"This is what I needed to hear to save my life."
Do you live in constant fear?
Do you worry that something terrible is about to happen?
Do you have trouble breathing, relaxing, and sleeping?
Do you think you’re losing control, and that you’re going to die?
Are you trapped in your personal hell, and don’t know how to get out?
I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like. Shallow breathing, tension in the gut, chest pains, rapid heartbeat… Every moment is exhausting, crushing, and painful. Anxiety destroys your confidence, your productivity, your relationships, and your ability to enjoy life. The worst part is the obsessive hopelessness – the gnawing sense that you’ll never feel happy again.
Fear no more. You CAN put an end to your suffering. You CAN start living again. And it’s not as hard as you think…
For a long time, I thought I was going crazy. I’d convinced myself that something horribly wrong was about to happen. One half of me pretended to be normal while the other half tried to keep it together. I was serious and tired and afraid, all the time, and I didn’t know how to shake it.
Then one day, I discovered the cure for my anxiety. When my mind processed that I’d found the solution, I started laughing. The answer had been so obvious all along...
Play It Away covers my entire journey: what caused my anxiety, the "A-ha!" moment that lead to my cure, and the exact steps I took to get my life back. In less than one month, I was back to my normal self. I was free.
I wrote this book because I know how frustrating it is to be crippled with anxiety – to feel like you're in a state of living death, where you're constantly stressed and ashamed of how you feel, and don't have a clue how to get yourself out of it.
This book will show you how to heal yourself quickly, cheaply, painlessly – without the use of drugs, and without having to pay thousands of dollars for professional help.
Every moment was exhausting and painful. I thought I’d never feel happy again.
It happened in a flash. It wasn’t hard. It didn’t cost me anything. It was only a choice.
To create for others what I wished had existed. I want you to find happiness again.
Remove Your Anchors → Heal Your Mind → Heal Your Body → Heal Your World.
This is what happens when you stay connected to your work all day (and stop sleeping).
I’m no longer serious or worried. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to face the world.
Play is a state of mind. You don’t need more free time. You don’t need more money.
For a long time, I thought I was going crazy. I’d convinced myself that something horribly wrong was about to happen. I thought I would be attacked or arrested every time I left my apartment.
I saw criminals and undercover cops everywhere I went. I was sure that there was an impending disaster that would melt the social contract and pit my neighbors against me. All that “world is coming to an end” talk? I believed it. And the only thing that made me feel safe was worrying.
Every moment was exhausting. I dreaded being around more than one person at a time. I eyed everyone like they were judging me, pitying me, or trying to manipulate me. My attention was constantly divided. One half of me pretended to be normal while the other half tried to keep it together. I could feel parts of my face twitching, like I was about to crack. My hands shook constantly. It got so bad that I couldn’t drink a glass of water without spilling.
I tried to behave like nothing was wrong, when all I wanted was to lock myself in a room and curl up in a ball. I felt fragile, weak, and hollow. If someone had tapped me on the chest, my body would have shattered.
I didn’t want to be around anyone – not because I stopped liking people; I just didn’t want them to catch my weird energy. Everything felt forced and fake and exhausting. If someone experienced something great, I didn’t care. If someone went through something horrible, I didn’t care. If a friend wanted to go to the movies, I’d say, “Yeah, let’s do that,” but felt like they were trying to drain the little bit of life I had left.
I didn’t have thoughts of I want to kill myself, but I did think I want this to be done. There was no meaning, purpose, joy, excitement, stimulation, or sex drive. I wearily watched my girlfriend cry after I confided that I felt dead inside, all the time, and didn’t know how to fix it.
I was ashamed, because I couldn’t explain it without feeling like a failure. How could I possibly be so miserable and unhappy? What right did I have to feel this way? Couldn’t I just tough it out?
I laid on the ground in the fetal position for 20 minutes one night, wondering whether I should call an ambulance. My heart was beating so hard and fast that I could actually hear it, and my left hand was going numb. It was my first panic attack. I closed my eyes and trembled as two deafening thoughts played on loop in my mind:
You are going crazy. You are going to die.
There’s no ‘I’ in anxiety. Wait. Yes there is. Oh my god oh my god oh my god.
— Eliza Bayne
My anxiety lasted for more than a year. It affected how I breathed, how I thought, how I ate, how I slept, and how I talked. I was serious and tired and afraid, all the time. I wanted so badly to return to my normal, lively, carefree self. But I had no idea how to shake it.
I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. I told her about the panic attacks, and explained the inner turmoil I was battling. She suggested that I get an EKG at the hospital, just to make sure my heart was okay. Then she gave me a prescription for a pill she described as “a non-addictive version of Xanax.” She said it would help me sleep, and that I’d feel better in a few days.
I couldn’t believe it. I practically skipped home, clutching the little orange bottle to my chest. I finally had an escape hatch from my relentless tension and fear.
