One of my specialisms is helping clients who have anxiety. Anxiety, phobias, panic attacks and depression often work hand in glove. These are sometimes set off by a current life event or can be more long term with no obvious reason for their onset.
When anxiety starts to affect life negatively and goes beyond the ordinary life anxieties most of us face at certain points (exams, job difficulties, relationship blips, illness etc), it’s a good idea to seek professional help and get it sorted out. Most people know when this point has arrived. Getting help shouldn’t be a big deal and shouldn’t involve you sitting in therapy forever – it truly doesn’t have to be made more complicated than it already feels.
But clients put off doing something about it; they frequently feel bad about seeking professional help for anxiety and shame that they can’t ‘pull myself (sic) together’. They are guilty about the effects on their partners and families, embarrassed at the ‘silliness’ of their phobias and tortured thoughts, especially since they often have one rational eye out, observing themselves, assessing and commenting on how ‘ridiculous’ they’re being – their very own stern and punitive authority figure wagging an accusatory finger!
From my clients I’ve heard many examples of phobias, anxious thoughts, fears and brave attempts to overcome them. I’m always struck at the courage it takes for people to voice these thoughts to me, the trust they show in doing so, and their resilience. They all have the ability and resources to overcome them, or at the very least, to manage them.
In therapy and by working on things between sessions, we develop tools and strategies to deal with these difficulties. These are unique to each individual client, because no two people experience the same kind of anxiety or phobia, despite the underlying patterns often being similar. These ways forward can be used in the future, if ever and whenever they are needed. The control these tools give clients is often a huge relief to them.
There is no doubt that it takes some effort to manage or overcome anxiety, phobias, panic attacks and depression, but if you’re prepared to make that effort – within the sphere of your own capabilities – there is absolutely no reason why this can’t be done. It doesn’t have to be an unpleasant and lengthy business. It is often a creative and fairly simple process to logically loosen the grip that holds you and to improve the quality of life.