process way, which is good. It seems strange sometimes that what seems to be such an easy process is so hard to actually get the hang of.
I have had Anxiety notably from the age of 19 (Starting with a Panic attack which threw me into a pit of despair) and I am now 36. Following coming on and off Paroxetine (Seroxat) many times over the years, and I can't deny that when on it, it did help. I have now come off at 1mg per month for 20 months and finally stopped on 1st December 2009. 4 Months on and I am really struggling (Very Anxious and Depressed). We have had some hard times thrown at us lately and I am finding it difficult to make even simple decisions. My GP has prescribed a different SSRI, Sertraline if I want it. The thing is I really don't want to start taking any more medication.
I believe I have made more progress over the last year or so than ever with Acceptance techniques like in "The Mind Works", "At Last a Life" and Clare Weeks books, but sometimes I feel so low I just seem to be looking at the pages and nothing seems to be going in.
One of the hardest things I think I have trouble getting my head around is that some people, my GP included (and he is a great GP and accepts that things can be done without medication) say that where some people need insulin for diabetes, some anxious or depressed people need the right amount of serotonin for the brain, and I'm never sure how to take that. Does this mean that for some of us the only way is to take pills? Or can everyone get through this without medication, and that may well be because these methods as well as programming our brain processes to work properly are in fact also allowing serotonin to be created to the levels that are in fact required for a happy and stress free life.
I appologise if I have rambled on and realise that you may not be able to respond to everybody's e-mails but I am seriously thinking of getting back on medication (and I truly don't want to) and at the same time feel I have made a lot of progress but that it is stored in my mind and is difficult to pull into focus at this time.
I think that last paragraph means that perhaps I am closer to recovery than I think and I believe even now that if I could just prove that I can do and think what I can do and think when I'm on medication and even improve beyond this, then it must be worth continuing without it. But sometimes, Wow it's hard.
Very Best Regards, Dan (Dan now being sent new version which I 'hope' will throw even more light on this for him re people really recovering!)
From: d To: email@example.com Subject: RE: More questions about anxiety Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2013 14:53:04 +0300
Hi Will! Just wanted to update to my last mail, I'm doing pretty good now, I've had two really "good" days now. I found that exercising, especially running helped me alot, it's really good to feel physically tired u know, and also pumping some iron at gym. And I am keeping break of coffee for now aswell, and trying to eat healthier food, and avoiding sugar etc. I have "learned" something aswell during the days, but I try not to think/remind about my learnings "conciously".. for example. yesterday when I woke up, I don't know why but when I went to smoke a cigarette, I found myself "forcing" myself to have bad feeling or something, and I have no clue why I did that.. but it eased down pretty quickly. Sure I still get these situations when I'm talking to myself, but since I know it's not going to lead anywhere, its easier to let go of that aswell. And about medicine, I think it has helped me somehow, with sleeping and eating, without not waking up every hour during the night. But well, the medicine isn't going to solve anything, I think it just "helps" me to get off from the very edge.
Difference between me now, and me (for example) 2 weeks ago, is that I'm not trying to solve this thing in my mind, by self talk, or anything like that. Will keep you posted! Many thanks D..(Finland)
4/12/12 Hi Will, I'm responding to your twitter response to me, where I asked you:
re: refraining from conscious thought, then how will we ever be aware of our thoughts to act on them if subconscious?
and you replied:
Hi M - sorry about delay - what Im saying is that we can and 'do' make millions of decisions in the subconscious - I throw you a ball...you catch it..right? Unless your poorly trained!! Anyway please mail me if you want the latest re this -may help explain more what Im saying
I would like the latest on this if possible. I guess it's just a matter of trusting the subconscious. My recovery has been slow but I am getting it, and I keep coming back to your writing because it makes the most sense to me.
Subject: Re: THE MIND WORKS + RULE OF 10 From: Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2012 13:30:04 +0100 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS- I got so caught up there telling my story that I forgot to say that I really admire what you are doing. As I said I haven't finished the book yet but i just read the rule of 10. It's brilliant, I think that I will print it out and keep it with me at all times so that I can refer to it and keep me focused on what it is I'm trying to achieve. I think that I forget this sometimes and this is where the doubt begins. I know that you will be very busy but any thoughts you have on my problem would be greatly appreciated. Kind Regards T. Sent from my iPad
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 1:57 PM Cheers Will,
I know now there will be no more issues, finished, over. Its taken years mind you.... but I am there!!!! You have been a Rock to me!, and I cant Believe the difference things can be! At the start I could see no way out, and now, I am a different person! Its nuts! All with the help of you boss
My link of Youtube is DJNJWATTS all my videos and as always put all my comments on no problem, I don't feel at all ashamed that I had a mental illness, just want to help others that there is a way out
I am now not thinking too far ahead and living in the now.! Allot of my learning was hit and miss and I still had bad times,Now I can see the “Bad” thoughts and dismiss them, as I know where they lead.Keep positive and keep the can do attitude Just keep thinking you are a Survivor!!! and not a victim!!! Got to start Writing the book now got so much on at the moment, my best mate bust hid back flying our speedwings last week at Rhosilli, so I have had on hell of a week. He is getting better though cool talk soon
On Thu 9/08/12 5:26 PM , Sean sent: Hi Will Brill book by the way. And so very very insitefull regarding the 'cut offs' as the mind working normally. You can see in diseases like dementia and Alzeimers when the 'cut offs' have gone awry and the thoughts just ramble on and on. Anyway, I bought your book over a year ago now and can't seem to find The Rule of Ten email anywhere. Could you possibly send me another one please?
Kind regards Sean
June 2012 Hi Will we spoke about a year ago, I dont know if you remember? I am doing much better today. I understand your model a lot better. I do have a quesTion though. I drew a picture to better illustrate what I am trying to ask. Is it possible to remain in the feeling/thought area for a while, or do you always reach the anxiety part? In stressful moments it feels like I only go from feeling to thought and back to feeling and never reach the anxiety area where I have a 'choice' to not fight. Is that possible or have I indeed already taken the "fight route''? Regards ...
2/7/12 (ref Rule) Hey again Will. Hope and think I am on the right track now. One quick question. I feel like when i just come out of a thought (become aware of it) my mind goes blank and feels like it just freezes for a few seconds or even more like for 20s before the cut-off comes and that feels like a big Jolt in my whole body and my eyes spasm every time. Am i correct in assuming these phenomenons are coming out and cutting off from thoughts? Did you experience simular stuff or heard from others? At the moment i feel your book is a life saver even thought my blurred mind had problems getting grips on it at first. Are you enjoying summer over there in the UK? Take care. Andreas
May 2012- ref Rule Of 10 -
Thank you. Your first paragraph summed up ME to a tee! I can't let go of the past and go over and over things again and again trying to answer what went wrong. My husband says I must learn to forgive myself for making human mistakes and must toughen up and not trust people so easily. I am guilty of judging everyone by my own standards. I put all my effort into being perfect and want to be liked by everyone. This type of anxiety is different to my last debilitating bout (although I suffer on a daily basis generally). My last bout was centred on health....and
Thank you so much - you have made me feel human! My husband says I am one of the most complex people he has ever met (but he loves me nonetheless). I am going to take everything onboard that you say so that my life can become less 'painful' with all this anxiety and my reactions.
May 2012 - ref Rule of 10 Advice Column re recovery 'aftershocks' Hi again Will! I THINK and hope I'm getting a hang of this. Simply allowing my brain to produce whatever thoughts and just don’t question/analyse them (fight).... that's the way to go right? One thing has tured up now though that does worry me. Now that I'm beginning to let go. I have for long time had this horrible almost unbearable tension in my scalp and behind my eyes, think it’s a result of trying to force my body to keep it together and maybe even thought suppression i think.....
Date: Sat, 21 April 2012 19:43:06 +0000 Will, for me, the flow line diagram was a welcome addition to my understanding. Nothing ever put it so clearly as this simple explanation of where we jump a second time. Understand it so clearly now. That temptation is a law unto itself! Needless to say though, I now know it has gone by the time I recognise it. Why don't you take..... (taken from B discussion Rule of 10)
Date: Tue, 27 March 2012 18:55:36 +0000 Hi Will thanks again a truly 'fantastic piece of writing! Do you have your Rule of 10 again? My boyfriend had his laptop stolen from his flat yesterday- love the summary and now I literally 'am' filled with hope. Tried it on the Tube yesterday...felt that panic coming on and ''''kept'''' my calm - youre so right I know I can now do this - nothing to panic about at all. thanks again Sandi
Mar 12 Hi Will thanks for that and if you ever need to post my replies? Just to say I have gotten to the point where I knew the quick fix would evade me! Needless to say, I have 'complete' faith in what you say is right. Taken courage not to glamorize it as it's the truth n reality! Thanks again and I will let you know how things go, at least I'm back on my feet now and looking forward to living 'and' working! Candy
Feb 12 - re Health Anxiety
Dear Will, Thank u so much for your response. It really makes me feel not so alone. It does make total sense. My mind is tired at the moment so in time I should be able to take it in and practice it slowly. I am looking forward to feeling a part of the world again soon and more myself as this can feel VERY crushing as u must remember/understand. You must be so proud to be helping so many people, you are a kind person. Thanks again J
Jan 12, Thanks. Will I'm getting there I think. It makes sense although I'm not 100% clear on the markers between primary and secondary at the moment. I get the idea though. Question. With my Hocd - homosexual obsession - what happens mostly are spikes of anxiety in response to a stimulus. Such as, frequent example here Watching TV Man comes on and i think or consider if he's good looking etc. My obsession. Spike of anxiety and I'm in it. Tensing all that. Mind racing etc. Flight. Now I'm at a stage where I can reason it doesn't make me gay to do this but a habit that I have. In this process where would you put the markers? Thanks G (See also Rule of 10)
Jan 12 - Re Tinnitus worry (see also Rule of 10)
Thank you so much for the information you sent. I know that second fear is a harmful thing but find it very hard not to do it. My sleep is terrible. I average about four hours a night. I am told I can not get well without sleep but do not know how to achieve this.I am reluctant to take medication but I am desperate. Is it possible to recover without medication?
Thank you so much for listening. C
29/11/11 Hi Will Many thanks for all your help along the way with this - I really do feel as if I have a grip on this now and like you say, have had to learn patience in my journey! If there's one thing it's taught me, it's that we do run the fine line and should just understand that we have a natural ability to get through this. This is what I was tampering with!! I can sense so many situations where I had completely flunked in the past and now, I get through these without major upheaval - my relationship is back on tracks and I completely see where I was unwittingly throwing myself out of sync with my partner and unable to play my true part in this relationship - not surpising when I wasn't really there? Thanks again and yes, I will comeback to you whenever and thnks for the offer. Yours D
Hi Will thanks for the updated version. Based on your wonderful work, I created my own summary – a personal crib sheet for when I feel myself almost on auto-pilot ploughing into panic mode. My crib sheet started as an email I was writing to a close friend about how, with the help of the knowledge from your book, I was going about my anxieties. I never sent the e-mail and instead kept it as an aide memoir for myself. Or, alternatively, an ‘In Case of Emergencies’ read – when my mind is whirring too much to consume your book sensibly. When I get in that particular zone, lots of useful information isn’t always a good thing for a racing brain J Anyway, I thought I would send in case 1) you thought there were any glaring misunderstandings or 2) which I hope is more accurate, you think it might help others who need an ‘emergency cord’ at times. (now on Rule of 10 actually) thanks Claire.
Most of it is para-phrasing from your book and I have stuck with a use of emphasis as I think it really helps.
Or alternatively, please feel free to delete Please keep up with the outstanding work. You are a person who really makes a difference in people’s lives. Fond wishes Claire
28/9/11 Thank you so much, Will. You have no idea how grateful I am to have found your site and book and to be getting all of this help, information and advice from you. I just got so emotional reading this response. I have struggled for many years and have tried different counselors/medication, etc, in my desperate times but never felt like I was really getting the right help. Everything always felt like a crutch and the advice I got from counselors just never seemed to click with me and I just never felt like they really understood what I was going thru, but of course I didn't know or understand either so I just always felt deep down like I was stuck like this and that I would never get the right help and just got more and more confused and upset.
What you say really makes sense to me and really feels like the right way through this - it's the first and only thing that has given me 100% confidence that I can cope and get through all of this. Instead of medication, coping behaviors, etc to "cope", it's really just 'me' that I need! What a relief!!! Even though I'm still having a rough time, and know that I will probably have many more rough times, I feel so much hope and have so much faith that things will work out and that I will eventually completely understand all of this and will "recover". I just can't thank you enough for that! This reply especially just made me feel so much better and gave me so much relief and hope.
Anyway, I won't keep you any longer this email :) and no need to reply to this one - I just wanted to thank you for your time and help. You are doing such a great thing and I wish the best for you and your family! I'm heading out of town tomorrow so if I don't get you that first email today I will make a note to send it to you when I get back. Have a great week! Sara (part of Rule of 10 Advice Column sessions)
5/8/11 Hey Will,
I hope you are keeping well. I am doing pretty good myself. I am so very greatful to your works, as during a period of time in my life a few years ago where i feel i was understanding the 'blue print' for the way thought, stress, and anxiety works, it really helped me understand things, and understand myself. It as though i found the manual for my brain. I have had to deal with some real real stresses in my life in the last few years, but your works, and Claire Weekes books have helped me 'stay in the moment', and deal with it basically 'the best way i can' , and not force anything. If i needed help, then i asked for it etc etc. Anyway, i am of course still very intersted in Psychology, Emotional Intelligence etc, ...........(see also Rule of 10) Warm Regards
On Wed 22/07/11 5:58 AM , D.... @hotmail.com sent: (see also Rule of 10 A.Col)
I started reading your book about a week ago and just finished it. It really made a lot of sense to me and gave me a lot of hope. I really feel like it can help me in so many different areas in my life. Thank you so much for the help that you are giving me and so many others! I actually started going to a counselor about a month and a half ago but I stopped going last week because I didn't feel like it was helping and after starting your book, I just felt like the information you have put out there is the right way to go and not at all what the counselor was telling me. It really is a shame that the medical and psych fields, etc, don't have more of an understanding of this condition! Anyway, I just really wanted to thank you and wanted .... I really appreciate the support and help you provide....Well, I guess that's all for now. I'll try not to bother you too much. :) Thanks again, D
Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 18:51:30 +0000 Hi Will How are you? You probably don't remember me - I emailed you probably about 3 or 4 years ago now when I was experiencing some panic and intrusive thoughts and in complete dispair with it all! Well anyway, thanks to your help and working hard with applying the 'not do's' (or not applying anything as the case may be!), I found a place where I was back to me and living in the moment. In fact, I would say I was really content and happy, there would be the odd thought or moment or panic but it would go as quickly as it came. It had been like that for the last few years and I was convinced I had cracked this thing! I hope I said it at the time but thank you so much as it really enabled me to recover! Anyway, a few weeks ago, the best thing ever happened and my boyfriend of 6 years proposed. I.... (see A.Column Rule of 10 with S)
29/6/11 Hi Will, Just ordered your e-book and making sure that the order came through paypal ok.Really looking forward to reading it all – the preview just makes so much sense to me and joins the dots between why I couldn’t understand why such positive intentions as ‘accept & relax’ were actually feeding the panic / anxiety. Now I get that I was too busy forcing it all.
The first day of treating my panic as a flag-for-my-benefit rather than a horror-thought-to-run-away from has proved very enlightening – if a little un-real. Also noticed some rather sensible, rational and subsequently productive ideas of things to do that popped out of nowhere following a ‘not doing’ response to an automatic panic. All as a result of ‘not doing’. Quite shell shocking in a way. Anyway its early days, and my panic response has been for so many years that I anticipate an interesting journey. That said, you have offered me the light of hope when I had really started to think my life would always be this way.
All the best, Claire
On Fri 15/04/11 12:20 PM Nadine sent:
Hi Will, this is more of a progress update really. I have re-read the journals and am happy that I grasp the concept fully now. This is what I understand, I get lots and lots of thoughts - some good, some bad, some paranoid etc. What I have been doing in the past is having these thoughts and then thinking - no, I should not be thinking that, or having a paranoid thought and then trying to explain it or remedy it - this is my after panicking. In doing this - I am etching it in my brain (making the problem bigger than it actually is/was). What I should be doing and am at the min is letting that thought pass through with out paying it so much attention, this then leaves a lesser impression in my memory. I think I know now why I keep on having reoccurring memories of bad things in my past - this is because I have analized them and made them a whole lot bigger than they ever needed to be (so they are still there as fresh as the day that it may have happened) - after all panic is an exaggerated reaction to a feeling or thought. So, as I keep using your method and letting these past negative thoughts flow through I will also gain positive thought - as I'm now in flow and because I'm not stuck I can do this.
