Anx·i·e·ty: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. (Oxford Languages) I work with adults experiencing mild, moderate, & severe symptoms related to various anxiety conditions. These conditions include general anxiety, social anxiety, & obsessive compulsions.
"I didn't realize what I was experiencing was anxiety...
I thought I was just stressed."
Clients make this remark more often than not. Most people I've worked with have felt this way their entire lives. They learn to accommodate their anxious tendencies so well that it never occurred to them that life could be or feel differently.
Anxious people can't imagine a day without a constant internal dialogue, hyper analyzing pros & cons, assessing outcomes, ruminating on conversations & interactions, second-guessing themselves, heart throbbing, stomach drops, sweaty palms, irritability, intrusive worry thoughts, or expending excessive amounts of energy trying to avoid the things they fear. (And those are just some of the more common anxiety symptoms.) And these propensities are often chalked up to just being characteristics of a "worry wort," a "people pleaser," "detail-oriented," or a "perfectionist."
I help clients understand where their anxiety comes from, how they may unintentionally exacerbate it, develop skills to manage it, & stop letting it control them. In a way, a part of therapy is like a Marvel movie. Learning how to manage your anxiety is like a young superhero learning how to harness their unbridled superpower.
- You set extremely high expectations & goals & feel
ashamed if you don't live up to them
- You spend excessive amounts of time & energy preparing,
executing, & revising
- You feel uncomfortable when things aren't organized & tidy
- You have a hard time adjusting to a different plan
- You become irritable & stressed when your plans aren't
- You can be overly critical of yourself & others
- You easily point out faults & mistakes
- You often pay more attention to negative than positives
- You have a limited threshold for discomfort & stress
- You agonize over mistakes for days
- You never feel good enough & you often feel like a disappointment
- People may refer to you as "tightly wound" or "type A"
The "worry wort"
- You catastrophize situations by imaging the
worst-case scenario outcomes
- You have a hard time conceiving, considering, & believing alternatives
- You overly prepare unduly in advance
- Your worries & fears keep you up at night
- You worry about the health & well-being of yourself & others
- You offer advice to others because their uncertainty is your uncertainty
- You're often excessively early
- Anticipation makes you anxious
- You run through every possible outcome of every situation over & over
in your mind
- Your friends refer to you as the "mom" or "dad" of the group because
you're always overly prepared "just in case."
The "People pleaser"
- You constantly fear hurting people's feelings
- You say yes to things even when you'd rather say no
- You feel other's emotions as if their struggles were your own
- You prioritize other's preferences & well-being over your own
- You feel personally responsible & take the blame for things you shouldn't
- Confrontation makes you uncomfortable & so you avoid it at all costs
- You often take a "mediator," "Switzerland", or "peacekeeper" role
- You find yourself feeling resentful when others don't make the same
considerations on your behalf
- You try to make things easy for others & say things like,
"I don't care, it's up to you."
- You often ask yourself, "why did I say yes to that?"
anxiety or panic attacks
- Are brought on by emotional triggers & you often feel them coming on
- They are often due to a lack of one's inability to tolerate distress and/or
effectively regulate their emotions
- Therefore, a person becomes overwhelmed by intense emotions &
mentally"shuts down" because they are unable to process simultaneously
the situational trigger, their emotions, & thoughts
- Features of an anxiety attack include severe restlessness, increased heart
rate, worry, fear, & anticipation
- These attacks can last hours from the time of the triggering incident to when
the person has returned to baseline
- Anxiety attacks can feel like you're suffocating from the inside because you're
unable to verbalize what's going on for you, which can be exacerbated by
another person who doesn't understand you or what's going on
- Are similar to anxiety attacks with some distinct & important differences
- Panic attacks are more severe, acute, & unexpected
- A person may experience a triggering event but may not be able to
attribute their attack to the event as the attack may be induced by the
- While panic attacks are also a reflection of one's inability to tolerate distress
and/or effectively regulate their emotions, these types of attacks are often
induced by the person's internal response to the fear
- The person's internal systems cause the flight, fight, or freeze response,
which is why panic attacks can be unexpected & acute
- Panic attacks can feel like actual suffocation because of the rapid heart rate
& respiration rate Read More >>>
obsessions & compulsions
- Obsessions & compulsions are symptoms of anxiety
- "OCD" is not just a desire to triple check locks
- OCD is repetitive fear-based behaviors (compulsions) or thoughts\
- Common behaviors are skin picking & hair pulling
- Common compulsions are excessive working out caused by an obsession
over one's appearance or seeking reassurance or approval from others
- Anxiety creates an excess amount of energy, which causes physical
- Obsessions & compulsions are a means to alleviate the physical
discomfort by channeling the energy