Does It Feel Like Anxiety Is Running the Show?
Do you recognize in yourself any of the following?
- You experience intense fear, dread or stress that you try to avoid as much as possible.
- You are haunted by worrisome thoughts, catastrophic images or painful memories.
- It feels like you sometimes lose control of your mind or your body.
- You often avoid social interactions, career opportunities or other potentially uncomfortable experiences. You worry about how limited life has become.
- You are a perfectionist and you constantly criticize yourself.
- You feel as though you can’t live up to your full potential.
- You worry about when your anxiety symptoms are going to show up next.
- You use alcohol, drugs, food or other mindless activities to calm down or numb yourself
When anxiety runs the show, these problems keep you from performing well at work, interfere with your relationships or otherwise stop you from enjoying the things you value and love. You are instead controlled by fear and self-doubt. You wish you could relax and feel normal like everyone else.
Anxiety Disorders Are More Common Than You Might Think
According to the Center for Disease Control (2013), about 15 percent of the population will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. That means, for every 10 people you encounter, one or more is or has been dealing with anxiety. You are far from alone.
As an anxiety therapist, I cannot stress enough that some anxiety in life is normal. Our bodies and minds are designed to keep us safe using the sensations in the body. For example, if you anticipate an accident on the highway, your heart might race and your muscles might tense, giving you the burst of energy you need to act quickly. It is natural to be anxious when we feel threatened and expect something bad is going to happen. Anxiety helps us plan for and avoid potential harm.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it is frequent, intense and/or unpredictable, and when it appears when no danger is apparent. Then, it is considered a disorder because it interferes with everyday functioning. For example, you may chronically find it difficult or even impossible to drive because you fear having an accident. On the other hand, anxiety can fluctuate and grow disproportionately when it is part of a positive feedback loop. In the case of panic disorder the pattern of anxious feelings typically resembles the following: You perceive a threat, which leads to an anxious response which, in turn, leads to an elevated threat perception and an even more anxious response, and so on. Chronic anxiety or panic disorder can keep you stuck in a cycle that impacts every part of your life, from your physical health to your ability to form trusting relationships.
Because patterns associated with the fear response are so entrenched, the assistance and support of a qualified therapist is essential. This is where I can help. As your anxiety counselor, I can help you understand the patterns that are keeping you stuck, identify the root cause of your anxiety and help you develop effective coping skills for moving through the world with greater ease.
Individualized Anxiety Therapy Can Help You Find Your Personal Path Toward Resolution
Because each person is unique, I work closely with you to understand your particular experience of anxiety and find an approach that works for you.
Sometimes, anxiety is caused by strong and ingrained reactions to certain internal and external cues, such as public places, stressful situations, distressing thoughts or personal beliefs. In this case, I help you identify these cues so that you can better understand how they affect you. You are then able to develop special skills for managing what you are feeling, ultimately leading to anxiety relief.
Other times, anxiety results from trauma or unprocessed memories. In that case, I may draw from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or Contemplative Psychotherapy techniques to address your issues. EMDR is a highly effective therapy method that can help you resolve the unprocessed memories that are making you anxious so that you can stop worrying. In Contemplative Psychotherapy, you learn to cultivate a different relationship with your experience so that you can make positive use of it.
Regardless of the approach you and I decide to use, we work together to weaken the thinking and acting patterns that contribute to anxiety. Another important step of anxiety counseling is to clearly identify your values and goals so that that you have a clear, empowered direction forward. You can learn how to successfully confront situations so that you don’t have to avoid important parts of your life anymore. Instead, you can meaningfully engage with your world, unfettered by worries and fears.
How Am I Different From Other Therapists in the Area?
Every modality I use for treating anxiety is supported by and complemented by my training as a Contemplative Psychotherapist. In other words, I am well grounded in the techniques of mindfulness, awareness and body-based approaches to resolving anxiety. Mindfulness and body approaches are known to enhance all standard evidence-based approaches to anxiety therapy.
On a more personal note, I am also good at working with anxiety because I can relate. After dealing with anxiety issues early in my life, I know all too well how anxiety can interfere with aspirations and dreams. I am fortunate to have resolved these issues through personal exploration and perseverance, and with the aid of talented therapists who inspire me in the work I do today.
It is my sincere hope that, as you seek anxiety treatment, you muster up the faith, courage and trust that is needed to do the work. It is my job to provide a safe environment for you to explore what you are experiencing and learn how your experience is workable. As is true for most therapy issues, working successfully with anxiety takes time and patience. The rewards for doing so are tremendous. You can win back your life.
Frequently Asked Questions About Anxiety Counseling (FAQ’s)
FAQ: My anxiety is so intense I feel like I am going crazy! Am I?
The short answer is: I certainly doubt it. Here is the reason why.
According to animal and brain imaging studies, during an intense fear response, the fear and anxiety pathways of your brain take over. Your neocortex— which is the rational part of your brain— essentially goes off line. You are then poised to take action to ensure your survival without thinking much at all. You easily “feel crazy” and out-of-control. But in truth, your mind and body are simply trying to keep you safe.
With the help of a therpist, it is possible to slow down and regain calm so that you can once again make thoughtful choices. You don’t have to let anxiety take over.
FAQ: Why can’t I just rely on prescription medication for my anxiety symptoms?
The use of prescription drugs to reduce anxiety is based on the assumption that you have some kind of chemical imbalance in the brain. However, medication does not address the root causes of anxiety, including learned negative thoughts and behaviors.
My opinion is that prescription medication should be taken only when symptoms are severe or fail to respond to psychological treatment. It is best to use these medications for a short period of time prescribed by a doctor, such as a period of one month. It is also important to note that some anxiety may stem from a medical condition. It is helpful consult with your doctor about your anxiety symptoms.
Whether to opt for anti-anxiety medication or not is ultimately up to you. I invite you to come in to discuss any thoughts or concerns you might have about your particular situation.
FAQ: Why should I seek anxiety therapy? I feel like avoiding it altogether!
If you have ways of coping that seem to work for you, then the question is, do those coping patterns allow you to live the way you want to live? For example, do you rely on mental distraction or substances, such as alcohol or other drugs? Are you sacrificing your goals, lowering your standards and otherwise disengaging from the world, all in an attempt to avoid anxiety?
What would you do or how would you be if you were not afraid? You won’t know how capable you are until you try. The key to working with anxiety is to turn toward your symptoms so that you can work through them rather than avoid them. Professional counseling can help you do that. The effort you make today will serve you well tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
Find Out More
Contact me at 208.557.8603 to learn more about anxiety therapy in Pocatello, ID.
I provide a 20-minute phone consultation to help you figure out what to do next. Or, if you prefer, I am happy to meet with you in person for a free face-to-face consultation session reserved by a $40 deposit.