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Justin Shipley 07-02-2009 07:18 PM

Anxiety - some help, please...
Time to come clean...

I live with anxiety

It affects every element of my life, and i have had enough

I know we all like to brag about meeting Pukie AFTER the workouts, but it gets a bit draining when he's there to meet me a couple of mornings a week BEFORE i go to work ( i'm a trainer )

I trust you guys, so I'm opening up in the hope that some of y'all in similar situations can share ideas, websites, or other resources that have proven useful

Three days a week when it's WOD day, I'm as good as i get, but things take a dive on rest days

Don't want sympathy, just tools to reduce the weight of this millstone around my neck...

Thanks, in advance
Justin :)

Andrew H. Meador 07-02-2009 09:42 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Justin, we're all an interesting concoction of maladies, sometimes. Why do you train? I train because it makes me feel better, because it advances my goals in life, and because I want to know who I am when I'm under pressure. You need to figure out why you're engaging in physical training - be honest with yourself - then you need to embrace your motivations. Without that, we're just unduly placing more stress on ourselves. If this sounds like you, then I would suggest making a couple of small changes, like a different warm-up or a change in the style of your training clothes, to get yourself excited to train instead of being anxious about it. You probably hit a low on rest days because of a combination of fatigue and lack of exciting stimulus. But rest days are necessary, so you'll have to find out a way to handle the days off. Keep us updated,


Justin Shipley 07-03-2009 02:11 AM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Thanks for replying Andrew

To answer your question as to why do i train; all the good reasons, y'know... increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains and all that...:) But also as therapy; for example, i feel better on workout days from the endorphins, from the feeling that i have lived up to my expectations, performance-wise, or exceeded them, i feel better because of the measurable progress. But let me put this into perspective; the traditional pre-WOD anxiety that is common to many CFers is small change compared to what i feel a LOT more often than is enjoyable or healthy:(

This is something that has been with me since i can recall, and i didn't mean to give the impression that my own training or lack of it is the deciding factor as to whether i feel good or not.... don't get me wrong, it's a factor, but i do't have all my egs in that one basket, so to speak.

A bit more info; i have struggled with cannabis addiction for 20 years, and am currently getting 'clean'...again... i know, sounds like a weird affliction for CFer, but i have no idea what heavy lifting 'straight' feels like.... always had a 'session' before and after to get in the 'zone'

Now i can visualize a whole lotta you rolling your eyes at this point and slamming your hand on the table and exclaiming "DUH! There's the problem and the answer right there!"

Not so fast. Alot of my symptoms are kept at bay being stoned constantly, but so are a whole lot of positive aspects of my personality and character, hence the quitting.
But when i do straighten up, i am simply left with the inescapable truth that the problem is ME, not my feeble attempts at self medication, or at least not once i stop smoking

I absolutely relate, Andrew, to what you said about exploring how you deal with extreme pressure... that's a prime reason why CF is and will always be a part of life for me

I am a trainer at a globo that is not only CF tolerant, but CF positive, a great environment, at least one other trainer of the 7 there is as excited about CF as me. I pour a lot of effort and passion into my clients' training...maybe a little too much... i will sometimes lie awake at night thinking of the right cue to bring a client past a stumbling block in their development. I dunno, is this level of commitment common to other trainers too?

I have high expectations of myself, and low tolerance for excuses or bull*****, and those same elements i know i bring to the party when i train others, which has resulted in great progress for my clients and consequently a solid reputation as a hard but fair trainer who really knows his stuff and will push you hard

Look, i dunno where this reply is going but there you have it... a bit more information on where i'm at:shrug:

Kevin Shaughnessy 07-03-2009 08:11 AM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Kava is something I've heard is usefull for anxiety. Its a psychoactive drug, all natural, non-addictive. Its supposed to decrease inhibitions and help you relax while keeping your mind as sharp as it would be sober, ie doesnt effect judgement or speed of thinking, and apparently can actually enhance it. If you get it order the root, not the extract that comes in pill form.

Also, a good psychologist may be able to help you.

Justin Shipley 07-03-2009 03:25 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
What does a good psychologist look like?

The only one i've seen was so daunted by my physicality - the whole deferrment to the alpha male thing - like, he was 5'4" and lucky to be 130lb, with me 6'2", 210lb, covered in tattoos and literally taking up most of his tiny office - it was a frustrating waste of five sessions

Obviously there are psychologists and psychologists, just as their are trainers and trainers, and mechanics and mechanics.... any tips on who or what to look for or avoid?

