Worried, Panicky or Obsessive Thinking
Anxiety is the number one mental health issue in our country. Many even refer to our time as 'the age of anxiety'. Everyday we're exposed to news that would make anyone feel nervous. To top it all off, there are challenges in our economy. Financial distress is another trigger for feeling worried and anxious.
As a result of environmental uncertainties, you might be feeling edgy about things in your own life. People who are anxious, often feel:
• Nervous and over think every situation only to come up with no real solution
• Fearful about the future
• Unsure of themselves
• Indecisive in their decision making
• Physical tension such as tight tense muscles, racing heart, butterflies in the stomach and headaches
• Edgy and have panic attacks
• Restless and have trouble sleeping
-• Feeling like you are not present in your own body
Anxiety is also connected to other ailments such as phobias, OCD, skin picking or hair pulling. PTSD and CPTSD also fall under the category of anxiety because of the physical reaction we have when we're in the fight, flight or freeze mode.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is considered to be one of the most cutting edge, effective ways to manage anxiety. It is considered to be 'evidence based' because studies show that it really works. CBT teaches you the connection between your feelings and your thoughts. Simply put, when we are feeling anxious we are telling ourselves something terrible is about to happen. We imagine worse case scenarios and the story in our head builds and builds. Before you know it, your heart is pounding, you're gasping for air and you are convinced that your thought is now a reality.
CBT helps you to look at thoughts, identify the distortions and reframe your thought to speak the truth. For example, if you think you are about to fail a test and your thought becomes "I'll fail the test and I'll never amount to anything," the thought can be modified to speak the real truth. "I have no idea if I will pass or fail. However, if I study, I'll have a better chance of passing." The brain hears this thought and the anxiety calms down.
These are techniques that work for those who are challenged by fears or phobias. Simply put, you analyze and measure your units of distress from start to finish. For example if you are afraid to fly, we will talk about your travel plan from getting into the car to driving to the airport and getting seated on the plane. You will measure your perceived level of stress on a scale from 1-100. The idea is to keep imagining your journey every step of the way, using various relaxation techniques to calm you down.
How I Can Help You
It always helps to talk. Listening to yourself speak is helpful in 'normalizing' what is bothering and giving your worry less power. When you keep things to yourself or say things like '"Oh that's silly; I shouldn't shouldn't be thinking about that," you usually just keep the thought going in your head. You just decide not to tell anyone. Unfortunately, the more you hold back, the more power you unconsciously give to the thought. Eventually, the thoughts get more and more catastrophic and the more anxious you feel.
Sharing and talking in therapy is helpful. It's healing to speak to someone who listens without judgement. Talking helps put things in perspective.
Learning how to stay present in each moment, (being mindful) is a highly publicized technique that gets great results. Examples of Mindful techniques include deep breathing, grounding, progressive relaxation and meditation. There are others too. We can explore what works best for you.
Learning to be mindful reduces stress. It works great for people who worry, are prone to panic attacks and people who had traumatic life experience. Mindfulness also helps with insomnia and nervous conditions such as skin picking, hair pulling and phobias.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
This is a recommended treatment for people who are are challenged because of their compulsive behaviors. ERP basically encourages you to refrain from performing all rituals. It is comparable to jumping into a pool of cold water. While your first thought is to immediately get out of the water, if you stay in the pool long enough, your body adjusts.
ERP takes that basic premise and applies it to your rituals. For example, if you are someone who 'checks' the door knob repeatedly before leaving the house, you will not be allowed to check it at all. Your anxiety level will go sky high, but eventually you will adapt.
While I can work with you by educating and assessing the type of OCD you are experiencing, implementing ERP usually requires more than just weekly therapy sessions. ERP is a very intense hands on therapy that may involve someone actually being with you while you are implementing the ERP treatment.