I know that there will be very testing times ahead when I will naturally after panic but I also have days now where I am completely my self. And I see what you mean about learning about your self - because I'm letting me be me!!! So what if I'm shy or I feel nervous, so what if I'm loud and talk a lot - this is my new attitude, because I am realising that I am the best I can be regardless of mistakes and imperfections. Phew!
We can break things down and drive our selves around the bend. and this is what panic sufferers do, this is what I do. It just leads to total destruction. Trying to curb and change my thoughts changed me as a person - It took away my personality, confidence and sense of self. Moving in flow will bring the old me back as the old memories and situations where I panic wont lead me to overanalize and after panic.
Thanks Will, finding your work is finally making me move on.
I'm glad I've finally got it, the penny has dropped! Like I said, I know it aint gonna be a bed of roses but on days like today - when I feel NORMAL it makes it all worth while. Thankyou very much for your work, it's been a long time coming!
Kindest Regards Nad
On Wed 23/03/11 1:22 PM, Toby sent:
Thanks for that Will.
I won't bore you with my story, but I've been reading your website with great interest over the past few days. What was especially interesting is comparing your approach to the CBT to - which I was referred and which was pretty much next to useless. It's all very well someone telling you to "step outside your feelings, become mindful and just observe your thoughts" etc. The more I think about it, the more it seems that they're actually telling you to focus on the very thing you don't want to be focusing on, rather than letting your brain just naturally deal with it. Whilst I don't discount CBT in any way, for me it was no help.
I've had far more success from reading books and then stumbling across your site, which is by far the most common-sense-talking, down-to-earth and credible source of information and help that I've found.
Really looking forward to reading this....will email you some feedback when done.
All the best, Toby......
On Sun 10/04/11 6:31 PM , Toby sent: (see also Book Reviews for further)..
Hi Will, I hope all is great with you. Just wanted to drop you a line to say I returned from Sri Lanka on Saturday after the most amazing trip of my life. And guess what? NO panic attacks on planes, or anywhere else for that matter, despite quite intense travelling conditions. I can only say THANK YOU so much for your words of encouragement and "matter of fact" way of dealing with certain thoughts and feelings....I am now living proof that everything you've discovered (primary/secondary thoughts etc) works....absolutely 100%, no doubt. To go from the place I was 2 weeks ago, which was full of dark, negative, fearful thoughts to where I am now is simply amazing....no, actually it's life-changing. So, once again, thanks so much Will. I can't tell you how much this has changed things for me. All the best to you and I hope that you continue to inspire others with your writing and advice. Toby
Date: 9 May 2008 00:49:04 GMT''Will, I don't know how to thank you. I think you may have saved my life. Your website instantly got inside my head in the way no psychiatrist, psychologist or self-help book ever has. I always struggled to even describe these thoughts to people but you do it perfectly. I couldn't believe it when I read about your 'AIDS panic'. The same thing happened to me. I went for a test and, like you, the result wasn't enough to allay my fears so I went for another one!'' Thanks again, Murray
'The Mind Works' (Book/Ebook) by Will Beswick: A review by Nicki Starkey. The 'National Phobics Society' 23 July 07 (*review of pre updated final version)....
'The Mind Works' is one man's powerful, personal account of his struggles with panic and anxiety…. Beswick also makes it clear how all types of panic and anxiety are related on the panic spectrum, and can manifest themselves in different ways. In his own case, this was in the form of illness phobia whilst at college. Beswick then begins to outline his own theory on how ‘the mind works’. Put briefly, this theory explains that we are either ‘fighters’ or ‘flighters’. Fighters internalise their panic and flighters externalise theirs. Beswick explains how he overcame his panic by realising that his panic was ‘secondary thinking’ - an internal process that was ongoing. He introduces a number of concepts, such as COPAST- concept of primary and secondary thinking. These are explained in great detail with examples to demonstrate their meaning. As the reader, we are gradually encouraged to find faith in our natural coping abilities..…The author uses a number of diagrams and workable examples for the reader to attempt. He also includes a number of responses to e-mails from readers of his own website (www.doyoupanic.co.uk) where he clarifies any points raised about his theories. It also means that he can tailor his answers to particular phobias or types of anxiety and explain how they work.... The author has also included contributions from other therapists, such as John Crawford’s explanation of OCD, which I also found very helpful. As well as this, he provides links to helpful articles, and opens the discussion up to include related subjects such as eating disorders and medication, and how these relate to his theories.
Overall I was very impressed with the content and layout of this book.. it is written in a way that will help many readers to rationalise what they are experiencing and help them to look at the issues in a new light. It uses good examples, positive language and a personal approach that will strike a chord with many readers.... Nicki
On Mon 11/05/09 9:33 PM , Brian sent: Hi Will, thank you so much for replying to me. I just wanted to tell you that since my last "desperation" email, I had a great realization while reading your book that I really believe has brought me back to the present.....What brought me back to the present was a quote on one of the last pages of your book. The quote is "Just 'think' what you think...don't force yourself to think." Reading that quote made me realize how hard I had been trying to recover by "forcing" all of the methods of recovery in my head. I was thinking so hard about what you and Paul say, and I wasn't just allowing my normal thoughts to flow, instead, I was further 'intensifying' and 'breaking' the flow. I am feeling so much better now - much like I did when I first found Paul's website a year ago, and I can tell it is just going to get better for me as time goes on. I wanted to share this with you just to let you know the impact you have had on my life. Thank you so much, your doing a great thing, and I know so many people are grateful for that. Thank you, Brian
7 Feb 2010 09:53:07 Hi Will, just thinking last night I would write to you to say thanks! Finally got to grips with this now, so I would hope others will see this comment. As you say, there is such a confusion with our original thoughts and our reacting to them, that I found myself unable to function or concentrate for any set length of time. Ironically, I found myself concentrating when I wasn't consciously thinking and therein lies the answer! Of course, by that time - I would then question why I was concentrating!! It does subside everyone, believe me! Be patient with this and it will clear up in time as it really is 'very' simple to understand....next email - To sum up what I have learned 1. dont expect to be able to handle everything in life perfectly (too much pressure = tension) and 2. this more realistic view will mean you will be able to flow through the bad (or even what we think is mad) far more easily and keep that flow and 3. even if we do leave that flow, as you say, we just have to hold off that unecessary temptation to forcefully panic. Thanks Will Marc
----- Original Message ----- From: email@example.com To: Toby Sent: Thu 24/03/11 12:48 PM Subject: Fwd: RE: THE MIND WORKS
Hi Toby - many thanks for your observations and feel free to contact me whenever - the main thing here is 'not doing', as our panic problem is us so clearly 'overdoing' and looking back' into thoughts that are actually very normal and acceptable - no matter how weird/bad. Just like you say - it's our/even therapists perennial temptation to tell us to 'do' something to recover - but that IS our problem!... Even with this, in the past I have fallen for that 'increased self-pressure' to 'do' something about my thinking, which is what panic is -and would end up trying to force myself to recover. Regards Will
....Hi Will, I've realised even before I got your book that I've been worrying about things which have not happened and probably won't....the old "FEAR" syndrome (False Expectations Appearing Real). I just know how horrible a panic attack is and how it just seems to hit me from out of nowhere. I'm very lucky though in that my partner also used to suffer from them and so she's amazing about it all and a real support.
So I've started reading your book and am loving it. It's already got me thinking about things in a totally different way and a way that makes a lot more sense to my own intuitive thoughts about my "condition" which seemed to clash with what the "experts" say. I'm already decided that if I start to feel sketchy on the plane (it'll be right at the beginning just after they close the cabin doors) then I'm going to just NOT dwell on it, not bother trying to do all that happy-clappy "observe my thoughts" that the CBT person recommended and just chill...So with that in-mind, and assuming that you're still reading this ;) , is there anything you'd say on this? Any "tips" you can give me for dealing with panic attacks (rather than ongoing panic) quickly and effectively? Am I right to think that I can just use the COPAST and MORD diagrams as a way of dealing with individual panic attacks? I don't know if I'll have time to read the whole book before I leave (although I'll try).
All the best, Toby........Hi Will. Wow, thanks so much for that. I can't tell you how much help its been to read your last two mails. I fly tomorrow afternoon and am feeling so positive about things. I can already feel the change in the way i'm approaching any panicky thoughts and it's so much easier to just let my mind do what it wants without me trying to exert conscious control over it. So, bags are packed and i'm ready to go - and very excited. Thanks a million and i'll drop you a line when i'm back to let you know how it went. All the best Toby
On Thu 24/02/11 11:24 AM , @aol.com sent:
G*d, this illness is horrible, I've had 3 whole days of pretty fluid thinking! Amazing!!! Then today bang, back to square one, it's wreaking havoc again!Cant switch the bad thoughts off. Trapped in knots again. I think it's made worse by the fact that I've had a few good days. It had me fooled into thinking I had it sussed. I guess this is the time I need to persevere! One think I did notice though Will, was the amount of primary negative thoughts I had and the inability to accept the positive thoughts as truthful, I'm guessing that correcting this will be down to habit. I'm almost through the journal now and cant believe how lucky people are that you have spent the time and effort putting your work together. I cant thank you enough Sorry one more question! Do you get people complaining that their life seems on hold because of this illness? It really frustrates me that when I'm down I cant do much. Thanks again will, and I'm sorry I'm writing to you to moan again!!! J
And after my response, (ref also The Rule of 10 - 'True faith is easier than self-doubt')......On Fri 25/02/11 2:21 PM , @aol.com sent: Thanks Will, and thank you for getting back to me. I cant thank you enough for all of the hard work you do. And you are right that on the good days when I'm not going into secondary thoughts so much I can actually see the way that I think, I now realise that from the few days 'off' secondary thinking how fast my mind seems to flow and how many thoughts come and go all the time.(its a case of not latching on to them) I guess I'm one of those people that will think a lot of the time. And I know that if I resist the temptation to analyze the thoughts and situations I'm in I can put the thinking to good use!! I now know that this thinking did come from resisting the way I naturally think and that I have to accept that as me! Lol. It turns out that I was tired yesterday and I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow last night.I'm sure I'll be back to ask a few more questions along the way, but just understanding the way this whole process works has helped me tremendously and I'm starting to see the wood from the trees.In the few days I've been able to put off secondary thinking, the phrase I've used the most is' life is too short'! This phrase has really helped my gain perspective.
Thanks again and I'm sorry to ramble on. J
On Thu 17/02/11 6:01 PM Rachel.. sent: Hi Will, I'm half way through the journals, they are fascinating. I'm really sorry if you have covered this a little later on in your work, I'm just impatient! Lol! It's just I have a question about the type of thoughts I have, they are mainly about my relationships with other people, I'll be talking to some one and I'll think that they dont like me, I'll then go off into secondary thinking all day about what they said, what I said, how they said it etc (almost looking for clues). This can be any one, from the post man to a good friend (to even some one serving me in a shop!). Take today now for example, I'm studying a course and I was talking to some one and I jokingly shouted at them and told them off, later on they made a sarcastic/hurt reply( I think). I thought I'd upset this person, so now they dont like me, okay, so then I try and strike up conversation with this person to 'prove' that my thoughts are not true and that they will give me a clue that they do still like me! What strikes me as odd is that I dont even know this person well. I this do all the time! Do other anxiety sufferers have these types of thoughts? I'm understanding your methods and I know that sticking to your method will bring me through, I also know that deep down this secondary thinking is a deep rooted lack of confidence. I'm just worried that my thoughts are very strange! I've suffered with this all of my adult life (I'm 26) so I dont know what it's like to be a 'normal' adult! Sorry one more question! I think you say that I should go with my gut feeling on things, if so does that mean everyone hates me? Sorry, I feel pretty dumb writing that!Also, a lot of my secondary thought are about things that happened years ago, it's like I cant put them to bed!! Is that just habit?? Sorry, all of these questions! Thanks for your time Will. Kind Regards Rach
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2011 17:23:24 +0000 Subject: Re: FW: The Mind Works Final Version From: ....@gmail.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Will , I am half way through and I am very glad to see a different way of thinking to combat (or not combat in this case ) what has been a real problem for me on and off for all my life. I have used this method myself before , but only without realising it . I have been travel phobic in the main mixed with a large dollop of health aniexty (heart specific but could be anything eg cancer , going mental at certain times , after being ill or under pressure in work) . I first came across this method when I had to fly to see familly in dubai and gran canaria . My first trip to dubai was horrendous , I was sat in the plane with my wife and child , twitching , fidgeting feeling dizzy , sick wanting to run . But once the plane had taken off and I had to accept the fact that I was going I became totally calm and almost enjoyed the flight . Although sometimes during the holiday I experienced the familiar vibration of panic building I mostly avoided it , a couple of times I slipped and and all the usual debating went on in my head . Am I dying , or going mad , going to faint etc etc . Anyway , this new years eve I started to come down with a cold but still partied as we had guests for the evening and eventually got to bed about 2.30 am feeling rough . During the night I couldnt sleep and stared to feel hungover as well a full of cold , my mind started to build catostophic scenarios around having swine flu and dieing from pneumonia which got worse untill after 2 days of not really sleeping and being on my own in the house , full blown and uncontrollable panic set in . It is lifting now , I havent backed away from it and gone to work even though it gives me total full blown panic . But it is getting easier , and with the info in your book I will finally get over this illness . Thanks ....
From: @hotmail.com To: email@example.com Subject: RE: E-book and question Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 10:20:37 +0000
Many thanks again Will, I've read through the 'Rule'. I think it's fantastic, that you write so honestly from first hand experience. I find it much more accessible than many self-help books I've read in the past and believe it's achievable. I understand the difference of not doing anything, it feels like I should just watch my thoughts float past, like a slide show and not linger on any or pull them apart and worry about them.
I'm interested in any seminars / conferences as well as trying the one-to-one sessions. I haven't requested a form yet as I wanted to ask if it would be possible to do the session by phone during the day, but as I only have a mobile for me to ring you?
Many thanks .... Hi ..... and many thanks for your review. Glad you understand the difference as this is the 'trap' even I have fallen victim to in the past. I could call you on your mob if you wanted me to. I just dont like the 'extended' use of them if you know what I mean. No obligation anyway - as this is just something that is now available for the people that have asked for it. Please remember though, email advice is as always free. cheers Will
14 Jan '11 Dear Will Thank you very much for the E-Book I ordered a while ago. The approach really resonates with me and although I'm struggling, it has given me hope.
I want to ask if there is any one-to-one couselling for this approach available that you know of? Either through you of others. As I feel it would be beneficial to help me grasp the ideas and apply them to me....A lot of my panic / anxiety comes from my procrastination and not doing things. For example, I am constantly 'trying' to stick to a diet and I keep putting off undertaking my MA dissertation. I can get to the point where I am stuck with these things and exhausted by them i.e. I obsess about them, but do nothing. I think you are suggesting that the sub-conscious will take care of these issues if I just trust? Does this mean I don't need to set goals or motivate myself to do things to make me change and achieve things? If the sub-conscious is going to motivate me to do what is right for me, can I give it a push in the right direction e.g. writing down goals and then not consciously forcing myself to start (e.g. when I usually think about researching my MA, if gives me anxiety which intensifies when I push myself to start and I end up just stopping from pain/exhaustion and panic) but I can just wait for me to do it without forcing?
Have I got it right, that I can rely on my sub-conscious for everything and my conscious forced thoughts don't help me at all?
Many thanks for this, your book feels like my saviour! I think it is wonderful that you help people who are going through similar experiences to yourself in the past and are happy to pass on your experience and support.Kind regards Ness
On Wed 29/12/10 6:06 PM , "Matt " sent: Hi Will, No problem – great book btw, I’ve skim read it once but it certainly resonates with me. Without doubt I am someone that analyses everything to the nth degree which whilst useful in my job and for passing exams I think has had this negative effect on me with respect to anxiety.
I wouldn’t say I suffered with panic attacks per se, but certainly experience anxiety on a day to day basis and have become extremely self-conscious of my verbal interaction with others – i.e. how I sound, what words I use etc etc and have really lost that spontaneity that most people do sub-consciously. Because of this I think I have developed secondary symptoms/coping mechanisms – blushing/trembling/shortness of breath etc.
