Are You Anxious When It Makes No Sense?
Do you inexplicably shrink back from the things you want? Do you hide when you want to shine? Does your heart thump against your chest when you pick up your phone to make an important call? Does your throat close every time your child rides his bike?
Logic Says Everything Is Okay, But Your Body Signals Danger?
Anxiety leaches the joy out of simple pleasures, puts a lid on how successful you can be in your work and creates distance between people when all you want is closeness. Perhaps you want to inspire confidence in your co-workers, but you can’t catch your breath and your face flushes during meetings. You may want to cross the room to introduce yourself to an attractive stranger, but your knees turn to jello. Maybe you’ve even taken a trip to the ER, convinced you are having a heart attack. You might experience flushing, sweating, nausea, breathlessness and chest pain, which are common signs of panic.
You Are Caught In a War Of Nerves
Perhaps you’ve talked about your fears with your friends or family members. You may have tried deep breathing or other relaxation techniques. You might have hired a coach, recited affirmations and struck power poses before important interviews, presentations or dates. But something deserts you when you need it most. It’s hard to be creative when a good deal of your attention is caught up in a war of nerves, and you are likely tired of the frustration and disappointment you feel when you think you’ve let yourself down. Do you wish there were some way to get a handle on these automatic reactions, but feel it’s a lost cause?
Anxiety Points to Undiscovered Country in Your Inner World
Hunting and gathering in the wild, we needed shots of adrenaline to keep us alert and energized to fight or flee. It made sense to fear darkness and loneliness. These fears kept us safe. The complexity of modern life, however, demands a more sophisticated response. First we need to figure out whether the threat you are feeling is internal or external. Your fear may be guiding you to take action on your own behalf. If it’s internal, then we need to do some detailed discovery about why your nervous system is signalling danger when all appears to be well.
No More Sudden Shyness Leaving You Alone By the Bar
Anxiety treatment can help you mitigate sensations of worry and fear, discover the source of your anxiety and recalibrate automatic reactions that are causing you to panic in stressful situations. In sessions, you’ll take a deep look at yourself, your life story and any traumatic experiences from your past that may be contributing to your anxiety. When you learn to know yourself, you can calm down and move toward contentment and healing.
Your Story Deserves a Listen
Here’s how a story can unspool from a symptom: One day last year, my office building had no water, and I worked by phone from home. A patient (who has given me permission to tell this story) told me that even though I had called and offered a phone session, he had a feeling of panic because he did not think I really meant it. “She doesn’t want to hear from me,” he thought. “She doesn’t want to work.”
He discovered that these thoughts were actually clues to barely remembered feelings about his mother. She was ill and overwhelmed with the needs of a large family. Even as a tiny child, he would study her at the ironing board, trying to figure out whether he ought to ask her for anything. Here’s the sequence we were able to unearth: He knew he wanted something. Then, he would study his mother for clues as to whether she might be approachable. More often than not, he would decide not to bother her. Thus, he sidelined his own needs. This is where he learned to deny himself and feel proud and right for doing so. The idea of a phone session caused him anxiety because he needed his session and thought he had no right to ask for it. He was convinced that he should stifle his own needs.
People Worry We Will Find Terrible Things. Maybe You Loved Your Mom and Dad.
By learning to look within, this patient remembered something he always knew, but didn’t think was important. However it was important, as it allowed him to reflect on and work through his negative thoughts and emotions about the past. He can now ask for what he wants without feeling anxious about being a burden. He learned that the other person might want to give him what he needs and that his fears are perhaps misguided. He has a better understanding of his rights in a relationship. In this way, anxiety led the way to understanding.
When you follow your anxiety back to its source, you can learn to identify your anxiety triggers so that your symptoms can seem more tangible and therefore more manageable. When parents are anxiety-ridden, children can sometimes learn to fear their own needs. But with the help of anxiety treatment, you can learn to honor your wants and desires and stop letting fear rule your relationships. You can ultimately gain greater self confidence so that you’ll feel less anxious when communicating with others.
Anxiety treatment can put the pleasure back into new experiences – no more fighting on vacation. Anxiety treatment can unlock your natural curiosity about people – no more sudden shyness leaving you standing alone by the bar. It can help make public speaking less frightening so that you can successfully navigate giving presentations, speaking with colleagues and pursuing networking opportunities. Imagine what it would be like to use all of your brainpower to solve problems and create novel solutions at work, instead of wasting your energy trying to manage your stress?
Perhaps you’re ready to give anxiety treatment a try, but may have some questions or concerns…
The Thought of Anxiety Treatment Makes Me Anxious
Yes, it can feel totally awkward to step into a stranger’s office and begin to talk about how frightened you are. However, your initial discomfort will enable us to get to work immediately and to figure out the nature of your fears and their source.
I Wanted to Solve This Myself
Good. I like your grit. It will serve you well during anxiety treatment and may shorten the time we spend together. On the other hand, what will it cost you to lean on others for support? It can be hard to get perspective on your own thought processes and emotions. Another mind thinking about you and another heart feeling with you can be intensely rewarding and can help you achieve greater insight that perhaps couldn’t be possible otherwise. Nervous systems influence each other. When we are young, we borrow our caregiver’s calm to calm ourselves. It works the same way in therapy. You borrow my calm in order to learn to calm yourself.
Money is Tight
Anxiety disorders are stubborn. When left untreated, anxiety can lead to depression and substance abuse. What’s more, anxiety disorders in parents often lead to anxiety in children. The benefits of therapy far outweigh the cost and can actually save you money in the long run, as you won’t have to address any additional adverse effects of anxiety in the future.
Anxiety Doesn’t Have To Be Your Reality
With the help of a compassionate, trained therapist, it’s possible to gain control over your anxiety.
Take the first step to understanding your anxious feelings now. Download my one-page primer on two different kinds of anxiety and the effective treatments for each.