Profile cover photo
Profile photo
John Prendergast Anxiety & Psycho-Trauma Therapist

Post has attachment
5 hidden costs of anxiety
We’re used to thinking of the worry, panic, fear, etc. of anxiety, but some of the other elements can have huge knock-on effects that we either don’t see or which we do our best to ignore.
Having lived severe anxiety for decades and having gotten out of it with the right help for me, I look back and notice how much easier life got in several ways. I see the same things when working with people overcoming anxiety each week.

1. We live in our hopes but don’t build them into reality. ‘One day I’ll do that…’, ‘I’m working on my book…’, I’m going to get a better job…’, ‘I’ll do a course…’, and so on.

Sadly, we can exist in these ideas while holding back from doing anything concrete to move us forward. The feeling of anxiety gets worse when we try to take action, so we opt out and content ourselves with sweet lies – it feels better in the short term but keeps us stuck in the long term.

2. Seeing the worst-case Scenario. When we’re stressed or anxious we focus on the negative. It just stands out so clearly for us when something is wrong, not good enough, or flawed.

That can lead us to be very hard to live with. I’m sure we all know someone who simply can’t be pleased. Ten things could have gone well but the one thing that wasn’t perfect is all they notice. It can lead to nagging, fights, always giving out, and misery.

Often there is a reason for this behaviour. The anxiety generates a bad feeling and without noticing it we’re pointing out the problem, nit picking again, and unable to see the good – just the problem.

3. Missing the opportunities. The tendency to always see the worst-case scenario is very much related to how we often feel we have no opportunities. One of the things that amazed me once I got past my anxiety was how much easier life had become.

In the past I would have seen many things in life as ‘I can’t do that’, ‘it’ll never work’, ‘it’ll be so much hassle’, etc. No matter what it was, I saw 15 ways for it to be a hassle, a problem, and something that wouldn’t work, before I could see one way that it might help.

Now I’m astounded by the amount of opportunity in life and the amazing thing is it was there all along. I just couldn’t recognise it! Once we’re not anxious or stressed we think differently. Things genuinely feel differently, and life gets easier.

4 Poor sleep has unexpected side effects. We all know we don’t do as well when we’re not getting quality sleep. However, we rarely realise just how big a difference it makes in life. I so often meet people getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night who say they are fine because they can manage and keep going.

Here’s some of how sleep deprivation actually hits our lives:

We don’t learn as easily

Concentration is reduced

Reasoning and problem solving are reduced

Memory doesn’t work as well

Sex drive drops

Judgement is significantly impaired

It’s even been shown that we can be as impaired from sleep deprivation to a similar level as when we’re drunk.

How much of life can slip by if we’re in that state a lot of the time?

5 Immune system can drop. Stress and anxiety are designed for a crisis. If someone is mugging us we don’t need to be fighting off a cold, stress hormone supresses the immune system so that energy can go into the more immediately important tasks of fighting off the mugger or running away.

In the long term the immune system can be lowered. I see more people who complain of ongoing sinus infections, colds, and runny noses than any other physical issue. Of course, it also makes it more likely we’ll suffer cold-sores.

A related issue but which comes about in a different way from the stress hormone is that any touch of IBS (diarrhoea, wind, pain, bloating or constipation) can be magnified and blown up into a major issue.

Yet we think of the worry and stress element and ignore or are oblivious to the rest in most cases.

Certainly, when I was crippled with anxiety and depression I had no idea what was going on or how much of my life it hit.

My advice is to take an inventory of life. It might be painful to do.

But identifying what we are doing, holding back from, and experiencing can give a much better idea of what to do to make life much better.

Simple interventions like Mindfulness and even exercise can make it easier to make headway, and there are therapies with proven track records of reducing anxiety out there.

It’s in our own hands. Waiting and hoping is not a plan for the future.
Have hope, lots of people make huge change in their anxiety and build better lives.

It all starts with awareness. Let’s take a look at life this week.

Then look for what can help. You don’t need the answers at the start.

Once you see the problem clearly you can start looking for the right answers for that.

Change is easier than you think.

All the best,

Add a comment...

Post has shared content
Very interesting piece! Thanks for sharing.
Understanding the Difference Between Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
If inside you're a success then the past doesn't matter. You feel successful and you'll do the things that progress your life.

If you are anxious, hesitant, and keep putting things off then you'll keep putting success off too.

