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Old 12-28-2013, 08:32 AM
IBS_Cure IBS_Cure is offline
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Default How to effectively reduce anxiety

Hi Dr. Joe,

Thanks in advance!

I have read the self-coaching on anxiety and depression book. I agree with your theory. However, I feel I am running out of ideas at the second stage and maybe first stage, too.

I have IBS. Mine is not really a physical damage on my GI tract. I might have a bit sensitive GI. In the worst time, I could not even go to a meeting if it was more than 30 min. Even it's within 30 min, I still have stomach cramp at the beginning of the meeting. I have panic attacks when thinking about going any trip need 10+min drive. The issue normally doesn't exist if I stayed at home or at work. Now I have tried acupuncture and it improved a lot - I sometimes go out for dinner and dance. So I think the sensitivity part is in control. It gave me some confidence. But I still can't predict when I have control of my symptom, which means I can't make travel plan or any fun plan outdoors without warning people the possible last minute change.

The trouble now is the symptom can still be triggered if I know I need to go out for a trip with more than 20 min drive. Or go to a place which I have to stay a bit long and have to use public restroom. I found out dancing help a lot. Once I start dancing, the stomach cramp just gone. The problem is the trip to get to the dancing studio, it's a 20 min drive. For example, my stomach start cramping this afternoon cause I was planning to go dancing tonight. I made it yesterday since the only symptom was cramp. I have to cancel the one today because I started diarrhea. Once I called my friend to cancel the dance, my symptom was gone in 10 min.

I am fit in your definition of worrier and perfectionist. I do have strong personality and don't like failure. I am trying to take it easy on lots of things nowadays. But I really need to control IBS in order to get my life back. Even though I tend to have confidence on myself on most of things, but I don't have enough confidence on controlling IBS. I have very strong motivation. How can I effectively control the anxiety which causes and was caused by IBS? How can I stop listen to my anxiety? Once I am in that anxiety, it start triggering symptom, which makes the previous fiction becomes fact.

Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:53 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,015

It's not entirely clear how stress and anxiety are related to IBS, but studies confirm that this relationship is real. Since the colon is partially controlled by the nervous system, stress will often trigger symptoms. The key for you is to recognize the importance of developing self-trust. I realize this concept generates a whole host of "what ifs," however this is the path you need to be on. From your note it's clear you appreciate the mind-colon connection (i.e., 10 minutes after you cancelled, your symptoms were gone). There is no doubt you've been inordinately sensitized to the embarrassment, discomfort, and unpredictable nature of your symptoms, and yet, in spite of this wariness, it's very important for you to recognize that insecurity-driven thinking (which has now become a conditioned response), must be stopped. Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to "almost" stop these thoughts, you are going to have to completely stop them. This is the 'let go, let god' aspect of being able to tolerate the risk involved with self-trust. The best Self-Coaching advice I can give you at this point is to begin to recognize how self-doubt gets it's foot in the door, starting the chain of physical reactions. You cannot give these insecurity-driven thoughts an inch. As you've read in the book, you may not be able to stop that first thought from popping into your head, but you really can say no to the second thought, third thought, etc. You can practice this in non-colon related aspects of your life. Learn that you really can say no. At some point you are going to have to trust your capacity for not anticipating symptoms. This will take a courageous attitude along with a willingness to put yourself at risk, but it will also minimize or eliminate the stress component involved in producing symptoms in the first place. Anything that helps you stop the insecurity-driven thought process is golden, whether it's a firm act of will to stop the runaway chain of thoughts, relaxation techniques, alternate nostril breathing (example in the book), or any form of distraction. Your incentive is to always be aware that stress is up to you. If you're convinced that reducing stress and stress thoughts will only make your life better, then it's the stress-thought, not your symptoms that you need to work on.

Dr. Joe

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Old 12-28-2013, 05:23 PM
IBS_Cure IBS_Cure is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Default Thanks

Hi Dr. Joe,

Thanks for your prompt response on weekend.

I was so frustrated on myself sometimes even though most time I have been trying to keep a positive attitude.

I am very aware my symptom is mostly stress related and I need self-trust. I trust myself on lots of area. I always be a tough woman. I guess there is a life of balance that everyone has to have some weak points. I would hope my weak point is something else which I can handle or control. I also realize when I kept telling myself don't think about it - it meant I actually was thinking about it. I really hope I can build up the ability of switching channels.

I am and will continue trying your suggestion on practice on non-colon related issues.

Yours need-more-courage patient
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