a frightened mind …
Anxiety is an emotion we all experience at times. It alerts us to potential threats so that we can respond to them appropriately. We attain a heightened state of readiness and this can make us run away faster or fight more strongly. Hence the term “fight or flight” response.
If the threat is a large bear, running faster or fighting more strongly is clearly helpful. If the “threat” is going to a party or doing the shopping it is not helpful to us.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.”
~ Dan Millman
Common Anxiety Disorders
Panic Attacks – This is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to a threat. They are periods of intense fear which can rise up rapidly. Adrenaline overwhelms the cognitive function of the brain meaning that the person is unable to rationally evaluate the real nature of the threat. The body changes rapidly, with the person experiencing a pounding heart, shaking, nausea and feeling faint. It can be so intense and so scary that people have reported feeling as if they were dying during these attacks.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – A delayed reaction to a highly stressful situation such as a violent attack, military combat or natural disaster. The symptoms often include depression, nightmares, anxiety and flashbacks.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Characterised by intrusive and repetitive thoughts, feeling and ideas that make the sufferer feel compelled to do something to get rid of the obsessive thoughts. However, acting on these thoughts only provides temporary relief from anxiety and reinforces the behaviour. Thus the person can often feel caught in a vicious circle.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – This is the most common form of anxiety disorder affecting around 5% of the UK population. Unlike a phobia which is directed at a particular situation or object, GAD is more vague and pervades the person’s daily life. Although less intense than a panic attack, its duration and the exhausting symptoms such as disturbed sleep patterns and inability to concentrate can severely impact on the life of the person.
Social Phobia or Anxiety – Is an overwhelming fear of social situations that is much more than “shyness”. It can be an intense fear and anxiety over such mundane tasks as shopping, going out for a meal or speaking on the phone. Whilst we all sometimes worry about certain social situations, someone with social anxiety disorder will worry excessively about them before, during and afterwards. They will ruminate on the “threat” of saying or doing something they see as bringing humiliation onto themselves, such as appearing unintelligent, sweating or blushing.
How I Can Help You Gain Relief from Anxiety
Firstly, allowing you space to explore and describe how you feel is a vital first step to you returning to your more centred, calm and in control self. Your anxious thoughts and feelings will often feel “ridiculous” or “pathetic” to you (or rather to your rational brain). By speaking about them to another person in a caring and non-judgmental environment, you will find yourself being less judgmental and more kind to yourself. This too is vital in ridding yourself of the anxiety that has been created.
More specifically, we will use techniques from many schools of therapy that have proved to be effective in treating the condition. We can “re-train” the brain with techniques from CBT and behaviourism.
We will allow the “new” and “old” parts of the brain to talk to each other constructively using Gestalt “parts therapy” and I can teach you breathing techniques which will give you the confidence that you can remain in control of your body simply and easily. (This is important because it is often the fear of not being able to control your body’s response that increases the anxiety).
Hypnosis is a powerful tool in tackling anxiety. The feeling of relaxation that you will experience shows you that you do have the resources within you to feel differently. In hypnosis, I can talk directly to your subconscious and re-frame previously anxiety inducing situations into ones you feel in control of.