I’m looking forward to trying out a new approach to all of this. I assume that whilst my scenario may seem the end of the world to me and not exactly panic attacks it is just another common set of symptoms that you have come across before?
Hi Matt, yes it will seem the end of the world as its a very frightening place to be in. Whether it's panic attacks or 'prolonged' anxiety - I describe it this way for those fighters/analysers - it must be understood that we 'engage' in an unnecessary restrospecting processs - we lose our spontaneity as you say.
This is what I refer to as our panic pause - and we 'keep' on doing this as part of our retrospecting. Again, the one process that comes out of this is that this is unnecessary and forced and, hence, even if we're tempted - we just dont need to continue along that line once aware. Take your time with this and feel free to come back whenever, I suppose the best thing in terms of helping people is that I 'truly' know what it feels like to be so desperate, lost and permanently confused - and as such, also know exactly what process we all engage in which 'can' be remedied. cheers Will
4th Sept '10 - Hi Will Just an update on my progress and after 6 months now I really am starting to notice an improvement in my habits. Went shopping yesterday and frankly, anything 'outside' in the past has been a near impossibility - and the depression I felt was almost unbearable, but this just shows me how far I have come. Like you book comments pages please shout this loud as you help freely like so many other sites and all of you deserve a medal1 It always interested me how you said these all come from the same family. I never really believed that to be honest as my fears took me beyond rational thought. However, I know certain phrases may stick when you read them I would just like to take the opportununity to sincerely thankyou. I noticed amongst my mayhem that I was ''tension pausing'' everytime I panicked and ok, this was almost constant, so a leap of faith was required as they call it! One thing that made such a difference and it hit me that I was indeed doing this ALL the time. Just your explanation of how I could work my way out of this pausing habit without further panic has left me able to go out into the big wide world without medication or anyone holding my hand! Sincere best wishes. Carrie
10th October - thanks for this Will. Been studying this subject for some time now as part of my research thesis and glad to see you've had so much success in a field where so many therapies are struggling to make an impact. Will get back to you after my read! Many thanks Jake L...25th Nov Will just a quick thankyou for this. Understanding it more now. Amazing that this hasnt been covered to date and truly inspiring how youve been able to put into words what so many sufferers struggle to fathom. Your pieces with Nick/Anna shows how serious this can get and yet, success is only round the corner... ..., let you know when it's done. J
Date: Fri, 17 Sept 2010 13:26:54 Will, Just an update on my progress so far. Your recovery is truly an inspiration! The one thing that lifts me everytime is I know you've been there and that understanding has given me the belief to persevere when my tension urge has been so bloody strong! Just on the subject of Rule of 10 I think I'm pretty near that end part of the flow line now where you say we're working closer towards a fuller focus/holding of our concentration. I stuck with this because I knew all else had failed and now feel this has been a skill which I have honed so well. So right when you say habits take time though, but thanks all the same as I know taking my foot ‘off’ the pedal is the true meaning of relaxing. Cheers Jez
8th August '10 - Great book will and just the tonic I needed. Simply going nowhere with all of this and so frustrated with countless sites but no real solution. What I have realised is that we all tip the scales at some point in our lives and my recent experiences have really just been like anyone elses (thankyou for that!). I also know that my mind simply went into overdrive and instead of letting it all sort itself out as you say, I didnt trust that I would keep that balance throughout my stresses and especially that section on holding your nerve really struck a chord with me. Really understand it now and thanks to you and Paul's site, I know that we do have the ability to survive those bad times. Stay in the moment and the answers to those stresses/dilemmas will come to you! Thanks again Will. Amy.
18 July '10. Hi Will, I wrote to you once months ago and then again the other day about anxiety and exercise (I'm not sure I sent it to the right address though). Anyway, there is no need to respond to my exercise email/question, as I've sorted it out (exercise is no longer provoking my anxiety as badly; I guess it was just because I wasn't used to it at first). However, I would like to thank you for the insight I've gained from your book. I read it a few months ago and it helped briefly, but I wasn't really getting it as in fully applying it consciously. So I reread the "Rule of 10" recently and this time it not only made sense again, but I now find myself able to calm my mind down with much greater ease. Like, I can really do this! (Or "not do" it, but you know what I mean). It is such a relief to know how to let stuff go and resume the normal flow of thoughts, and the road to full recovery has become so much clearer as a result of it. I do find that having met a girl recently, that relationship issues really trigger the anxious/worrying/obsessive thinking, but I'm seeing this now as an opportunity rather than a reason to stay stuck in the same problem. So again, thanks for writing the book and explaining the process. It's been invaluable! Sincerely, Mike
On Fri Apr 25 14:59, firstname.lastname@example.org sent This book was written by Will Beswick, who is one of the very few people whose views I respect on the subject of anxiety and the recovery from it. He is also a very nice, genuine person who in the past has given up a lot of his own time to help other sufferers. Will and I have kept in contact over the years since I first developed my site and in one of his emails he mentioned that he felt the time was right for him to write his own book on the subject. I told him I thought that would be a great idea as I admire his work and have always thought it should be available to a wider audience. Once completed, Will sent me a copy of his book and asked if I would review it for him and offer my opinion on it. This book proved to be a real eye opener for me and is one of the very few books I have read on the subject to which I could completely relate and which helped to increase my knowledge. I passed the book on to a couple of friends who were suffering from anxiety in the hope that it would help them also. They thought it was fantastic. I 'genuinely' believe it will help sufferers who are plagued with scary thoughts and obsessive behaviour. Scary thoughts are one of the most common symptoms of anxiety and Will does an excellent job of explaining this frightening symptom in more detail and, more importantly, gives a far better understanding of how to break the cycle, which has also helped me personally.
About The Book
Will, like me, never promises overnight cures; he understands that recovery does not come this way. He teaches that recovery comes through understanding and knowledge. The book tells his own story of suffering and how it affected his life for many years. While at University and at the height of his own suffering he went on to develop his own ideas and beliefs of what was truly wrong with him and how he could help himself (re COPAST). I have read the book from start to finish and believe that it can do nothing but help people to truly develop their understanding and knowledge on the subject, knowledge that can take them a lot further towards their goal of recovery from this terrible illness. Anyone who knows me can confirm that I don't advertise anything and never affiliate myself to any product. Regards Paul On Thu 11/09/08 1:20 PM , "Nicholas Watts" sent: Hello Will, How are you ?? I was just thinking of you the other day, I thought I should drop you a line! Things are going really well my end and I am about a year into my recovery. I sometimes got to pinch myself on how well I have recovered. The difference is mind boggling!! “Let It go works wonders!!!!!!!!” Any news with your work?Nick Watts
On Sat 6/09/08 10:44 PM , Danni sent: Hi Will Just coming to the end of reading your book - i think this will clear up a lot of confusion for many! All this time i was laying the blame on the thoughts, each time they repeated i got more mad with myself and desperate... but now i can clearly see i only got mad and desperate as i over reacted and tried to over-control thoughts which where perfectly acceptable to have. If the mind was not supposed to thing anything negative, then it wouldnt be capable of doing so and the world would be an idylic place!-everyone is capable of thinking a negative thought if they try to do so. This illness is simply going beyond the moment and compulsively over-thinking something. I see now the only difference with me and someone who doesnt suffer is not my negative thoughts.. but the over intense reaction i have to them .. which then leads to me taking another look at them repeatedly to gain clarity. I used to think my problem was repeatedly thinking negative thoughts, but the problem existed way before any compulsive repetition... it started when i decided to consiously question my thoughts.
I so get this now, isnt it amazing how once ya get an understanding ya can clearly see exactly where ya go wrong! I remember the first obsessive thought i have ever had, it was a couple of years ago... and thinking about it - it only stuck as i was going though a very stressful time and i linked the anxiety to the thought. like you say though perfectionists/flighters live very close to the edge. Once i had that thought my anxiety took on a downward spiral and i seemed to throw more and more negative thoughts at myself... caused by lack of confidence and understanding. Also, is your book available hardback copy, I would like to use your it for a future assignment. Thanks, Danni
Hi Danni, thanks again for your kind comments - it makes a big difference when you say all the work has been worthwhile, as I can't bear to think of people out there suffering when there IS a chance to understand - whether you fight or fly from situations!.
Sorry book is not available in hardback yet - only paperback, but you know I'm always there if you need any more info. You know, I really just don't panic anymore and am in ‘complete flow’. Oh and re your comment on the 'invention' of negative thoughts - this is why I think we all have these 'challenges' ...to 'relish' when we overcome them, as they are never easy by their very definition! The 'movement' to a 'state' where I 'no longer' 'force' myself into further intense conscious panic is really a great place to be. I am me, like I'm sposed to be me - troughs/peaks an all - BUT – nevertheless, moving forward 'in the moment' all the time. Any panic/anxiety sufferer can reach this stage - I know it, have seen it and can see it – it’s ‘simply’ understanding…and a little bit of mettle! cheers Will
On Mon 25/08/08 3:02 PM , Candie sent: Hi Will I 100% believe that its my reaction to a perfectly normal thought now, so its easier not to fight... for so long i believed the thoughts were the root cause of my anxiety.. i suppose I have come a long way as I don’t even take them seriously anymore. I used to look at people and think why can’t I be like them, but like you I have come to the stage where i am comfortable with my own mind now... I totally agree with the character type thing! Feel free to put this out, anything that helps others is ok by me :). If you could just give my first name that would be fine. I think its great people are opening up about this illness, as it has been brushed under the carpet for so long, because the medical profession don’t really understand it. I have come so far through accepting my thoughts and using your method of recovery. Six months ago i was a wreck! I didn’t eat, sleep and my thoughts consumed me. I even begged my doctor to section me at one point as I thought I was going insane! I was also dependant on medication, which was never enough. I suppose I’m telling you this as i would like you to mention this too, as I am living proof your method of recovery is the only way forward. I now enjoy my life, look to the future just about off the meds completely and believe I am going to be ok. Looking back I cant believe how bad I was, it scares me to think how I would be now if I never found yours and Paul David’s books! Thanks Candie (see also on 'More Reviews' section)
On Fri 14/05/10 3:09 AM , ...sent:
Hi will i have been suffering from anxiety/depression on and off for about 6 years. i downloaded your ebook a while ago and am just now getting into it again. i had a baby 18 mths ago and miraculously my anxiety/depression left me for about a year. i was shocked because i thought it would totally throw me off. that was an amazing year. i was/am so happy to be a mother and have bonded with my son amazingly well. in the last few months, the anxiety has reared its ugly head. actually, seemingly worse now than ever. and i have a few questions for you. your site is one of the ones i truly think can help me.....post reply...I Will, Thank you SO much for your response. What you say totally make sense, it's just implementation I need to work on. So you think my symptoms sound like anxiety/depression? I just analyze each feeling/thought/symptom/mood change and drive myself crazy thinking it must be bipolar because there is no other explanation for my thinking.The 2 voices thing totally rings a bell with me.Thanks again, 17 May..
...Of all the stuff I've researched through the years....(and it's an embarrassing amount of stuff!)...all of the books, blogs, homeopathic pills, vitamins, fish oils, therapists, exercises etc, your system is really the ONLY thing that makes sense. I know that it represents the light for me, even though I STILL can't figure it out and I am STILL in the thick of it. In my heart of hearts, I know it's there but just something I really need to work at. It would be so great to have a real support group for figuring this out.
Right now I am struggling again with the bipolar obsession, but really it's the obsession or fear of suffering endlessly with no remedy-- that really is the crux of my obsessive mind. Sometimes I get so worked up and agitated I feel that I must be just damaged beyond all repair....but I am vowing to stick with this. It's funny, there is a girl in your journals named "......." and her story is the most relatable to me- ironic!Thanks again for your support.....
On Thu 22/04/10 4:52 PM ,Thanks Will. I will say that lately things have been getting better for me (in the last few weeks), I just had a down day that I hadn't had in a while - and anxiety tricks you into thinking that it is "back" or you are back to square one. But, the next day I just went on with my day and did not focus on the anxiety. I notice that when I make it a point to not focus on it, my days go much better. As a matter of fact, for the most part, it's like my mind is starting to notice when I have an "anxious" thought and its like it is starting to automatically calm it down.
By the way, some days are going to be harder than others right? It's not all an easy road. I will have days where my anxiety is higher than others, but in the end those days will slowly subside over the course of several months or so if I still with this new calming attitude, right? But, in the end, my body and mind will eventually neutralize and I won't even feel the anxiety with thoughts at some point, right? I guess I just want to be sure that, even though I feel better with progress, I will eventually be "recovered." As I am DEFINITELY not thinking about recovery because I know that can cause anxiety alone. Thanks again......On Sat 24/04/10 9:17 PM , ... sent: Thank you so much, Will. I feel very good about my road that I am on right now. Having someone who has been through this to talk to really reasured me. I appreciate all you for guidance and encouragement!Thanks!
No problem ..., glad to help! cheers Will
5/5/10 Hi Will, Thanks a lot. I also just did the payment for the paperback version to support your work and to be able to read it on the go as well. I think it's great that you do this. I'm also a fan of Paul David's work.
Will be in touch, thanks and cheers from the Netherlands. S
To: email@example.com Subject: Re: The Mind Works Final Version Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 13:21:34 +0100
Hi will Thanks for the email. I read the rule of 10's and I think I'm understanding things a bit better. My confusion is with 'what to let myself think'. What is natural for me is to let myself flow with my overactive mind... I get lots of positive and negative thoughts, and if I go with them, I find that I eventually fall asleep (sometimes). For me not fighting is letting myself be sensitive, worried, angry etc without telling myself that I shouldn't be this way. It's also letting myself be a thinker (if I try to not flow with some thoughts, this seems to make me feel worse!). The only reason I ever started interfering with my thoughts in the first place was to avoid the pain from some thoughts/feelings... Am I right in saying that the best thing to do is go with them, and let them sort themselves out without my interference? Because this seems the only way that I am not 'fighting' and I suppose this comes with accepting that Its better to accept that we can't feel great all the time?? So in other words, let my pain sort itself out, without me playing around with it? (my only concern would be that the pain will stay!)
Look fwd to your feedback, it is much appreciated!
08/04/10 Hi Will, Many thanks for sending this to me. I am currently getting through your book and am finding it really good. I have also read Paul David's book and so far am finding that "The Mind Works" kind of explains the actual "accepting" and "not doing anything" principals in a way that helps you to understand it more from a brain process way, which is good. It seems strange sometimes that what seems to be such an easy process is so hard to actually get the hang of.
I have had Anxiety notably from the age of 17 (Starting with a Panic attack which threw me into a pit of despair) and I am now 38. Following coming on and off Paroxetine (Seroxat) many times over the years, and I can't deny that when on it, it did help. I have now come off at 1mg per month for 20 months and finally stopped on 1st November 2009. 4 Months on and I am really struggling (Very Anxious and Depressed). We have had some hard times thrown at us lately and I am finding it difficult to make even simple decisions. My GP has prescribed a different SSRI, Sertraline if I want it. The thing is I really don't want to start taking any more medication. I believe I have made more progress over the last year or so than ever with Acceptance techniques like in "The Mind Works", "At Last a Life" and Clare Weeks books, but sometimes I feel so low I just seem to be looking at the pages and nothing seems to be going in.
One of the hardest things I think I have trouble getting my head around is that some people, my GP included (and he is a great GP and accepts that things can be done without medication) say that where some people need insulin for diabetes, some anxious or depressed people need the right amount of serotonin for the brain, and I'm never sure how to take that. Does this mean that for some of us the only way is to take pills? Or can everyone get through this without medication, and that may well be because these methods as well as programming our brain processes to work properly are in fact also allowing serotonin to be created to the levels that are in fact required for a happy and stress free life.I appologise if I have rambled on and realise that you may not be able to respond to everybody's e-mails but I am seriously thinking of getting back on medication (and I truly don't want to) and at the same time feel I have made a lot of progress but that it is stored in my mind and is difficult to pull into focus at this time.
I think that last paragraph means that perhaps I am closer to recovery than I think and I believe even now that if I could just prove that I can do and think what I can do and think when I'm on medication and even improve beyond this, then it must be worth continuing without it. But sometimes, Wow it's hard. Very Best Regards, (advised on the right trail - just that self confidence to continue!)
