When clients first come to me for help with anxiety, they don’t necessarily know its anxiety or label it that way. In a society where mental health awareness is all
over the media there can be an assumption that people know what anxiety is but its just not that simple. I often find myself trying to explain what anxiety is and how this can feel so that we can
recognise these feelings before we delve any deeper.
When we experience different feelings and emotions, both the positive and the negative it is our brains way of sending us a message. If we didn’t experience a
various range of emotions, we would not know what we like, what we don’t like, we would not become aware of perceived threats. So these messages have a clear purpose.
You have probably heard of the term ‘comfort zone’, I prefer the term ‘familiar zone’, by this I mean it is a place where we feel in control, we can manage
and can cope. An example is someone that lives in chaotic environment, and then is placed into a quiet environment, they feel unsettled, just the same as a person from a quite place is
unsettled in a busy environment. Have you ever felt like this?
Our senses act like those proximity senses that are on cars nowadays, the closer the edge of our familiar zone we get, the stronger the feelings.
Generally we have a default setting to hone in on the negative things, aka threats. This is a safety system of the body that stretches back to our caveman/woman ancestors. As much as we
have evolved in many many ways, our primeval systems are pretty much the same.
Reactions create programmes
Throughout our lives, the mind and body is continually learning from how we react to perceived threats and how these then cause a feeling of discomfort. It makes
a record of that or maybe think of it as programme so if it encounters that event again or similar it sends that same feeling that is a uncomfortable in a way to protect us from going through
that experience. That programme does not take into account logic or that we mature, grow and change.
For example, a fear of spiders when you are 5 years old can remain as the programmed response to seeing a spider. So even in adulthood, when that programme is
triggered you feel the fear of a 5 year old, not an adult. That can be part of the discomfort and concern around feelings and emotions. We know it is illogical but yet we cannot stop
the way we react. The same type of programmes are at play for anxiety and depression. The mind and body is working just as it is suppose to.
If you have not suffered with anxiety or depression it can be a very misunderstood mental health condition. Just how it impacts on people, how depilating it
With most of my clients there is an element of underlying anxiety and/or depression. The treatments or therapy I provide can address both or either depending on the
need of each client.
Depression v Anxiety?
Some people assume they are the same, but that’s not the case. I find the best way to explain anxiety and depression is as follows:
Depression is dormant, low energy and motivation, lack of interest and wants to sleep a lot do nothing and nothing can happen – Stuck focusing on
Anxiety is hyper vigilant, busy fast mind, restless, manic, the merkat pose (on guard) – Fights to get thing done to make the situation better – Stuck focusing the
I have suffered with both over the years and can empathise with people that suffer, I have been in bed for days at a time, then busy rushing around doing things that
are not that important, yet ignoring the things that are important. The ironic thing is that the feelings you experience can actually fuel the condition itself, so it is always
spiralling, the less you do the worse you feel. It is like being on a roundabout with no exits.
As with all my work, I aim to reach the root cause the issue for the client so we can remove the feelings and emotions that are connected with that event, that
Case Study – Fear of Public Speaking
Let me use a real life example of how this old programming can continue to cause problems as an adult. I had a client who wanted help with their fear of public speaking
because presenting at work as part of their job. It was very much starting to hinder their career.
Our sub conscious’s job is there to protect us, keep us from harm. For this client, when we followed the feelings back to the root cause (the first time
that they felt the feeling) it took the client back to being in school where they have been made to do a presentation in front of the class. This turned out to be a very unpleasant event
for the client for various reasons.
What the subconscious (your mind & body) did was install a programme to help prevent that or similar from happening again in the future. The mind
generalises, for example, there are many different designs, sizes, shapes, layouts of a chair, however we know that they are all a chair. When we bring this process in to feelings
and emotions, our minds look for similar things like being in the spot light, centre of attention.
Anxiety is very much about the future, it is about the anticipation of something in the future, or the now. It is sunday night and you have a presentation the
next day or maybe that week, or you may find that you are the only person stood up at the front of the bus. The worry of the up and coming event or the thought that everyone is
looking at you triggers the programme to cause the feeling of discomfort that is effectively messaging you to avoid.
By dealing with the root cause we can remove that feeling from all similar events after that and up to present. We are not removing memories or changing them,
what we are doing is detaching the unwanted emotions from that event. Think of it as deleting a #hashtag from social media.
I always get asked “how many sessions will I need?” and I wish it was easy to answer. Everyone has different experiences and so whilst I will tailor therapies for each
client I cant tell you how many sessions upfront. Its a case of reviewing where we are after each session to see progress made and then decide on next steps.
How to recognise anxiety in you or someone you know.
If some or all of these statements resonate with you and you are ready to take back some control and re-programme your subconscious then get in touch. You can call me
or message me to arrange a free consultation.
- I sometimes or often experience intense anxiety or worry and find it difficult to regain
- I sometimes or often struggle to get a good nights sleep or can be easily irritated.
- I sometimes or often feel frozen with fear and not knowing where to turn.
- I sometimes or often avoid certain situations that cause me fear or panic.
- I sometimes or often carry out repetitive behaviours to calm me down (i.e checking doors are
locked, oven is off or counting/repeating words to yourself)
These are by no means exhaustive or meant to in any way diagnose anything, they are simply some statements that may help you to recognise how you feel. And to know,
there is help available.
Increased Anxiety during a Pandemic
In the current Covid 19 environment, suddenly we have had to change our lives, and we do not feel in control. That is pushing us out of our familiar
zone. Some people who may have had mental health issues before may find that they are adept to coping with retreating from the world, and actually realise things causing them discomfort before
are not that important anymore. Where as there are people who all of a sudden are being forced to sit with themselves, and not have of the distraction of their busy lives.
The feelings that people are currently feeling, for some will disappear when we are allowed to return to the new normal of daily life, for others that may not be
so easy. Worry of going back to work, not wanting to go back to job that they no longer like are find fulfilling. A sense of being lost, what they thought was important and that
they were happy before the lockdown, suddenly realise that they may not have been happy, that they were living the life expected of them not the life they want, and deserve. These are all very valid
and if you feel you may need some help to re-adjust then get in touch and lets chat.