“Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far.” - Jodi Picoult
We all feel anxious from time to time. When we face situations that we perceive as stressful such as job interview, important exam, deadline at work, or social meeting we can feel nervous. This “nervousness” often represents mild anxiety and it can help us to stay alert and motivated, it can even enhance our performance! We have nothing to worry about as long as this "nervousness"is mild and serves a purpose.
But when we start experiencing excessive negative emotions such as nervousness, fear, and worry and when they become obstacles to our achievement, we may talk about generalized anxiety. The feelings of anxiety and worry can be overwhelming and interfere with daily functioning. Anxiety disorders often surface in early adulthood and adolescence but they can appear at any stage of life.
Anxiety is a normal response to a stressful situation but when it becomes intense and prolonge it may negatively impact person’s daily life. Anxiety may bring confusing emotions;
Here are some symptoms that may help to recognize anxiety:
• excessive worry about family, money, health, family, work, etc. • extreme fear • restlessness • irritability • insomnia • headaches • muscle tension
irrational expectations of the worst outcome
trembling and dizziness
shortness of breath
Generalized anxiety is "all over a person "who worries excessively about everything and imagines possible negative outcomes in different situations. Person with generalized anxiety has recurring fears or worries about health, work, finances, school, social expectations, children, partner. There might be the feeling that "something bad is about to happen". Negative emotions impact thoughts and thoughts intensify emotions… Anxiety is connected to person’s expectations and perceptions and it focuses on the future; it is almost as “living in an imaginary world”. At the same time, the feeling is "very real" to the person and it impacts concentration, performance at work and at school; it takes over the thoughts (cognition) and interferes with daily tasks.
Panic attacks bring sudden and intense fear, terror, or dread that is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, and breathlessness. Person who suffers from panic disorder generally develops strong fears about when and where the next panic attack will occur. The fear from experiencing a panic attack prevents the person from participating in activities, from going out, meeting people, etc. Restricted activities can provoke a feeling of loneliness and uncertainty. Person who experiences panic attacks can sometimes experience phobias, which can be described as "intense fear about certain objects or situations". Specific phobias may involve things such as encountering certain animals or flying in airplanes. The most common phobias include: fear of spiders snakes, heights, flying thunder and lightening, dirt and germs. Social phobias involve fear of social settings or public places. To see the list of possible phobias go to: http://psychology.about.com/od/phobias/a/phobialist.htm
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may develop after exposure to a terrifying event such as: a natural disaster, accident, motor vehicle accident, sexual assault, combat and war, death, crime. Person who experienced severe physical or emotional trauma may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Not every person who was exposed to a traumatic event develops PTSD but certain events increase the probability of the disorder. Among the most "traumatizing" vents are: combat, sexual assault, and natural disasters. Person's thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns become seriously affected by the reminders of the event. Sometimes, it can happen months or even years after the traumatic experience: the person encounters a trigger, the event is re-experienced and causes distress.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by persistent, uncontrollable, and unwanted images, feelings, and thoughts. These thoughts (obsessions) do not want to go away and can cause extreme distress to the person. To prevent these obsessions, the person would engage in routines and rituals (compulsions). Compulsions are "unrealistic solutions to the problems they are supposed to prevent". Inspire of the realization that these rituals do not prevent an event from happening, the person carries them out over and over again, the need to do so is too strong. Compulsions include but are not limited to: washing hands, cleaning house excessively for fear of germs, checking repeatedly for errors, counting, demanding reassurance, and ensuring order and symmetry. Therapy Why is it important to seek therapy?
Anxiety affects many aspects of person’s life. It can provoke avoidance of places and people and it can cause behaviors that conflict with job requirements or with family obligations. People who are anxious may have a greater tendency to abuse alcohol or other drugs. They can also develop other psychological disorders, such as depression. Person’s overall well-being is affected and it has consequences on the person, family and friends. Therapy can help with anxiety and improve person’s well-being and life satisfaction. Appropriately trained mental health professionals, such as registered psychologists, can treat most cases of anxiety disorder successfully. Registered psychologists are highly trained and qualified to treat people with anxiety disorders. Psychologists' extensive training includes understanding and using a variety of psychotherapies. Therapies that can be used to help with anxiety include but are not limited to: CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Mindfulness-based Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. Psychologists use CBT to help people identify and learn to manage the factors that contribute to their anxiety. Behavioral therapy would use techniques to reduce the undesired behaviors associated with anxiety. For example, the therapist can teach clients the relaxation and deep breathing techniques that counteract the agitation and rapid, shallow breathing. The therapist may also help clients to think differently about the changes in their body associated with panic attacks. For example, understanding that a pounding heart or heart palpitations are not symptoms of an imminent heart attack but are psychological responses to an event, can help to cope with the symptoms without panicking. Cognitive therapy provides an understanding of how thoughts contribute to anxiety. The client’s increased cognitive awareness reinforces desired behaviour; Client gradually confronts challenging situations and creates controlled and safe environment. How long does therapy take? The answer is: it depends on the individual who comes to therapy. However, most people who suffer from an anxiety disorder are able to reduce or eliminate the symptoms and return to normal functioning after several months. An improvement can be often noticed within a few sessions but it is important to follow the therapeutic plan discussed with psychologist and to “keep going”. The goal is to introduce a significant and long-lasting improvement.
Healing the Whole Person Anxiety can be a symptom of an underlying problem. It can express desire for punishment, a feeling of not being good enough. One of the answers could be deciding to choose to love and to approve of myself.
I AM LOVED AND I LOVE
Anxiety: "I want it but I can'y have it". The more you want it the more you can't have it... Unconscious patterns of thinking and feeling influenced by our parents or significant others.
TO "LET GO" TAKES LOVE:
"To let go does not mean to stop caring It means that I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off. It's the realization that I can't control another.
To let go is not to enable, But to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness Which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another, It is to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about. To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive".