[INFJ] - What's Your Experience of Anxiety and How do You Cope? | INFJ Forum

[INFJ] What's Your Experience of Anxiety and How do You Cope?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Night Owl, May 18, 2016.

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  1. Night Owl

    Night Owl This Bird Has Flown

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    There's probably a thread somewhere already on this topic, but I couldn't find one and it's poignant enough anyway to resurrect it from the grave of the forum's past. Indeed, no doubt anxiety has been a common experience throughout humanity's history, but it seems today's climate is particular conducive to exacerbating the experience of anxiety. Of course, we also have a developed understanding of anxiety and mental health in general.

    What makes today's climate anxiety inducing? One might say it's because of a fast-paced consumerist lifestyle, combined with the breakdown of a social fabric of mutual support as characterised by the recent phenomena of the isolated nuclear family, smaller nuclear family's (thus people being raised with fewer or no siblings), and urban environments and a suburban sprawl that divorces the majority from nature, not to mention greater time for leisure which technological advancement has allowed, which could lead to greater peace in 'soul-searching' but often leads to reflections on life and its meaning that stoke the fire of an existential crisis. Not to mention how the average Western lifestyle does not involve physical exercise which has been shown to reduce anxiety, and so we have to 'tack it on' or go out of our way to go for a walk, or swim, or play a sport etc. Whereas in the past people, except perhaps the aristocracy, were forced to exert themselves physically, including simply walking, since their everyday life required it - they didn't have to schedule 'a stroll' 'to find 30 mins' of exercise.

    Specifically targeting an INFJ response, but it'll be great to hear from anyone and everyone. Hopefully this thread can help people in this area.

    What has been your experience of anxiety? How long have you experienced it and/or been aware of experiencing it?

    How do you cope with anxiety?
     
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  2. OP
    Night Owl

    Night Owl This Bird Has Flown

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    I personally suffer the physical effects of what is most certainly a mild-moderate anxiety, involving difficulty breathing, prolonged increased heart rate, a tightness in the chest, and very infrequently a mild shaking. Such anxiety is all on a fairly regular basis that often can make it take a long time to get to sleep. Yet funnily enough rationally I'm never really overwhelmed, or cognitively anxious, I'm mentally calm, it's like my body is doing one thing, my mind another. I've only been aware of it as actual anxiety for 2 years, and in hindsight it's been this way for at least 4, and likely longer but I can't recall. Since it's not unmangeable, my way of coping is simply by not focusing on it, or worrying about it - I think that can be the worst thing, and the last thing I want is for it to turn into a means of getting stuck inside my own worries in a kind of self-obsession/pity party for one. I imagine this is made easier for me to do than others who would suffer acutely from anxiety. Being manageable, I just ride it out, whether the storm, distract myself if I can with some other chilled activity after taking some time to breath in and out, stretch and/or walk - the former I find really helps, and I try and just turn my experience into a prayer itself by mere intention, so that I feel it's not a wasted experience. I'm never sure 'when an episode stops' 1) since they last quite long in a mild.moderate way, and 2) overcoming not thinking about it, it fades away into the background without impeding my life.
     
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    #2 Night Owl, May 18, 2016
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  3. gd65h8as7

    gd65h8as7 Permanent Fixture

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    Meditation has fixed like 90 plus percent of my anxiety issues, the only way it becomes a problem is if I'm around someone who's high strung and can't manage their own anxiety.
     
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  4. OP
    Night Owl

    Night Owl This Bird Has Flown

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    Yeah, if someone else is anxious, I often (not always though) absorb it involuntarily. Even then, fortunately for me it's never so much a problem per say.
     
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  5. aeon

    aeon Ooh, a bunny!
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    Dx’d GAD on account of my ever-so-hard working mind that just cannot stop planning for disasters, imagining worst-case scenarios, playing out endless what-ifs, and overall seeing the world in shades of risk.

    I finally figured out that I can’t live my life that way. I listen to my head, but I do not trust it, for it is clever, and crafty, and lies to me, all in what it thinks is my best interest.

    I’m sensitive, in that my threshold for overload from stress/anxiety is fairly low. When that threshold is exceeded, I dissociate. That likely has to do with chronic childhood trauma, and over-activation of my HPA axis.

