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Anxiety: You Can Become a Confident Person
It's frustrating when the anxiety hits.
You feel sick to your stomach. It's hard to focus on what you're supposed to be doing.
You hope nobody notices because it sure feels like everybody can see you're going crazy.
It takes everything in your power to hide the anxiety from your family and friends.
It's your shameful secret.
Do you struggle to sleep despite being constantly exhausted?
Do you lose your train of thought at the worst possible times?
Are you afraid to leave your house because you're afraid the anxiety will hit?
If that sounds like you right now, there is hope!
You can feel peace again
- Daily stress doesn't need to interfere with your life
- You can regain power over your emotions and thoughts
- It is possible to live in harmony with your surroundings
- You can enjoy time with your family and friends again without hiding
- When you lie down, it's possible to find rest and relaxation
- You can overcome your shameful secret
- Anxiety and panic often respond well to treatment (I can show you the research!)
I specialize in treating anxiety
I've trained and worked for years to help others overcome their anxiety symptoms. Not going to lie, I've experienced plenty of stress and anxiety in the process, so I know how miserable it feels. I don't want you to struggle through that one more day than you have to. The skills I hope to teach you are the same ones that I use to ensure the time with my family is quality over just quantity.
Because it's my primary specialty, you better believe that we'll be ready to go from the start. We'll hone in on your specific challenges and build an individualized treatment plan to reach your goals as quickly as possible. You deserve the best treatment... and I will do my best to provide it.
While I work a lot with new parents, I have experience helping a wide range of people from across Florida overcome their anxiety, stress, and panic attacks.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is similar to stress, but many times the true cause is unknown. While anxiety tends to be less severe than a full blown panic attack as I'll describe later, anxiety attacks can actually last longer. Anxiety intensifies over a period of time and often results in excessive worry among other symptoms.
Anxiety symptoms include:
- increased startle response
- increased heart rate
- muscle tension
- disturbed sleep
- difficulty concentrating
- shortness of breath
You'll notice that these symptoms are similar to panic symptoms that I'll explain next, but they may not be quite as strong for anxiety.
While anxiety symptoms may be drawn out over days, weeks, and even months with fluctuations in intensity, panic attacks are sudden and tend to be more severe.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress is our body's response to either an internal or external stressor that results in physical, mental, or emotional tension.
The response to stress is intended to help us respond effectively the stressor (e.g., perform well during a job interview, have energy to complete an important work project), but it causes problems when it lasts too long or becomes too intense (e.g., we bomb an interview because of being so stressed, you're unable to complete an important work project due to exhaustion).
An external cause of stress is often known, and the stress typically lasts until the stressor is gone.
Short-term stress is uncomfortable, but rarely requires help from a professional, while chronic stress has many associated negative health effects and can benefit from therapy.
Stress symptoms include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed (e.g., like you are losing control)
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
- Low energy
- Upset stomach (e.g., butterflies, diarrhea, or constipation)
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of sexual desire
- Trouble sleeping
- Nervousness and shaking, cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Muscle tension
- Constant worry
- Racing thoughts
- Forgetfulness, disorganization, and trouble concentrating
- Either not eating or eating too much
- Procrastinating from important tasks
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Demonstrating nervous behaviors like fidgeting or nail biting
Symptoms of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are sudden, often unpredictable, intensify rapidly, and typically last 15-20 minutes (though it may feel like forever!).
These attacks become a concern when they begin to happen regularly, and influence your behavior (e.g., worry about when the next panic attack will happen, avoiding certain situations for fear of a panic attack).
The diagnosis of panic disorder requires at least four symptoms from the following list, as well as the change in your behavior listed above lasting more than a month:
- Pounding heart, or increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of choking
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or that you might faint
- Feelings of unreality or being outside one's body
- Fear of dying
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Chills or hot flashes
The important thing to keep in mind is that panic attacks are not actually physically harmful, and that the attack will pass.
While you may feel discomfort after it passes, they always do pass. Allowing the panic attack to pass without actively trying to stop it (sounds weird, I know), will begin to help you regain some power over them. I can help you make this process a little easier, and quicker!
Treatment of stress, anxiety, and panic
If you'd like to treat the stress, anxiety, and panic attacks yourself, it begins with focusing on a healthy lifestyle.
A well-balanced diet and regular exercise, as well as engaging in self-care (e.g., walks on the beach, coffee with a friend, meditation, relaxation exercises), can go a long way to reducing your chronic stress and helping you to feel in control of your life again.
If you feel that your stress and anxiety are too significant to tackle on your own, I encourage you to consider scheduling a consultation call with me to discuss your options and develop a plan forward. Just keep in mind, there are always options to help get you to your goals!
How do you help me reach my goals?
I utilize both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help my clients reach their goals. Every session is individualized to your needs, because nobody benefits from a cookie cutter approach to therapy. We will focus on the specific strategies that will best apply to your situation. And when something doesn't work, we toss it out and try something new.
This sounds like too much work
When you're overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious, it makes sense that you'd be hesitant to add one more thing (therapy) to your plate. What my patients tend to find is that our work together helps them feel more energized and organized in their life so the challenges no longer feel insurmountable. Skeptics often turn into believers once they begin to enjoy the progress they've made. Therapy is an investment in your personal well-being, and much like exercise it takes a bit of effort to see the best results.
I've tried therapy before and it didn't work
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this, I'd be retired by now. I'm sorry you've had that experience and it's understandable that you wouldn't want to waste your time trying therapy again. I can tell you that I am constantly monitoring to ensure I'm the right fit for my patients and I have no problem referring them to someone who would be a better fit. If you ever feel I'm not right, I welcome that feedback so we can get you on the right path to feeling better. Your progress is most important, whether it's with me or not. I also have my patients fill out short rating scales periodically so we have actual data to measure progress or stagnation. This data is so valuable in ensuring we don't spin our wheels. I can't promise results, but I can promise I will always be working at least as hard as you.
Pinellas Anxiety Specialist Resources:
Stress: How Smart Phones Are Ruining Your Life
How Do I Not Burden My Family
How to Find the Right Therapist
Why is Parenting so Hard?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
The Upside of Stress
Challenges of Parenting