Anxiety Therapy in NYC
You are an achiever, perhaps an overachiever. You work hard, but it doesn't feel like enough. Perhaps you’ve unknowingly set unattainable goals. You strive toward a sense of perfection that nobody - not even you - can achieve. Nonetheless, the fact that you haven’t reached your idea of success causes you to worry that you’re failing. You're not living up to what you expected. You’re letting yourself or others down. You judge yourself harshly and the ever present torrent of worrisome thoughts and feelings that accompany your self criticism and doubt is endless. This negativity embeds itself in your romantic relationships, work life, friendships, comfort in social situations, and your sense of yourself. You're anxious that you’re not enough...that you'll never be enough. You are enough.
This is just one example of how anxiety could manifest. The reasons that we can feel anxious are endless. Living in a state of fear, and the symptoms and life changes that accompany that state of fear, is what is both universal and crippling about anxiety. When we are anxious we worry that we don't have control over an aspect of our lives. You have more control than you think.
The Anxious Circle
Anxiety can slowly steal your life. Sometimes, people are so accustomed to their state of being that they don't realize how anxious they are. We’ve been anxious for so long that we've normalized the experiences: ruminating thoughts, pervasive fears, avoidance, restlessness, tension, sweating, trouble concentrating, fatigue. We don't fight back against negative thoughts we tell ourselves - either that there is something wrong with us or something bad is about to happen - and we come to accept them as fact. Anxiety can be an intolerable experience, living in constant fear that the other shoe may drop or we'll find ourselves amid another episode. We condition ourselves to accept this way of being because we know no other way. There is another way.
To complicate things, we eventually get anxiety about having anxiety. It becomes a vicious circle where the anticipatory anxiety is just as bad as the anxiety itself. Your anxiety becomes something that dictates your life. Your schedule or routine revolves around what will limit your exposure to things that may set off your anxiety. This can get overwhelming, lonely and scary really fast. You don't have to accept this way of living.
Anxiety is informing us that somewhere along the way, something happened to make us feel unsafe. You may know what it is, you may not. It may be several things. There is no one cause for the overpowering feelings of anxiety. This unsafe feeling impacts how we function in our life. We begin to feel anxious in certain situations or environments when we really are safe. We expand the impact of an upsetting event so that instead of feeling able to tolerate it, we experience acute stress and subsequent symptoms, both psychological and physical. We isolate and avoid circumstances or people, certain we will become anxious if we don't. Negative thought patterns materialize telling ourselves there’s something wrong with me, I should just be stronger, I’m letting myself and others down, or similar thoughts that add layers of shame to our anxiety. Those thoughts are not accurate thoughts, yet they feel still feel insurmountable and true.
Regardless of the anxious thoughts or symptoms we experience, therapy is utilized to identify both causes and ways of coping with anxiety. Through feeling safe with one's therapist, a person can begin to use therapy to explore their anxiety and all that is connected to it. When we have a stronger understanding of what is at the root of our anxiety, we have a greater ability to control its hold on us.
For an anxious person, the idea of therapy itself can feel challenging. The idea of being vulnerable to a new and unknown person may seem impossible to envision, let alone carry out. However, one of the most important relationships is the one with your therapist. Putting your fears out there for another to bear witness to can be terrifying. That is why therapy is important. Therapy's purpose is to foster a safe and non judgmental relationship where you feel confident that what is in your mind can be heard, and held, by your therapist. It is common for someone to honestly share their anxious thoughts to their therapist before they are able to do so with the closest people in their lives. Many times, the therapeutic relationship can end up providing an example of what a genuine, healthy dialogue related to your fears can look like.
Therapy is an avenue through which to share the real unfiltered you. You are encouraged to express your needs, identify and process your fears, accept and confront feelings of anger or conflict, while connecting authentically with another person. This process helps you to externalize your fear based thoughts, work with your therapist to better understand where they come from, and explore new ways of understanding your anxiety so that you don't feel so controlled by it.
If you are ready to gain more control, now might be the time to make a call.