Imagination and Anxiety Spiral
Meet Pat – an intelligent, imaginative, friendly guy who held a satisfying job and enjoyed a stable income as well as supportive friends and family. At work, Pat and a teammate were assigned to work on a project with a clear deadline when one day Pat’s boss was suddenly replaced.
Despite Pat’s amicable attitude, Pat realized that the new boss really rubbed him the wrong way. As time went by, Pat grew apart from the boss and started to make critical work project-related decisions independently or without the boss’s necessary “blessing.” The co-worker who was teamed with Pat in the same project unexpectedly resigned. Pat continued to work on the project without a teammate replacement.
Worst-Case Scenarios Come to Mind
Time elapsed, and with the work project deadline looming, Pat started to experience intense worry and anxiety. In Pat’s vivid imagination, Pat thought of all sorts of worst-case scenarios: “Oh my! How am I going to finish this project by myself? What if I do not complete it on time? What will my boss think? What if my boss knows about the decisions that I made without his approval? What if my boss gets pissed and decides to fire me? What if I end up with no money? I will wind up in the streets. I won’t be able to survive.”
Panic Attacks Start
Due to Pat’s constant worry and anxiety, it did not take long for Pat to develop panic attacks – which sometimes would happen daily. Pat would go to sleep at night and within one-to-two hours would wake up in a state of anxiety and find it difficult to return to sleep. Pat’s mind was like a hamster wheel – thoughts constantly churning. From this pattern, Pat would wind up exhausted – both mentally and physically.
Eventually, Pat became so terrified of work that the mere thought of going to work would trigger panic attacks. Sometimes when Pat experienced them at the workplace, Pat noticed an intense urge to run outside the workplace to the parking lot when – in fact – the workplace was perfectly safe.
Depression Set In
Ultimately, Pat’s constant state of fear-related arousal led him to experience a severely depressed mood. It was like Pat’s body could not take the arousal anymore; thus, to self-preserve, Pat’s brain and body “shut down.” Feeling so depressed, Pat could no longer work.
Pat finally admitted that he needed help: The distress just became too unbearable to handle alone. Therefore, Pat swallowed his ego and sought help through therapy. A period of therapy helped Pat reduce the distress: the depression lifted, and the panic attacks decreased. Pat also learned to manage worry much better and worked on increasing self-esteem, one of the underlying issues to his constant anxiety.
Ultimately Pat was able to return to work and to restore his quality of life.
Does Pat’s Story Seem Familiar to You?
Somewhere I read that people who experience debilitating anxiety and worry typically are very imaginative and creative individuals. This may be a positive attribute; however, it may become a double-edged sword when your mind starts to focus almost exclusively on imagined negative predictions and catastrophic outcomes, coupled with an inability to tolerate uncertainty. If you add to this mix thoughts of being unable to cope if something bad happens, then you end up with an anxiety double whammy!
Everybody feels anxious and panicky every now and then; you can take this for granted. However, anxiety and panic are usually problematic when you experience it too intensely, frequently, it is highly distressing to you, or you have difficulty managing it. No, despite what other people might say, you are not crazy!
Do not lose hope! As upsetting and disabling as your anxiety, worry, and panic might be, it’s important to realize that you’re not helpless.
Coping with Anxiety and Panic
Using my knowledge and skills, you can learn and practice effective anxiety-relief techniques to help you reduce anxiety, worry, and panic to make your life whole again. You can take back control. You can gain insight into how your body – especially your mind – creates and maintains constant worry, anxiety, and panic. While medication (or some other substance) may help you achieve this, depending exclusively on them to manage your symptoms may create more problems than it resolves.
Not Just Cope: Overcome, Highly Distressing Anxiety and Panic
Our irrational fears typically originate from past learning experiences that become stored in the subconscious mind in a way that – depending on environmental cues – can continuously trigger your anxiety, worry, and panic. You can learn to both cope and overcome them.
I can help your brain uproot and process those past learning experiences stored in your subconscious mind that may be contributing to your present constant anxiety and panic. It is up to you and how far you are willing to go in counseling. Whether you want to learn anxiety-coping skills, uproot what contributes to your symptoms – or both – I can be of help.
I have recovered from problematic anxiety and panic myself – so I know what it feels like. This is precisely one of the reasons why I made anxiety and panic relief counseling one of my specialties. I learned effective ways to cope and have overcome anxiety, worry, and panic – helping others do the same fascinates me. This work is truly exciting to me – it “hits right at home!”