The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.
If you are reading this, it’s likely that either you or someone close to you is struggling with anxiety. Feeling anxious is NOT a character flaw or a weakness. You didn’t wake up one day and decided you wanted to suffer from anxiety, did you? Of course not. But, anxiety can make you feel like living within your own inner prison. Even if you’re feeling frightened, helpless or totally hopeless right now, it’s important to know that anxiety is one of the most commonly treated mental health issue.
Is Anxiety Running Your Life?
Just as each person and each life is unique, each person’s experience of anxiety is unique. However, there are a number of thoughts, feelings and sensations that are commonly associated with the power anxiety can have over one’s life:
- Do you feel a chronic sense of doom and worry for no apparent reason?
- Does your anxiety get in the way of your social or work life?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your relationships and family life?
- Is excessive anxiety limiting your involvement in various life activities?
- Are you delaying decisions and action out of fear of making a mistake?
- Are you avoiding certain everyday situations in order to control your anxiety?
- Does your body often feel tense?
- Do you regularly feel overwhelmed and stressed?
- Do have trouble concentrating in the present because you worry what could happen in the future?
- Do you often feel uncertain about how well connected you are to others?
- Do you often compare yourself to others and feel like you are not “good enough”?
- Do you leave or avoid relationships because you anticipate being rejected?
If any of the above resonates with you, you’re definitely not alone. Anxiety is one of the most common reasons why people seek psychological treatment. Living with heightened anxiety can be a scary, immobilizing and frustrating experience. You may believe that something is really wrong with you or that you should be able to better control your thoughts and feelings, which creates even more anxiety.
Doesn’t Everybody Worry?
Yes, we all worry about different things from time to time. In fact, as humans, we are hard-wired to worry. Experiencing occasional mild anxiety can help us become more alert and focused when facing challenging or threatening circumstances. But, anxiety becomes a problem when it is pervasive, significantly absorbs your mental energy and impacts your ability to function well in your life. You may be trying to control your worries by repeatedly asking others for reassurance, avoiding certain situations or experiences, shying away from new challenges or opportunities or over-preparing for any potential event. But, such efforts to control your anxiety don’t produce long-lasting relief. Instead, they likely raise your anxiety again, exhaust you and leave you feeling powerless and out of control.
Anxiety is associated with a number of causes. You may have experienced a significant life event, such as a loss or a trauma. Or, you may have lived most of your life with a free-floating anxiety that perplexes you. Regardless of the origin of your anxiety, the majority of people with an anxiety disorder improve considerably through psychological treatment for anxiety.
Why Is It Important to Seek Treatment for Anxiety?
People who suffer from an untreated anxiety often develop symptoms of depression (it’s quite depressing to be anxious much of the time), have a greater tendency to abuse alcohol and other drugs as means of “treating” their anxiety and over time, could develop a negative self-image in the face of the perpetual feeling that they’re not living up to their true potential. But, excessive and persistent worry doesn’t only take a toll on your mental state. If left untreated, it can cause difficulties in your personal and familial relationships, interfere with job requirements and advancements and have a negative impact on your physical health (e.g. high blood pressure, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, headaches, etc.). Seeking anxiety treatment and reducing your anxiety is critical to your mental, emotional and bodily well-being.
Is Psychotherapy An Effective Form of Treatment for Anxiety?
Absolutely! Psychotherapy can help you deal with your anxiety by providing you with the opportunity to explore both the root causes of your anxious thoughts and feelings and the factors that are maintaining them. Although your experience of anxiety may not be explained by something immediately obvious, it is not without psychological meaning. The symptoms of anxiety do not occur in an emotional “vacuum.” In therapy, I’ll help you to explore your inner experience, put words to what might be unthinkable, make meaning of your anxiety and bring it into the light of day. By looking at your anxiety and understanding it in the light of your conscious mind, you can discover that it is not so terrifying after all. You can develop a mindful control of your anxiety instead of letting the anxiety keep controlling you and your life.
I’m a psychologist with an extensive experience treating anxiety. I understand the importance of creating a healing process that is tailored to your unique personality and life experiences. With help, it is entirely possible for you to enjoy a more comfortable, successful and joyous day-to-day life.
Treatment for Anxiety Can Help You:
- Identify root causes of anxiety.
- Understand why certain thoughts, feelings and situations trigger heightened worry.
- Be more accepting of yourself and appreciate your imperfections and uniqueness.
- Experience more stability around your work and career choices/
- Improve your connection with your partner, family and/or friends.
- Overcome your anxiety about finding and sustaining romantic relationship.
- Experience an increased confidence in your ability to successfully meet life’s challenges and uncertainties.
- Address negative, self-defeating thoughts and feelings about yourself and shift them into more self-supportive messages.
Anxiety and Your Romantic Relationships
If you experience excessive and chronic anxiety, it can take its toll on an important area of your life – your romantic relationships. Falling in love challenges us in numerous ways we don’t always expect. Both consciously and unconsciously, we become scared of being hurt. If anxiety dominates your emotional life, you are more vulnerable to the overwhelming fear of being undesired. You may worry about the possibility of a breakup, even if your partner has not given you any reason to think so. You might, therefore, tend to seek a great deal of reassurance or defend yourself against anticipated disappointment by minimizing your involvement and connection with your partner. Over time, both strategies have an adverse impact your partner.
In addition, you might, as many anxious partners do, engage in “pushing and pulling” behavior with your partner. Persistent “what-if” thinking can make you question whether you should be in the relationship at all. At the same time, you may also feel emotionally dependent on your partner and his or her support. This can often lead to a repeated, unconscious cycle of pulling your partner in close and then pushing him or her away, leaving you both feeling emotionally drained and despairing.
Though conflicts are a normal part of any relationship, in romantic relationships touched by anxiety, there are usually more frequent moments of misunderstanding, insecurities, conflicts and rifts between the partners. In fact, partners of people with anxiety are more likely to report dissatisfaction with the quality of their relationships; frustration with repeated, unresolved conflicts; and disappointment with insufficient emotional intimacy.
It is, therefore, critical that you get help and shift the focus inward, independently from your partner or this particular relationship. Together we can explore and better understand what really fuels your anxiety, where these feelings come from and how your efforts to defend yourself are possibly creating what you actually fear most: distance, loneliness and disconnection. I am committed to helping with this essential process of self-discovery that is vital to improving your relationship. As we work together to address the anxiety and your insecurities, you can feel more confident and able to allow yourself to be loved and love back.
You Don’t Have to Let the Anxiety Run Your Life
Anxiety, in its various forms and permutations, carries the same message: you are hurting! Now, you can choose to do something about your hurt – to understand it and heal it. If you are looking for anxiety treatment in Los Angeles, I invite you to email me. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about anxiety treatment and my practice.