Also the silence is deafening out there!

I had no idea you were all so well-adjusted and balanced all the time...

Speak up all of you with mental illness!

Demystify this subject!


Robert Gutierrez 07-03-2009 09:17 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Hey Justin, I feel your pain. I've suffered with anxiety and anxiety attacks. I am recovering fully with the help of strong faith in God and a method that I purchased on the net called the Linden Method. It' somewhat pricey at about $160.00 but at the time I purchased it I did'nt care. It's got a lot of good information and some good audio files (relaxation visualizations). The main 2 points to the whole method are changing your thinking patterns by using diversions and learning to breath correctly (using your diaphram). It also discourages the use of any medications, especially benzodiazapams, which can be very addicting.

Another good resource is The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Bourne. This is under $30.00 at Barnes and Noble. It basically teaches you how to live "In" the anxiety instead of fighting it.

If you have any questions about the Linden method e-mail me at and I can share some of the more important aspects of the method with you.

Good luck and hang in there,

Robert G.

Justin Shipley 07-03-2009 09:49 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Gracias, Robert

I'm looking up the Linden method now...:)

Ted Apollo 07-03-2009 09:50 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
congrats for making this step justin! i bet it took alot to even put this out there?

i want to start by saying i am not a doctor and am no way giving you medical advice, but i can share my experience for what its worth.

i am actually pretty familiar with your condition. i know someone who is going thru something very similar to you. alot of psychologist are finding that chronic marijuana users are forming these anxiety/paranoia issues. and it seems that users with this anxiety/paranoia disorder seem to get worse when they stop using. like you said it was a form of self medication.

but alot of times the reason for the chronic habit or self medication is due to other psych issues. have you ever been diagnosed as bi-polar? due you have insomnia? you might want to check with a professional to see if you can get a medical diagnoses.

when i was reading your post and some of the replies i began to think of something i read in a dalai lama book. a western psychologist read the dalai lama a list of symptoms of a patient of his. i faintly recall but the dalai lama replied that it is impossible to understand an individual without understanding all experiences that have made up that persons life. i interpreted what he was saying that each person needs to understand himself in order to end personal suffering.

the Buddhist believe life is the cycle of suffering or what they call 'samsara'. they believe that we are responsible for our own suffering due to unrealistic expectations from life. a good example is the story of the glass chalice: a buddhist possesses this beautiful glass chalice. a persons asks the monk if he will be mad if the chalice falls and breaks. he replies 'no, eventually one day it will break. it is made of glass and because of its nature it will eventually break.' by understanding the reality of situation the buddhist will be able to avoid suffering when the object does break because he understood its true nature.

the buddhist also believe life can be 'nirvana' or total happiness. they believe if you see life for what it is you will be able to enjoy every moment and not set yourself up for suffering with unrealistic expectations..

Justin Shipley 07-03-2009 10:57 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Thanks for replying, Ted

Yes it has taken a bit of work to open up but not as much as it did to admit to myself that this is not normal, this is not getting better, and i don't know what to do

A combination of my own character plus the strong influences of both grandfathers (each WW2 vets), a rough tough professional footballing father, and a pair of equally no-bull**** uncles, has meant that i have struggled with their voices in the background of my existence since i can recall-

"get on with it!"

"Don't be a sook!"

"there's two ways to do everything; the right way, and the wrong way..."

"Go hard! Get in there!"

''Come on; COME ON!"

I know my expectations of myself are more in keeping with what i interpreted as THEIR expectations of me, rather than an acknowledgement of who i am and my own strengths and weaknesses, but ican't shut them up!

So i suppose acceptance of how things ARE is an issue, which is what you are getting at Ted? Funny you should mention Buddhism- the psych i mentioned earlier recommended i buy 'The Art of Happiness' by the Dalai Lama, which i duly did, but it has sat unopened on my shelf due to the negative association with the waste of time that this psychologist was...

unshelving it now...

Thankyou again Ted:)

Katherine Derbyshire 07-03-2009 11:30 PM

Re: Anxiety - some help, please...
Crossfit does give a nice endorphin dump, but the competitive nature of the workouts may be dumping additional stress on your system, too. Not to go all West Coast on you, but you might consider working in something like yoga or tai chi. Both focus on breathing, balance, and correct movement, all of which have a calming effect for lots of people. Both are also at an "active recovery" level physically, which might make them a good choice for rest days.


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