General Anxiety

Q: What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease that is sometimes focused on a specific upcoming event and sometimes more general in nature. Anxiety can often be coupled with various unpleasant thoughts, bodily sensations, and feelings.

Many people suffering from anxiety try to avoid feeling those feelings and will therefore stop doing things which seem to being on their anxiety. And so one might choose not to speak in public, ask someone out, or try to learn a new skill.

Q: What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to being in a situation where the person is at risk of ‘having a problem’. The feeling is one of ‘uh-oh, you better solve this big problem’ and the thoughts that come with it are often frantic attempts at solving the upcoming problem.

And so the cause of anxiety is being in a situation where it appears to you that you’re at risk of getting having a problem. And so for most people, if they were involved in a project at work and made a big error, and had to somehow fix it before the big boss found out, would feel anxiety.

Q: I have anxiety even when I haven’t done anything ‘wrong’! How can that be?!

Some people have had the unfortunate experience of being in many situations where they were often blamed, attacked, and ‘had a problem’ even when things weren’t their fault. Some end up believing that almost anything they do can easily be ‘wrong’ and ‘their fault’ and ‘not ok’. For these people, the sense that ‘uh-oh, I might have an upcoming problem that I must solve’ comes with nearly every decision and action they take. They are always at risk of ‘being wrong’ and ‘getting in trouble’ and ‘messing up’. This sends the person into a constant frantic effort to try and fix things. That is the anxiety they experience.

Q: Can therapy help with anxiety?

It sure can! Therapy can help in many different ways. Here are a few of them.

  1. It can help you learn how to better manage the thoughts and feelings that come with feeling anxious.
  2. It can help you learn how to fight the anxiety and not allow it to decide what you can or can’t do in your life.
  3. It can help you recognize what is at the roots of your anxiety and it can help you work to change that.
  4. It can help you by giving you a safe place to process and understand what is going on with you, which often itself is a big relief.

Q: I have been to many therapists before for my anxiety. Nothing has helped. Can you help me?

See our page on Treatment Resistant Anxiety.

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