    About 3 years ago I had my first panic attack. Pure hell. Melancholic depression is a cakewalk by comparison. It feels like I am losing my mind, with rippling waves of anxiety. A kind of brain-fire, if you will. Had about a half-dozen now.

    I’ve had some degree of social anxiety for a long time, and it is that of participating in a group. I could never follow along, and if I said something, my timing was bad or what I said was of the conversation-killing sort. Dyads were always fine.

    How do I cope with my anxiety? I’d say 10% is mindfulness, and the other 90% makes the 10% possible to begin with...Dexedrineâ„¢. It has been a truly life-changing medication for me, and the best anxiolytic and antidepressant I have ever known.

    I have a paradoxical response to it, inasmuch as my pulse rate slows a little, and my blood pressure drops. Perhaps it is because my mind finally quiets down, and stops preparing for the worst. Perhaps it is because my mood is improved. Perhaps it is because of its pro-social qualities, and that I can follow along and participate in a group of people. Perhaps it is because I am no longer lost in a fog. It’s likely all of those things, and more.


    Cheers,
    Ian
     
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  6. Wyote

    Wyote ○●○
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    I had a ton of depression and anxiety from around age 16-24. The main things that prevented it from really spiraling totally out of control were the fact that I had a very supportive family, good friends and I meditated regularly. The two worst points were when I was suicidal for about a week, and a few years after that when I was sleeping 12+ hours a day due to severe depression which culminated in a very horrifying panic attack.

    Honestly, this age frame is just all kinds of fucked up. I don't think I fully leveled off from the insanity until I was maybe 25. I saw a counselor from time to time which sort of helped my emotional state temporarily but didn't do anything to fix my actual problems.

    For me, once I made a transition to a level of independence my anxiety started to go down. I didn't really have anything wrong with my home life at all, and I love my parents and I'm still very welcome in their home at any time, but I started to need my own space to think and explore independently. At the time I didn't really know that was what it was about, I was just frustrated with the world and all sorts of unfairness and stupidness. I still am, but now that I have freedom to explore those things in my own way I feel more empowered and less anxious.

    I think at least for me anxiety creeps in when I start to feel powerless in some way. If I'm able and allowed to be my own person, anxiety is minimal.
     
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  7. dang

    dang LONE WOLF BAD ASS
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    Great post. Real panic attacks are worse than hell (if that is even possible). Glad you have found some relief.
     
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  8. dang

    dang LONE WOLF BAD ASS
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    Great thread. I was actually just about to start the exact same one. I could talk about this topic all day but I will try to keep it brief for now. Simply put, anxiety has defined my life. I have been dealing with a severe anxiety disorder since I was 15. Now I am 41. I no longer have GAD, but I still have OCD. The effects of anxiety are very pervasive. For me, anxiety really does influence every aspect of my life. I have made progress, but I have not been able to live a full and normal life since elementary school. I really need to minimize my level of stress. Day to day I don't have the same level of anxiety that I have dealt with in the past due to a concerted effort to feel as good as possible. I think having a wholistic approach is always best. I do everything I can, including, but not limited to, therapy, medication, sleep, diet, exercise, relaxation, petting dogs, living alone, having a minimalistic life style, writing, singing, nature, family support, eliminating toxic relationships, watching comedy, etc... I could do more, but I am not highly functional enough to do certain things (like work out) that would help me more. I am taking risks and trying other things that could help me. We'll see what happens. I think anxiety disorders go hand in hand with being an infj. I am very sensitive to my environment and other people's energy. I can't relax or focus in a stressful environment. I need a lot of time to myself to recharge and process my experience. Plus it does not help that I inherited my father's neurotic Jewish genes which are very conducive to worrying which can easily lead to an increase in anxiety. To summarize, too much anxiety is paralyzing. Extreme anxiety is like torture. I hope to one day be chill, carefree, and laid back. Doubt it though.
     
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  9. sassafras

    sassafras Well-known monster
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    I'd classify my experience with the physical symptoms of anxiety as moderate. Breathing problems and an elevated heart rate in response to benign stimuli occasionally, but most of my anxiety response would manifest as easy overwhelm, confusion and then tiredness. I get that fuzzy, tight feeling in my throat and chest, dizziness/nausea and then the sudden urge to go and take a nap. Because I associated different symptoms with anxiety, and because this kind of response overlaps more with depression, I never identified myself as anxious.

