What do we mean by anxiety?
We know what we mean when we talk about fear. If for example you I want to cross a road, and as I’m crossing I see a car speeding towards me. My heart beats faster and I’m focussing on how quickly I can get to the other side. I felt fear, and fear gave me additional energy to get to safety. However, if I am on the same road and have got to the middle, cars are passing and now I see that cars are coming down the other side of the road as well. I feel panic, I can’t gauge how fast the cars are travelling, I’m not sure which way to go, I feel unsure and my vision feels blurry. I have a sudden impulse to run. Afterwards, having got to safety, I feel a bit dizzy, faint. There is an empty feeling in my stomach and I feel sick. This is a form of anxiety.
Fear or Anxiety?
When we know what frightens or threatens us, we are energised, our senses are sharpened and we deal with it. “Fight or flight”.
When we feel threatened without knowing what to do about the danger, we feel overwhelmed, caught, and our senses become dull or blurred, instead of sharp. We are experiencing anxiety.
Anxiety can be quite mild, or it can be severe. It can be the anxiety we feel before meeting someone for the first time, the feeling before an exam or a driving test. We may experience a gnawing feeling in our stomach when someone ignores us at a party or at work. There might be a feeling of terror as we wait to hear the results of a relative’s medical test. This is normal anxiety.
Anxiety is a painful emotion, and to an extent is normal. However, it can be debilitating. Sometimes anxiety can be neurotic, coming from our unconscious conflicts. We feel threat, but don’t know where it comes from. In these instances we need to seek professional help to help us understand the basis of this conflict.
In psychotherapy we work to increase your self-awareness and understand the cause of your anxiety and why it has such influence over you now. I will help you to strengthen you sense of self which will help you cope with situations and get through the confusion and bewilderment that is anxiety.