Anxiety, fear and trembling

Anxiety is something we all feel at certain times in life - it is part of 'the human experience'. We will usually move through it, feeling it as an uncomfortable yet tolerable passing presence.

This short article is about 'the anxious state' or prolonged anxiety, which is quite different from our everyday passing fears and worries. I would like to reassure those who are reading this that that anxiety is not something you will experience indefinitely. It will pass. Truly.

Our minds learn patterns that can be unhealthy but these can be unlearned, for it is a truth that we know more than we think we do. We may know why we feel dreadfully anxious and be able to link it to an event, person, experience and so on, or, we may simply live in a state of fear and be quite bewildered as to its origins.

Whatever the case, counselling can help. Talking about ourselves eases angst, relieves pressure and can offer enormous insight into why we feel the way we do. In counselling, we can look at what we can change about our lives and see the emotional picture from a different perspective. Being truly heard helps us to move towards a more balanced emotional truth.

Being constantly anxious is both psychologically exhausting and physically debilitating. In the presence of constant anxiety there is a feeling of uneasiness, yet one may be unable to 'put a name' to the fear. We may feel 'weak' or 'odd' because we feel the way that we do, struggling on trying to live our lives whilst all the time, our tired mind needs simply rest and reassurance.

Early morning waking, persistent unwanted thoughts that seem to run through our minds like a broken record, a strange sense of foreboding, a feeling that we are somehow 'trapped in a bubble' unable to make meaningful contact with others. Everyone will experience anxiety differently but the experiences above are a few that are most common when anxiety has become chronic and persistent.

Anxiety can seemingly 'trap' us into a vicious cycle of inactivity. We want to do something but the thoughts and ideas we associate with our activities seemingly 'put the brakes on' and we may feel 'stuck'. We may feel there is something 'wrong' with us, and may fear going to see a counsellor either because we think anxiety is 'incurable' or, more commonly, and this is an important point, because when in a state of anxiety, we find decision making immensely difficult and so vacillate from one thing to another. There are so many counsellors, so who should we choose? Will they be the 'right one' for us? Is it going to make any difference?

Please bear in mind as you read this short article that the experience of being listened to by a person who will not judge you, but who accepts you as the unique individual that you are, is the single most healing aspect of being in counselling.

Talking really does help. That's what counselling is all about. You are given the space and time to be who you are. The counselling session is your special place and a gift to yourself. We all need to be heard. From our earliest years, speech and the ability to talk are the most fundamental skills we acquire, but one that we are not taught is how to listen.

This is what professional counsellors have been trained to do. To listen with empathy and be with you on your journey. There is nothing to fear. Counselling is a gentle experience. It marks, for many, a journey into a safe harbor where we can look honestly at our lives and what has brought us to where we are now.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Liverpool L1 & Chester CH1
Written by Linda Helena Boutet, (Dip.) MBACP
Liverpool L1 & Chester CH1

My training in psychology began in 1989. I have trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy and integrative counselling, and am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
I work in a variety of settings, including the NHS, the voluntary sector and in private practice.
I am also a member of the BACP (children & young people).

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