7/04/10 Hi Will, Have read your book and it makes so much sense to me. I have felt significantly better since reading it a couple weeks ago. I feel more normal at times than I have in a long time, though nowhere near complete "normality". And actually, it's weird, because in some ways while its obvious I'm getting better, at other times when I am struggling I kind of feel like my anxiety is worse (and the attendant depression and feelings of meaninglessness). Maybe the bad spells feel worse because I am generally feeling better, if that makes any sense. But at any rate, I do feel like I have begun to make real progress.One of the ways in which I tense up is not only through anxious thoughts, but ANY kind of reactive thought. Like if someone says or I read something I disagree with, I react very strongly internally, even if I don't show or express it outwardly. And then I get carried away with my thinking about it. Its like I start having mental conversations with myself, my mind always going blah blah blah. Sometimes its even thoughts about pleasant things or things I enjoy thinking about, but its compulsive and involves mental "tensing". And I realize that the anxiety is at the root of it, because even when the thoughts are not panic thoughts, there is a compulsive intensity to my thinking most of the time (sometimes I think the compulsive thinking is fighting the thoughts and other times it's a distraction/fleeing). So I guess my question is, I should deal with this reactive/excessive/compulsive thinking (even when its not necessarily or obviously anxious thinking) in the same way - i.e. calm/detense at the moment I start getting carried away with the thoughts? I hope that makes sense. Thanks, (also advised - on the right lines - just that last hurdle of self belief to persevere with calming 'each and every time'!)
19/01/10 Hello Will, A sincere thankyou, you are a saint! What you've put out on your website has helped me no end and am glad to see that I am not alone in having this affliction.
Recently I've been struggling with some self doubt. I've always had OCD of soughts and my mind tends to think a little too much. However, I'd never fell into the anxiety trap before. This all came to a head on new years day when a rogue thought about my relationship to my girlfriend caused me to spiral into massive anxiety. These lead onto further negative thoughts (do I love her, what happens if we split up, am I making the right choice, am I loosing it) which kept building and building despite the fact that she is my world and I love her and am planning to propose.
These thoughts terrified me (and still do) and I was desperate to try to push them out of my head but it only seemed to make it worse. I couldn't sleep, I was in tears a few occasions and I quickly became a real mess. I stumbled across your site one night that I couldn't sleep and studied a few of the techniques, over the next day or so, I tried to put into practice what you talked about and finally bought your book. All I can say is this instantly helped relieve me of a lot of anxiety.
I have nearly finished reading your book and am slowly beginning to recongising the questioning process and am learning to let go of my thoughts instead of clinging to them, endlessly trying to justify them and failing. It's tough at times as I can feel them worming around in my head, always cropping up and causing a moments panic and worry (I've even had thoughts of "is this the right technique", "what if something IS wrong?" but these don't faze me now). I need to continue to build up my self confidence to not let these erroneous thoughts worry or frighten me.
Apologies for the long e-mail, but after the help your book brought me, I needed to say thanks!
P.S. feel free to use this e-mail, but keep my name and e-mail anonymous!
On Thu 31/12/09 4:36 PM , Jane sent: Hi Will, Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. Just wanted to let you know I'm doing really well. The holidays have gone so much better than I 'expected'. I'm slowly learning to 'let anxiety go' and move on. It still feels odd, but I'm doing it. Anyway, thank you so much for all your help. I'll definitely be in touch and let you know how I'm getting along. Have a Happy New Year Jane
From: Kamini To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Hello Will Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 13:59:39 +0400
Hello Will, How are you doing? Hope you still remember me (contacted you April ?). Just to let you know I am doing very well, almost 80% recovered. Thanks for your help and your book and site. I delivered my baby well and she is almost 3 months old. She is doing well. Thanks a lot to you dear. You were very kind and helpful to me everytime i asked you for help. I will always be indebted to you. If you need me, do not hesitate to contact me. Many thanks & good luck Cheers Kamini
On Wed 2/12/09 6:15 PM , ...sent: Hi will I am border line suicidal with panic, I'm just now finding your site, something coincidental happened I sat down at my desk and said dammit I'm back in my anxiety I sat back at the desk I'm always anxious on and my thoughts just went back I looked up and read the phrase Tension pause. I'm going to read through your website. I'm a chronic sufferer it's all heart based with catastrophic thinking thrown into the fray I have only one good leg cause of a minor tear in my calf that can't seem to be fixed and i'm only 23. Been anxious for 3 year now. Looking forward to your work.
Don't know why I just gave you my history there force of habit or the fact that I love to complain :-) Take Care
Many thanks Will. I have found the "Rule of 10" has really helped me understand and made things even clearer. However, I will take you up on your kind offer of e-mail support to clarify I am on the right lines and ask a few questions. I have spent a lot of time practising 'control' therapies as you describe them and thinking I shouldn't have any negative thoughts / feelings, which I now realise is not the answer....Many thanks for this, your book feels like my saviour! I think it is wonderful that you help people who are going through similar experiences to yourself in the past and are happy to pass on your experience and support. Kind regards Rebecca
From: To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: E-book and question Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 11:47:14 +0000
Dear Will Thank you very much for the E-Book I ordered a while ago. The approach really resonates with me and although I'm struggling, it has given me hope. I want to ask if there is any one-to-one couselling for this approach available that you know of? Either through you of others. As I feel it would be beneficial to help me grasp the ideas and apply them to me. Kind regards N (Will) Advised re free email help/sent final updated Rule of 10/latest Advice Column - maybe when I have more time I'll think of 1:1!
On Fri 30/10/09 5:56 PM , Jade sent: Hi Will, I bought your book just the other day. I've been suffering with anxiety for about 7 months (it was around March of this year when I suffered my 'breakdown'). I've read Paul David's book and have been visiting his blog for the past several months. It's really helped a ton and I feel like I'm slowly gaining an understanding. I feel like I'm at the stage now where everything you talk about in your book is finally starting to make sense to me. Previously, I absolutely believed every thought and no one could tell me what I was thinking was just anxiety based. This whole episode started when one night I had what I believe was a mild panic attack..... My head felt heavy and my thinking was fuzzy. I felt like I was in a dream and was absolutely terrified. I just felt like something was terribly wrong. I woke up the next morning and couldnt shake the thought/feeling that something was wrong.....that there was something I needed to worry about or feel scared about. So....that started this whole anxiety thing for me. Looking back, I realize that I had suffered anxiety episodes throughout my life.....never to this extent that I worried about them so deeply. The thing I struggle with the most is my thoughts (I'm sure I'm not alone with this one!). My most worrysome thought has been that now that I've suffered this anxiety episode I'm supposed to feel like this.....that I'm not supposed to be getting better. The minute I would start to feel better, I would automatically think.....'wait...you can't feel better....you have anxiety'. And I would instantly become scared to death and feel totally depressed. I've been dismissing this thought the best I can and I really has become so much less scary.....it comes a lot less often too. But throughout this episode, I got into the habit of not doing things because I think I shouldn't or can't because I have anxiety. It could be something as simple as cooking dinner or watching TV. Now, however, I really have been trying my best to do all things regardless of whether I think I should or not and it's been getting easier. I just really want to get to the point where I'm free of all this (I know this isn't exaclty an accepting statement!). I want to be able to get excited about going out to dinner or watching a movie.....but I just feel like I can't because I have anxiety. Will there be a time when I can just do all things and not think about my anxiety automatically?? Another thing, when I think back at how bad I got, I get kind of scared. Is this all normal?? Thanks so much for your help. Jade
Jade Advised and sent final update of 'Rule of 10'
On Sun 1/11/09 1:41 PM , Jade sent:Thanks so much for your reply, Will. Everything you say is starting to sink in......finally! It seems like one day things make perfect sense, then the next day I'm reacting way too much. I just get hung up with the idea that I suffered this breakdown in the first place.....it still scares me a little. I know memories take time to fade. One question I have though, when a memory comes up of when I was suffering really badly, should I just treat that like any other thought and not dwell on it and 'go back into it'? Many thanks, J (Will - advised ref Rule of 10 Advice Column)
From: dawn To: email@example.com Subject: RE: The Mind Works Date: Sat, 3 Oct 2009 14:25:04 +0000
Hi Will, Thanks for the book, really really good and can see what you mean I think! I have been reading it since the postman came this morning. I have been trying to put your method into place in terms of letting primary thoughts come to their own natural cut off. I think my question might be a bit odd - does doing this feel completely unnatural at first? I mean it really feels weird! Dawn
Hi Dawn - maybe you got so used to over-controlling/reacting that this became the uncomfortable norm! Our bad habits certainly 'do' need re-dressing. Many thanks and feel free whenever. cheers Will
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 19:12:29 -0500 Subject: Re: The Mind Works Final Version From: Craig To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Will, thanks for emailing me. You know just the past day in my frantic search for help I listened to this Zen master talk about meditation and enlightenment. All it did was confuse me and make my head spin more! But your more simplistic outlook gets the message across much better. I'm so glad ... Thanks a lot Will, have a good day.
Hi Will Thank you so much for your advice. I just needed to be pushed in the right direction. I suppose I will find it difficult in the beginning as I have really built the thought up over a long time, so it can bring on my fear within seconds to point I believe I will do this ‘thing’. If the fear comes I have to accept it’s there and take it no further, not read into it, imagine it happening in different places etc. then eventually I will be able to see the thought more rationally? I need to live my life with it beside until it no longer matters. Thank you again Will…..I have just finished your book and am now going to re-read it much slower to make sure I understand everything. I feel so much more positive now and can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
From: Andrea To: email@example.com Subject: RE: The Rule of 10/Mind Works Final Version Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 22:24:15 +0100
Hi Will, thanks for that! Had a look and its really good. Been a while since i last contacted you... amazing what can happen in a few months. I'm definitely getting there now, understand it completely! Whenever my intense mind thinks i should react and analyse something.. i just recognise it gets me no where and the outcome of my original thought cant be changed by ruminating, but easily let go and not made a big deal of by letting my thinking flow without interfering. Its something thats taking practice to grasp, but im positive im deffo on the right track! would you say these days you dont take your thinking so seriously? I am finding now i can distance myself from the content of my thinking.. like i can now dismiss it and not read into it. I'm nearly at the stage now of dropping the reminder, i suppose once i do that i will lose the self focus that has kept the last 10% of this illness lingering. Weird isnt it when it suddenly clicks in your mind that you have been going to far, that none of it was neccesary to cope as coping happens in the primary, you cant force coping after the moment has already been and gone as you have already coped so you will never find the answer with any secondary thinking! Many thanks Andrea
Subject: RE: The Rule of 10 Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 11:12:04 +0100
Hi Will Thank you for that - a very succint reminder and very helpful. I did find your book very helpful - one of the main points that helped me was the bit where you said that it does not matter if the moment is not perfect, let the moment move on - I suppose it's a case of having the knowledge/confidence not to 'do' anything. I agree about temprements being a part of the problem, I am a sensitive person anyway but I am learnning to try not to 'worry' or try and solve worries that have not even happened yet. It's a complete rewrite of how we react - not easy but I am not panicking like I used to, some days are easier than others but I do feel I am well down the road to recovery. Paul's blog helps too as it reinforces other peoples recovery - I think the more people like yourself and Paul keep pushing forward that recovery is possible the more people will recover - confidence is a huge part of this and you have helped SO many people by giving them the confidence to believe they will recover. Thank you. Terese
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 14:46:51 -0700 From: ... Subject: Re: 'The Mind Works' Final Version To: firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks Will! The last few days have been fine with no stuck thoughts. It is interesting that once I get a handle on things the anxiety completely disappears. I don't know if it's funny, sad, courageous or just plain stupid but I own a very stressful company with 94 employess and everyone (except my wife!) comments on how relaxed and in control I am. I guess this is just my cross to bear! I really do appreciate you getting back to me. It's nice to be able to vent to someone who really gets it. You should be very proud of your work! Regards John
No probs John - we're all human! Part of being successful is knowing and accepting who we are - warts an'all - keep in touch whenever - if only they knew hey?! Whilst we all like to be private - our illness can lead to too much privacy in that we keep things in and don't see rational sense.
07 December 2008 01:54:34 Hi Will,
Just going through your book now and so far its been fantastic. The way you identify the process in which the thoughts go is very good. I know you might not give put personal adivce but i'll ask my question anyway. My biggest fear with anxiety is depression and because i have felt depressed abit with my anxiety and it is always on my mind this is usually what my thoughts are about and what my 'What ifs' are about most of the time. So when i get that random thought "do i feel depressed" is that my primary thought and i should just cut-off from there? Because i ususally get myself in a panic and think what if this is me forever ect ect. Or if i hear the word depression or read it somewhere the dread washes over me and the thoughts begin to come. In saying this my anxiety started with physical symptoms which began with a panic attack and then developed into constant anxiety from waiting for the 'next' panic attack. I have feared going crazy, all other mental illnesses under the sun and i spose the depression fear is the one ive had the longest. I like how you mentioned people doubt the good positive thoughts and question them too, because i frequently do this.
Thanks again for sending me your ebook i look forward to continue reading it Kind regards Stephen
Hi Will. How's it going?
H here (assumed name). I am nearly finished reading your book and it is totally excellent. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me. This illness had taken over my life and I have not worked in 7 years. I will soon be returning to work and it's because of you. You've turned it all around. 8 months ago I was close to suicide. I had written my note and had the rope around my neck. I just didn't have the balls to carry it through. Since I discovered your site I have made more progress than in 10 years of medication, therapists and other self-help books...
Thank you for your help, H May 24 '08
02 February 2009 01:27:01
Hi Will, Thanks for the update! You are doing a great job! I was wondering if you are familiar with zen buddhist teachings. I get the feeling this is exactly what you have used to get free from your anxiety/depression (quit fighting, just let everything flow)? many thanks for your support and guidance Henning
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 09:31:03 -0800 From: ... Subject: Re: 'The Mind Works' Final Version To: email@example.com Hey Will I wanted to respond and thank you for the update. Your book has helped me tremendously and I felt great for about 4 months until I had a few setbacks the last few weeks. It's interesting my anxiety has changed over time from panic and fear to frustrating and obsessive thoughts. I guess since I know understand the crux of my problem it no longer sends me into panic mode. I just cant seem to get over the hump of "overthinking" though. For example, I went to New York city with my family a few weeks ago for a leisure weekend. When I woke up in the morning to drive down to New York from Boston I was feeling fine but as I was getting ready to leave I just starting thinking about the song that seemed to be playing in my head over and over. Then I started to get fruustrated and anxious that here I was going to have a fun relaxing weekend and all I was doing was worrying that I couldn't get this thought out of my head. This feeling basically stayed with me for the whole weekend which was so frustrating. yes it would come and go but I just couldn't seem to release it.
I find it so difficult to think forward and not worry about past experiences. Although I feel like I am light years ahead of where I was this singular problem is a real challenge. today I am leaving for Florida and then getting on a cruise ship for a week and I am struggling between being very excited and worried that my thoughts are getting the best of me. Ultimitely I know I'll be fine and once I'm there involved, I'll laugh at myself for feeling this way now. I just wish I could live in the present and not react to every negative thought.
Thanks for doing what you do.
On Tue 17/02/09 12:45 PM , katie sent:
Hi Will. My name is Katie(age 22) and I have read your book(after my friend gave it to me following her recovery of anxiety). I have found it very useful and do believe myself to be in the second stages of recovery. I too, have read the book by Paul David and found that very useful too. That book made me accept the thoughts as anxiety, whereas your book helps to deal with the thoughts when they become obsessive.
I have had anxiety for five months now and Im at the stage now where, im dealing with the thoughts when they become obsessive. I use your boxing ring method as the way to deal with these thoughts. Is it normal for these thoughts to keep returning despite using this method,as im at the beginning of this stage?Because it is a habit and takes time for it to go?? The more practise i use the method the better I will get at it i keep telling myself.
My thoughts have been about those closest to me and was very disturbing at first and sometimes I will get the odd thought that will catch me off guard and then I will go beyond that cut-off point and analyse that thought and go into secondary thinking, but then eventually it will go again after repeating to myself 'I aint going to fight it' and imagining the boxing ring. I'm at the beginning of this stage of getting over the obsessiveness and making myself think a bad thought-as its so clear to me now the difference between having a natural thought compared to a habit thought! Any advise you could give me I would be very grateful for.
