Anxiety and Panic
Are you overwhelmed by feelings worry, fear or dread? Do you feel stressed out or tense most of the time?
Do you struggle to silence racing thoughts that seem out of your control or keep you up at night? Are you constantly fearful of making a mistake? Or, do you feel uncomfortable in social situations? Perhaps, you have had moments of intense panic, with tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, or a racing heartbeat. Maybe you wish you could just turn off your mind and experience some moments of quiet calmness.
Everyone experiences feelings of worry or stress. However, sometimes fear and worry can become so intense, they can be overwhelming and exhausting. Persistent anxiety can hold you back from having the life you want. When fear, worry or panic begin to significantly impact how you function in your day-to-day life, seeking help is critical. You deserve to have the life you want, and to feel free from fear.
Why do I feel anxiety?
Anxiety is extremely common. Nearly 40 million people in the United States have struggled with it at some point in their lives. What causes anxiety? There are many different factors that can trigger anxiety in a given person. However, in general, we feel anxiety when our safety or security feels threatened. That is, we feel anxious when our needs do not get met or when we think that they are not going to get met in the future. Our bodies (or, more specifically, our nervous systems) respond to this “threat” by activating our fight or flight response.
Most people experience the fight or flight response multiple times each day. Anything from daily stress to loss or life threatening events can trigger it. If your flight or flight response gets activated too often or for too long, or if a threat feels too overwhelming, your nervous system can become unbalanced. It can get stuck on high, and feelings of anxiety and even panic can become your emotional norm rather than the exception.
How can I feel less worried and fearful?
With therapy, you can overcome your anxiety. In general, I believe that healing starts with awareness, understanding and compassion. It is with freedom from self-judgment that you can more deeply understand your unique experience and discover the causes of your fear and worry. Together, we will explore what events, experiences or relationships may have initially triggered your feelings of anxiety and led to the imbalance or dysregulation in your nervous system.
From there, we will work together to heal past issues and fears, replacing them with feelings of compassion and safety. I also will help you learn new tools, identify supportive resources, and activate your internal strength to help you balance and regulate your nervous system and soothe your worries. I also encourage the use of meditation and mindfulness to support your healing process, if this feels comfortable for you.
I’m not sure . . . I have more questions.
I don’t know if therapy can help me. What if there is just something wrong with me?
When you struggle with anxiety, it is normal to worry that things can’t or won’t get better. In fact, anticipating the worst or asking “what if . . . goes badly” are symptoms of anxiety. However, therapy can provide you with tools and support to help you feel better. “What if” you could have more control over your feelings and live a more calm and peaceful life?
I’m worried that going to therapy will make me feel like I’m “crazy”.
Unfortunately, there are some negative judgments out there about therapy. Some people believe that you must be “crazy” if you seek counseling. Such beliefs can lead to shameful feelings about asking for help. In truth, taking care of your emotional health is far from crazy or shameful. Your emotional well-being is not only as important as your physical health, but it also effects your physical health. Persistent anxiety and stress can lead to diagnoses such as heart disease, insomnia, addiction, gastro-intestinal disorders, and more. So, ask for help. You deserve it.
Can’t I just take medication to help with my anxiety? Do I really need to go to therapy?
There are a number of excellent prescription medications to help with anxiety. However, they do not necessarily offer a long-lasting solution. Medications can alleviate some anxious symptoms, and they sometimes can play an important role in the overall treatment process. However, taking medication alone will not help resolve the underlying causes of your anxiety. With therapy, you can understand the causes of your fear, and actively restore the peace and balance you deserve.