How familiar are you with your own anxiety? Are you fully aware of everything that your anxiety is and all the different aspects that affect you? What do you feel beyond the layer of anxiety that envelops you during an attack? What are the thoughts that go through your mind? Does it feel like you simply cannot control your spiraling thoughts anymore? And how about the bodily sensations you get as a result of experiencing anxiety? Do you get that pit in the stomach that sometimes makes it harder to breathe? Are your hands or other parts of your body feeling cold and sweaty? Anxiety can make you loath yourself and lose confidence in your strengths and abilities because it feels like there is nothing you can do. It feels like you would rather die than have to go through yet another anxiety episode.
If you’ve been struggling with anxiety you may feel like you are fully aware of it, after all you’re the one experiencing it.
Anxiety is a powerful emotion that oftentimes turns into a state. Due to the fact that anxiety has the potential to affect many different parts of ourselves (mind, affect, body, and behaviors), when dealing with anxiety we don’t function at our best.
With anxiety comes a lot of self-doubt, a vision/perception tinted by the most prominent emotions: fear and a deep sense of helplessness that keep us stuck and inert. Because of this massive gap created between reality and our perception of it, it seems little possible to be objective and rational with ourselves and our emotions. Still, not all is lost because anxiety treatment is very effective with therapy .
Anxiety affects all aspects of your life and person and it’s not a feeling that you can just stop with a thought. For those who never experienced anxiety, it is hard to understand how a person can feel so paralyzed by their anxiety to the point where they can hardly function. Their lack of understanding leads to feelings of frustration, typically directed at the situation or sometimes, at you. It is hard to explain it because many times you can’t even understand it yourself: where it is all coming from, what triggers it, what to do with it, etc.
Anxiety is complex issue that is very common in our society; 18% of Americans are currently diagnosed with anxiety, and that number does not include the many more unreported/undiagnosed cases. Anxiety didn’t used to be so prevalent but various environmental factors (i.e. media, internet) have paved the way to mass anxiety. We constantly question and doubt our strengths, skills, abilities, and even our core self (the things that make you how you are). Is it any wonder that you can’t stand being by yourself without some sort of distraction? When you deal with anxiety it is hard and scary to stay connected with yourself and your emotions. You are afraid that if you remain connected then you’ll have to suffer through the attacks again.
You try to keep it locked up in yourself so that you can feel like you’re in control of your anxiety. You tell yourself that nothing can penetrate the walls and defense systems you’ve built around it, that nothing will sway you, not even time or age.
How could it ever go away if you keep it locked and so close inside of you? You can’t have it both ways: to keep it inside you and away from you at once.
What is it going to be? Will you repress your anxiety and wait until it comes out on its own (it manifests itself in panic attacks and heart problems)? Will you face your fears and deal with your anxiety in a controlled environment (anxiety treatment) with a specialist who knows the way and can safely guide you to health and resolve? Will you try new things yourself and see where that could lead? Whichever it is, the decision (and its’ consequences) is yours.
Anxiety seeps into every single aspect of yourself and your life: body, mind, emotions, behaviors, relationships, outlook on self and life, perspective shifts and more. Yes, the thoughts feel like they are uncontrollable but focusing only on the thoughts won’t solve the entire problem; just like you could do some breathing exercises to alleviate the tension anxiety imposes on your respiratory system and still, while quite helpful it does not solve the problem.
The issue with the many available forms of anxiety treatment available in Denver today, is that they each tend to focus on one or two aspects of the anxiety, not on anxiety as a whole. Proper anxiety treatment needs to be comprehensive and must focus on each of these areas that combined, make it what it is. This is why if you’ve tried anxiety treatment in the form of therapy before and you are now reading this, you are here only because your anxiety was not treated properly. This is what happens with band-aid type solutions: they work for a while and then they get used up and fall off, leaving you back at square 1.
The anxiety treatment I offer in my Denver practice is comprehensive and focused both on alleviating the anxiety symptoms that originally brought you in to anxiety treatment as well as identifying the root causes of your anxiety and working through them for long term resolve.
Common concerns about coming in for anxiety treatment
I don’t want to take medication
You don’t have to. While certain anxiety medication helps in severe cases, most others can work through their anxiety with talk therapy alone without the use of medication.
Focusing on my anxiety makes me even more anxious
I get that and this reaction is quite common amongst anxiety sufferers. And you are right too, at first it will feel uncomfortable and scary but in a short while after starting anxiety treatment and learning some ways to manage it in the moment, this concern quickly dissipates.
Diana Pitaru M.S., L.P.C., is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Capitol Hill, Denver. Diana helps artists and creative adults connect with themselves and overcome anxiety long term by using a combination of talk therapy and hypnosis. If you are struggling with anxiety and would like help, contact me.