Katie (action to both above - pointed to updated version) On Thu 19/02/09 5:36 PM , katie sent: thanks for that will, il let you know how i get on with it. I def notice wen i have a habit thought now and make myself think summat bad. i just need to get over that now-and def find that my thoughts seem to get to me more during'the time of month'. Sorry for that- but iv related this time of month as when you said in your book that if your stessed, ill,tired etc it tends to be worse. thanks for the reply katie
On Mon 2/03/09 9:37 PM , Tina sent:
I've had a good read through The Mind Works and taken in all that I think I can at this stage. It all makes lots of sense to me and I can see how I can start to use the techniques. I can really relate to the primary/secondary thinking and the fight/flight responses (I am predominantly a fighter I thnk). I am stuck on a few areas though and it would be great if you had time to help me just understand a bit more how to apply this to my situation. Don't worry if you don't have time, I'm sure that you have lots of emails!
So....the situation is this..I am 44, have been depressed/anxious for a number of years - have recently become more anxious as my husband decided 3 months ago that he didn't love me any more (in particular he feels I am controlling and too anxious - I feel the two are connected) and is currently (whilst living with me) thinking about what to do about this. I have two boys of 12 and 18 - the sixteen year old is dabbling with drugs, which concerns me. I work in marketing in a fairly pressured environment.
So....what I'm trying to understand is this:
* the atmosphere in the house feels pretty tense at times to me and I find it difficult when my husband seems remote and unfriendly - when I am up I feel it drags me down and when I am down I feel that it pulls me down further - so for example, my husband was very quiet all of yesterday and I felt a sense of dread all day - you say.. ¡®Any repetitive thinking, or subsequent repetitive behaviours are ¡®post¡¯ cut-off .... I'm trying to interpret this - does this mean that my sense of dread is a pretty constant primary thought or is the dread my repetitive reaction to my husband's behaviour and therefore secondary? - I feel like the dread comes to me but it's hard to just let it stay there until it goes away as it's pretty constant - in this situation should I try to remove myself from the situation and distract myself from it or is that a mistake? I sometimes have to be there and just get through this as I feel I can't keep going out and leaving the kids
* I sometimes get a build up of anxiety over a period of days - what I think are lots of secondary fighting thoughts coming from plenty of negative primary thoughts building up to make me want to explode - I then tend to want to get answers from my husband and talk it out and sometimes push him into difficult conversations (which end badly) as a result - am I right in thinking that if I let each negative primary thought go then I will stop this build up situation? is it as you say here? "You have to ¡®break the chain¡¯ here, which does take self-belief and courage - but I managed this based solely on the fact that ¡®I felt instantaneous mental relief¡¯ when I avoided ¡®fighting¡¯ my initial thoughts. I would then have to ¡®trust¡¯ that I would sort myself out ¡®without¡¯ this secondary fighting - which is my definition of ¡®drawn out¡¯ anxiety." Also, just checking but is this intensive talking with my husband a form of flight (I used to get quite angry when I got stressed but now just become very questioning)?
* Would you generally advocate someone using sport / music / anything pleasurable as a way for someone to get through troubled times? I am doing this more and more (but I don't think obsessively) - its not a form of flight is it as it is in some ways "taking comfort" but good commonsense? It seems right to distract myself by doing things I enjoy.
Tina ( I answer all emails by the way, as soon as I can)
On Thu 30/04/09 10:03 AM , Terese sent:
I came across your site/book through Paul's 'Anxiety No More' website. I have read Paul's book and been involved in the site for a couple of months. I have been wrapped up in this condition for 10 years plus.
I now know that ALL of it is through over thinking and watching myself - the way/perception I have of things makes the steam that makes this unpleasant state that I've been wrapped up in daily.
I do not want to get involved in the 'search' anymore - but I am keen to understand , so that I am able to rationally think/not think. As I was a little nervous of getting the book I mentioned it to Candie and she thought I would be fine as it works on the same basis as Paul does of 'acceptance'.
So I look forward to reading the book and increasing my understanding and my road to recovery.
Thanks Kind Regards Terese
Hi Terese - all I will say at this stage - is we will 'always' live that fine line between destruction and production as that is who we are - however, if we realise to go with us without 'reacting' to us - as you will see this is where I say we enter a 'forced' after reaction - we will then be able to 'modify and moderate' our intensity. Take a look anyway and don't be too afraid as I hope my book doesnt bite!! cheers Will and feel free to come back whenever.
On Sun 10/05/09 3:58 AM , Brian sent:
I know you must get bombarded with emails, so I understand if you can't get around to respond to this, but I had to try because I'm desperate right now.
I am in a very weird situation right now and don't know what to do. I discovered I had anxiety a year ago when I found Paul David's website who, as you know, preaches a very similar message as you. For awhile I noticed amazing progress. My attitude on life was changing, and I could feel my body healing slowly. It was absolutely incredible.
This lasted for about 5 months, until somehow I slipped back into my old habits. I feel like I have been in my old worrying, panicking habits for about 8 months now. This is just so bewildering and frustrating because I know everything about my problem and how to fix it, yet I continue to fight, feel horrible, and worry uncontrollably.
I first found your website a few days ago, and it made me feel so good when I did. I had been on Paul David's anxiety blog for awhile, but that just wasn't working, and when I found your website it just felt so refreshing, and I thought maybe this will get me home. However, now I am back to just feeling horrible and like I am not doing anything right. This has been the cycle I am in for awhile now: I think of something on Paul's website that makes me feel really good, then I think maybe I have it figured out, only to come crashing back to panic and worry.
I would love to hear any thoughts you have (although I fear that whatever you say may make sense or make me feel good for a little while, but then suddenly stop working). I just can't believe how good I was doing for so long and now be in the horrible place I am now and have been for many months. I am sorry for throwing all of this at you, but I just can't help it. Thanks. Brian
On Mon 11/05/09 9:33 PM , Brian sent:
Hi Will, thank you so much for replying to me. I just wanted to tell you that since my last "desperation" email, I had a great realization while reading your book that I really believe has brought me back to the present.
I mentioned before how I first discovered I had anxiety a year ago when I found Paul David's book. Like you, my anxiety started in my early teens (I am 20 now), and also like you, I would definitely characterize myself as sensitive, intense, and a perfectionist. Well I couldn't believe how great Paul's book made me feel. I was learning how to live in the present and just noticed extraordinary progress in my personality and general outlook on life.
This progress continued for 5 months, to the point where I thought I was almost recovered. Then one night out of nowhere I started having what you call negative primary thoughts. Obviously I had dealt with these before, but I think since I had been feeling so great before this, I kind of forgot how to deal with them. I started repeating some of Paul's teachings to myself, but by doing that I was engaging my secondary thought process, and it ended up only making me feel worse. At this point, I wasn't sure what was going on. Paul's teachings of acceptance were no longer making me feel better, and even visiting his website, which used to make me feel great, was now actually making me feel worse.
I cannot express to you how horrible this made me feel for about the next 8 months. I was so bewildered, confused, and also angry because I thought I understood anxiety and how to recover from it, yet here I was feeling horrible and like I was doing everything wrong. Even when I first found your website a few days ago it didn't make me feel better at first. In fact it only further frustrated and angered me because I was trying so hard to understand it, but the harder I tried to get it, the worse I felt.
What brought me back to the present was a quote on one of the last pages of your book. The quote is "Just 'think' what you think...don't force yourself to think." Reading that quote made me realize how hard I had been trying to recover by "forcing" all of the methods of recovery in my head. I was thinking so hard about what you and Paul say, and I wasn't just allowing my normal thoughts to flow. I am feeling so much better now - much like I did when I first found Paul's website a year ago, and I can tell it is just going to get better for me as time goes on.
I wanted to share this with you just to let you know the impact you have had on my life. Thank you so much, your doing a great thing, and I know so many people are grateful for that.Thank you,Brian
Hi Brian, Many thanks for your comments - and, yes, this can be so confusing, but is the reason why so many of us suffer with it! We are 'always' so close, but not close enough! When it 'twigs', it all becomes so clear - keep me posted if you need any further. cheers Will
From: John.. To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: The Mind Works Final Version Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 22:42:22 +0000
Hi Will. What a brilliant way of explaining things. I received the Final update of 'The Mind Works' on tuesday morning and have read throught the majority of it. I have had anxiety with depersonalisation for 2 and half years. I thought i was recovering but rapidly went downhill last November and have experienced some very dark times since. Thanks to 'At last a Life' by Paul David i have developed an understanding of my condition and with it less fear. However, i have still been getting very frustrated by the condition and increased isolation. I constantly say things like relax and accept. I have realised how much effort I have been putting in and overdoing everything. I have adopted your approach the past two days and have noticed a marked improvement. There is an extremely big temptation to start 'overdoing' things again and fight (Such as saying, 'chill', 'you dont need to fight' or 'concentrate' ect) but i understand this is because that has been my habit for 2 and half years and is what comes natural to me at the moment. I should have faith that in time it will keep getting easier. Anyway, i just wanted to say that i can see an initial small improvement and i hope this will continue. Thanks John
17.1.08 This is a great book. Wilde Ursula (RWR) Herts Partnership FT
On Mon Feb 4 19:58 , 'AC' sent: Hi Will, my name is A, i got your book around a month or two ago now, and think its really good. It has helped me but i am still in the process of putting it into practice. I know you've said it, but I just wanted to ask again about the symptoms of anxiety, i mean if im right is it my way of checking thoughts, holding onto thoughts, that is then causing me to be alert of what im doing, that is then causing me to be anxious, because im scared of what i have just done/doing. and then this is causing my nerves to be sensitised (anxiety) which is causing the terriable symptoms (derealisation/depersonalisation, feeling like im on another planet lack of emotion) i feel disconnected, did you feel these symptoms? It feels as if my learnt behaviour, keeps topping up my nerves with a little boost of anxiety, because i keep doing this holding onto thoughts, fighting, and just as i start to heal ill have another thought i hold onto and check, then become anxious which keeps my benchline level of anxiety at a higher than normal level, and keeps this illness alive, or symptoms alive. Does this make sense to you? i would be pleased if you let me know what you think of my theory. thanks for the book, i reckon that the penny is going to soon drop and i am going to be so happy.i think you really are right, i have looked at other peoples sites/methods who have cured themself, and this is what they have done with out really hitting the nail on the head, when they have put it into words and developed there own recovey strategy. i dont think they have been able to pin point what it is they have stopped doing.will keep reading cheers A
On Tue Jan 29 21:32 Anon sent:
I left the house with the intention I would travel to a hotel and take an overdose, but I know I didn't want to for the sake of the family. My wife sent me endless text messages asking me to let her pick me up, which in the end she did. We talked and talked ...... I thought that would be the end, but it's not, my thoughts keep coming - I trawled the net and found your book, I must confess it helped and I am only still up to page 70 I have been trying your process..... Anon
On Tue Apr 15 19:02 , email@example.com sent:
Hi Will, I just wanted to say well done on the book and I hope it is going well.
After re-reading your book Will, your book would be the first thing I would be happy to recommend to others and it would be the first time I would use my massive email list and post a link from my very active blog. www.anxietynomore.co.uk/blog All the best! cheers Paul
Patient-View.com We have written a review of the book 'the Mind Works', appearing in the ¡®Publications¡¯ section of our latest bulletin, due to be sent out tomorrow. The bulletin goes to our 600 UK and 3,400 overseas members.
Dr. Alexandra Wyke/Clive Nead
May 1st, 2008, uk
The UK group doyoupanic is advising that The Mind Works, a 293-page book written in 2007 by doyoupanic¡¯s Will Beswick. Under the subtitle ¡°making sense of it all¡¯¡±, the publication analyses panic attacks, and suggests a programme of recovery. Describing recovery as an exercise in self-belief and focus, The Mind Works identifies the differences between ¡° ¡®real¡¯ control and ¡®forced¡¯ control¡±. Topics mentioned include:
¡ñ ¡°I¡¯m not talking about medication here. I¡¯m talking about REAL recovery, based on understanding. You¡¯re not mad¡ªin fact, you¡¯re very much the opposite. Understanding is everything¡±.
¡ñ ¡°Understanding panic: the main point is not how we respond to others, but how we respond to ourselves¡±.
¡ñ ¡°Isolate the process! Don¡¯t fight or run from the imperfection¡ªit has already happened. You will cope¡±.
The book contains numerous letters from people suffering from panic, followed by advice offered by the author, who uses these as anonymised case studies to illustrate the subtle variations in types of panic attacks. Priced £12.50 [approximately US$ 24; Euros 15], The Mind Works is available at the following link: [http://www.doyoupanic.co.uk/8.html]
On Wed May 7 20:34 Hi Will ¨C you certainly have taken the ¡®sting¡¯ out of worry for me. Many thanks for all your hard work with this book. It really is unbelievable that you have nailed it down to a completely sensible yet simple solution v- that works! People ¡®on the outside¡¯ just don¡¯t know what goes on, as we can be quite devious really in making everything 'seem' ok on the out ¨C I¡¯m a compulsive worrier ¨C and yet now understand and have applied everything you say and still can¡¯t believe that I feel ¡®rational¡¯ for once in my life! Thanks again Majorie (you can use my first name Will if that¡¯s Ok)?
On Sun 25/05/08 4:25 PM , candie sent:
I've just finished reading your book, which was from Paul Davids Anxiety No More Website. Your teachings make so much sense, just like Pauls accepting method. Your book has taught me that its ok to think how i think, its not the thoughts causing my suffering- its my reaction to them...
I know now exactly what i have to do, and its fine to have any thoughts as the brain is capable of thinking anything, and it is only a harmless thought. I know i just need to learn not to obsess, fight, investigate thoughts then i wouldnt get the the 'fight or flight' panic response anyway. I am so close now to recovery, ridding myself of the thoughts is no longer my goal.. as iv established they are not the issue. Its mainly old thoughts, that reappear that i cant float past as i got to myself so wound up i thought i had an urge to act on them. I know its a matter of time now before i find full recovery...
Thankyou for your time,
On Fri 6/06/08 4:16 PM , Di sent: Hi Will,
...I have been reading your book again today, the first time i read it i wasnt aware i was forcing myself back into thoughts... so i didnt understand how my thoughts were secondary. When i read what you are saying in your book it is like i could of wrote some of the examples myself. I have felt a lot of relief today reminding myself that there is no need to fight something that has already been dealt with... so i have been able to stop myself from fighting back into these thoughts.
I have only suffered for a year because of this habit, so i am optimistic that it shouldnt take me too long to get the hang of things- although i do have patience! Only for the past 5 months have i been a fighter, before this i was a flighter and i must say it is far worse being a fighter!
On Fri 6/06/08 4:54 PM , Karen M sent: Thank you will,I know I have been worrying, but as you know, you get frightened that there is something seriously wrong. I have the fear that I have no control & that I am going to lose control all together. I do silly things that set me off, get so confused & panicKed... Gave out my old phone number & swore blind I had given my new one. Please forgive my rambling. I get frightened because my Aunty had Alzheimer's. I want to be strong, but haven't quite mastered the art of telling my self that its ok & not to panic & that its only anxiety, but the fear is that its not just anxiety.Thanks Will, this book has been such a help & comfort. Karen.
On Fri 6/06/08 8:36 PM , Jen sent: Thanks Will, I think this is going to be the thing that is going to lead to my recovery you know! I have tried allsorts of remedies in the past but i can just tell this is the one as the relief i feel when i dont fight is incredible.... its the same relief i feel when i have hit rock bottom and given in to the fight, yet its better as i dont have to hit rock bottom to feel it!
You are a remarkable person, if one good thing came from all you suffering it is that it has and will bring the end to the suffering of so many people. Thankyou also for taking the time to answer my questions.
You are not on your own!!....Feb '08 Paxil Forum Re: intrusive thoughts??
exactly, you cannot 'win' the fight against anxiety, whilst I know only too well how horrific any form of anxiety illness is including OCD, I am 100% sure that everyone has it within them to recover, once you 'understand' the illness it is then possible to go about recovering..by 'doing nothing' about those thoughts, everybody gets bad thoughts but only some try and explain/fight/run away from these thoughts and end up in the vicious circle of anxiety. Mad Scotsman, I want you to have a look at a website called http://www.doyoupanic.co.uk/. This guy suffered OCD and recovered, he wrote a book which I bought and read over the weekend which made a tremendous difference to me, I would urge you to consider buying this book, hopefully he ships overseas. I have read it all and this book was the missing piece for me. I have also started listening to holosync meditation which I imagine some of you have heard of. Its not a quick fix but I have read of some remarkable recoveries from people suffering serious mental illness inc anxiety and OCD. Jimmy
Re: intrusive thoughts??
