In Australia 14% of the population will be effected by an Anxiety Disorder in a 12 month period (ABS 2009c). Anxiety disorders are the most common of the mental disorders and women are more likely to experience anxiety disorders than men (18% and 11% respectively).
There are several different types of anxiety disorder, but basically it is involves feelings of excessive worry, tension, distress or nervousness and can impact people’s lives to varying degrees.
Diagnosis is generally made by a GP and they may refer you to Psychological Therapy and or treat with medication which may be helpful for a while. Research shows that with treatment most people can “learn to deal with their symptoms” and get on with their lives again.
Want to live without anxiety rather than just learning how to deal with it?
There is a way.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a behaviour pattern that starts as a response to emotional overwhelm. Sometimes it is a significant stressful event or a build-up of many stresses that reaches a point of overwhelm. Basically what happened inside you is your mind wants you to be happy. It knows you have reached your threshold and recognises that you need to take some time out to nurture and heal. So it creates the behaviour of anxiety and/or depression because these behaviours keep you in the nest. When you’re depressed you can barely get out of bed let alone the house and when you have anxiety you are so afraid of feeling afraid you don’t go out to avoid feeling that way.
The problem comes because we don’t actually know how to nurture and heal ourselves. So therefore we get caught in the pattern of anxiety and depression and the more we do it, the better we get at it. Anxiety is a skill and if you have been doing it for a while you have probably mastered it. The good news is because anxiety is a skill, you learned it, and you can unlearn it also.
Then there are those that say it is a genetic trait “Anxiety runs in our family. My mum had it, I have it, my sister has it and my son has it.” It is true that anxiety does run in families, because that is where we learn how to respond to life. If as a child you watched your mother respond with anxiety, you learnt that that was the way to respond to these situations and given the right set of circumstances you started responding with anxiety also, then your children watch you respond with anxiety and they too learnt from you how to do anxiety. Just as I hang clothes on the line the way my mother did.
How you keep getting better at it.
I will give you an example of how anxiety works in your head.
Let’s say someone came into my office and sat down then at some point they get very angry and started yelling at me and the experience really frightened me. Next day I come into my office, I look at the chair and I remember that whole experience and as I do the anxious feeling builds inside of me.
Each time I look at the chair, it takes me less time to remember the bad experience and reach that feeling of anxiety. Before I know it, I can just look at the chair and feel anxious. Then my mind realises it doesn’t need to be anxious about just this chair, all chairs that look like that one can make me feel anxious and then it can be just any black chair. Then one day I go to have coffee with a friend. In the coffee shop is a black chair, I didn’t notice it but my unconscious mind did and all I know is that I suddenly get this overwhelming anxiety. Then I think I can’t go to that coffee shop again, then it becomes any coffee shop and before I know it I’m getting anxious about going to the shops.
Most people would say that what they are anxious about – is feeling anxious.
For example, let’s say I am anxious about going to the supermarket. I put off going as long as possible and when all the toilet paper and tissues have been used I know I can no longer avoid the shopping and I have to go. Then I say to myself “I hope I don’t feel anxious at the supermarket”. Then I remember these three times I got really anxious one was at the supermarket and one at the shops and another time I had a panic attack in the car. This makes me feel really anxious on the inside and then I create an image of the worst case scenario, me in the supermarket having a panic attack or perhaps not even being able to get out of the car. Then I try and talk myself down “it might not happen, plenty of people go shopping without anxiety, I used to” then I think “I hope I don’t feel anxious at the supermarket” and I’m back where I started and this loop goes round and round in my mind.
Logically it makes no sense to you to feel this way
That’s because it isn’t logical. You would have talked to yourself a lot about how this feeling makes no sense but yet you still feel that way. You have probably tried breathing techniques, positive self-talk and countless other things but you still behave this way. You have no conscious control over your thoughts, feelings or behaviours.
This is because this is an unconscious problem and working with it consciously can have little or no effect on changing this unconscious pattern and association.
Hope is here
To change an unconscious problem you need to work with the unconscious. Hypnotherapy has successfully helped people stop doing anxiety. The techniques used by Hypnotherapist go straight to working with the unconscious and changing the way these patterns of behaviour happen, so that you no longer have the anxiety, but instead respond in a normal way.
Hypnotherapy may be different than what you think it is. Modern Hypnosis uses a wide range of techniques. You won’t have a pocket watch swung in front of you and you won’t hear “you are getting sleepy”. Sometimes it is just through conversation, sometimes you imagine things with your eyes open, sometimes you move around and sometimes you imagine things with your eyes closed. Hypnosis is just utilising normal states and processes that happen every day, but in a way that creates the change that you want. Nothing goes all black. You are aware, in fact it is a real state of clarity. You can hear everything the Hypnotherapist says and all your own thoughts about it.
You experience trance every day. When you fade out and day dream, when you remember something from the past, when you emotionally connect to a movie, when you get caught in a good book and when you drive home from work and you’re so busy talking to yourself about something you don’t remember the trip. If you can follow instructions, you can be hypnotised. As with most skills you get better with practice.
Helen has helped hundreds of people overcome anxiety. She is a specialist in the area of treating anxiety disorders. On average people see Helen 3-4 times to stop doing anxiety.