Anxiety and worry

Anxiety and worry in short

woman in anxiety
For some people anxiety appears like lightning from a clear sky, for others it comes creeping and slowly becomes worse and worse.

There are also others who experience anxiety as a perpetual concern that makes them avoid doing certain things. For example, I spoke with a bus driver who suddenly became afraid of driving a bus and therefore had to be on sick leave for an extended period of time.

View a brief overview of the most common forms of anxiety and some of their symptoms (Expand)

  • Panic attacks
    • Violent anxiety attacks that come as lightning from a clear sky.
    • Symptoms (of panic attacks): horror, severe chest tightness and difficulties in breathing. Feeling that one is about to die.
  • Generalized anxiety
    • Tension, disastrous thoughts and excessive concern about unlikely dangers
    • Symptoms: constant tension and unrest in the body and mind
  • Social anxiety
    • Fear of making a fool of oneself in social situations.
    • Symptoms: flushing, trembling and being tongue tied
  • Phobia
    • Fears of specific things. For example, spiders, confined spaces, to fly, exams, to stand on a stage, to make a speech
    • Symptoms: paralysis, severe urge to flee and many of the symptoms of panic attacks
Common for all forms of anxiety is that we consciously or unconsciously try to avoid what we are afraid of. I have a friend who suffers from slight claustrophobia and fear of flying, which makes him prefer the stairs to the elevator and prefer to travel by train or ferry instead of by aircraft. If you are so afraid that you avoid social contexts, and are unable to go shopping or leaving your home, it is very restrictive for your life.

Coaching in action – anxiety

I was contacted by a woman who was on her way back to living after 7 months with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, which made it difficult for her to do anything else than to sleep in her bed. When she came to me her depression was still there. At the same time, she struggled with anger, insecurity, anxiety, shame, low self-esteem and a general resignation. About her relationship with her parents, she said that talking to them for 5 minutes would usually result in a severe depression for about 3 weeks. She had therefore chosen to break entirely with them. She both loved them and hated them, which was an important theme for her.

In our work with anxiety, we found out that her anxiety was primarily generalized anxiety and social anxiety. We investigated how the fear was present in her life and in which ways it was counteracting her attempts to live a normal life. Our main focus was, how she could get more peace of mind into her everyday life.

We also worked with her past. This was done by her focusing her attention inwards. She visualized her childhood, as she saw it through the eyes of a  child. In her thoughts she visited various situations in which it was hard to be her as a little child. Gently she relived some of the situations, and we gave her the opportunity, as a child, to express her grief, anxiety and anger. Never before had she been allowed to express these emotions, and therefore she was still carrying the load of them as an adult. While she relived the situation, we gave recognition to the child, for making it through this difficult situation and gave to the child the support, love and understanding, which she needed. We also updated some of the memories that she was ashamed of from a child’s perspective. Seen with her adult eyes it was obvious that there was nothing to be ashamed of.

Continue to depression and depressed mood

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