    Until last year, when my stress levels elevated. I had my first real panic attack. Most of my anxiety would bubble up in the early morning hours and I'd have at least three mini pseudo-heartattacks before 5 am. I'd walk around like a zombie all day, completely apathetic and tired and then, boom! Anxiety party in my bed 3 am sharp.

    Most of my problems had to do with stifling/pushing away my feelings and not having a proper outlet. I'd help and talk to other people about their issues, but I'd never open up about mine. I felt like I always needed to keep myself in hand. What helped was having a couple of people to talk to who pointed out the patterns I never noticed, and helped me look at things from another perspective. It released a lot of the tension.

    The other big help has been sitting with the feelings/thoughts and letting them be. I'd run at the first chance of negativity and squash them down rather than listen to what that part of myself was saying without judging or trying to control/redirect it.

    sex and exercise are also great outlet.

    Essentially, it's been my experience that anxiety is active energy that's trapped and needs a way out. Let it out. Listen to it, throw your body into it, don't shame it. It becomes a bit more manageable when it's out rather than in.

    i had a counsellor tell me to throw a tantrum like a 5 year old, kicking and screaming on the floor. Felt silly at first, but it does actually help.
     
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  10. Stu

    Stu Pre-Pottery B Neolithocrat
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    ^^^^this^^^
    and remembering the reason that no one really gives a shit about me is because I do not matter. (not really)
     
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  11. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    I internalize anxiety and stress. A few years ago I got seriously physically ill from stress. I thought I was coping, but storing stress inside is not coping.

    I still internalize stress and I'm prone to anxiety, but I avoid situations that cause unnecessary stress, and I have loads of 'outlets'. After taking a few years off due to illness, I went back to running, but added more cardio, different work-outs so I don’t get bored, and yoga. I'm not really a 'yoga' person, but I found yoga that is more my style and I do it at home, because I cannot deal with being in a big group of sweaty yoga people. LOL!

    I also play video games now, which is a huge departure from the old me. Video games help brain health, reduce stress, and release dopamine! I play low violence games, though… and there aren’t that many good ones.
     
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  12. PintoBean

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    I have had this experience and it is actually pretty common. Dopamine levels take a nose dive early in the morning, which can trigger early morning waking with anxiety and even panic. I haven't found great solutions except to stay away from stimulating things like computers/games etc, try listening to music, take melatonin, meditate if it works for you. I am mostly like to pop an ambien at this time, which I realize isn't an ideal solution, but at least it circumvents starting the day with panic/anxiety.
     
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  13. Hoodie

    Hoodie Community Member

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    I get anxiety mostly in the city. I grew up forty five minutes out of town, off the grid on eighty acres, so I think it makes sense because I'm just not very comfortable with the craziness of towns and cities- or not used to it. I would avoid walking in town at all costs if I could and same with going into town. I never had severe anxiety attacks or anything really like that, but I'd find it so stressful that I'd come home with stomach aches and headaches. It also feels like my whole body is just... super bleh- like my heart starts to get this worried rhythm and my blood kind of grips the walls of my veins, making everything feel kind of tingly, or hyper active. That's the only way I can think to describe it. Sometimes being in town or around large groups of people (especially events like carnivals and such) gets me so anxious that I break down and just can't stop crying. I think a lot of it comes from being stressed of keeping myself together... my appearance, my performance, figuring out where I need to go and how I'm going to get there.

    I also get a lot of anxiety in vehicles. If people keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the steering wheel, I'm generally happy. But I'm constantly seeing things that other people either don't see or don't care about on the road such as things that look like they could be animals about to cross the road, vehicles that look like they're not in their lane (this one is especially stressing) so on and so forth. I'm doing a terrible job describing this so I'm going to stop now. Basically it sucks.

    How I deal with anxiety varies, I guess. When I have to walk in town, I've just stopped caring what I look like to people, etc. I mean, I still care about it, but I don't think about it. I also just try to remember that most drivers don't want to hit any pedestrians so I'm not as terrified of things like that. I'm still having trouble with being a passenger though. If I'm in the back seat it's a lot better but when I have to sit in the front it sucks. Certain drivers are worse than others.
     
