Although, in theory, anxiety may sound better than depression, it is just as debilitating. Men are more likely to say they have anxiety than depression, maybe it sounds less fascinating? However, the names of these things are less important than finding a way to feel better. And feeling better can be feeling your anxiety.
There are some great ways to cope with anxiety. I have written about some of them and there are many workbooks, self-help books, blog posts that can teach you skills for this.
Experiment with them and do what works for you.
But if anxiety is not completely taking over your life, you may still be actively trying to avoid anxiety. This means that while you do not "look" anxious, your anxiety is manifesting as
irritant (or irritated)
angry (this is a great emotion for everyone)
All these manifestations can feel pretty bad. In fact, I would say that they are often worse than anxiety itself.
Feel it to pass through
Have you heard the saying "the cover-up was worse than the crime"? That applies to a whole series of mental health problems.
And definitely for feeling anxiety.
I have written before about how excessive thinking is a way of trying to avoid anxiety, but, as BD Wong told us in Jurassic Park: "Anxiety finds a way". (Ok, he did not say exactly that).
So try it. I'm not necessarily talking to those of you who regularly have panic attacks or major anxiety attacks. Finding some coping skills first may be more important and you may want to work with a professional for a moment, but those of us who try to avoid it, try to feel the anxiety.
Or try one of the following 5 strategies:
Notice where it is in your body. Breathe in that part of the body.
Sit with him without trying to "fix it" (I know, that's hard).
Talk to someone about it.
Write about that.
It may happen sooner than you think. Or it can lead him to focus more on the problem he is avoiding. If it is a postponement problem, it could lead you to make that phone call that you have been postponing.
Stop running away from our basic emotions. That gives them control over us instead of allowing us to learn from them.
Originally published in Park Slope Therapist
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