Just as I was about to take one of the pills, I decided to look up the brand on Wikipedia. My heart sunk as I read the warnings listed on the page:
High addictive potential...
Withdrawal symptoms can range from anxiety and insomnia to seizures and psychosis...
Great. Instead of suffering from anxiety, I can become a psychotic-epileptic- insomniac junkie...who still suffers from anxiety.
I read through dozens of blog posts and forum discussions about the drug. Nearly everyone said it stopped working after the first week. I couldn’t find a single testimonial of this pill curing anyone’s anxiety.
I took the little orange bottle to my bathroom and reluctantly flushed all 30 pills down the toilet.
I was extremely discouraged, but my desperation to cure myself was stronger than ever. I spent the next several months trying to conquer my inner demons. I researched and tried everything...
I even took a six-week course made specifically for men who wanted to overcome anxiety.
A few of these things helped, but most of them didn’t. Some of them made things worse.
Then one day, it happened. I discovered the cure for my anxiety. It took me a moment to fully comprehend it, but when my mind processed that I’d found the solution, I started laughing. The answer had been so obvious all along.
In less than one month, I was back to my old self. I woke up one day and nearly overlooked how great I felt. My anxiety subsided so steadily that I no longer noticed it. Just like that, it was gone. I was free.
The process for healing myself was fun, painless, and immediately effective. I have no fear that those awful feelings will ever return. If they do, I’ll be able to wipe them out right away.
In May of 2013, I wrote a lengthy essay called How I Cured My Anxiety and published it on my blog, CharlieHoehn.com. I didn’t have a huge audience, but I suspected the message would strike a chord with my readers. It did.
Within two weeks, the post was read and shared by tens of thousands of people. I received hundreds of messages from anxiety sufferers all over the world. The post was so popular that it shot up to the #1 position on Google for the search phrase “cure anxiety” – right above Oprah.com.
My post was honest, but it was incomplete. It didn’t contain everything that helped me; only my first major breakthrough. I wanted to share all of the techniques that put my life back on track and healed my pain. That’s the book you’re reading right now.
I wrote Play It Away because I couldn’t find anything like it when I was searching for my cure. That’s the point of this book: to create for other people what I wished had existed. I was so jaded after trying all these different things that never seemed to help. Then a few key pieces clicked into place, and I was back to normal. And at the risk of sounding like a late-night infomercial, the cure for my anxiety was so much easier than I imagined.
It’s my sincerest hope that, by sharing my entire story, you too will find your way back to health and happiness. But before we continue, I need to lay down a quick disclaimer. Just so there’s no confusion, please understand:
I am not a health care professional, and while a lot of these chapters contain actionable advice that you can use in your life, this book is about MY experiences curing MY anxiety. What I did might work for you, or it might not. You need to figure that out for yourself by using your own judgment, not just by blindly following my advice (or anyone’s advice, really).
In order to properly treat anxiety, one must identify and fix what is causing it. The primary source of my anxiety was me. I was the creator of my own suffering. I just couldn’t see it.
“Charlie's transformation through the rediscovery of his own innate play nature stands as an example available to all of us. Access your own unique play capacities and infuse them into your life! It works!”
“After reading your book, everything clicked for me… There are so many parts in it that I can relate to; the anxious feeling from coffee, lack of sleep, too much time spent on my laptop/iPhone, and so many other things… I can’t explain how nice it was to know that someone finally understood AND has solutions to change those feelings… The answers I’ve been searching for and asking doctors about for almost the last 3 years, you were able to summarize in one book.”
“As someone who has been racking his brain trying to figure out where I went wrong, reading this was a gigantic breath of fresh air.”
I'm a developer who’s been struggling with burnout for a long time. I read your book in a single sitting. The only feedback I've got is THANK YOU! I'm so appreciative of your words because they validate what I've been feeling deep down all this time.
I’m going to implement this stuff on my own, even though I don’t feel like I struggle with anxiety. I just think this can help me be a happier, more fun person.
I’ve become so isolated and miserable... Somewhere along the way I ended up working every second I could, thinking it made me feel better... I can’t remember the last time I did something fun and not felt bad about doing so... This is what I needed to hear to save my life.
Charlie Hoehn is an author, marketing strategist, speaker, and play enthusiast. After graduating from Colorado State University in 2008, he studied under and worked with a number of bestselling authors, such as Ramit Sethi, Seth Godin, and Tucker Max. He worked alongside Tim Ferriss during the production and launch of The 4-Hour Body, which hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list and sold over a million copies.
Charlie is the author of Recession-Proof Graduate: How To Land The Job You Want By Doing Free Work, a popular career guide that’s been read more than 150,000 times. His work has been featured by The New York Times, NPR, CBS, TEDx, and Business Insider.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org