The idea that people go to therapy for help with anxiety is not a surprise and anxiety is one of the more commonly discussed mental health issues. The presentation of anxiety, however, can create some confusion. Anxiety and clinical anxiety are often mistaken and due to a social media trend of anxiety related content and discussion, the information provided to the public contributes to this confusion.
Anxiety and clinical anxiety are BOTH valid experiences to discuss in therapy. It can be easy to fixate on the diagnostic pieces of mental health; however, mental health is so much more than just mental disorders; like clinical anxiety. Mental health is having life balance, self-care, mindfulness, meaning and purpose in life, value exploration, communication, interpersonal relationships and anything else that influences and interacts with a person’s mental wellbeing.
The most important piece of anxiety, in my opinion, to consider is this: do you feel like your anxiety is negatively impacting your life and do you have difficulty managing it? If so, then it is important that you seek the support and help you want and need.
Here is what anxiety (clinical or not) can look like:
- Worst case scenario thinking
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Replaying events over and over to analyze people’s reactions or comments that you made (For example: did they like me? Was it ok that I said that? Were they laughing at me?)
- Nail biting, skin picking, hair pulling or other nervous habits
- Avoiding situations and people that are unfamiliar
- Having a need for control
- Avoiding leaving the house
- Difficulty making decisions
- Struggling to be present in the moment
Anxiety and clinical anxiety are both reasons a person may decide to go to therapy, and both are relevant and important. Anxiety influences many aspects of our life including career, relationships, physical health and spirituality. If the above resonates with you, I encourage you to talk to your loved ones and seek the support that makes the most sense for your personality, needs and lifestyle. Support can come in many forms such as friends, family, therapy, support groups or online chats/groups. Every person has different needs, but the most important thing is that you find the support that works best for you.