Oh my god Jimmy. I totally identify with what this guy is saying at http://www.doyoupanic.co.uk/. He's describing what's been going on in my head. And when he talks about the time when he was convinced he had AIDS and went for the test and it still didn't help.......the exact same thing happened to me. Uncanny. Thanks again....I'll buy the book for sure. M
On Sat 14/06/08 3:41 AM , Peter sent: Hello will!! Just bought your book there think it is fantastic! I am an ... cheers Pete
On Mon 16/06/08 11:24 AM , PETER sent Will Thank you so much for replying to my email jus having some one to talk to about this illness is a huge burden lifted of my shoulders,thanks so much for your advice im so glad I found your website and got your book much appreciated pete
On Mon 16/06/08 8:54 PM , Carrie sent hi will, i hope you can give me some advice, i am in the middle of your book which i am finding a great help, finally it's nice to read about the actual process which goes on in the brain instead of the physical side of things all the time. i have been on 10mg once a day of citalopram since nov last year, i think this has kept the edge off things..............thanks so much Carrie
Thu 19/6 Hello Will, hope you are well? Just thought I would let you know how it's going.
You were absolutely right about the fact that the ISSUE would disappear in time. I have been trying your techniques & have noticed that my reading & the repetetive words/sentences have lessened & that I am slowly mastering the control over the panic. (but I have noticed other friends/family doing similar errors & question if what they do is correct & worry about their welfare). Since your last Email I have also decided not to visit the anxiety help site that I joined, as I felt that I was constantly reminded about anxiety. It does seem to have helped me have a more positive outlook since not revisiting the site, as I was always seeking reassurance. I would like to thank you Will, as the more I study your book, the more I understand what you mean. I know it seems to have taken me forever to read your book, but I read it when I specifically make time for me to relax. Thank you for your understanding, Lynn.
21/6 Hello Will,
thank you once again for all your help. I realise now, I slipped backwards after a good few up days & perhaps got a little over confident, so the last day & a half I have been doubting myself & started questioning again, or as you say DOING instead of NOT DOING. The release I had from the constant worry was a lovely feeling & a welcome relief, so I will strive to understand your method for alleviating anxiety/panic.
I also meant to tell you in my last Email, that I have mentioned your site & book on several occasions in the hope that it will prompt individuals to look up your site & perhaps be able to help themselves rather than stay stuck in a continuous cycle of panic.
So many thanks,C
21/6 Thanks will, you are a really kind person, i have been told by a phyciatric nurse at the doctors who was helping me with my anxiety that i have an active imageination which like you say people like this are prone to the illness. he didn't really go into depths about how the mind works which is why in the end i didn't really find him helpful. this is such a scary and lonely illness it's nice to relate to people who know exactly what you are going through which gives relief. i went out with some girls last night with who i used to work with 5 years ago, i was nervous but panic nervous which i know is over the top but i still went i won't let it make me cancel things!! i had a good time. any sign of shit, i am now ignoring, saying to myself it's not me it's my illness and if bad panic occurs it can be all of a sudden no time to control i then just deep breath and say calm there's no need to panic, hopefully all this together will get me back to ME! i will stop bothering you now, thanks so much to take time out of your own time to help me. Amy
On Thu 26/06/08 7:37 PM , Ad sent:
Thanks Will, Yes everything you say makes sense. I know in my heart you have put me on the right path but I was just feeling a bit of doubt. I think it is just a case of carrying on down that path until it is all second nature to me. I've finished your book and it just leaves me to thank you for putting me on that path as I was utterly lost. You have changed my life. If I have any further questions I will get in touch if that is okay?I hope many more people discover your website so that their suufering can come to an end. All the best, A
On Tue 12/08/08 4:07 PM , "Harrison E" sent: Hi Will, I have been reading your book and can't thank you enough for putting me on the right path. You've given me understanding when no-one else could. I am amazed how different I feel - just hope in time, I will live my life without that temptation to 'react', as I know you say it is now out of your system completely - you're in 'automatic flow', as you put it. So interesting to see where you're at - and how that can inspire us all. If ever I can help you/your cause in any way, then please don't hesitate to ask. Thanks again! Harrison
On Sun 24/08/08 4:58 PM , candie sent: Hi Will, I dont know if you remember me, but i got your book a few months back from Paul Davids anxiety website. Well i thought i would email you to let you know how i am getting on. Well at first it was hard to stop my self fighting, the urge was always close to home; however i have come to the stage now where i am confident enough to remind myself its ok not to fight and panic over silly thoughts and then let them go. I still have obsessive thoughts, but 8/10 i can let them go now and not take a second look and provoke myself into panic. I was just...
On Mon 25/08/08 3:02 PM , candie sent: Hi Will I 100% believe that its my reaction to a perfectly normal thought now, so its easier not to fight... for so long i believed the thoughts were the root cause of my anxiety.. i supose i have come a long way as i dont even take them seriously anymore. I used to look at people and think why cant i be like them, but like you i have come to the stage where i am comfortable with my own mind now... i totally agree with the character type thing! Feel free to put this out, anything that helps others is ok by me :). If you could just give my first name that would be fine. I think its great people are opening up about this illness, as it has been brushed under the carpet for so long because the medical proffesion dont really understand it. I have come so far through accepting my thoughts and using your method of recovery. Six months ago i was a wreck! I didnt eat, sleep and my thoughts consumed me. I even begged my doctor to section me at one point as i thought i was going insane! I was also dependant on medication, which was never enough. I supose im telling you this as i would like you to mention this too, as i am living proof your method of recovery is the only way forward. I now enjoy my life, look to the future just about of the meds completely and believe i am going to be ok. Looking back i cant beleive how bad i was, it scares me to think how i would be now if i never found yours and Paul Davids books! Thanks Candie
On Fri 10/10/08 12:53 PM , ak sent: Thanks for the update Will. I would say that I am now fully recovered from the anxiety I suffered from. A lot of this because I caught it in its early stages and your book was very helpful in helping me really understand the condition.
I still enjoy reading around the subject and my new email is... so if you could send any more correspondance to that email it would be appreciated.
On Mon 13/10/08 12:18 AM , candie sent: Hi Will Just thought i would email you and let you know how my recovery is going. Well things are getting easier, i am having some really good, happy days. I dont see my thoughts as strange anymore, i am me and i am learning to be content being me! The only thing that worries me slightly is that even though i no longer panic react to thoughts, they still come to me lots by habit! Is this fine, as i have gone with the presumption it is and with time memories and bad habits will fade. Thanks Candie
On Sat 8/11/08 3:20 PM , Faith sent: Hi Will Came across your web-site the other day and was so impressed I purchased the e-book.You've given me hope when I'd just about run out of steam! The relief I have..
Many thanks! Faith
Mind Works , The [PAPERBACK] 1st Edition 2007 (Pre updated 3rd Edition)
£12.99 The Chipmunka Foundation
‘The Mind Works’ is one man's powerful, personal account of his struggles with panic and anxiety. The book begins with a brief background history and some key points the author wants to get across. The author, Will Beswick never shys away from describing to the reader the moments when he has been at his lowest ebb and all the years that he has battled with anxiety. His own account includes many symptoms that may be recognisable to sufferers- including confusion, feeling like he was going mad and headaches.
Beswick also makes it clear how all types of panic and anxiety are related on the panic spectrum, and can manifest themselves in different ways. In his own case, this was in the form of illness phobia whilst at college. Beswick then begins to outline his own theory on how ‘the mind works’. Put briefly, this theory explains that we are either ‘fighters’ or ‘flighters’. Fighters internalise their panic and flighters externalise theirs. Beswick explains how he overcame his panic by realising that his panic was ‘secondary thinking’ - an internal process that was ongoing. He introduces a number of concepts, such as COPAST- concept of primary and secondary thinking. These are explained in great detail with examples to demonstrate their meaning. As the reader, we are gradually encouraged to find faith in our natural coping abilities.
Throughout the book, there is constant re-enforcement of the key points. Positive language is used and the key concepts are re-iterated time and again. The author uses a number of diagrams and workable examples for the reader to attempt. He also includes a number of responses to e-mails from readers of his own website (www.doyoupanic.co.uk) where he clarifies any points raised about his theories. It also means that he can tailor his answers to particular phobias or types of anxiety and explain how they work. The author has also included contributions from other therapists, such as John Crawford’s explanation of OCD, which I found very helpful.
Beswick uses both theoretical examples (boxer entering the ring) and real-life situations, such as coaching the football team and struggling to deal with a partner whilst at university to explain his concepts. As well as this, he provides links to helpful articles, and opens the discussion up to include related subjects such as eating disorders and medication, and how these relate to his theories.
Overall I was very impressed with the content and layout of this book. Although it may not be the solution for everybody, it is written in a way that will help many readers to rationalise what they are experiencing and help them to look at the issues in a new light. It uses good examples, positive language and a personal approach that will strike a chord with many readers. Nicki National Phobics Society
Date Added: 10/29/2007 by Nicki Starkey The 'National Phobics Society'
On Sun Jul 8 12:41 , firstname.lastname@example.org sent:
Hi Will, I have just finished reading your book and will give you my honest opinion. I really like it, I always think here we go another book that is going to be full of therapist talk or concepts I don't personally agree with, but it was nothing like that. I fully 100% agree with you and we all have different ways of putting our point of view across, but like me you keep telling people not to over-complicate things, to not go looking for recovery and rather let it come to you. There was even parts of the book that I thought 'That is a great way of explaining things'. I, too in my own recovery went around thinking 'I have to relax', 'I have to let go', 'I have to exercise' and I stood still, this was until I realised that I was still 'Trying to do something about it'. Reading your book makes total sense to me straight away and it can be hard to get the point across to someone, but you have done a good job of doing this. I help people through emails and all of a sudden they say 'Paul I got it' it can take time as you say they are stuck in a rut of trying to do something about it, or in a rut of anxious thinking and trying to fight their way out of it.
I actually enjoyed reading it and found it a very good and a different way of explaining things. I also enjoyed reading the words of thank you from people you had helped, this has always been the rewarding part for me, just to know you have helped someone through this, boy I wish I had found someone all those years ago. Will, you can use the words below and re-arrange them if you like to build a review up, you can always get back to me and ask if its o.k. My main points are: As an ex-sufferer I can totally understand where you are coming from with your ideas and beliefs on how to come through this nightmare of a disorder. It is very clear early on that this is written by someone who has been through this. It is not filled with medical jargon that can confuse more than help people, it is not based on a 'pretend its not there attitude'. The information is very good and is all based around what brought me to recovery. One of the few books I have read on the subject and instantly felt a connection with and a 100% belief that this is the right way to go. Take care. Paul
On Tue Jun 26 14:23 , 'Jason Pegler' sent:
Just wanted to say I think your COPAST analogy is very good. There is a lot of truth in what you are saying. I like combining NLP with being – and I see that as an example of mental health empowerment. Jason Pegler Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2005 CEO of Chipmunka (The Mental Health Group) www.chipmunkapublishing.comwww.chipmunkafoundation.org
Tues Jul 10 21:33 - Many thanks for this Will. It's a superb piece of work and 100% relevant to the problems I face and have faced for many long years. The primary/secondary thought concept is really helpful and I'm committed to applying it into my everyday thinking. Many thanks once again. Jon
On Wed Mar 21 , 'Susan G' sent: Will, I got your book last week and have really been helped by it. My anxiety has been bad my entire life, and today, due to the journals, I was able to go out to eat, shopping, get ice cream, and to the movies, out of town with friends, with absolutely no problems. It was the simple act of not focusing on the anxiety that got me through it. My mind was able to stay focused and relaxed. I'm just amazed. I also find writing down how I want things to go the night before (i.e. had a great time, no anxiety) also seems to help. It would probably amaze people to know how anxious I get because I appear to be very outgoing and high energy, but it's sad how anxious behaviour can make your world smaller and smaller because you don't want to take chances with it. I hope to hear from you. :) Many thanks once again Susan Mar 07 On Thu Mar 22 , 'Susan G' sent: I have no objection. You can use my first name and initial. I'm just amazed at how you were able to break it down simply into a process that everybody can do. The book is a great tool in the recovery process. Mar 07
..And 2 years since first contact with this site. On Wed Nov 7 16:35 , 'Nick Watts' sent:Hello Will Going really good thanks, Better than ever!! Looking forward to reading the paperback this time round! Thanks again Will, for all the help that you gave me. Nick
On Mon Nov 26 13:28, SK sent (assumed name requested) : Hi Thanks for your book. I found it really helpful in trying to understand how i'm feeling at the moment as a lot of it sounded very familiar! I'm now going to try and put this into action and see how I get along……Basically I've always been like you described yourself, perfectionist, sensitive, worrier, etc but I was always on top of any stupid worries or thoughts I had and could rationalise them. Its basically been about the last 3 months when i've had a few big changes in my life that it all seems to have got out of hand. Its basically the whole unwanted thoughts thing and I have this massive fear of losing control or that i'm going mad. It just seems to have taken over my entire thought processes to the point that its interfering with me getting on with everyday things. I just seem really confused and find it hard to make decisions over things that used to be automatic. In fact, I think I’ve changed from being a flighter to a fighter….
Mon Dec 3 10:10 , SK also sent: Hi Thanks I'm now trying to put your advice in to action and already felt a certain amount of weight has lifted over the past few days... Its already made things a lot easier, as this is about having confidence in myself and not doubting my abilities. Feel free to use any correspondance as I'd like to think that I might be able to offer some reassurance that people are not alone just like you have yourself but I would prefer to remain anonymous if this is ok. Its a pity things like this are not more out in the open as i'm sure it would help so many people that think they are the only one's dealing with this. Thanks again!
On Mon Sep 17 20:40 , 'Theresa' sent: Hi Will!! First i will like to aplogize for my mistakes in English writing. I speak spanish. I learned English in school but it has been a long time since I write in English.I really think your book is amazing!! I've lived with my panic attacks since I was 17 years old. I am now 45!!It's true I'm a perfectionist.I have a very clear beleif of how things might work. Now I realize I am trying too hard to make things work the way I expect them to work. By the way I don't usolly succes in this quest. I've been in therapy for 8 years without stopping. Every monday morning I went to my therapy. I never missed a session. Not even once in 8 years!! I thought I needed that to help me cope with my fears.It certainly helped me a lot...but now I undestand that as a secondary effect I was becoming a very over controling person. I analyzed each one of my thoughts, each one of my behaviors, each one of my reactions. A week before I bought your book I quitted therapy. Suddenly I understood that I had become obsessed and that I have lost all my espontanity. I needed a rest. I was tired of analising everything. Beside I was panicking more and more. Then I bought your book and there it was in words everything I had recentlly discovered. You can't imagine what a releif I felt. Now I kmow I'm afraid of being afraid. The first time it occured to me I was reading out loud in front of my class. Since then, I have never read again in front of anybody. It's ironic since I am a very good reader and speaker. But since then, I started to hide. It didn't stop there. Now I have new situations that make panic. Some of them are really absurd, like going to church or going to the beauty parlor and getting my hair blown! Is good to know my country is passing for a very stressful political situation. I read in your book that when you are feeling vulnerable this condition gets worst. I have met this week three persons that suffer from the same!! I'm still reading your book... So if I'm in situation that makes me panic if I started to have my symptoms (i.e. heart beating, sweating,, etc,) is because I stepped into the secondary thought...I then just have to wait for the natural cut off of my mind to take place.I have succeeded twice last week! Thank you Will
On Fri Nov 30 23:12, Alison F sent: A friend of mine recommended this book. I was intrigued by your concept and sat down with it. Knowing that panic 'occurs' when you have already 'come out' of a thought made a lot of sense, but to see the many set examples of panic attacks in the Advice Column was also very re-assuring - as a lack of self-confidence 'can' be overturned once you understand. Many thanks at this stage - I will keep you posted with my progress - 'currently avoiding the temptation'. Ali.
