You've felt funny for a while but you have no idea who to talk to or what to call it. Sometimes you feel odd butterflies in your stomach and other times you sweat. Maybe you get the odd feeling before stepping in front of a crowd, or just before you go outside in the morning. Your thoughts are constantly racing and you don't know how to slow them down.
You try to shake it off, but the feeling seems to be spreading from your mind to your body too. Your neck and back are always tight, you find it hard to sleep at night and you feel like you can't talk to anyone about it, because they'll think you're being dramatic. Sometimes it feels like the world is closing in on you.
Your feeling might just be anxiety. Anxiety is the thoughts and feelings of unease that sweep through a person's mind or body. Sometimes you might get anxious because there's an important event coming up, and other times you don't have any clue why you feel this way. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, which I'll talk about in another blog post coming up soon.
But the most common anxiety disorder I see in my practice is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This means the person isn't necessarily worrying about something specific, but there are many worries about many different things swimming through your mind all day long. For example, you could be worried about your weight, your kids' grades, your marriage, your long to do list as well as your career. Even when things seem to be going well on the home front, you might have this impending feeling of doom like something bad is about to happen.
So how do we treat anxiety?
Well there are many different ways. Some people choose to see a psychiatrist and get on anti anxiety medication. Others find more holistic treatments such as yoga, exercise, meditation and prayer. And still others choose to speak to a counselor or therapist and learn different ways to train their minds on how to not be so focused on situations, but think more realistically. Different therapists work from different approaches. Some focus on thought patterns, others focus on the emotional component, still some use approaches such as mindfulness among others.
Some people choose to use a hybrid method such as by taking meds and going to yoga. Or through prayer and therapy.
It really doesn't matter which route you take, or if you use a combination of treatments, all that matters is that you seek help if you feel that your anxiety is not under control. As I am not a doctor, I cannot prescribe medications. I also am not a yoga instructor or a certified physical trainer, so I cannot advise you on exercise or diet.
My approach to treating anxiety
My approach as a therapist, is to use a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Simply put, CBT looks at how to reduce anxiety by focusing on irrational thoughts. We work on shifting those thoughts, which will in turn shift your feelings and then your behavior. We know that your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all linked. If you change one, you''ll change the other two.
DBT works mainly on helping you focus on the present. So instead of thinking about what you're going to do when you get back home, all the tasks on your to do list, how you're going to fix your marriage, how your life is falling apart, you'll learn how to focus on one thing at a time-living moment by moment.
So there you have it. If you've ever experienced anxiety, what helps you reduce it?
And if you're in the Murrieta area or you live anywhere in California, and you're tired of battling anxiety and worry all on your own, give me a call at 951-905-3181. I'll give you a free 15 minute consultation in which we'll talk about your worries and ways in which I might be able to help you find your calm. I believe that before you schedule an appointment with a therapist or counselor, you should have the opportunity to talk to him or her first.