Therapies for anxiety that really work.
James has always experienced feelings of severe panic, sweaty palms, and palpitations since high school. Each time he felt extremely nervous, especially during social gatherings, he wished for the world to sink in and bury him alive. James became antisocial and a loner. He would spend most of his nights wide awake crying by himself.
Throughout his teenage life, James would experience abrupt feelings of nervousness and regular heart palpitations. He didn’t talk to anyone about his persistent anxiety disorder. Instead, he internalised his feelings and kept it to himself.
James didn’t get treatment for his anxiety until after college. Soon after he’d graduated, he approached a psychologist and opened up about his severe feelings of extreme and inappropriate worrying. That’s when he learned that he’d been suffering from a generalised anxiety disorder.
He was very relieved to find out that he wasn’t going crazy. His feelings of excessive worrying and hopelessness are common amongst people of any age, especially those between 65 years and below, and are linked to a known anxiety disorder.
The psychologist offered James an array of treatment options, including antidepressant medication. He tried about three types of antidepressants, but none of them worked for him. Although antidepressants have helped a lot of people to manage their anxiety, for some reason, they didn’t work for James. They only made him sluggish and sleepy during the day.
James’ doctor then recommended Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of anxiety therapy that focuses on changing a person’s thinking and behaviour. Again, this anxiety treatment didn’t work for James because soon after a CBT session, he’d go straight back to being nervous.
James then tried Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). Like CBT, CAT also tries to change the patient’s thoughts and behaviour. However, unlike CBT, CAT digs deeper to uncover the root cause of persistent worrying.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy changed James’ life. After so many years of struggling with extreme fears and nervousness, he finally felt relieved. After a few sessions of Cognitive Analytic Therapy, James knew for a fact that he would finally be able to control his anxiety.
Life After Therapy
Although James learned to manage his anxiety, the condition can still affect him time and again. For instance, James might get the wrong impression about a look from a random person and overthink the encounter for days.
There is also a voice in the back of his head that repeatedly takes him back to previous uncomfortable social situations. James says that the voice shapes the way he interacts with people because he sometimes finds himself analysing conversations.
James has, however, developed methods to cope with his anxious behaviour. Whenever he’s overwhelmed by feelings of anxiousness, he doesn’t try to brush them off. Instead, he sits through them until they subside.
James’ ability to control his worrying has really empowered him. He is now able to accomplish his life goals and lead a normal life, knowing he has a strong coping mechanism in case he’s overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety.
When he moved in with his girlfriend Paula, James recognised the significance of maintaining his anxiety under control. He says that it’s imperative for people living with anxiety to openly discuss their feelings with their significant other. Since he opened up about his mental disorder to his girlfriend, managing his anxiety has become a lot easier.
It is perfectly normal to be anxious. However, when anxious behaviour becomes irrational, it is essential to talk to a psychologist and get help. Most people wait too long before getting help. This can be dangerous in the long run. Also, people are encouraged to open up to family and friends when feelings of anxiety start to get out of hand.
While there are a lot of therapies for anxiety, not all of them will work for you. It is therefore important to try out several treatments for anxiety and stick to the one that works for you.
James’ advice to people dealing with irrational fears is to find a coping strategy. His coping strategy is to sit through the uncomfortable feelings until they subside. They always work for him, but different people may need a different coping strategy to manage their anxiety.