A very large misconception about anxiety is that it is a condition or illness. Having worked with an endless number of clients with anxiety throughout my career, I definitely see it as a ‘symptom’.
Anxiety doesn’t rise without roots. The most common ‘roots’ in my experience include:
If you suffer from anxiety, then understanding that anxiety is a symptom, will allow you to see that it is not part of who you are. It never has been, and it never will be.
With the right help, you can overcome and lay to rest past trauma or make changes in your current life situation that will have a positive impact on your emotional health.
Without the right help, anxiety grows.
I’ve witnessed people living severely restricted lives as a result.
I’ve worked with victims afraid to leave their own homes as a result of bullying 15 years before.
I’ve worked with people who have experienced anxiety as a result of working too many hours under high levels of stress.
Self-protection becomes a priority as a result, and it becomes easier to hide away, than to face the world on a daily basis as the fear of having an ‘anxiety attack’ grows. The fear of anxiety (the symptom) becomes worse than the anxiety itself.
It’s then very common for the sufferer to ‘make up stories’ to aid their protection.
“If I go out, I will have an anxiety attack. People will stare at me and think I’m crazy”.
“I can’t drive by myself because I may crash the car. I’m not safe on the road”
“Home is my safe place. I need to be near home”
I don’t use the term ‘make-up stories’ to be offensive but to be informative.
In my early 20’s I suffered from major anxiety myself.
My ‘made-up stories’ included:
“I can’t go out. I look ugly. People will reject me”.
“I don’t fit in this world anymore”.
Having lost all of my hair after the birth of my second child led to the formation of these stories which severely limited my life.
With determination, I began to realise that my ‘stories’ were fiction, not fact.
What I decided was ‘true in my world’ wasn’t actually true. This allowed me to step out into my life again and find happiness and fulfilment as a result.
If you experience anxiety, then I highly recommend identifying your ‘made-up stories’.
Take pen to paper and write down the reasons why you can’t go to certain places or do certain things.
Look carefully at each sentence, and ask yourself these questions:
“Is this an absolute fact or possible fiction?”.
“What evidence do I have to prove that this is untrue?”.
“What would it be more useful to believe instead?”.
It’s highly likely that you will find that many (if not all) sentences are fiction.
Identifying the facts (truth) will allow you to see many situations from a different perspective. This will then allow you to go out and prove to yourself then you can live a normal life by collating evidence that you can.
Separating fact from fiction is a simple but powerful technique that will allow you to start to take back control and take back the life that you deserve.
To find out more about my personal journey through anxiety and to learn more personally tried and tested self-help tips, check out my book.