At Dara Counselling and Consulting (still wondering if I drop the consulting word or not?), I enjoy working with people who are experiencing mild to acute anxiety. It didn’t start out that way; I gradually morphed into mainly working with anxiety related issues.
I always wondered why I enjoy this area and realized it might be connected to my struggles as a child. I was extremely anxious, I think I had an undiagnosed disorder at that time. It was awful and it really crippled me in many ways; I did not want to go to school or be away from home. My appetite and sleep were affected. Again, it was awful.
Last summer I attended my 40th high school reunion, yes, 40th. Class of ’78. I became reacquainted with a lady I knew in grade 1 and later became friends with her brother. To my horror she said “remember in grade 1 when your mom had to sit in the classroom with you?” YIKES! I could not believe she still remembered all these years later and talking about it now. Awkward. So I said that she must have been really affected by that and on a positive note I did not struggle with anxiety today. She said she remembered because her niece was experiencing similar emotions and she was very worried about her. When I told her that I had l learnt how to deal with it, many years later, it seemed to give her hope and she looked encouraged. It felt good to give someone hope just by sharing my tale of woe.
A disorder is present when your symptoms usually last beyond 6 months. It is normal to experience anxiety after a traumatic event, for example a death or job loss. Many people feel that there is something wrong with them, but anxiety is a normal reaction to loss. You wonder and worry about “what’s next for me?” It is important to reach out for help and support at those times. You may not need to see a therapist but you do need to feel supported. Sometimes just talking to friends or family can help in a very big way. If you are experiencing a disorder you may need to speak to someone professional about it. So how do you know if you have one?
According to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) symptoms are difficult to control and last at least 3 weeks. According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) it is 6 months or longer. So how are you feeling if you are anxious? Individuals will struggle with many things including feeling restless, edgy, have trouble with sleep, excessive worry, possible tremors, hyperactivity etc. It may also present in wanting to abuse substances and accompany other disorders such as depression. Things that can aggravate or contribute include withdrawal, too much caffeine, psychotic disorders and physical illnesses.
Panic disorders also fall under the anxiety umbrella. They are often unpredictable and don’t make any sense and have no obvious triggers. They are periods when you feel intensely fearful and may experience a racing heart, sweating, feeling like you are “going crazy”, shortness of breath, plus other uncomfortable feelings. They usually last for a few minutes but can last longer.
They can be paralyzing.
There is hope.
I had great support when I was younger but my battle with anxiety went on for years. You may need medication, lifestyle change, new coping strategies and counselling.
If you have questions if therapy is right for you, reach out I would love to talk, nancy@daracounselling.
Thanks for joining me, Nancy