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  14. Sammers

    Sammers Lucky

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    I have always struggled with nerves and anxiety since I was very young, but am not diagnosed with it. When I get anxious I usually shake and talk really fast or not much at all. I also tend to be seen as panicky and it is obvious that I'm anxious. However, it doesn't stop me from succeeding in whatever I am trying to accomplish, I just seem very unelegant and clumsy in doing so. I have trouble falling asleep sometimes as well. The main thing is that I get through it and don't let it drag me down. That's the key to anxiety. DONT LET IT WIN! :)
     
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  15. Ryso89

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    I've had it since I was a toddler. The anxious mind is a result of higher intelligence, an awareness adapted from evolution for humans to be able to detect threats. It is not a disorder, as common knowledge would have you believe. It is a bi product of human intelligence; those with anxiety are simply more in tune (empathetic) and very sensitive to their environment. It is reasonable to assume that those who do not experience anxiety are by comparison less empathetic and are probably less emotionally intelligent than those who experience it.

    I used to be on xanax but I voluntarily took myself off all medication years ago, because I don't like the use of it. Plus, I had grown to a point that I had become able to manage it unlike years before.
     
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  16. Pahndi

    Pahndi Community Member

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    I can get anxiety in large groups. The activity level sky rockets and I don't seem to keep myself collected and calm. I set these subconscious expectations for how I ought to be performing. Then there's compounded stress added to it which inflates my self-centeredness further.

    I tend to look at actions and attribute them some kind of meaning. In a way its a rift between the animalistic/tribal expression and moving towards one's identity. It's been a challenge that I reflected deeper into a well to realize what it is, a bucket of empty doubts. Associating with the past I learned is not as beneficial as practicing being present along with conscious breaths.

    Having grown up with playing games long enough where player dies such as counter-strike, though fun and competitive, can forget its just a game. For the meds I've had, its good to know I have them.
     
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  17. koizora

    koizora Community Member

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    This perfectly describes my form of anxiety. I often joke that I'm too calm for a severely stressed person.

    My anxiety started around 2011/2012. I've had pretty much a stressful life since I was 6, but apparently I was very good at coping with it until college. ....Or maybe it just finally meant my limit was exceeded. I never felt any pressure to perform well in high school, but this changed in college in my first year. The pressure went all the way through the roof. (More than half of the students dropped out because of this, the pressure is this insane! We started with 125 students of which only 14 graduated in the 4th year.. And there are still 3 or 4 people trying to graduate, including me. So go figure.)

    Anyways, my anxiety causes me to get heart palpitations, a pressing feeling on my chest and headaches. I try to get rid of my anxiety or at least relieve it a little by relaxing, but apparently I'm in a 24/7 state of anxiety and it doesn't help, especially in extra stressful periods. My mind tends to be full of thoughts as well. I should get more exercise, but I'm a bit lazy towards sports. One thing that calms me down in extreme situations is music. And crying. Just let it all out.

    When I finally graduate I hope that it means I can get rid of my anxiety for the largest part. I hope I can do this by following my dreams and no longer participating in something my heart isn't involved in anymore and that gives me too much pressure.
     
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  18. Elis

    Elis Change Me

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    I'm sorry to hear about your general anxiety.

    I can't say I've had that myself, but I was depressed for a very long time and something that really helped me to get out of my head was to, as you mentioned, exercise. You say that you take walks, but try jogging/running if you haven't. I used to walk all the time to give me time to sort my thoughts, but it is really different to be out running. or at least it is to me.


    and for the sake of it, I'm probably not an INFJ but used to type as one.
     
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  19. Scientia

    Scientia A true lady

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    Me, too.
     
    #19 Scientia, Jun 23, 2016
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  20. Foxy.Roxy77

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    I had anxiety in highschool (grades 8-9-10) and it stopped along with my depression as well because I realized all of those worries were not real. Facing that person beside my locker wasn't a big deal after all. Socializing in the cafeteria wasn't, either. I was a big hermit those days, trying to fit in at school.
     
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