Is Anxiety Running Your Life?
Are you constantly worrying about the mistakes you think you have made and mistakes you believe you will make? Do you worry about uncertainties at work, in relationships and other important aspects of your life? Do you often wish you had done things differently and fear that others are judging you? Maybe you feel guilty for not being perfect and have become consumed by harsh self-criticism. Perhaps you feel like a fraud, worried that it’s just a matter of time before you drop the ball in some way and everyone else views you as incompetent, too. It might be that you’re struggling with physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart, insomnia, panic attacks, heaviness in your chest and/or lightheadedness. Are you constantly overthinking, overwhelmed and over-expecting of yourself? Do you wish you could find a way to calm down, feel at peace and know that everything is going to be okay?
Living with anxiety can be a confusing, frustrating and oftentimes helpless experience. You might struggle to stay grounded in the present moment, always ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. Or it might be that you’re in the midst of trauma, crisis or a significant life transition, struggling to keep your head above water and worried about what comes next. Perhaps you feel isolated, misunderstood and stuck in looping thoughts that you know aren’t serving you. You may know that you don’t want to live like this anymore, but feel unsure where or to whom to turn.
Anxiety Is Extremely Common In Our Culture
If you’re struggling with anxiety, you are far from alone. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in the U.S., affecting more than 40 million adults each year. Teen anxiety is also on the rise, with studies showing that 25 percent of American adolescents will experience mild to moderate anxiety between the ages of 13 and 18. Women and girls are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety, although anxiety does not discriminate. It affects people from all walks of life and can be caused by genetic, environmental and psychological factors, as well as trauma, heightened stress, loss and life transitions.
A certain level of anxiety is a normal part of the human experience. It helps us stay focused, meet deadlines and reach goals. It also keeps us safe when danger arises by prompting our fight, flight or freeze response. However, millions of Americans are living with extremely high levels of stress, which dysregulates the nervous system and creates ongoing feelings of fight, flight or freeze—even when no immediate danger is present. People start suffering from anxiety attacks, panic attacks, phobias, OCD, social anxiety, test anxiety, performance anxiety and general anxiety that can vacillate from low level discomfort to such high levels of distress that performing even simple tasks feels impossible. They stop doing things they enjoy out of fear or uncertainty, which can lead to isolation and further fuel the anxiety. Add to that the barrage of media, social media and political and financial uncertainties and it’s no wonder that so many Americans are suffering.
Although it can feel unwelcome and debilitating, it’s likely that your anxiety is trying to tell you something. It’s showing up to let you know that something in your life needs attention. An experienced, understanding and skilled anxiety therapist can help you become a witness to your own thoughts, feelings and behavior; slow things down; and develop tools to manage and even overcome anxiety.
Anxiety Therapy Can Provide You With Support, Skills And Strategies For Relief
From the moment we take our first breath, our brains begin creating files. We systematically store information and continuously add certain information to certain files. Take riding a bike, for instance. When we first see a bike, we create the bike file. As we learn to ride a bike, the information in the bike file grows based on our experience. After a while, we don’t think about how to ride a bike; we just do it. And, although we may not ride a bike for years, when we get back on one, we don’t have to relearn to ride. Our brain retrieves the bike file and we ride with relative ease. The same thing happens with stress and anxiety. When anxiety or panic come on, which generally happen quickly, our brains resort to engrained files, pulling us into a loop that can feel impossible to escape.
In safe and supportive anxiety treatment sessions, I can help you explore your particular anxiety files and, in a calm and neutral space, help you create new, supportive files. By becoming a witness to your own behavior and noticing heightened anxiety at its onset, you can begin to better understand yourself and learn ways to use feelings of anxiety positively. You can become very aware of anxiety triggers and develop the skills needed to stay present in the moment and keep your head where your feet are.
In sessions, I can also help you clarify your values, explore what makes you happy and uncover what’s getting in the way of living the life you want to live. Together, we can challenge and reframe the negative thoughts and patterns of behavior that are keeping you stuck in the looping cycle of anxiety. As you increase personal awareness and develop a more compassionate view of yourself, we can also develop practical strategies that work specifically for you, trying on different outcomes and understanding the value in change. By developing patterns of awareness, you can become less reactive and more responsive. You can learn to name your triggers and understand that your anxiety experience has a beginning, middle and end, which can help you become more adaptive and able to mitigate symptoms in the moment.
Regardless of how mild, moderate or severe your anxiety is, there is help and hope. Through anxiety therapy, you can get to know yourself better and live with more awareness, contentment and peace. It is possible to shift away from a fear-based, uncomfortable way of living and into one that feels relaxed, liberating and full.
You still may have questions or concerns about therapy for anxiety…
Does an anxiety diagnosis mean that I’ll need to go on medication?
Medication can help some people—especially those with moderate to severe anxiety—stabilize, and some studies show that medication in tandem with therapy is the most effective form of anxiety treatment. Quite often people with anxiety live a happy, fulfilling life while maintaining on medication. Alternatively, if you are not interested in medication, there are many highly effective forms of behavioral treatment methods available to you. Like most things in life, there are pros and cons to medication, which we can explore. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
I’m afraid of being judged by my therapist and/or the people in my life.
As a highly trained, experienced and compassionate therapist, I engage with all of my clients from a place of understanding and acceptance that is free of judgment. Sessions are yours to talk about anything and everything that you want to, and we’ll move at a pace that is comfortable for you. Furthermore, there is no shame in seeking help. I actually see reaching out as a sign of intelligence and strength. All that said, sessions are completely confidential. No one needs to know that you’re seeking therapy unless you choose to share that.
I’m worried that talking about my experience with anxiety will make it worse.
When it comes to anxiety, the experience of anything—including therapy—is almost always far worse in the mind than it is in reality. And, leaving anxiety unaddressed will not make it go away; in fact, it will likely worsen. Alternatively, in anxiety therapy sessions, you can learn to stop resisting your anxiety and work with it. In many ways, overcoming anxiety is like being in the ocean. When you fight a wave, you continually struggle to regain your footing; however, when you turn around and ride the wave, the experience becomes much easier.
You Can Live With Peace, Confidence And Calm
If you’re struggling with anxiety issues in Mattituck, NY or the surrounding area, I invite you to call my office at 613-714-2634 for a free consultation. I’m happy to discuss your experience with anxiety and decide if we’d be a good fit, as well as answer any questions you have about therapy for anxiety, in-office sessions, online therapy and my practice.