Anxiety can be quite debilitating. It not only has an effect on the person who is experiencing it, but can also have an impact on those who live with the anxiety sufferer.
I worked with a client who had anxiety around a lot of different issues; flying, driving across a bridge, riding in an elevator and being stuck in traffic. What was most troubling though, was not being able to fly. I remember our first session together. Just describing to me how he felt about flying created much anxiety in his body. He came to see me because he was tired of having anxiety control his life. He wanted to be able to fly in an airplane with ease. He had missed many important family events and his wife wanted very much to go on a vacation that involved a flight. Unfortunately, anxiety prevented him.
It is hard for people who do not suffer with anxiety to understand what it is like. Many times my clients will tell me how well-meaning people tell them to get over it or just do the feared event. And they tell me the same thing, if it was that easy, they would.
Anxiety can be described as a feeling of unease, nervousness or worry in the body. If you suffer with anxiety, you are very much aware of the bodily sensations and emotions that you experience. If you don’t suffer with anxiety, believe me the feelings are very real indeed. The feelings of apprehension, dread, fear or discomfort can really limit a person in their life. To add to the distress, the person may not know the cause of these feelings. And many times the anxiety sufferer has physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, chronic pain, or high blood pressure.
The anxiety can be a result of being in a situation where the person feels they do not have control. Or, it may come from thinking about an upcoming event in which a person feels they are not going to cope well. For example, flying, being in a social situation or speaking in front of a group. Sometimes people have anxiety for no apparent reason. This is usually referred to as “free floating anxiety” and is not attributed to any specific trigger.
At times a little anxiety can actually be a good thing, but only to a certain degree. It can help motivate you to perform better in an athletic event or when giving a speech. It can also alert you and prepare your body for a threatening situation.
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives. It can be due to a situational event and goes away once the situation is resolved. However, if you are suffering with persistent, overwhelming anxiety and it is having a negative impact on your life, you may have an anxiety disorder and it might be a good idea to seek help.
The term anxiety disorder includes the following:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia,
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Social Anxiety Disorder and Specific Phobias
Depression is closely related but not actually considered an anxiety disorder
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder that affects Americans.
Anxiety can be created by thinking about past events where you felt anxious. Or by worrying about the future, “what if-ing” about an event where you fear you may feel anxious. Staying in the present is a great way to get relief from anxiety.
Look for my next blog post where I will share a self-hypnotic exercise that you can do to keep you in the present moment and help you get relief from anxiety.