Panic attacks

Anxiety: Is your worrying normal?

Let me just start by saying, it is not normal to be worried ALL THE TIME. Sure we all get concerned about different things throughout the day- traffic, getting the kids to school on time, completing your to do list and what you're going to eat for lunch. But when these worrisome thoughts become a lifestyle, then you might have crossed into the anxiety zone.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Previously, I've broken down the different types of anxiety disorders, and I've also written about panic attacks and Social Anxiety. You can click the links to read about them. Today I'm focusing on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

So what's GAD? To put it simply, it's the presence of constant, daily, excessive worry over a period of 6 months or more. The worry becomes so much that it actually disrupts your lifestyle. Perhaps you worry so much that your friends begin to be concerned about you. Or you worry so much that your performance at work begins to slip. Or you're so worried that you become a lot less social. 

In some cases, you know that your worry is excessive, however you feel like you have no power over it. This could cause a dip in your self confidence and leave you feeling demoralized. Your mind races from one topic to the other and sometimes it affects your sleep. You lay in bed, but your mind refuses to shut off. You think about all the possible things that could go wrong tomorrow and you just can't get a grip on your mind. Your thoughts constantly shift from one thing to the next. Because you're worried all the time, you lose concentration, you're excessively tired, irritable, you might get headaches or other pains in your neck, shoulders or back. So it isn't just a mental game, it's also physical. 

You see, your mind and your body are deeply connected, and usually, when your mind is not at peace, it sends a signal to your body, which will then stop being at peace. So I always say "Listen to your body. Know what it's telling you." If you're experiencing tension in your muscles, it could be a warning sign that you're anxious.

If you think you might be struggling with GAD, the first step (as I always advice) is to go to your primary care physician to ensure that it isn't being caused by a physical health condition. Once he or she rules that out, then step two is to contact a mental health professional such as a counselor or a therapist. There are lots and lots of therapists throughout the Murrieta and Temecula area. 

I happen to really love working with individuals who are struggling with anxiety disorders. I'll ask you a series of questions to determine if indeed you are struggling with anxiety. Then we will begin to dig in to figure out what triggers your anxiety, what's maintaining it and how to gain better control over it. GAD and other anxiety disorders (don't be scared by that word) are totally treatable. If you're ready for some relief, you can call me at 951-905-3181 to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation so we can talk about how we can work together to get you some relief. You can also email me here.

So are you ready to get help?

That odd feeling could be a panic attack

You think to yourself: "Something is seriously wrong with me." You step into your office and you feel like the walls are caving in. You try to take a few extra deep breaths, but you fear that you will choke. No matter how hard you try, you still can't catch your breath. You begin to sweat, and then suddenly, a wave of embarrassment washes over you. You don't want anyone to notice that you're struggling over here.

You rush to the bathroom as fast as you can to try to get control of yourself and it feels like you might throw up all over yourself. You hope you don't faint. Your body feels hot and you're lightheaded. After what feels like an eternity, you're able to get it together. You stay in the bathroom for a few extra minutes, but after that incident, you spend a lot of time worrying that it'll happen again.

Now it's all you can think about. Anytime you go to the store, you think "Will this happen to me again?" You leave your house and wonder, "Will today be the day?" After a while, your worry actually brings on another episode and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

 If this has ever happened to you, it’s possible that you might have experienced a panic attack. First of all, it’s important to get checked by your physician to ensure that you’re not suffering from a physical health condition. Your doctor would also want to check that it isn’t being caused by a substance or medication.

Panic attacks often create very high anxiety. You try to keep it all under control, then you spend a lot of time worrying that they will happen again, which could then trigger another attack. If you experience panic attacks you might also experience dizziness, a choking sensation, trembling, shaking, hot flashes, nausea, difficulty catching your breath, pounding heart and even fear that you may be dying.

But you know what? Panic attacks are treatable by mental health counselors. Please don't be ashamed. Pick up the phone and reach out for help. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can begin your journey of recovery. 

So if you’re in the Murrieta or Temecula area and you’ve been struggling with panic attacks or anxiety, don’t stay silent. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with me so we can decide how we can work together to help you find your calm. You can also all me on 951-905-3181. Sometimes all you need is some therapy or counseling. You deserve all the joy in the world.

If you're not close to the Murrieta area, but you reside in California, I also provide online sessions. Reach out for help today.

What is anxiety?

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.