On Thurs Nov 22 15:24, 'Antonio Pinedo' sent: Sometimes we have to admit we need help and I have no doubt there are many others like me who have been close to the 'edge of their existence' at times, if you know what I mean. Well, hang on in there and believe, with that strentgh, you will pull through - eventually. There are a lot of very helpful sites/books out there like Will's - but few that actually 'work in practice'.... and I trust in everything you've got to say, as I know you've been there by everything I read and the quiet sense of hope Copast has given me. Please don't hesitate to put my name down here Will, if it's some contribution I can make to 'lifting the lid' on mental illness as you say. People have strength and hope - the 'only' thing that's abnormal, is 'thinking' you're abnormal!! Anton
On Tues Nov 20 19:51, 'Terri Ai' sent:Will – read a lot of reviews on this book – and would just like to add to them if that’s ok? I know there are many fanciful concepts out there, but I urge people to read what you have to say – starting with your site and then book. The fact that you’ve unscrambled all of this into a coherent way of understanding is really quite amazing. Like Anja’s comment, to come to the conclusion that we really are the recipients of all thoughts is fascinating and that ‘anything’ else is forced behaviour – including panic – or as you put it ‘secondary panic’. Thanks Will Terri
On Wed Sep 19 , 'Alison H' sent: Hi Will, I purchased your book in July and thought I would just drop you a line. This book has changed my life, I can categorically state! You talk about the 'fine line' between thoughts 'coming to us' and then us 'going to them'. You have clarified everything that goes on in my mind in one book! Amazing how the solution works - no bull - you're dead right and believe me I have been there and done it. Not doing makes complete sense and yes, I have been a major 'runner' for the past 11 years of my life. I particularly equated with Rob's account and took strength from the fact that panic attacks do build up over time -and that we must 'be patient' - or as you say 'break the chain' of previous 'built up' anxiety. I tried this immediately, as I was so fed up when I purchased the relief couldn't be explained. Thankyou for your honesty and time ..I hope this gets to many others who need steering in the right direction. Many thanks Alison
This book has literally 'changed my life' after 40 years+ suffering everything from despair/anxiety to suicidal thoughts on a 'major' scale. Having really benefitted from the simplicity of his concept, I wanted to write a comment here so that sufferers of 'repetitive mental problems'(as he puts it!) could see it here. Though he doesn't 'drift' and has similarities with 'Sedona'/Weekes' work particularly (and 'Tolle'), this, I feel, goes a stage further and gives more of an insight into 'how' someone who's suffered can really recover - and proves this with the many case studies included. I think this will run and run in the future (COPAST) as very much part of 'the bigger picture'. What I think 'turned me round' was the understanding that we are the 'receptors' of all thoughts - and 'don't' need to fight/flight this as it will be 'after' the event. Indebted! Jan Cr Jun '07
Hello Will Thing is I also think you must go against your instinct and not listen to the suggestions that your anxious mind thinks up. As these what if thoughts ARE only there as your mind is in this anxious state,
1) you should not question(fight) that thought or
2) investigate that idea any further as this will further increase anxiety.
The point I am trying to make is any anxious thought is correct so we should not fight these thoughts or push them away. Also we should learn NOT to accept the thought as truth or further investigate that content of these spurious thoughts as they are only there as we are in this anxious state.Can you see the point I am trying to make????We should learn not to listen to these thoughts. Is that correct??Its soooo hard trying to explain something going on in ones head! Nice one Nick
Thanks matey, ill take a look now. I had reached the same conclusion as you on this, and it was great to hear it echoed by your site, and another inspiration has been Claire Weekes. Im not sure if you are aware of her teachings but she was the number one on anxiety states etc during the 60's and up until this day her material is very relevent. I dont buy into her 'sensitisation' malarky, but if you take the idealolgy of being 'in a vulnerable state' emotionally, and you reactions being more pronounced than usual because of this, it ties in very closely with your understanding of this also. I am seeing good progress in myself, but because i have had this trait in me for so long (since i was about 6 or 7) its very easy for me to see it as 'part of my personality', when its not, its just habit, fear and memory working together. Its very reassuring than i am not the only one like this as for years when i was very young i knew i had a problem but didnt know how the hell to explain it to anyone else and therapists are so keen to try and find deep seated issues which just aint there, they overcomplicate the matters themselves and make one even more anxious. Aftere reaching a low point at the beginning of the year, i thought it was wise to seek outside help, which i felt i needed, but at the same time, knew the cure was in ME, so it was a hard and tearing decision. I have been seeing her for a while but as she has never really suffered from this herself, and certianly doesnt entertain the idea of the 'fear of fear' and its related complications, i havnt made any progress through her, though it is nice to 'talk' to someone for moral support. I think i will probably tale it off soon, but i may introduce her to Claire Weekes's work and if i may mention you journals so she can see for herself that ' i wasnt because i wasn't loved as a child' ;), (i was by the way, its just i was most of the time too anxious, confused and introspective to feel it). At last i can rest easy on that front and at least know i am on the mend and i know what i have to do, the rest, is up to time and my spirit.
Take care Will SJ (assumed name requested) Mar 07
Hope your well. Making progress slowly, but, making progress none the less so all good.
I was in the gym today, and admittedly i wasnt feeling so good, but i reached what i feel was a fairly good 'analogy' for what we/people can suffer from. See what you think, might allow the penny to drop even easier for some people.
Imagine you are doing your day to day stuff when suddenly, you have an itch on your leg. You have had alot of itches in the past, and, they are all very normal, but this one is really tickling. . . you scratch it. As you scratch it though, you make it actually more itchy, and not only that, your finger is getting sore too. So, you itch it some more as its really tickling now, but you end up making your finger so sore, that you end up drawing blood, not only on your leg but also your finger. Now you in a right mess, with blood everywhere not knowing what you've done. . . as you cant scratch it anymore, you give up, but something amazing starts to happen, both the leg starts to heal and also the finger.. . and what did you do, nothing. . . it took care of itself.
Now, replace the 'finger' with 'your brain' and the itch on the leg as an initial unacceptable thought or feeling. The more you actually 'scratch the itch', trying to soothe it with your 'scratching', the thing your actually using to scratch it with (your brain) gets into a state where, its not even able to be used to scratch the itch anymore, and becomes part of the problem. (confusion/loss of perspective)
Your mind can become so 'overloaded' that perspective is lost, and things take on more importance than they usually do, but, this only occurs when you have been doing this 'forced' secondary thinking. As you say, its the lack of understanding that 'itches can take care of themselves' that make people think they need to be scratched. . . . .annoying as they can be, they do go away.
itches come and go. . . . i guess you can liken them to 'testing times'. When you mind starts to become 'frayed', it is the time when you have to just 'let go of the reigns', and actually let nature heal you, akin to letting postive primary thoughts come in and draw you out of the feelings.
I know its not a perfect analogy, but the 'getting a sore finger' bit that im trying to put across, and i can see how a number or disorders can start this way. Everything people feel is genuine, but its the fact that your mind can loose perspective that i feel is important due to this secondary thinking. When you get like this, it certainly takes a giant leap of faith to take the first step to recovery. Your parallels to Claire Weekes, still amaze me. Have you managed to grab her book yet? SJ May 07 (this is answered in Journal 8)
Will, I've 'really' been helped by these journals - I am amazed you can keep it all so simple? I've suffered with 'repetitive' anxiety since I was a teenager and could never open up even though my parents were very caring etc etc etc. Because of the type of people we are, we have to be pretty desperate to talk, as I know now from all your contributors that the 'intelligent mind' can be a frightening place. Your sections on 'How to break the cumulative chain'/'COPAST' Diagram are perfect parallels with my suffering and I just thought I'd write to tell you (and others if you choose to put this on) that this understanding has changed my life! I've been searching for answers for a 'very' long time and the 'not do' solution you have is remarkably workable and yet so easy to see why so many of us 'fall into the trap' of 'doing' something about our predicament. I think it frightened me to read each page, in case it confused me, but instead it confirmed everything I'd thought and thankyou for that - quite important really. Indebted! Thanks again EB May 07
Will - A great book - in fact the most helpful book I've read on this subject. 'To the point' and simple to understand - I've really been able to see the 'opposite' effect now after so many years of torture. It is hard and you don't put 'any frills' on it - my anxiety will take time to disperse after so many years, but I 'know' this is right and will persevere through the bad times by 'not reacting'. Thanks 'not only' for your experience, but your ingenious in working this out - I have a grip on this now. Manu May 07
On Wed May 23 17:49 , 'Nick Watts' sent: Hello Will How are you? Been a lot better of late since I put down all the reasoning and concentrated on avoiding the fighting. Now I am getting better. The thing is when you start to think “What is the fight?” your back fighting! I do find visualising a boxing ring (Journal 2) and then seeing the temptation to start fighting. When the questioning thoughts fly though my head I know not to dig as they ARE the temptation to fight. When I get these prolonged periods where I feel anxious and questioning thoughts start to fly , I just remind myself NOT TO FIGHT I like to call these periods as “ Ring side” or as you like to call it “breaking the chain”. I now understand that you cannot banish these thoughts. Other wise you WILL LOSE! All you need to do is not to fight/dig further. Accept, Accept and Accept. Anyway nice one Will for you help.
Hi Will, Just wanted to thank you for your book! I'm recovering from obsessive panic, and you're so right about the whole panic process! I am also very inspired by the works of Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now & A New Earth). Do you know him? He basically teaches the same thing for people in general. To become aware of your thoughts/feelings without clinging on to them. We are not the thinker, we are the awareness behind the thinker. It's such a relief knowing that ;) Many thanks Anja, Holland. May 23, 07
Hi Will Many thanks for this. I have already found that I am starting to feel more in control/less anxious having read some of the information on the website. I am looking forwared to reading the attached, Kind regards C June 8 '07
..On Wednesday when I received the new journals, particularly journal 4, I started to read it and seen my correspondents in, then i read your reply to my last e mail. I just thought about it for a couple of days and It clicked. Now it obvious. *ANYTHING* that goes on in my head, feelings anxiety thoughts *WHATEVER IS FINE* as long as you don't question ,doubt... NW May 06
Mike S. I was anxious about receiving your journals - as you'll know - we want to read everything anyway. Thankfully, your argument is consistent throughout, whilst being appied to people's different situations, I'm starting to get this... Jun 06
Will, I am definitely what you would refer to as a 'flighter' as I do tend to 'take off' when I feel panicky. A lot of your focus is on perfectioinists, which I know I'm not and appreciate that you have experienced the 'fighter' response, so you refer mainly to this. I am just telling you that I feel I have nevertheless really benefitted from your explanations - and understand what you mean by 'cut-offs' - it has become apparent to me that I 'take flight' as you say - when my cut-offs are already 'in operation'. There is a sense of excitement inside of me at the moment - thanks for your selfless hard work with this - you should be quite proud of the effect it is having as we can all read. Catherine D. Jun 06
Thank you Will I have recieved that E Mail. Yes its getting better all the time, up and down but getting more up than down now. Thankyou for your support. Its only the panic explaining is the problem. NW Jun 06...... Thanks Will again without you I would be still in the sh*te. It is horrible situation to be in, and when you read other people getting stuck I so feel for them. But its so eeasy. How long did it take you to figure it out? Hats off to you. I was thinking (oh god!?!?!!) ,well it was my brothers idea, why dont you set-up a forum on your web site I would love to help other people, perhaps another persons view would be useful. Anything I can help with your site, please be free to ask Anyway thanks NW Jun 06
Message: This is the 'best value read' - it's interesting - innovative - and more importantly - takes great strides to help people like me who suffer this dreadful affliction. I actually clicked with this as soon as I saw your M.O.R.D, but took great comfort in those comments from sufferers who respond to your advice column. Much appreciated - this has restored my faith in people who care! A.M July 06
Message: Hi Will Thanks for your journals. I have started reading them. I may record my progress for my own benefit and if you wanted to, to add to the journal? I already have one question - your writing is great by the way (that was a compliment, not the question): although I am very alike you (not many men admit they panic)... see also 'Advice Column 2' section Rob July 06
Message:Will -- You are a star! For creating the website and sharing your abilities of recovery and keeping correspondence with fellow 'recoverers'! Thanks for your advice, the journals and information on the website are sinking in.... Rob July 06
Wills theory works. After reading peoples accounts, people get too confused :- Leave your head and sort it out. It's your panic that's the problem, don't get confused with your negative state. The panic IS the problem. This panic explaining is the 'separate' process, it's where you constantly/consciously question, e.g., this is not right, what if, what, when, why, questions fly. Everything else in your head is fine. Just avoid the panic. It does come but it will take time. See the panic and avoid it. Say you are in a mental knot about how you are thinking. At some point you will feel the need to enter the panic process, the fight. You cannot miss it. Once you see it and don't react - more positive thoughts are then allowed to flow. Negatives are then allowed to balance out. I still feel panicky at times. Like last week I thought about when a song is stuck in my head - is that OCD? By not panic explaining this thought - more positives are allowed to flow like - don't be silly - positives balance out negatives. Let your own head sort it out. :-) Nick Watts '06
What the Author says here is that there's a way for us all 'to be' and as long as we don't 'deviate' from this, we'll cope and move on in life. A fantastic, practical account, which shows ‘recovery’ from this dreadful illness ‘is’ an achievable goal – ref the ‘Advice Column’ to see how this works in reality. Abid H '06
After taking this all in now, I am actually doing much better and can really see an improvement in how I am handling things. With time I really think this could be the answer for me. I realise now that I do know what I am doing to an extent and have to trust myself more without obsessively questioning if I am confused about the theory behind it.
I just do feel more in the flow now but am really having to try still till it becomes more natural. Again many thanks to Will here, it is really refreshing this approach. So I am being more patient now and realising it will not happen over night and that I have a long history of anxiety to break away from. A great help, Anna '06
Will has really have done a wonderful job with this book. I come to think that this is too good to be true. You make it very easy for me to be in your shoes. It is as if you can read my mind sometimes. I am 32 and I live in Greece. I have experience some panic attacks a year ago, but with the help of antidepressant I have somehow overcome the physical symptoms. Although I don’t feel that I have recover because I think I have not change the thinking patterns that have forced me into this mess. And the thinking patterns are very close to what you describe. Although these patterns have helped me to finish college and do my masters they don’t seem to be very helpful with managing your feelings. On the contrary they can lead to a complete wreck. Very gratefulsomething I can work with. Vp '06
Just a quick note to say 'thanks’ for sending me this book. When I picked it up - I thought it was excellent, but didn't really have enough courage to 'look outside' my compulsion. One thing that 'did' stick was your comment about 'cut-offs', as this was totally new to me. However, one day I was driving and feeling really panicky -and I thought 'as I recognised this' - am I 'cutting-off' here? I 'twigged' that there was no need to follow this up and it all became clear. On reading Will’s concept - a revelation I would say, as this has really taken me on as I knew this was realistic and truthful. I am intense and yet realise now that I can work through this and have more confidence than ever that I can be me. Hope this helps people see how it’s affecting others. Many thanks Adam B '07
Well. .after many, many years of thinking I was weird, I had a BIG mental problem, I suddenly stumble over a something that in a few simple lines cleared my mind and made sense of everything. 'Anticipatory thinking'. Thankyou Will, for taking all the flounce and baggage out of this :) I too would say my character is like yours, my GP calls me one of 'life’s sensitive people' :) which I don't mind, especially as I now can handle my thinking, Your work has a been wonder of a read, almost like looking in a mirror. I was put on Seroxat 10 years ago for a massive panic attack, trouble was I got left on. In the last four years I have read and digested as much as I can about the drug, People like me and panic/anxiety. I am on the last 3ml of Seroxat and hope to be off it in about 6-8 weeks, the withdrawal phase is hell but, at least I know it is the drug and not me. Your concept has affirmed for me my 'normality', thankyou for all the time and effort you must put in to share with us.. excellent stuff young man .:)) Jan '06
I found this book really useful. Regardless of your own journey, it is down to the individual to stop these secondary thoughts, but the simple recovery advice is a welcome addition too, as I can really equate with many of the contributors. Aaron '06
I am definitely what you would refer to as a 'flighter', as I do tend to 'take off' when I feel panicky. A lot of the initial focus is on perfectionists, which I know I'm not and appreciate that Will experienced mainly the 'fighter' response, so he refers mainly to this at the start of the book. Nevertheless, as I read further, I really started to benefit from the explanations - and understood what he means by 'cut-offs' - it has become apparent to me that I 'take flight' as he says - when my cut-offs are already 'in operation'. There is a sense of excitement inside of me at the moment - thanks for your selfless hard work with this - you should be quite proud of the effect it is having on your sufferers! Catherine D. '07
I'm just amazed at how Will has broken this down simply into a process that everybody can do. The journals are a great tool in the recovery process – and more evidence than ever that we all have our own ‘path’ to follow – if we accept it and don’t react to it. Anon '07
After suffering for many years I had reached the same conclusion as Will on this, but it was great to hear it echoed by his book. Another inspiration has been Claire Weekes, her work ties in very closely with his understanding of this also. I am seeing good progress in myself, but because I have had this trait in me for so long (since I was about 6 or 7) it’s very easy for me to see it as 'part of my personality', when it’s not, its just habit, fear and memory working together. Its very reassuring than I am not the only one like this as for years when I was very young I knew I had a problem but didn’t know how the hell to explain it to anyone else and therapists are so keen to try and find deep seated issues which just aint there, they overcomplicate the matters themselves and make one even more anxious.
