Are you nervous about matters that objectively should not bother you so?
The most important idea in the management and treatment of anxiety-related issues is the simple fact that, in the vast majority of cases, the feelings of anxiety that have left you debilitated and frozen are just that: feelings. They are not facts. Yes, the world can be a dangerous place and yes, actions have consequences that we cannot always foresee or manage well. But being alive inevitably entails risk. Without the ability to manage it adequately, we never reach our potential.
Do you imagine that if you try something difficult the consequences could be devastating?
Fear of actual danger is necessary for survival. Fear is a signal to pay attention and focus on what is important. Your life may depend on it. However, anxiety that is a residue of childhood neglect or trauma has taken on a life of its own in the unconscious where it colors and distorts reality in the here and now.
The complicating factor about anxiety is that it reflects a reality that you have already lived through in the sometimes-distant past. Freud was right about there being no time sense in the unconscious. What happened in childhood retains the intensity of feeling as if it were yesterday. It was real back then, but now it is real only in your psyche. Childhood experiences that were so frightful, so fraught with real or perceived danger that the child had to repress the memory of them are always behind anxiety disorders. This process is entirely unconscious. Those now unconscious but still painful feelings rise up, are evoked by, here and now experiences of stress. The problem is that is it often impossible, without help, to tease apart whether the current feeling is real or psychically real. It is usually a bit of both, but in any disorder, the power to disrupt your life lies in the unconscious processes that must be made conscious in order to overcome them.
The amazing revelation about this type of work is just how powerful those unconscious fears are. They can color everything we see, do, think, and feel. Freud was also right when he realized that psychic reality is much more powerful than objective reality. It is why people with mental health issues damage themselves so consistently and make so many destructive decisions that those around them can plainly see are not going to work. What those around them cannot see, what they themselves cannot see, is the powerful residue of childhood fear.
Is it real or is it psychically real? Am I in danger or is it all in my head?
No one reacts objectively to life situations. We always react based on how we have experienced stressors in the past and to what extent we had helpful relationships that assisted us in managing our anxiety. Overly stressful childhood experiences and childhood trauma are what causes the destructive levels of anxiety that plague our adulthood. The answer to the above questions is that it is always some of both: the past and the present. If someone is suffering from an anxiety disorder, it is psychic reality that dominates, and it is the childhood anxiety that is being evoked. And remember, that anxiety is being experienced exactly the way it was when the person was a small child. The intensity has not changed one bit even if the person has grown to adulthood.
No one has lived a live free of stress and anxiety.
The first of the Buddha’s Great Fourfold Truths is that life is difficult. This is true. Anxiety disorders confuse the difficulties we felt as children when we were virtually powerless with those that we might better manage as adults.
I offer a safe and respectful place to sort out intense feelings that are keeping you from your potential. If you can find just enough courage to begin this process, I can help you get strong enough to manage your life with a realistic amount of anxiety. Living with anxiety at levels that inhibit the achievement of your goals is unnecessary.
The hope is that overcoming obstacles and prior patterns of behavior will provide an experience of pride and efficacy that will ensure that you can manage realistically and successfully what life will inevitably throw at you.
Living with anxiety can be overwhelming and seem almost hopeless. However, with help, you can recognize the patterns that generate these feelings. If you can with great courage see deeply into your past and early childhood relationships, resolution of these issues is possible. If you can bring to conscious awareness those long-repressed feelings that drive destructive and disruptive behavior patterns, meaningful change is possible. It is not easy, and it is never quick. The good news is that you do not have to struggle with any of these painful feeling states alone anymore.
Educating yourself is a good way to begin dealing with anxiety, coping with stress, and beginning a process of healing. On the Lectures link at the top of the home page, you will find a series of lectures on various topics in the broad field of Psychology. One of the best sets of lectures for sorting out your own issues is the one called Psychopathology. In those lectures, I address the basics of mental dysfunction and how each of the several syndromes, including variations on anxiety, can be understood. From there, it is much easier to work towards solutions that are right for you.
I would also recommend the lectures on Infant Development and Child Development. Everything begins at the beginning. The context determines the solution. Mental health issues of many kinds often resolve when levels of anxiety are manageable and realistic.
Do your homework and come ready to hit the ground running. I am quite sure that you have suffered enough.