Anxiety: The Storm On The Horizon
“But What If?”
Anxiety sucks. When you’re in it, you feel totally consumed by the dizzying thoughts, bodily sensations, and isolation that it brings. In many ways, it is like a storm on the horizon. Just threatening enough to make you feel like you’ve got to run for cover ASAP.
You’re tired of constantly making room for anxiety to do its thing and some days you feel totally powerless to stop it. Other people claim to struggle with this anxiety thing, but you feel like yours is different and so you think you might be really screwed up. “Just keep it to yourself. Don’t let anyone see the mess you really are”. Boy, oh boy, is that a recipe for disaster!
I wish I had the answer for you right here, right now. The truth is, anxiety shows up for a lot of reasons. Many theorists believe that it’s a combination of our bio-psycho-social experiences. Since I am not a geneticist, I cannot tell you whether your biology is involved, but as a relational therapist I can help you make sense of how anxiety has been reinforced through your psycho-social experiences.
Our self-with-other experiences acts as a template for how we relate to ourselves, our environment, and other people. You may have grown up in a household where things felt unstable, chaotic (even if they “appeared” fine), and difficult to make sense of.
Your sense of security and safety likely felt compromised and so you developed a way of thinking and responding that, at first gave you a sense of control, but only exacerbated your anxiety. What’s backwards about anxiety is the things we think will help only reinforce and perpetuate the anxiety feedback loop.
Take exhibit A, for example.
Sally feels anxious. Sally thinks, “I shouldn’t be feeling anxiety, there must be something wrong” and starts to ruminate. After a while, she still can’t figure out why she’s feeling so anxious and attempts to distract herself, hopefully burying the feeling altogether. Netflix, scrolling through instagram, and reading how-to articles give her a sense of reducing her anxiety, but only reinforces that belief she “needs”to distract herself every time anxiety shows up.
How will getting therapy with me help your anxiety?
We’re going to help you find better ways of working with, instead of against your anxiety so that it loses its power and you are back in the drivers seat.
Through mindfulness, thought re-framing exercises, and at home-practice, you’ll learn how to ride the wave of anxiety by becoming a master of simply noticing your experience without judging or labeling it, thereby reducing its scary impact.
You’ll learn how to self-regulate, self-talk and ground yourself when you’re overwhelmed with anxiety. Through this you’ll also see how tuning into your body (not out) will be the best resource for reducing the impact that anxiety has on you.