At last I can rest easy on that front and at least know I am on the mend and know what I have to do, the rest, is up to time and my spirit
I think this is a message for us all - your mind can become so 'overloaded' that perspective is lost, and things take on more importance than they usually do, but, this only occurs when you have been doing this 'forced' secondary thinking.
When you get like this, it certainly takes a giant leap of faith to take the first step to recovery. This book’s parallels to Claire Weekes still amaze me. SJ '07
I found this book really helpful - I am amazed it can all be kept so simple? I've suffered with 'repetitive' anxiety since I was a teenager and could never open up even though my parents were very caring etc etc etc. Because of the type of people we are, we have to be pretty desperate to talk, as I know now from all these contributors, the 'intelligent mind' can be a frightening place. The sections on 'How to break the cumulative chain' and the 'COPAST' Diagram are perfect parallels with my suffering and I just thought I'd write to say that this understanding has changed my life! I've been searching for answers for a 'very' long time and the 'not do' solution is remarkably workable and yet so easy to see why so many of us 'fall into the trap' of 'doing' something about our predicament. I think it frightened me to read each page, in case it confused me, but instead it confirmed everything I'd thought and thankyou for that - quite important really. Indebted! Thanks againEB '07
Will - A great book - in fact the most helpful book I've read on this subject. 'To the point' and simple to understand - I've really been able to see the 'opposite' effect now after so many years of torture. It is hard and you don't put 'any frills' on it - my anxiety will take time to disperse after so many years, but I 'know' this is right and will persevere through the bad times by 'not reacting'. Thanks 'not only' for your experience, but your ingenious in working this out - I have a grip on this now. Manu '07
Now I am getting better. The thing is when you start to think “What is the fight?” your back fighting! I do find visualising a boxing ring (Journal 2) and then seeing the temptation to start fighting. When the questioning thoughts fly though my head I know not to dig as they ARE the temptation to fight. When I get these prolonged periods where I feel anxious and questioning thoughts start to fly, I just remind myself NOT TO FIGHT I like to call these periods as “ Ring side” or as Will likes to call it “breaking the chain”. I now understand that you cannot banish these thoughts. Other wise you WILL LOSE! All you need to do is not to fight/dig further. Anyway nice one Will for you help. N '07
Will, Many thanks for this. I have already found that I am starting to feel more in control/less anxious having read some of the information. I am looking forward to reading through it, Kind regardsC '07
Message: Will - this is, indeed, a very private illness - one which keeps us trapped unless we figure it out for ourselves, as I agree, no-one really seems to know what they're on about. Until now. You have thrown this subject wide open - I couldn't believe what an impact just a few words could have. If you've not been there - it's always hard to know - but you do and, more importantly - you have figured it. Please champion your cause as this site/journals are gold. Yours.... Kurt F... July 06
Message: Hi Will Just wanted to say thanks for the journals. I had a really rough time last night and to open this, this morning has made me realise that there are others out there and I'm not on my own. Thanks for everything and keep up the good and hard work. Danielle Aug 06
Message: Hello Will things going very well.really starting to get at ease with myself. Still get times where i feel panicky or stressing about whether its right or not. But i now Know that that is primary thoughts. What happens now After a while it builds up until the point where i think Right PANIC Fight to sort out this session. I then Know not to fight. Then its gone. Then its good again. Now i know that panic usually sorts it out. Once i think right panic and don't then it gets better. At the moment I am starting to get weeks of good, and only days of panicky so we are getting there. Now sometimes i forget completely about it for hours and then remember it again . Before i used to panic then Because i thought it was back again. Now I think oh yes and thats that. It is so simple i the process is very easy to define once you realize what is is.I was reading the new journal about that woman Ann?, getting lots of negative thoughts over and over. thats ok just run with it however long it lasts. She might be like that for days even weeks but it will pass and she will start to think more positive. I understand it fully now. Thanks Will , keep in touch. NW Aug 06
Will, This is great (re: Journal 5) - in essence, you're saying we shouldn't question when we 'come out' of the negatives or positives. In this light, we can then 'act' on the positives, which of course, are the greater force. A wonderful, ground-breaking insight into the workings of the mind and, of course, our own self-doubt... Sash C Aug 06
Hello Will I have been thinking. I am further down the road than I give myself credit for. I cannot panic any more. its now ingrain . No matter what thought i get or how panicky I get I cannot fight. Its subconscious. As i am not doing it any more. I get panicky about whether the theory is correct. as it is so good. But the panicky times always develop to a point, then its gone. It`s strange. Time will tell and in all honestly time is one thing I have got. Thanks N Aug 06 (see also Journal 6)
Its me r. Thanks for your journal. method you have told in your journal was great. and i am sure that the best natural method to get rid from this disease. my disease is just coming bad thought every second on my brain. i dont do any ritual things.what happen now a days to me that i get out from this diease now and then not fully but more than half. i try your method. i was so relief but it just happen for 2-3 weeks only and again back to my old disease. so just want to your opinion on how to get be relief all the time fully and confidentely.hope to get your reply soon.
Thank you Sept 06
Will - Thanks for these - a relief to know I'm one of many! A lot of things are straightened out, mainly by the fact that I have seen reality in this and that people show it's not all easy riding but very trying at times. I know this is the way out for me, you must have felt an enormous relief when you figured this? thanks again CGill Nov 06
Will a quick referenc eto your section 'Opposites'. Totally true and remarkable the order in which you put this. What we do is more than we have to, yet we think it's the way to deal with our angst. Our in-built protector your right, and something re cut offs that Im getting better at reading all the time. thanks again Anon Dec 06
Hi Will, Many thanks for these - I know you warn us that we need to keep it simple - but I honestly don't think you over-complicate it. I know this is a checking illness for us fighters - but your solution is always clear. The 'crux of my recovery' has, indeed, been the 'not do' you so strongly advocate. A nasty little trick our minds play on us that we must 'do' something when really we need to do nothing - as all has been and gone. Thanks for all of this - an inspiring journey! Deborah Ar. Feb 07
Will - just one more point - I know Anna - Journal 5 - had trouble with her 'unacceptable' thoughts - but I think people are going in too deep as you say - beyond what is necessary. I totally concur with that as I knew exactly what you meant on your recovery page when I saw it, about 'the daydream' example. We do cut off from situations and its just not reacting to that we have to understand. I think I picked this up very early on and want you to put this out wherever because people obviously 'have it bad'. If you do choose to run future 'sessions' if your work allows please let me know and I'll run an article on this. Gemma H Feb 07
I hope i can be helped too, this, for me has been going on for about 18months, came out of nowhere, well perhaps not. I was feeling odd for a couple of weeks and then it hit me! I can tell you about this if you like?
Anyway, thanks for sending the journals! wow they are good. Many thanks Nicholas Feb 07
Hi Will - I found your book really useful. Regarldess of your own journey, it is down to the individual to stop these secondary thoughts, but your journals are a welcome addition too, as I can really equate with many of your contributors. Many thanks once again Aaron Feb 07
Will, Many thanks for this journal (1). It has certainly helped me to understand my own situation. I frequently think my thoughts are not 'normal' and can see how this becomes the 'basis' for my anxiety. Keep writing! Aug '05 Sam D
I have read your journals! Great stuff.
Liz :) Sep '05
Thanks for your reply.I have been suffering for a while now & want to recover asap.
It's great that you have recovered, I just wish I recover too.....I will use you as an inspiration.I have been married for 9 years & have an 8 year old son, but have had this for most these years after a stressful period in my life.I just want to be free!!
I have a trip to Florida coming up, a birthday treat for my son, which I am dreading due to my panic, I feel that I will panic when I get there & want to come back. I haven't travelled anywhere since I have had this but feel that I am making life a misery for my wife & son. Kind Regards Daniel *Certain personal details have been edited here to protect anonymity. Sep '05
What intrigues me here, is that you have not done this with medication? I really want to recover and find that I 'fit in' with many of your explanations - I suppose I need 'confirmation' and I know that you highlight this as a 'typical' character trait. I hope your next Journal gives me this, as I've seen you've already answered questions on this subject. Many thanks. Oct '05
This is forum material - I hope you don't mind, but are you happy for me to discuss these ideas further? (My answer was yes!) Oct '05
This is the best source of info I have yet seen. It has made a 'real' difference as it has given me understanding. Your idea that recovery is a 'not do' makes complete sense as I have made the same mistake with my perception of 'having to tell myself to let go'.
Many, many thanks. J.Piper Oct '05
I didn't understand what you meant by 'resulting' behavior, but then got the answers to the 4 tests right! I guess this is your way of saying that 'unconscious, spontaneous' controls will 'only' happen when we first deal with the 'overdoing'. Very credible - this has actually given me understanding and, more importantly, hope. You've helped clarify what I think I picked up on through my struggle anyway. Corey
My answer to this was 'Yes, that is what I'm saying!' - the rest of this conversation will be covered in Journal 2. *Please note, there are actually 3 tests in Journal 1. Oct '05
I've had some bad experiences and spent a lot of money trying to find answers to this dreadful illness. This is actually giving me hope - for some reason I find it easy to trust in what you're saying. What I like is that you give us your strategy and we then have the 'choice' if we want to follow this up. Thankyou. Milly. Oct '05
Will, This is interesting and real. Many thanks once again C.B Oct '05
Will, Your Journal must be a lot of work for you.Impressive. . .I admire your energy! Regards, Janice M Nov '05
Will Thanks I received your journal I will now try to put the 'not doing'into practise, sounds like itshould be easy but for us overthinkers,awfulisers and what if's etc., it's easier said than done.Thanks again and I look forward to receiving your next journal. Best wishes Anon Nov '05
Will, In some of my darkest hours, comments and stories from other sufferers have helped me through.As you know when things are really bad, you can be surrounded by people and still feel very much alone because no-one really understands unless they have suffered themselves - 'who feels it knows it'!So it's good to read things from fellow sufferers and comforting and reassuring to know your not alone in your thoughts and fears and that there is a light at the end, of what seems, a never-ending tunnel. Many thanks Anon Nov '05
Will, I thought I would just drop you a line to tell you 'how much of a help' this has been to me. I have suffered with severe anxiety for years and yet, have never understood how to overcome it. You have given me hope - as I can now see where I was going wrong. More to the point, I understand that we have all the controls there anyway? So I don't have to find any other controlling strategies - I, in fact, have to take a step away from these. This is truly brilliant! I DO feel relaxed now by resisting the temptation to react to 'what's already happened' and, like you say, 'what's already been controlled'. I will persevere with this, as I know I've come through the worst and can sense things are not as bad as they seem. Keep writing - please! Maria S. Nov '05
Hi, Thanks for this again (Journal 2). I think the difference here is that you say we have 'stay with' what's spontaneous, and that this actually includes natural controls, as well as our initial thoughts? (and after my response) Yes, thought so. I realise that our initial controls don't have to be 'double-checked' and, instead, accepted first time. Last time, I felt stressed out/panicky reading your Journal (ref: Journal 1)as I think we all have our 'set' ways for dealing with this illness. However, after reading it - I tried 'not fighting' this feeling and gave it a go. I can see that 'at the exact point' of recognising my stress, I was actually subconsciously controlling/coming out of this. This is real and workable - I am 'passing through' my panic now like never before - no issues made. I hope this helps others - thanks again Sam D. Dec '05 (The whole dialogue will now be put in Journal 3).
Will, Many thanks for both Journals. I will certainly try to put this into practice - as a 'not do'. Anon Dec '05
Will, Thanks for these, they make a lot of sense. I have tried this already and it seems to have worked so far - I will get back to you. R.G Dec '05
Dear Will, These journals make a lot of sense and I am trying to put them into practice and so far so good, especially rather than ruminating over anxious thoughts, the not doing is helpful. Anon Dec '05
Will, I haven't read anything, which exposes this illness quite like this. I think there is a much bigger issue surrounding this - namely 'how' we gain control 'the right way'. I would recommend anyone reads this - fact, not fiction. Jill K :) Dec '05
Hi, I think this could 'blow the lid off' many traditional therapies. One simple solution accompanied by your detailed reasoning - I kept coming back to this site after, initially, dismissing it. I think you've got this right and given me the chance to really understand what I'm doing. I didn't think anyone else could quite think the way I did. R.Fraser Jan '06
Will, A great site followed by the clarification I needed. The section on your advice column has given me hope.. Anon Jan '06
Will, This is a very interesting interpretation of 'how our minds work' - I've not picked up on this anywhere before and yet totally agree. I credit you for keeping your solution extremely simple and actually, breathed a sigh of relief when you based it 'all' on reasoning and understanding. There are so many jokes out there and also therapists who comment, but have never been 'in it' like we have. This should go further, as it's changed my life in a matter of months and has a message there for us all...(this is also part of the 'Advice Column' entry in Journal 3) Anon Jan '06
Hi, This has really helped me. I can really say I have got an understanding of what I'm doing now. What you have to say works! Many thanks JH Feb '06 (This is also part of a longer e-mail exchange)
Thankyou for your honesty/time you have taken to do these. My situation is almost identical to your 'obsessive compulsive' enquiry. This has given me real hope after so many disappointments. Avril M Mar 06
I still struggle with this concept as I 'want' to panic. Sounds crazy doesn't it - but at least you have made me realise this is understandable and something I shouldn't feel guilty for. I know I have to resist this temptation and believe in me :) Your faith 'in you' is inspiring! James Mar 06
Thanks for these - I have come to understand that it is my 'reaction' which is the problem and NOT my initial thought(s). This is a great help, thanks. Anon Mar 06
Your method works! I have isolated the process...NW Feb 06 (see also 'Advice Column 2)
Hi Will, I'm just in the process of reading Journal 3, which is really helpful ....many thanks J.S (part of a longer conversation, which may also be in Journal 4) Mar 06
Thanks to your journal I am coming to understand that by trying to stop having the negative reaction in the first placeis actually causing
me more problems, and that by not fighting the negative thought natural control takes over and a positive one takes over.This is great.
Laurence Mar 06 (also in Journal 4 - see 'Advice Column 2')
Will, this is very similar to the 'Sedona Method' - I'm very interested in what you have to say here - I certainly think I 'take flight' from situations as you describe........ (this is one of several comments I've had about simlilarities with this method) A.S Apr 06
Will You have obviously worked very hard on these (re: journals). I now feel I have a very clear understanding as to what I'm doing. Not only should you be credited with your own recovery, but also your ability to tell this as simply as possible. Many, many thanks.Jo S 21.04.06
Will, this is a great help and the simplification that I needed. Can you give
me any other info/examples as to 'how' we know when we are in 'primary or
secondary' thought? Many thanks DM May 06 (see 'Advice Column 2')
Will, Journal 3 really 'struck a chord' with me - especially your article
for the 'Anxiety Conference' - I often find I have 'perverse' thoughts
- do these ever go away as I find this really difficult to deal with?
Anon May 06 (see 'Advice Column 2')
A selfless contribution - Not only interesting, but definitive and to the
point. It makes me wonder how many people are actually like this?
Mike May 06
Many thanks for these, I feel like I'm getting to grips with what
you're saying. Look forward to Journal 4! J.K May 06
The very thing that are we doing to 'stop' our panic is actually the
cause! So simple, yet incredibly hard for me to work out, until now.
I will track your progress with this concept - as I think this has a
message for us all - that our problems are caused by 'reactionary'
deviations from the normal 'subconscious runnings' of life. I thought
- how could you keep giving us information in your journals, which
was more than your site - but the specifics really showed me 'what
you're talking about' as well as the consistent message - I was
frightened this would confuse me, but was surprised to find that
'all' your reasoning fits in neatly with your recovery. Thankyou
also for selflessly answering my questions throughout my
doubting stages !- inspiring to know that we can escape the