method of lizzy

preservations… for posterity

Anxiety workshop

I’m learning that the approach to anxiety must be twofold. First, you must inspect the root cause. The ultimate focus of this step is healing. Second, you must make changes in your lifestyle to deter anxiety. Both steps are equally important. Both can and should be undertaken simultaneously.

Connie has helped with the first step. She gave me three exercises (she also gave me a great book… but I’ll write about that later).

1. When you feel anxious, take the time to ponder the source of the anxiety. What does the anxiety tell you about who you are?

2. Consider what your life would look like if there were no obstacles. Give no regard to money, people, etc. What would your life look like? What would you be doing? Be as detailed as you can. Write as many alternative life plans as you want.

3. Think back to the last time you felt satisfied and fulfilled. What was your life like then? What were you doing? How were you spending your time?

Mull over these questions. Allow them to ferment in your mind. Then write it all down and let it all out. The ultimate purpose of these exercises is to understand who you are. This is an essential step along the road to self-actualization. As I’ve learned all too well, you won’t heal simply by covering up your symptoms. Introspection, and acceptance of the results, are required.

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March 10, 2007 - Posted by | anti-depressants, anxiety, introspection, maslow, self, self-actualization

2 Comments

  1. This is good. I’ve found it refreshing reading your blog – you are so honest about your stress and anxiety. I too have been overly stressed and anxious lately…or more specifically I haven’t quite recovered from my last overly stressful/anxious situation and because of that, little things that don’t normally stress me out have recently.

    I’ve been seeing a therapist and he’s been helping a lot, probably much like Connie for you. I find myself still going through cycles where I feel all-powerful and I realize I have the power to control my stress level and my anxiety simply by living my life better. Eating healthier, exercising regularly, making time for fun in my life. But then I also find myself snapping at little things, being overly impatient, judgmental and upset. The worst part is, when I’m on the downswing, I’m fully aware of it. I can feel myself, I can think “why are you doing this? why are you acting this way, this is completely irrational” – but that only aids to stress me out more because then I don’t know how to “fix” the situation I’ve just caused or helped get out of control.

    Recently my therapist suggested a medicinal route. I was shocked. It worries me for 3 reasons.
    1. I’m not very fond of the idea of taking anything to cover up symptoms – symptoms are valuable in that they tell you when something is wrong. Just as you mentioned, you need to discover the root cause and work there, symptoms are only notifications that there could be/is a problem.

    2. I’m not sure if everyone is being more honest about it recently or if something is going on but there has been a strong insurgence of people in my life recently who have been put on some form of anxiety or anti-depressant medication. Why is this happening? Is it just easy to prescribed medication and not deal with the real issue? Could it be true that everyone I know is simply in a point of their life we just can’t take it? If everyone experiences it, why do we need to medicate it? Why are we simply not taking better precautions to prevent it? And why does it seem like the easy way out?

    3. What if he is right? What if I need to cover up the symptoms in order to get myself on the right track to eliminate the symptoms myself? What if I can’t do this without the help of chemicals?

    He told me to mention my symptoms to my gynecologist because apparently they now have the ability to prescribe “low dosage anti-depressants such as Prozac”, he stated. (This seems rather odd to me but that’s another issue).

    After a lot of thinking, I’ve decided to mention to her my mood swings and how they seem to correlate to my cycle but not always. I’m interested in what she has to say but I’m not sure I’ll let that be the end-all-be-all. I don’t have an appointment until June-ish so I have some time to see if I can work on this myself. But if I was 100% sure I wasn’t going to take a prescription for anxiety/stress I’d have to say that I’ve been knocked down to about 95%.

    Comment by Valeri | March 15, 2007

  2. Valeri, thanks for the comment and for reading along. I can identify with a lot of what you wrote. I share all of your misgivings about anti-depressants. That is a tough decision to make. As you’re thinking about it, I would encourage you to get a copy of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne.

    It’s funny that you mentioned that I am honest about my anxiety. My anxiety battles were a well-kept secret for a very long time. I’m a private person by nature, and if I’m not careful I keep too much pent up. I think this is one of many contributors to my situation, and it’s one that I am trying to work on.

    Comment by lizzyd | March 17, 2007


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