Do Your Worries and Anxieties Dominate Your Life?
Do you lie awake at night, worrying about things you can’t control? Have you felt on edge, irritable and panicky at times? Do you feel unable to control your mind and worry that your obsessions will never let you go? Are you noticing that your thoughts and emotions are taking a toll on your body and leading to chronic pain, muscle tension, tense chest, racing heart and the inability to get a deep breath? Do you wish you could just regain a sense of peace and control over your worries? Do you want to be able to live your life without feeling held back by anxiety?
When you live with anxiety, dread and fear have power over you and can get in the way of fully living your life. You may avoid certain situations because of how tense and nervous they make you feel. Perhaps you are struggling to concentrate on your tasks at work or to feel present during social situations. Maybe you don’t want to leave the house at all. You may be always expecting the worst case scenario. Whether you experience generalized worry or fear of specific situations, you may feel exhausted and isolated. You may not know how to slow the thoughts racing through your brain or find a moment of peace.
Anxiety Is Incredibly Common
Many people suffer from anxiety disorders. When faced with things that are out of our control, it is natural to desire to find a way to feel safe and make outcomes seem more predictable. Anxiety disorders develop when we unconsciously tell ourselves that worry, or working over something again and again, will prevent a negative outcome or soften the blow of disappointment if something bad does happen.
Of course, anxiety does not serve us well if the real outcome is not in our control (for example whether someone will say yes if we ask them on a date), so our painful worrying does not help the situation. Moreover, the brain experiences the situations that we imagine or worry about as if they are really happening, so not only does worry not make things better, it also creates a situation in which we experience the mental pain of the horrible and feared event happening again and again.
If you fall into these self-defeating patterns of anxiety, you are not alone. Many people experience anxiety about achievement of school or career goals, social situations, the health of themselves or others, relationship loss or any number of other issues. Sometimes, an individual can even develop a phobia of sorts about their own emotional experience. It is so difficult to move through your day when your own emotional and mental experiences create a vicious cycle of pain and make you feel out of control, such as when someone experiences a panic attack and then continues to chronically worry that these panic symptoms will return.
Since anxiety takes a lot of mental energy, it can be exhausting, and it is normal for people suffering with anxiety to feel that they are working very hard to control these symptoms. The problem is that, on their own, people generally don’t channel this energy in the most productive way. But, there is hope. Psychological anxiety treatment can help a patient actually achieve their goal of managing and finally ending these symptoms.
Anxiety Treatment Can Help You Free Yourself from Chronic Fear and Worry
With effective anxiety treatment, you can learn to be less afraid. In sessions, I can offer you individualized guidance and support as you work to observe and understand the function of your worry and to feel less fearful of your own normal emotional experience. Once you break the self-defeating cycle you have developed, you can become better able to use an awareness of your feelings to clarify your goals and to motivate yourself to pursue them effectively. You can develop the tools you need to identify helpful/healthy fear and cope with irrational anxiety and stressful situations. The paralyzed and helpless feelings that tend to go along with anxiety can be broken, leaving you feeling more in control of your choices.
I have specialized in working with anxiety disorders for more than 15 years, and I have seen anxiety treatment work wonders in the lives of many clients. One client had a powerful metaphor for therapy that many others have also identified with over the years. He stated that when he first came in for treatment, his anxiety felt like foam boiling over from inside his body and drowning him. With help, he was able to get perspective on and distance from his thoughts and emotions so that he could see his anxieties no longer as boiling foam, but instead as small smooth pebbles that he could hold in his hand and observe. These pebbles did not need to be boulders in the road getting in the way of his life goals. Instead, he could examine them and place them on an imaginary conveyor belt, letting them go so that he could move on along his chosen path.
You don’t have to let anxiety block your path. I get so much fulfillment from working with people as they break the patterns they have become stuck in. I enjoy helping people learn to observe and question thinking patterns that don’t work for them, to reframe their experience with more self-compassion and to build the ability to accept the paradox that as we let go of the need to try to control things that are not in our power, we can feel less fear and an increased sense of peace.
You may believe that anxiety treatment can help you find relief, but still have questions or concerns…
I have been working so hard to control my mind, but it just seems to make things worse.
As I mentioned above, people with anxiety disorders tend to be very hard-working. They often come to see me after they have tried so many strategies to gain a sense of control. Effective anxiety treatment can help you better channel your energy. Instead of feeling as though you are spinning your wheels, you can begin to explore the barriers that have been getting in the way of making the changes you want and to develop strategies that will help you let go of impossible attempts to control the uncontrollable. As we work together, you can develop a sense of realistic control over things that are in your power.
I am afraid of losing my edge.
When high achievers are focused on a goal, such as upcoming test, their focus on the outcome may prompt them to study so that they are happy with the outcome (such as a good test grade). Over time, if someone has an anxiety disorder, he or she can falsely begin to believe that the worrying and suffering over a possible bad outcome is the cause of their success (rather than the studying, which is the actual contributor to success). Of course, many people are able to achieve their goals without suffering from debilitating anxiety, but if you are struggling with an anxiety disorder, it can be hard to believe that this will be possible for you.
In therapy, we can work to address this fear, to make sure that you understand your motivations for achievement and to feel comfortable letting go of your anxiety, trusting that you don’t need to hold onto severe anxiety symptoms into order to be an achiever. Research shows that, for important life goals, some worry can help us be motivated to pay attention and to act – for example, to study. But, when anxiety is high, it can actually impair your performance and make you feel stuck. With effective anxiety treatment, you can work to your full personal and professional potential without being derailed by symptoms.
I have real problems that need to be addressed. Will therapy help me solve them, or try to make me forget them?
Maybe you are looking to find a partner, having trouble in an important relationship, feeling unable to achieve a goal that has been very important to you or trying to navigate another stressful experience. Anxiety treatment is not focused on ignoring or letting go of these concerns. When you are able to let go of ineffective anxiety, you can become better able to clarify the important issues you are facing. When your body and mind are not constantly oriented toward possible danger or worrying about potential horrible outcomes, you can channel all of that energy into making important decisions or building new skills to make your life better. Emotions are our natural mode of communicating what is important to us to ourselves and others. By letting go of ineffective anxiety, you can feel able to be clear about your true emotions and use those to guide you toward real solutions.
You Don’t Have to Feel Stuck Anymore
If you are experiencing the anxiety symptoms described above, please reach out for help. I am committed to taking each person’s personality and life experience into account when developing a treatment plan. Please call me at 404-668-9893 for a free phone consultation or to set up an appointment to talk about your situation and how treatment can help you move beyond this anxiety that has been holding you back.