Anxiety shows up in a variety of ways. Almost constant worry (even worrying about worrying!). Thoughts that show up at the most inconvenient times. Telling you that you just have to _______ (fill in the blank here with whatever you "have" to do in order for those annoying thoughts and scary feelings to go away!) in order to feel better. Anxiety can be a real Bully!
Some clients come to me after working with another therapist or reading a lot of self-help books. When I ask the question, "Has anyone ever told you to "just breathe" while you were panicking?" they respond with a nod, but when I ask, "Did you want to choke the living shit out of that person?" their faces light up and they respond with an emphatic "YES!". Sound familiar?
Maybe Anxiety likes to get its kicks with you by masquerading as physical symptoms. Tightness in your chest, trouble breathing, heart racing like it wants to jump out and head to the nearest racetrack, thoughts of "Holy Shit, I'm dying". In some cases you may have even ended up in the ER or your doctor's office, where a shit ton of tests are done only for the doctor to come back and say "it's all in your head"!
Oh, and even better: The "What If's"! You know, "What if I'm having a heart attack?", "What if someone doesn't like me (want to be my friend, thinks I'm weird....)?", or "What if the world is ending?". Auntie Anxiety loves to teach clients how to win the "What If" game over your Anxiety!
How about this one: you seek reassurance from a loved one or trusted friend so often that their patience is running thin (even straining the relationship) only to find yourself heading right back down the anxiety rabbit hole almost immediately following the reassurance. No matter how your anxiety shows up (tortures?) you, changing your thoughts about how Anxiety works (what it's job is) in your life is key to turning it from what feels like an Enemy Attack to actually having an Ally in your corner!
So we agree that your anxiety behaves like a socially awkward annoying Pain in the Ass Bully! We know that you have thoughts of strangling it and that your greatest desire is to be "normal" (spoiler alert: Auntie Anxiety does not believe in the illusion of "normal") and that you make attempts to push the anxious and worried thoughts and feelings away when they overwhelm you.
You may have even attempted therapy or counseling before and learned breathing techniques or other ways to calm yourself when anxiety strikes. You may even had some success in using the techniques AND it just does not seem to be enough and eventually something happens and the scary thought and crappy feelings of overwhelm creep back.
So here's how it works with Auntie Anxiety: We take a directive cognitive behavioral coaching approach to anxiety relief that is part Educational (did you know that your thoughts and feelings are not facts?), part Practice (yep we are going to do a lot of talking about what is going on AND you are going to have to allow yourself to be exposed to that that which scares you), and part Support (but don't come here looking for reassurance 'cause that does NOT work to relieve your anxiety in the long term). One of our goals in working together is to get Comfortable with feeling UNCOMFORTABLE!
OK, so now you have a better idea of how Auntie Anxiety approaches working with Anxiety... AND you are still just the slightest bit (or maybe a whole lot) curious to find out more about how Auntie Anxiety got here. If you really want to know more, you can find My Story here.
Now that you have ALL of that information, I bet you are...