Everybody feels anxious from time to time, for example, before a job interview or waiting for test results. Normal nerves fade quickly after an event, but with chronic anxiety, you might feel anxious often or all of the time.
You may find that you start avoiding things that make you feel anxious. In the short term, this makes you feel better but over time, it can mean you start to do less and less and your confidence and self-esteem fall. If this is you please know that you can overcome it – there is hope! Read on to find out how to know if you need to get help for anxiety and the help I offer.
Common signs of anxiety:
Overthinking – you might constantly worry about things happening. You might logically know your fear is irrational and want to stop worrying, but you just can’t.
Restlessness – anxiety can make you feel constantly on the edge, so you can’t sit still and rest. You might fidget constantly or try to distract yourself by cleaning or scrolling through social media.
Tiredness – despite feeling like you need to be on the go all the time, you can feel exhausted yet unable to rest and unwind. You might have problems getting to or staying asleep, which only worsens the tiredness!
Aches and pains – when stressed, we tend to tense up, leading to muscular pain.
Nausea or digestive issues – Because our body’s stress reaction can interfere with digestion, sometimes you can get nausea or irritable bowel issues when anxious.
Difficulty concentrating – because your mind is racing, it can be nearly impossible to focus on a task meaning you might start to struggle in work or driving
Panic – feelings can range from palpitations and a sinking feeling in the stomach to panic attacks. It’s common for people with anxiety to visit the doctor multiple times with distressing physical symptoms, but no physical issue is found after investigation.
Often people find that they are anxious about a lot of things or feel anxious and on edge but can’t quite put their finger on what they are worried about. This would often be diagnosed as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Others are anxious about a specific issue such as health (health anxiety) or social interactions (Social anxiety). It’s also common for anxiety to come and go in different areas throughout a person’s life. For example they might have social anxiety for a number of months or years but then the focus of the anxiety shifts to something else.
There are lots of theories about the causes of anxiety. For most people, there won’t be a single cause but a few things that contribute.
Genetics: if your close family members have experienced mental health issues or anxiety, you could be more likely to.
Childhood: Sadly, traumatic events in childhood can cause anxiety. For example, childhood grief, neglect or abuse can affect us into adulthood.
Health and brain chemistry: some health conditions can cause symptoms of anxiety (so if you start to feel anxious and can’t identify why a check up with your GP might be a good idea), and if you are living with a health condition, this can make you feel more anxious – for example, you might worry about your health in the future or your ability to keep working.
How can counselling help?
Counselling can help you overcome anxiety by addressing the root cause; for example, are there messages you picked up in childhood about you should be or act? Often we don’t question messages we picked up in childhood, and these impact us throughout our lives. Many people living with anxiety also feel a sense of shame or guilt with thoughts like “I should be able to cope” or “I am letting my family down” – counselling is a space to voice these fears, which can often reduce their intensity.
Techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you learn to cope with your anxiety, build resilience and healthy coping strategies. NICE recommends CBT as a treatment for anxiety.
I can blend counselling and CBT to ensure you get the best anxiety treatment. You don’t need to get a referral from your GP if you would like to have private counselling and you can attend counselling alongside having any medical treatment from your doctor.
How can I find out more?
If you are unsure I invite you to contact me to arrange a free introductory call where you can ask any questions and get a feel for how I work. Then if you would like to proceed we can get you booked in for your first session.
If you have decided you are ready to work with me, you have the option of seeing me face to face in my office in Birkenhead, Wirral or we can work online or over the phone. Sessions are 50 minutes long.