How to live a fulfilled life with anxiety and PTSD

My own personal anxiety

In several blog posts I have described PTSD and GAD, general anxiety disorder. And I have really been general. Today I want to write about my personal anxiety. The one I feel when I have my days where I’m not at my best. I am reasonably good at telling about other people’s anxiety and things related to PTSD. 

But my own personal story…it’s not so easy to tell. Although in the book “The Long Way Home” I did quite well. What I think is that many people who visit my pages have read about general anxiety and PTSD. There are many good websites and resources that write about this. 

But how is it for you in your everyday life? What is it like to feel the effects of flashbacks, sweating, nightmares, night wakings, lack of appetite, lack of will to live… it is very individual and personal, of course. Enumeration of criteria for having a concrete diagnosis is too simple or impersonal.

But how is it for you in your everyday life?

When does the anxiety sneak up on you?

If only I knew?

An observation I made a few years ago was that I could wake up with a lump of anxiety in my stomach, and then I knew that if I got up wearing the lump, the day would not be particularly good. If, on the other hand, I managed to get back to sleep (which was difficult of course), even if only for a few minutes, I could experience waking up again without the anxiety.

And then of course I got up. A strange experience and I have yet to find an answer to it. The closest I can come is that sometimes, especially several years ago, I experienced that I could feel the anxiety building up throughout the day. Being cold in all extremities was a sure sign that I had anxiety. 

Cold hands, cold feet is unpleasant, and I understood that it was connected with the anxiety and a form of dissociation. The solution, if I could manage it, was to sit in a chair and, if I could, fall asleep for a minute or two. Then I could actually wake up with warm hands and feet, and the anxiety was gone. This is how I physically experience my PTSD.

The solution was…


How does it influence your life?

It’s hard. I admit it. My PTSD has spanned four decades and some. Sometimes it has become such a big part of me that I ask myself the question – do I have PTSD or is this just living as a human being?

I have had this for so many years that I struggle to compare how I felt before I was diagnosed. That is: I went to Lebanon and was seriously injured there as an 18-19-year-old. Then it’s hard for me to know what it’s like to live without it. But I have some indications. There is something called the mountain of memory in professional language. 

It is simply explained that we often experience not remembering things that happened before the trauma. In my case it is very true, I struggle to remember what happened in my childhood and youth. I have some memories, of course, but I am often unsure whether it is me who remembers them or whether these are fragments of things that have been told to me.

I was seriously injured in Lebanon as an 18-19-year-old.

In the last few years, 10 years, however, I have gotten better at remembering. Oddly enough, and I interpret it to mean that I am getting better, both with the diagnosis and with life as such. In any case, it’s good to remember good things from childhood. And that tells me that I had a nice childhood, I was an active boy and I did a lot of different things. 

I had some anxiety back then too, but nowhere near as much as I have had 4 decades later. The changes can easily be dated to before and after Lebanon. As my older brother put it: You changed after you did your service.


Is it possible to "get rid" of it?

Or what will it take to avoid it?

It is difficult to avoid the anxiety and all that a PTSD diagnosis brings with it. Also, I’m falling into the trap of giving general advice again. Here I am going to tell you how it works for me. You may have a different angle on it. But if you recognize anything, that’s fine. With me, in short, a predictable everyday life helps me. 

Absence of everyday problems is an advantage. Imagine the thoughts we often have late on Sunday evenings, with another steep and tiring week ahead of us. The thoughts about problems that lie unsolved before us become quite large. Then we wake up on Monday morning, get some caffeine, and suddenly it’s Tuesday, Wednesday, and the difficult and intractable problems from Sunday night are vanishingly small, if they’re there at all. 


Then imagine a life where Sunday’s problems swirl in your head constantly, every day, every hour, every evening – and never stop, no matter how much coffee you drink or how successful you are in everyday life.

It’s PTSD. That’s why I work hard to avoid such things. I go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time. Often eats very regulated. (I stopped drinking alcohol 10 years ago- and have never smoked)  Exercising manically, (good for more things than just PTSD) keeps me informed but doesn’t delve into news and things that I know trigger me. If there are situations that mean talking about Lebanon, I choose the time and place. (Not in the evening and not if I’m tired, for example) 

I of course attend social gatherings (I like it) but I also notice that I burn out quite quickly. I try not to be a yes-man not all the time, and if I say no, I work on the guilt to avoid it arising. (Guilt is often linked with anxiety.) I depend on enough sleep, that’s very important, enough food, also important, very small amounts of conflict.

When all this is in place, life actually becomes relatively livable. Then it sometimes happens that I even feel that I am my old self and I contribute with surplus. I write, I smile and I’m social.

A life worth living?


Live a life without fear?

It would have been good. 

But I do not believe that any of us, with or without PTSD, live our entire lives without anxiety. The lump in the stomach can be good sometimes. It sharpens us and gives us energy, but it is clear that if it is constantly there as a trembling, painful, corrosive feeling, it makes little sense to continue living. 

I have experienced being without that lump a few times. (Actually quite often in recent years.) Then I notice how good life is. I can “smell” reality. I is a cliché,Iknow, but I hear birdsong, children’s laughter and see colors in a completely different way.

It is no problem going to the store, I even  crack some jokes to people around me, and I become “un poco” Zen, if you know what I mean.

It’s a good feeling, and I find myself thinking –

what if life had been like this all along?

It would have been something.

And feel free to drop by

That would be nice

Thanks for the visit

Do not hesitate to contact us again