Anxiety can be debilitating, it can be consuming, it can even make us feel like we are going mad. Many people come to me with anxiety and cannot understand why it is having such an affect on their lives. It grabs onto us, takes hold and just won’t let go. It feeds on our energy which is when we find we don’t have enough.
So if we take a deeper look into anxiety we can see just how complex it really is. When a client comes to me they feel like they are just rambling through the entire session and are convinced they are making absolutely no sense at all, but that’s not true. I can piece bits together and know where is best to start, so to me my clients are making perfect sense.
I know how anxiety works, I know because I do suffer from anxiety, I won’t bore you with the details but when my anxiety switch gets flipped I’m a hot mess. Panic ensues, heart races, irrational thoughts, fear that is totally illogical but in that moment it’s hard to sort it into the rational/logical box. I have pulled my anxiety apart bit by bit and found exactly what works for me.
With my clients one of the first things I do is explain a bit more about anxiety, how it looks, how it feels, how it can affect our body physically, emotionally and mentally. This really does help the client to make sense of it and understand that what is happening is out of their control, well for the moment anyway. I ask my clients about their eating, sleeping, exercise pattern. Quite often I’m told that they don’t feel like eating or they just don’t have the time. They may struggle at night getting to sleep and or staying asleep. This often happens and can have a snowball effect. Anxiety feeds on your body so it is important to eat regularly and have a healthy sleep pattern, this gives you more energy to deal with the anxiety. Of course I should point out that it’s not just as simple as saying ‘ok I will eat 3 meals a day and make sure I get 7-8 hours sleep every night’. It’s all a work in progress and hopefully putting a few things in place and adapting over time it will help clients to move forward towards that goal. I should also state that not everything works for everyone so it’s a good idea to try things and if they don’t feel right or feel like they are not working then to try something else. Its important to find the right combination for you.
So here It helps to bring in some coping mechanisms, these maybe simple breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation techniques, it all depends on the client and what works for them, but this is where I would start. We can then work on what the triggers are and recognise when these triggers are about to happen, that way we are ready with the coping mechanisms. This sounds simple but unfortunately its not, there’s no quick fix, this can take numerous sessions but in the meantime we are working on exploration, practicing and adapting coping mechanisms and moving towards regaining control.
Anxiety preys on your fears, your weaknesses, it wants to be in control, it wants you to panic. When you are faced with the fight or flight response it wants you to choose flight, an easy choice in the moment. This is where we kick anxiety’s backside and choose to fight. It doesn’t happen overnight but it will happen, through counselling and motivation it can be beaten, it will be beaten.
This is just a bit about anxiety, if I wrote everything I know it would be more like a book than a blog. Remember nobody is immune to it. Take care of yourself!