Anxiety is probably the number one reason that brings people to my office. People just want it to go away. Many people have already found multiple ways to numb their emotions thus their anxiety. Drugs, alcohol, marijuana, xanax, gambling, cutting, sex, fighting.. I have seen endless ways people use to avoid anxiety thus all feeling. IT doesn’t in the long term work. Nothing can, No method can last forever.
The human body is built to feel anxiety. It’s like pain as a method the body uses to avoid danger. IF something makes you anxious your body is telling you that you shouldn’t do it, agree with it, or be there. It is information you direly need!
Sometimes it isn’t the moment at all but a more general theme or style creating ones anxiety, for example, a person that doesn’t ever say no, people pleasers. They get in over their heads all the time and are always overwhelmed by the commitments they make to people. These people often express general anxiety or panic whenever they are around crowds. People to them are overwhelming and represent helplessness.
Although it might feel that way, anxiety isn’t usually random, sudden, and chronic. It is often tied to a behavior one is doing that they don’t realize puts them out of sync with their goal or intent. A behavior that is contrary to the solution they might wish to have.
Anxiety is often a default feeling that happens when one is trying to avoid another emotion that is more directly tied to circumstance.
A young man complaining about panic attacks upon examination pinned the anxiety to thoughts he was having about men. He was noticing men in the locker room and panicked “I am not gay” . upon exploration he didn’t realize this is normal and what he was experiencing was really ENVY. He was comparing himself to the other men in the way of what they had or didn’t have. Again we discussed this as normal as men couldn’t be marketed to if all men didn’t feel these same emotions. Why does a 14 year old want Jordan Sneakers, because they recognize he is cute wearing them and that will get them notice or women or success yada yada. So the anxiety for this man was really ENVY. Treating the panic would have suppressed normal developmental issues resulting as more immaturity in his adult years.
A woman complaining of paralyzing anxiety and panic upon examination is in a shitty almost physically abusive relationship. She sets no boundaries until she is so overwhelmed and angry that she imagines killing her husband. Her anxiety is really hate then fear then guilt then manifesting as anxiety. Treating her paralyzing anxiety only facilitates her shitty relationship skills, unrealistic expectations of humans, and poor boundaries. It would enable her not to change anything and inevitably things would get worse.
Another woman complaining, “why am I so anxious?”, insisted on playing the game of life via a 6 year old rule set. She needed others to play life the way “I want them to play” and “life isn’t a game.” This forcing of others to play life as she would prevents her from being adaptable and to be able to learn how to play life more efficiently. Her anxiety was really frustration and disappointment. Her life albeit in the best of intents became that of denial, enabling, codependency, being abandoned, being invisible and taken for granted, essentially she was another giving tree.