Anxiety Over World Events

Hi all,

I've got Asperger's Syndrome, General Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder focused on obsessive worrying. So it may come as no surprise to you that I'm finding living through recent world events rather... difficult.

I'm coping really well in comparison to how I would've done a few years ago, my meds and my forays into mindfulness etc. have helped wonders, but "really well" still means jumping at every small noise, having a really high heart rate, hiding under table, not being able to focus on things, having awful mental visions of worst case scenarios, the whole shebang.

I've been through CBT twice, the first time the therapist came back to me after a few sessions and said, "I've just been to a workshop on Autism and I don't think this'll work for you so I'm going to cancel", the second asked me a lot of questions about my daily life and eating and all sorts but only really told me about mindfulness, which I knew about in my studies in the interim (it was a 3 and a half year wait for more CBT). I try to meditate but the worries are so all-consuming and they bring about such vivid fear that it's difficult to maintain a sense of detachment from them. It's also difficult because as the worries are based on world events they are things that could happen, they are actually feasible. Their likelihood may be debated but the fact that there's a chance they could happen makes the fear real. I worry less when I watch things or play games but when I'm doing "boring" tasks the worry and fear comes back because my mind wanders and it's hard to stay focused when I have such fearful worries, but life is full of "boring" things that have to be done, and I've got to keep living my life. It's got to the point where it's quite-literally paralysing worry and fear. It also doesn't help sleep at all, I have melatonin which basically drugs me to sleep and my anxiety meds do make me drowsy a lot so that helps but when I've really got a worry on I have a lot of trouble sleeping as I don't feel "safe".

Anyway I was just worrying if anybody else is feeling or has felt the same way and if anybody had any ideas as to how I could help myself.

  • Hi I don't have anything to offer other than avoidance! I stopped watching the news,I don't read so called newspapers and turn down the radio at news time. I know it will still be there, I also know if I search for stories on any horrible subject I will find plenty,so I don't.

    sorry if this sounds simplistic and rather childish but short of what I say I don't have answers.

    look after your self. I also try to watch nothing but comedy on tv,way to much nasty to pick.

  • Don't worry about something you have no control or influence over.

    Listen to music instead of looking at the news.

  • Various wise people are ascribed this:

    Student: what would you do if you knew the world would end tomorrow?

    Sage: I would plant a tree.

    About 2 years ago I had a REALLY bad bout of depression and anxiety and I made strict rules then about what I exposed myself to in terms of media. I won't watch news on TV, I will catch up on either BBC Radio or Radio NZ for headlines. I will read some print media but I don't do images (online I switch to screen reader friendly)

    Visuals for me are too raw and visceral.

    I'm old enough to remember various cold war crises as well and although I was involved in antinuclear causes then I'm not any longer.

    Both girls (one has ADHD the other ASD) know they can talk to me about anything that makes them worry and helping them find perspective does help.

    My "tree planting" involves working for a more accessible and sustainable health system. It's only a drop in the ocean but if I didn't do my bit who would?

  • As Lonewarrior and Quirky friend have said really. I stopped watching and looking at Tv and even radio news. Now just to keep up I look at the BBC news app which gives headlines but then it's my choice if I want to read about it in more depth. As Quirkyfriend says find a way to make a positive contribution somehow, whether it's signing an online petition, supporting a charity of your choice, voting, or some other practical way. As Lonewarrior says try to find a counterbalance which makes you feel good, like comedy.  I do this too. There is plenty of light comedy on the radio or YouTube. I also listen to something positive ( like a podcast, story or comedy programme)  or neutral ( like nature sounds) as I go to sleep so that I try to concentrate on that rather than what I'm worrying about, it doesn't always work but it helps.