Ahhhh…anxiety. My annoying constant companion. At least that is how I used to feel about my anxiety.
Yes, I am a therapist who has anxiety. I am human right?
I’ve had ups and downs with anxiety all my life. The interesting thing is my anxiety symptoms have changed over the years. Probably because I have gotten smarter about how to identify them earlier and have practiced a handful of my favorite coping skills long enough for my anxiety to actually respond to help now. Of course, that wasn’t always the case.
One thing I’ve learned is that anxiety is a broad term. If I can hone in on the signs and symptoms of anxiety then I can work with them and have a fighting chance of calming down a little.
The signs and symptoms of anxiety simply read like a laundry list for being human.
You’ve got your common signs of anxiety:
Shortness of breath
Jittery, restless feeling inside
Then you’ve got your sneaky signs of anxiety:
Future dwelling – thoughts focused mostly on “what if…” and worst-case scenarios.
Overgeneralizing – making things a bigger deal than they would normally be when not stressed.
Focus on details – striving for perfection to avoid criticism which leads to going over things multiple times.
Difficulty with decisions – scattered thinking creates self-doubt, second guessing and lack of clarity.
Avoidance – decrease in socializing, or other activities that feel too stimulating and therefore unsafe.
Assurance – increased need to be soothed and told “its going to be okay.”
Unusual behaviors – restless energy leads to repetitive behaviors intended to soothe, picking, checking, washing, fiddling with pen/phone, chewing on straws/toothpicks, twirling or pulling out hair, shaking foot/legs. Anything to get that energy out!
Physical issues – digestive changes, headaches, loss of appetite, body aches from muscle tightness.
Forgetfulness – focus is short circuited by too many thoughts.
Irritability – normal tasks seem overwhelming, other people’s moods/actions are too much to manage.
We can get impatient trying to manage intense and urgent feelings. We feel frustrated with ourselves for having these feelings in the first place. It’s upsetting to not be able to get through them easily. And frankly, its exhausting to have to use so much of our emotional energy fighting the feelings.
Even if you’ve grown accustomed to the tension and the high level of anxiety that comes with life, counseling can help you find a middle ground.
Even if you get impatient trying to manage the intense and urgent feelings, counseling can help you break down your anxiety into pieces so you can address small bites one at a time.
Even if you don’t feel relaxed anywhere, counseling can help you find moments where the burden of worry eases.
Feeling annoyed, ashamed and angry towards your anxiety is understandable because we believe we have two choices, ignore and avoid it the best we can by micromanaging the heck out of our lives, or attacking it head on by shaming and hating ourselves into changing.
It doesn’t matter if we are the most intelligent and logical person on the planet, anxiety is scary and its an emotional thing. It doesn’t respond to being methodical with our lives. Getting tighter and smaller to avoid anything that can trigger us.
Anxiety treatment can help you get to the bottom of it.
My approach focuses on slowing down first and foremost. Getting curious about the external conditions as well as the internal belief system that contribute to the symptoms.
Mindfulness helps us slow down and look inside without feeling so overwhelmed. Most of us ignore our feelings because we think if we get into them it will be a darker journey than we are ready for. That is why I am here to help. I will go spelunking with you!
Internal Family Systems helps us break down the blob of anxiety that we couldn’t get a hold of, into smaller parts so we can deal with each part on its own and actually feel like we are making progress.
Both of these have a basis of curiosity and compassion woven in. We can’t make changes in our lives unless we can work with what is currently happening. If that is intense feelings of anxiety, hating ourselves for having those feelings won’t help us. Going slow, getting curious, working with ourselves in a kind way…that is where counseling for anxiety can offer relief.
Here are some easy steps to get started on your counseling journey!
- Contact me, Vicki B. Smith, LPC
- Set up a short 5-10 minute phone call to discuss logistics and I can answer any questions.
- It’s time to release the tight grip of anxiety so you can reclaim your time and energy in order to live the life you desire!
Anxiety counseling isn’t the only service I offer in my Atlanta office. Other mental health services Vicki B Smith, LPC provides include mindfulness, counseling for burnout, imposter syndrome, counseling for perfectionism, as well as codependency counseling.
A quiet mind is able to hear, intuition over fear.