You create success in yourself first. Once you live that then success happens in the outside world too.

I know what I'm talking about on this one. I struggled for years thinking 'this will make me happy' with each thing in life, but they didn't. Until I overcame the nagging self-doubt, worry, depression, over-analysing, trouble sleeping, paranoia about what others were thinking, and so on I was never going to stay happy. Now life is much easier.

The facts speak for themselves. Happy people create more success. Success doesn't as reliably make you happy.

It's not the car, the job, the relationship, or the house that will keep you happy. They'll give you a boost for a while, but then how you feel about yourself inside will reassert itself and your happiness level will return to that lower place.

The one thing that can keep you happy is you. Find how to throw off your baggage, whatever is holding you down, anxiety, depression, whatever. Fix these first. Then it's much easier to become and stay happy and successful.

Focus on the things that will make life easier, happier, and you'll be more successful too as your mind will have more energy available, and it'll be looking for opportunity rather than thinking 'how can I fail?'

Change is easier than you think"
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
What is the biggest part of Anxiety? It's not what you think.
Often when people talk about anxiety they talk about panic and fear around specific things. The usual obvious components of anxiety I see would include:
Fear of driving on busy or large roads.
Fear of flying
Panic feelings coming up around groups of people (canteen at work, pub, queue in post office or bank, office party, etc.)
Anger, losing your temper.
Stress at work
Obsessional thinking about an issue (relationship, what your boss thinks, taking things too personally)
Taking hours to fall asleep, or poor quality sleep
Unable to give presentations / public speaking
Panic attacks
All these things tend to be what we think of as the obvious parts of Anxiety, but are they the big issues? Are they the ways Anxiety holds us back most?
In about 2000 hours of clinical work, years of training, and over three decades living with anxiety, I've come to the conclusion that they're not. The more subtle elements that lie under the obvious are the more damaging. Let me explain:
When I see the above things as part of an anxiety issue, as opposed to where they occur in isolation, there is an underlying feeling of 'not being good enough'. It's odd because when we're anxious, we try to overcompensate so no-one sees our insecurity. We'd deny we're insecure and often puff ourselves up to look confident, but inside we don't believe it.
It hits us in ways like not being able to bank a success. We hold on to what goes wrong and forget our successes.
If someone else does a good job we think they're great, but if we do it there's a sense of 'I got away with it' or there's a feeling as if we're waiting to be 'found out'.
Often huge stress comes with what we have to do. Each step of a task feels like a task in itself. Our to-do list feels like a mountain of stuff we can't ever get through, and it feels like there is no point in trying.
We feel there is never time, but we spend hours in distraction – playing games, on the internet, watching TV, whatever. We fill our days but never seem to advance our dreams or plans.
Each new task or thing we take on in life can feel as if we just know we can't succeed and we don't give it our all.
We see all the ways we can fail and few or none of the ways we can succeed.
These less obvious, but more constant, issues of lack of self-belief - holding back, feeling insecure, etc. change our options and choices every day. They keep us locked into small limited lives where we let our hopes and dreams pass us by.
We beat ourselves up about anything we think may have gone wrong or been a bad choice.
We stay stuck.
That's the true price of anxiety. It's not the occasional crisis points, it's the constant limiting of your life.
I lived that life for over 30 years before I overcame my Anxiety and Depression. It can change.
There is no one way that works for everyone, but I firmly believe there is a way for each of us. You don't have to know what to do at this point, just notice if you do need a change. Start looking for options. That's the first step.
Change is easier than you think.
‪#‎anxiety‬ ‪#‎positivechange‬
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
5 minutes on why we self-sabotage and how to break the cycle.
Change is easier than you think!
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
“With myself, the trauma, it’s very difficult to trust again and it’s very difficult to trust your own judgement too,” Jane adds.

It really makes me angry that the culture of accepting domestic violence is so prevalent here. Even the name is a problem. It’s not ‘domestic violence’ that makes it sound different from the reality that it’s ‘violence’ just as plain and simple.

Old pain (trauma) we don’t think about or that we try and bury eats our confidence, makes us prone to worry and stress, and holds us back in ways we usually never realise.

Thankfully the old trauma can be reduced with the right therapy (there are 4 options that have been shown to work reliably across the world – EMDR, Exposure Therapy, Trauma Focused CBT, & Stress Inoculation Therapy, are all A rated for reducing trauma and PTSD). Getting over it is possible, but it should never be needed in the first place if we didn’t have such a problem with allowing violence to be a part of our culture.

