Is Anxiety Depriving You Of A Joyful Life?
Are you constantly worried? Does it feel like you can never truly relieve your stress? Do you wish you could feel safe and secure enough to relax and be yourself?
Living with anxiety is exhausting. You probably feel like you have to work hard at distracting yourself just to feel OK. Maybe you go to extremes to manage your emotions, such as walking on eggshells around others, checking the stove multiple times to make sure it’s turned off, controlling your calorie intake, or compulsively cleaning. This constant loop of distracting thoughts and behaviors keeps you feeling safe, but it can also cause additional stress, worry, and irritability.
The physical symptoms of anxiety could exacerbate your discomfort. You may periodically suffer from an upset stomach, sleep disruption or lack of appetite. Maybe your heart races or you have trouble breathing when faced with stressful news.
Perhaps you avoid social situations that make you uncomfortable or deliberately sidestep difficult conversations that cause you distress. You may find that it’s easier to stay away from circumstances that you don’t feel equipped to deal with. In the end, however, doing so leaves you feeling helpless and unable to adequately handle life’s challenges.
If you have a partner, it can be frustrating for them to live with your anxiety. They might feel like they can never do enough for you or that they’re unable to help you. Perhaps they think you’re overly sensitive, demanding, or needy. This, in turn, makes you feel insecure and alone in the relationship, unable to trust your partner to understand and support you.
The good news is you don’t have to live with the symptoms of anxiety anymore. Anxiety treatment with Trusted Journeys can help you make sense of the coping strategies you’ve put in place to protect yourself and discover healthy ways of processing your emotions.
The Seeds Of Anxiety Are Often Planted In Our Childhood
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well.
There are times—especially in childhood—when we don’t have what we need to feel safe, supported, and secure in the world. When there are more signs around us that things aren’t OK than signs of safety and support, it’s hard to cope with the resulting stress in a healthy way.
A lot of us grew up with parents who already had a lot on their plates. If we experienced emotionally overwhelming events as children, we may not have shared what happened with our parents because we didn’t want to add to their burdens. We might have been afraid of how our parents would respond or feared that they would be too preoccupied to respond at all. Instead, we bore the brunt of our trauma ourselves and never found a safe place to share or process it. This unresolved pain that accumulated over time is what fuels our anxiety symptoms today.
What’s more, we live in a society dominated by harmful myths about solving mental health issues and overcoming anxiety. The rugged individualism inherent in western cultures teaches us from a young age that we are responsible for handling our own problems. Many of us are told that seeking treatment is a sign of weakness and we fear that others will judge us for doing so. Furthermore, there is a common misconception that all it takes to eliminate anxiety is positive thinking. All of these myths, of course, are misleadingly false.
Oftentimes, the biggest challenge in getting help with your anxiety is making the first appointment. But if you are willing to take the first step, relief is possible. You can feel supported and cared for rather than trying to manage anxiety by yourself.
Anxiety Treatment Can Help You Feel Safe And Supported
Anxiety is a sign you are overwhelmed by your emotions. You’ve tried to manage them on your own the best you can, but don’t have the support necessary to process your unresolved loss, fear, and pain. You need a safe place to understand and work through the emotions underlying your anxiety. Trusted Journeys is that place.
In our initial session, we will look at the big picture of where you are now, how you got here, and where you’d ideally like to be. I will listen to your story so you don’t feel alone and help you process and make sense of your experience. As part of the intake session, we will map how the three branches of your nervous system work when you are anxious and discuss how it responds to cues of safety and threat.
In ongoing sessions, we will slow down and focus on moments when you experience symptoms of anxiety. I will join and support you in each moment so that what you experience becomes more understandable and no longer overwhelming. You will experience feeling heard, seen, and validated. We will make sense of the internal patterns, and patterns between you and others, that keep you stuck.
By helping you understand that anxiety is the way you avoid feeling overwhelming emotions and how, within that context, your coping strategies make sense, I will teach you to value the self-protection you have put in place rather than judge it as bad or unhelpful. Next, I will guide you to the root causes of your unresolved trauma (such as obvious traumas or near-invisible but repetitive experiences of abandonment and rejection) so that you can begin to heal these wounds. Once healed, you will realize that you no longer need the same old coping mechanisms to feel safe.
Polyvagal Therapy, Internal Family Systems (IFS), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) are all effective treatments for anxiety. In Polyvagal Therapy, I will help you map your nervous system so that you can understand and befriend your natural and unique responses to stress. In IFS, you will discover the different facets of yourself that are often in conflict with each other. By identifying and accepting each one of them, you will become more connected to yourself. In EFT, we will look at how you developed an insecure attachment style (anxious, avoidant, or fearful-avoidant) to protect yourself from receiving the care and support you need.
If you are in a relationship, I recommend you attend anxiety therapy with your partner. Most partners would love to help you if they could, but often don’t know how. They may even inadvertently contribute to the problem by becoming frustrated and judgmental when they don’t have a way to be an effective partner in healing your anxiety symptoms. Helping you both face your anxiety together can make treatment far more effective than going it alone.
You can live a life where you no longer have to manage your emotions ineffectively. Instead, you can learn how to trust and care for your emotions and receive understanding and support from others.
But you may still be wondering whether anxiety treatment is right for you…
My emotions—and the ways I cope with them—are too much for a therapist to understand and handle.
It is common for people to have extreme emotional reactions and to create elaborate coping mechanisms for dealing with them. As a therapist with over 20 years of experience, I desire to understand you and relate to your experiences as best I can. While I may not share the same circumstances as you, I have had a wealth of life experiences and I am used to dealing with extreme emotions and behaviors. Nothing surprises or overwhelms me.
I’ve tried anxiety treatment before but it didn’t help me.
Unfortunately, I have often heard clients say that their previous therapy for anxiety was not helpful or was even a negative experience. Anxiety counselors are all unique—our levels of experience vary as do our preferred modalities. To discuss how my approach to therapy differs from your previous experience, and to get a sense of whether I’d be a good fit for you, feel free to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
Isn’t treatment for anxiety time-consuming and expensive?
Life is short and precious, and no one deserves to be unhappy. My rates reflect the level of training, experience, and skill I bring to the therapeutic process. Working intensively over a condensed timeframe can be a more effective and efficient option to achieve change if you feel stuck in patterns that no longer serve you. And unlike shorter, weekly sessions, we can explore a topic in-depth and keep going until we get to the root cause of your issues.
Experience What It’s Like To Live Anxiety-Free
Let Trusted Journeys help liberate you from the burden of anxiety. You can feel at peace and live more productively. For a free, 30-minute consultation, please contact me.