Stress and anxiety can be useful and helpful in life. We need a certain level of stress or anxiety to get us going and moving, for example if we’re getting ready for a job interview, performing in a competition or race, or even showing up to work. You’ve probably heard about the fight-flight-freeze response when we encounter a possible threat or danger. Our bodies get ready to respond in whatever way: heart pounds, breathing speeds up, muscles get tense, sweat gets going, feet and hands get cold. This adaptive response can go haywire – getting rewired in anxiety where a lot more situations are seen as dangerous and threatening.
With Panic Disorder: Experiencing panic attacks that seem to come out of nowhere and others that seem triggered by certain situations/things. Sweating, shaking, feeling short of breath, having chest pain, feeling dizzy, getting numb/tingly, “going crazy.” Feeling very worried about getting more panic attacks, to the point of avoiding situations or places, or going only with a safe person.
With Agoraphobia: Feeling anxious in / with: public transportation, open spaces, enclosed spaces, lines or crowds. Thinking escape or help might be difficult or anticipating panic attacks.
With Specific Phobia: Feeling very scared, afraid, or anxious about very specific things or situations, such as animals (like spiders, dogs, snakes), flying, heights, blood, injections, elevators, enclosed spaces.
With Social Anxiety/Phobia: Feeling scared, afraid, anxious of social interactions and situations. Avoiding them altogether or just barely getting through them with lots of fear and anxiety.
With Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Worrying a lot about everything and anything – could be money, family, health, work, school, home, and so on. Maybe calling yourself a “worrywart,” or maybe being called that. Feeling restless, keyed up, or on edge; having a hard time concentrating or thinking; feeling irritable; getting tense/tight; having a hard time with sleep.
Our natural response is to avoid something unpleasant – makes sense. At the same time, what might be more helpful for us is to do the opposition action. You might’ve tried to tackle your fear or anxiety on your own already. I can help you confront, overcome, and face your fear and anxiety. You can do this. We can put together a toolbox of strategies for you to use, so you can get back to living life with a tolerable, healthy level of stress.