We use so many excuses – ‘he’s a good man really, the drink changes him’, It’s between a husband and wife not our business’, ‘I don’t know what to do or say’ and so on. In each case the choice is to do nothing and to allow it continue.

We need to teach our kids better. We need to shine a light on violence when it happens so it can’t continue in secret. We need to speak out and make an issue of the culture that fosters violence.

Violence, hurt, trauma, shame all stay with us and tear up our lives as we shy away from change and stay feeling stuck and trapped in how we feel. It’s a two part equation. No to violence, yes to change.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Does luck matter?

Only if you try. If you're doing nothing you can't get lucky.
You'll be way more lucky if you work on things you want & try.

Change is easier than you think.
Add a comment...

Living with anxiety isn't 'who you are'; it's what you're doing. It can change. Don't know how? That's OK, start looking
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
5 Reasons your dog should be your guru.

1. They love openly and completely. No hesitation, no conditions. When a dog loves someone it's without hesitation, no holding back, no games, no deceit. Just honest love.

2. They live in the moment. If it's eating, sleeping, playing, helping, or any other part of life, your dog lives in the present. They're not worrying about tomorrow, fearing the past, or worrying if it said the wrong thing. They are living life now!

3. They don't try to second guess others.

4. They eat when hungry and sleep when tired. Their schedule is not a big issue for them. They use the time they have to do what they can, and make the most of it.

5. Dogs like to comfort people. They are more likely to approach someone who's upset or crying than someone who's not according to research from Goldsmith College. They reduce stress (International Journal of Workplace Health Management). They can even help soldiers overcome PTSD. It seems a dog's religion is kindness by nature.

So, look at the evidence, who's wiser, you or your dog? My advice, cuddle and pet your guru more and learn from their example.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Is it hard to talk about it? Real pain always tries to hide. The things that we try to deny, even to ourselves, are the things we know have huge emotion in them. If they didn't hurt so much then we wouldn't shy away from the memory. That pain, or guilt, or shame, or fear, is an emotion you don't think about much but it's always there, always pushing your emotions unconsciously.
You'd be amazed how many people go for help but hold back about the core issue that hurts most. I regularly see people who have been in counselling for years but who never told those counsellors what their secret was. Is it any surprise they didn't get better at that time?

So, what was it that got them to tell me? Well, firstly, I don't ask. It's not a 'talk therapy' in that way. If the hurt/emotion is that strong you are not likely to talk about it. Asking will just create fear. But getting you to understand that the emotion is actually trying to help you – that it's trying to keep you safe from repeating the experience by keeping this pain secret – is key. The problem isn't what happened then. The past doesn't bother us; the current reaction in the brain here and now is what matters. Sure that was laid down in the past but this is the present. There is something active in the present and that's what is holding you back.

Reducing the emotion triggered by that memory unlocks the pain and lets it reduce. That's what happens before I'm told what the issue really is, in those cases where it couldn't be talked about. For so many things in life, talking about it will make it better, but if it can't be spoken about that's fine. There are other approaches too. I often don't know what the memory or issue is that I'm treating. I don't need to, it's not a Woody Allen movie, you don't need to talk it out and cry it out to get better. That can work, but it's not the only method. Once it feels less of a big deal usually the person talks about it, but you don't have to unless you want to.
The core message is 'Don't let not being able to talk about it hold you back'. You can get better and keep your privacy about the event. The things that are most difficult, are the things that create the most unhappiness, often without us being aware why we feel bad.

I've seen one lady who had 9 years of therapy and never told anyone what the problem really was. I was the first person she ever told, and only because we reduced the emotion brought on by what we called 'The thing you can't tell me about'. For the first time in her life she engaged with the problem and made it better. It was a privilege to see.

If you're holding back and need to deal with something secret, have hope. You do need to deal with the big issue, but you can have your privacy respected AND get better.

No matter where you are in the world I can find the nearest person to you with the right skill-set. Feel free to get in touch and let me know where you are and I'll do my best to find you the help you need.

I spent three-plus decades suffering anxiety and depression because I didn't find the help I needed, don't let that be your story. Reach out and make your life better.

Change is easier than you think. 085-1313700
Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded