Whether you shut down or get worked up when life gets hard, both can be signs of unhealthy anxiety.
Some anxiety is good. Yes, you read that right. A healthy amount of anxiety gets you up in the morning, motivates you to finish a project, helps you get things done. Having too much anxiety, however, can be crippling and paralyzing.
Those who suffer with anxiety or panic often feel dismissed and misunderstood by friends, family and even professionals. You may have been told to “relax” or “take a deep breath” or “let it go”. It is simply not that simple.
For some who struggle with anxiety, the current pandemic has created a huge relief. They no longer feel pressure to be or do. Some are finding relief in the collective encouragement to stay home, socialize less and work from home.
For many others, this time has heightened anxiety, fears and worry about physical, emotional, and economic safety. We are facing a world-wide pandemic, a world-wide rise in social activism and a political divide that impacts everyone. Regardless of your race, sex, religion, political view, today’s circumstances affect you. You may notice you are feeling more tired, feeling more emotional, more tension in your jaw, neck or shoulders, heightened reactiveness to others, irritability, crying spells, increased worries and racing thoughts. Perhaps you struggle with being around others or social anxiety, as it may be. If you are experiencing any of these, they should not be ignored.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” The majority of people we see in our office struggle with some form of anxiety whether it’s stress, overthinking, worry, panic, difficulty making decisions, fears and even trauma.
What does this mean? It means, you are not alone in your struggle with anxiety.
Anxiety makes life difficult and impacts all areas of our lives. Anxiety can make you feel like you are suffocating or paralyzed. Friendships can feel overwhelming or unfulfilling and often anxiety leads to worry that you are too much or not enough for others, work and school deadlines can create immense stress and lead to procrastination or avoidance. Sometimes you might feel anxious for seemingly no reason and sometimes you know exactly why you are anxious.
With anxiety, it is easy to become stuck in a cycle of avoidance which can lead to even more anxiety. People who struggle with feeling anxious, overwhelmed, stressed or afraid might avoid dating or having a difficult conversation with someone. Avoiding going somewhere or spending time with someone important seems easier, though in the end, doesn’t necessarily lead to the life you’d like to live. Getting stuck by fears, worry, anxiety, overwhelm, overthinking can seem impossible to get unstuck from.
Both life circumstances or experiences and genetics can lead to anxiety. Negative or hurtful experiences as a child or infant can lead to anxiety as a child and later as an adult. Anxiety may also stem from a traumatic event we experience at any time in our life. Some experience anxiety after witnessing or hearing about an event or circumstance that is upsetting.
Anxiety can be passed down from generation to generation. If your mother was anxious or experienced any traumas while pregnant with you having higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels, that may change the cortisol levels in your body.
There are many factors that may lead to anxiety and we will help you explore your reasons for anxiety and help you find some relief.
We can help you understand how anxiety impacts your life in all areas including relationships, work, school, and health (to name only a few most of us recognize). We can help you learn how to recognize signs that anxiety is coming in hot (or not so hot), and how to manage it when it becomes too much. We will teach you tools to manage your anxiety in session. You will learn more about your anxiety and how to help you and over time, anxiety waves won’t crash as hard and life experiences become more manageable.
If you are wondering if you might benefit from skills to help you get through your days reach out. Our clinicians have advanced training to provide tools and techniques to help you get back on track.
Reaching out for help, in itself, can increase anxiety. We understand this and strive to make this process as easy as possible. Once you reach out for therapy, we will help you decide who might be the best fit for your anxiety needs. We will schedule an appointment with you and typically start with a 90-minute session. During this first session, we want to get to know more about you and your anxiety. We are careful not to make this too overwhelming and wont’ get into anything too deep this first meeting.
At the end of the first meeting you and your therapist will know what your goals for therapy are and will have an idea of how those goals will be met. Sessions following this initial one are 50-minutes. During these sessions, you will share more of your story and learn tools along the way to help manage your anxiety symptoms and learn to thrive with less anxiety.
Some tools we use to help treat anxiety include mindfulness, teaching ways of calming the body, strengths-based approaches, emotion regulation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – a values-based approach, trauma therapy approaches and EMDR.
To learn more about anxiety and depression and whether you might benefit from therapy, call or email to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation with one of our clinicians.