Recently, I spent time with a group of people and I was surprised by how anxiety showed up in different ways for each of us. If we judge our anxiety by another’s anxiety, this could have the negative consequence of minimizing or ignoring our experience and not getting the help we need.
How do I know if the anxiety I am experiencing is worthy of seeking treatment?
Anxiety includes both apprehensive worry and physical symptoms. Such as fatigue, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and insomnia. Anxiety can spiral quickly.
Still unsure? Let me tell you a story.
Simone has always been a “worrier.” Their mother described young Simone as her jumpy child. Always asking questions and trying to control stuff. “Child calm yourself and go have a seat somewhere” mama would shout. Simone tugged on Mama's skirt and asked about going on the school trip for the 14th time. Simone was proud of their ability not to be still and looked down on others that could. Like their sister who would lay on the couch all day watching TV, if mama didn’t give her a swift kick in the butt. Simone’s mind raced 24/7 often replaying events or decisions long past rewriting the word choices and actions not taken. Simone was on a perpetual merry-go-round of should’ve-could’ve-would’ve with no end. This left Simone fatigued and feeling on edge most of the time.
For Simone, the experiences of headaches, shallow breathing, upset stomach, and feeling keyed up were daily. They thought everybody went through the same thing. Simone talking with a co-worker that started therapy for anxiety said “worrying helps me prepare for trouble." "If I think about all the bad things that may happen I’ll be able to stop them.” Colleen is a tall statuesque woman, who wore clothes that flowed so it looked like she was floating when she walked. Said “so you’re saying worrying protects you from bad things happening? How often do the things you are anxious about actually happen?” “Well, rarely, um, almost never,” Simone said. “Rarely, almost never, huh, so how does spending all day every day anxious actually serve you?”
Simone left that conversation with Colleen perplexed. Simone watched Colleen floating around the office, laughing and chatting with other coworkers. They wondered why they could never feel that relaxed. Is there some benefit to going to anxiety treatment after all?
What is Anxiety Treatment?
Anxiety treatment is more than deep breathing.
Anxiety treatment is more than sitting still.
Anxiety treatment is more than worrying less.
Anxiety treatment is being seen and heard.
Anxiety treatment is awareness, acceptance, and action.
Anxiety treatment is developing a solid foundation (eating, sleeping, and exercising).
Anxiety treatment is supportive, guided, and safe.