If anxiety is normal, how come I feel so bad?

Have you ever had a day when nothing seems to go right? You feel overwhelmed by the day ahead, wondering how you will get all your tasks or work completed. Things you do on a daily basis, you find you don’t know where to start and it seems hard to remember familiar information or detail. These seem overwhelming things to cope with and can be very frightening.

How will this information help me?

After reading this short article, I hope you will learn that you’re not alone. There are people and resources available to help you manage your anxiety. I have identified methods, contacts and materials to help you get started.

Getting started

The good news is, you realise something is not right and you are choosing to do something about it.  

Make an appointment (book a double) with your General Practioner (GP). Explain how you have been feeling. You may find it helpful to write your symptoms down before you go. Consider taking an understanding friend with you for support. The GP may wish to exclude any physical causes for your symptoms and may suggest certain tests as part of his assessment.

Understanding your diagnosis

If your GP diagnoses anxiety, you can increase your understanding by reading information on the subject.

Anxiety occurs naturally. It helps us to manage situations that we perceive as threatening. Another way of looking at this is “preparing us for fight or flight”.

Sometimes, our experience or beliefs can make a situation seem threatening. Our body prepares us by releasing adrenalin, which increases the activity of some of our bodily systems. This leads to overwhelming and uncomfortable physical feelings and psychological experiences that can be very frightening.

Talk, Talk and Talk

Tell people how you are feeling, what you are experiencing. Tell them how they can help (or not). Remember that, unless you tell them, they won’t know.

If it is hard to talk to friends and family, consider using a support group or befriending group. Another option may be an organisation you can contact by phone/email to discuss your problems.


Therapy may help you to manage these difficulties.

Therapy can be on a one to one basis, as part of a group, or by computer programme or internet.

You may have to wait a little for therapy. If you do, it may help to read about the causes and treatments available for anxiety, and what they involve.

If you are happy with therapy – stick with it. If not, tell the therapist. He may have other ideas or suggestions that could help you to get better.

Medication can also be helpful, but it can take a few days or weeks to reach a therapeutic level. Your pharmacist will be able to explain how your medication works, and how long it will take to become fully effective. He will also be able to offer you a private consultation at no cost.

If you experience any side-effects, tell your GP but keep taking the medication unless your GP’s advice is that you should stop.

Keep active

This may be the last thing you feel like doing, but planning your week and doing simple tasks will increase your coping skills and confidence.

Gradually reinstate small things that give you enjoyment.

You may find your therapist also encourages this approach and may recommend strategies to increase your coping skills.

Record what you do so that you can see how you are progressing.


Several different things may have caused the difficulties you are experiencing. Changes or stresses at home or at work, or a loss. You may wish to consider making changes to that will help you to manage these things differently.

Your appointment with your GP may also highlight diet or life style changes that could help.

Preventing Relapse

During therapy, you will identify techniques and resources that are helpful.

You can use these techniques and resources to help during therapy and again in the future. This will help to lessen the risk or a relapse, or help you deal with any relapse that occurs.

I hope you have found this helpful and you will be encouraged to get help.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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