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Are You Hiding from Anxiety?

Anxiety is an often misunderstood and hidden struggle for many women. In my work as a therapist, I maintain the utmost confidentiality, and many of my clients choose to keep their therapy sessions private. This is understandable, especially considering the sensitive nature of anxiety and the societal stigma that sometimes surrounds mental health issues.

The Hidden Struggle

Many of the women I work with have been silently battling anxiety for years. Some have been on antidepressants for 15-20 years by the time they come to see me. There’s no judgment here—it’s what they needed to do to survive. However, the underlying anxiety still needs to be addressed. 

 

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety can manifest in various ways and can significantly impact one’s life. Here are some common triggers and consequences of anxiety: 

 

  • Future Uncertainty: Worrying about what might happen can cause significant anxiety.
  • Negative Storytelling: Creating worst-case scenarios in your mind can fuel anxiety.
  • Lack of Control: Feeling overwhelmed and out of control can exacerbate anxious feelings.
  • Sleep Disruption: Anxiety often makes it difficult to sleep.
  • Relationship Issues: Anxiety can strain or even break relationships.
  • Health Problems: Chronic anxiety can lead to various health issues.



Common Experiences

It’s important to understand that anxiety is a universal experience. We all feel anxious at different times. Our brains are wired to protect us from danger, and part of that involves anticipating potential threats. However, this protective mechanism can sometimes go overboard, leading us to fear events that are unlikely to happen. This can create a cycle of fear and helplessness, making it difficult to change our current situation.

Breaking the Cycle

Our brains prefer comfort zones because they are easier to manage. Falling into a routine, even if it’s a negative one, feels safer to our brain than stepping into the unknown. However, there are ways to break free from the grip of anxiety:

Stay Present: Ground yourself in the present moment.

Mindful Breathing: Focus on your breathing. Count each breath in and out, gradually slowing them down. Aim for ten breaths, taking twice as long as usual.

Focus on the Now: Direct your mind to the current moment instead of potential future problems. This helps to calm anxiety because you remind yourself that you are safe right now. 

Anxiety is a powerful force, but it doesn’t have to control your life. By understanding its triggers and learning techniques to manage it, you can reduce its impact. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Whether through therapy, medication, or self-help strategies, there are ways to manage and overcome anxiety. Don’t hide from it—face it, and take the first steps towards a calmer, more controlled life.

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