PROCESSES TO EMPLOY: Brutal Honesty, I Over E, Present/Understand/Fix, Slowing Down Life’s Pace, Internal Focus, Fact-Finding
The American Psychological Association defines “anxiety” as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes such as increased blood pressure. Many people suffer from anxiety, and the symptoms described in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistics Manual
(DSM-5) are not unfamiliar. For some, however, the symptoms can be overwhelming and overpowering to the point of near emotional paralysis.
Anxiety is often described as a demon that has taken control of one’s life, turning its victims into helpless and directionless souls, almost incapable of making decisions and plotting the course of their lives. So, for the purposes of our discussion in this chapter, and those that follow, I will be using the term “anxiety demon” to help illustrate the internal physical, intellectual, and emotional implosion that anxiety causes.
This first chapter is a primer designed to present you with the introductory information I feel is necessary for you to understand the basic concepts related to the anxiety demon, and to set the stage for what will follow. Certain steps are essential to help you to formulate your own personal treatment plan. Moving forward, one of my goals is to help you comprehend foundational concepts that will lead you to a greater understanding of how anxiety develops, and affects your life. The following discussion of anxiety-related terms and definitions begins that process.
Some of the many symptoms of anxiety include:
- Avoidance behaviors
- Chest pains
- Concentration issues
- Decreased decision-making
- Excessive worrying
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of terror or impending doom
- Gastrointestinal problems
- General loss of confidence
- Hot flashes
- Increased heart rate
- Irritability and tension
- Shortness of breath
- Sleeping difficulties and restlessness
- Trembling and shaking
People who struggle with anxiety often have a difficult time even with the simplest of tasks. It’s hard to keep your mind focused enough to accomplish a goal when you feel as though the world around you is going to collapse at any moment. At the very least, it’s just hard to sit in one place attempting to do what it takes to complete a desired chore when you feel like you want to jump out of your own skin.