Does Your Anxiety Keep You Up at Night Or Make You Feel Out of Control?
Do you frequently feel overwhelmed by fear? Do you often find yourself with sweaty palms, shortness of breath and racing thoughts? Do all sorts of daily worries keep you awake at night? Sometimes your sense of worry or panic might be so intense you can’t think clearly. It may be that you’ve gone to the emergency room convinced that you were dying of a heart attack and learned that you were having a panic attack instead. Whether you dread social situations or lie awake at night obsessing over work or relationship problems, you may feel exhausted, overwhelmed and unable to live life as you want. Perhaps you struggle to ever feel at peace or happy in the present moment.
Would you like to sleep through the night or be able to relax in new and unfamiliar situations? Do you wish you could learn how to calm yourself in moments of distress and achieve greater control over your emotional states so you can feel engaged in the present? Maybe you wonder if there are specific tools or techniques that could help you feel more joyful and calm.
If You Are Struggling With Daily Anxiety, You Are Not Alone
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 40 million adults in the United States suffer from some type of chronic anxiety that is beyond the normal range. Modern life is stressful, and occasional anxiety symptoms that arise when we face a particularly hectic time or new challenges are a normal part of life. That type of anxiety can motivate and propel us into action because it provides us with the necessary vigilance and focus to face challenging situations. For example, it calms us to complete our work projects and pay our bills on time and stresses us out if we don’t.
Nagging, chronic anxiety on the other hand is relentless and exhausting, and if left untreated, it has devastating consequences to our mental and physical health. Persistent anxiety releases powerful stress hormones into your bloodstream, which is why you can almost feel “hungover” after a particularly bad bout of anxiety. This also explains why people with an anxiety disorder are 3 to 5 times more likely to see their doctors than those without. Chronic anxiety can – and often does – mimic a physical disorder. It’s like the motor is always running, and it can feel impossible to pinpoint what triggers any particular anxiety flood or rush of distressing sensations.
Sometimes, the triggers seem obvious, such as a deadline or presentation at work, a first date, a break-up or a new and scary social situation. In those instances, you may find yourself wanting to avoid the situation altogether. You may decide to cancel the date, stay at home or let the deadline pass as a way of managing your panic. While this strategy brings short-term relief, it inevitably increases stress and anxiety in the long-run because it shrinks your social and love life, as well as your career trajectory. In other words, wherever you run, there you are, with the same hurdles and the same overwhelming anxiety. If discomfort and fear are guiding your important decisions and preventing you from moving your life goals forward and feeling joy, it’s time for you to take the reigns of your life.
You may be wondering how you can stop your anxiety or panic disorder from crippling your life. I have fantastic news for you: you do not have to live this way. Anxiety counseling is an effective way to treat anxiety over the long-term and regain control over your life.
With Anxiety Counseling, You Can Find Healing and Relief
I have provided therapy for anxiety to countless clients for more than 10 years now and witnessed life-transforming recovery. For so many of my clients, the sleepless nights and trips to the emergency room that interrupted their lives now feel like faded, distant memories. You too can find lasting relief.
Even though anxiety is quite common, no two people with anxiety are alike. There is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment for an anxiety disorder. Your pain and triggers are specific and unique, and your anxiety treatment needs to be as well. In our work together, I will encourage you to share your specific “inner dialogue” – the ongoing litany and laundry list of daily worries and obsessions to tease out your “anxiety themes.” This will bring you immediate relief while also providing you with an overview of the events, situations or sensations that trigger your anxiety most often.
Intense anxiety is much like a pot about to boil over, and during anxiety counseling, we will pinpoint what fans the flames underneath the boiling pot. You may feel confused about why a particular thing makes you feel so anxious. In our anxiety therapy sessions, I will alleviate this confusion through targeted questions and interventions. You gain a new clarity about which specific feelings lie underneath the free-floating anxiety and which specific strategies can resolve them. You can suddenly feel calmer and more connected to yourself, instead of like a stranger in your own body.
Then, our work together will provide you with a blueprint for how to calm your anxiety during your daily life. By asking yourself specific questions in the moment, you can begin to identify and connect with the specific painful emotions underneath. This robs the flames of anxiety of their oxygen, reducing them to a simmer so you can think more clearly, derail a developing anxiety attack and respond to a distressing situation with greater calm and ease.
Once you have learned these techniques, we will then begin developing a plan to permanently decrease your symptoms of anxiety. We will talk about what specific steps can improve your daily life and mood, from a new exercise routine to more socializing with a supportive community. Whether you are struggling with anxiety in your relationships, your career or your daily life, together, we can interrupt the vicious cycle of anxiety and get you thinking and feeling clearly again. You can begin to feel hopeful and in control of your life and emotional reactions. You alone have the power to take control of your life.
You may have questions or concerns about treatment for anxiety…
I have heard anxiety counseling doesn’t work or takes too long.
According to the National Mental Health Association, psychotherapy works very well in treating a wide range of anxiety disorders. Clients who work with a therapist on a weekly basis experience a decrease in their daily anxiety level, often within a few months. However, it is also important to manage your own expectations when it comes to lasting change. You may have struggled with chronic anxiety for years or even decades, and it will take a while to feel deep-lasting change in your emotional responses to daily life. And, while tolerating slow progress may feel unbearable when you are in pain, in truth, it’s likely that the anxiety you’re experiencing is already unbearable. Staying alone with your worries is unlikely to lead to a decrease in your anxiety. In six months from now, you could be the same anxious person who cancels plans, avoids trips or misses deadlines, or you could be someone who feels more in control and engaged with their life. The choice is yours.
What about medication?
Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders can get better without taking any medication. Often this depends on the individual preferences of my clients. Unlike many clinicians and psychiatrists, I actually prefer if clients do not take any medication for their anxiety except in emergency situations. I have found that anxiety medication can interfere with the process of connecting to your feelings, which is essential in treating your anxiety in the long-term. For that reason, I hardly ever recommend medication except in one instance: when clients are so severely anxious all the time that they cannot engage meaningfully in their lives or therapy. The combination of medication and therapy is the best strategy to help those clients. The bottom line is that medication alone cannot teach you the right coping and life skills to overcome your anxiety permanently.
Can talking about my feelings make my anxiety worse?
This is a common misconception about talk therapy, and I do empathize with it because talking about painful feelings can be uncomfortable and even frightening. However, expressing your feelings won’t make your anxiety worse – quite the opposite. Think of anxiety like a splinter stuck underneath the skin. Yes, removing the splinter creates an immediate, sharp pain. But, leaving the splinter there will cause chronic suffering. Removing it is the only option for complete healing of the wound. In a similar fashion, expressing and processing your feelings provides you with an opportunity to truly heal, at the core.
When you feel chronically anxious, it’s hard to imagine that you could ever feel better. Let me help you be hopeful again, rediscover joy and feel that life is manageable and truly worth living.
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