Individual Counseling & Therapy | Columbia, Mo
The quote above is what it's like when we try to deal with anxiety on our own (and are failing). We try to ignore it, shut it down, say it's not important, distract ourselves by staying busybusybusy, and even turn to things that aren't healthy for us and don't leave us feeling fulfilled or good.
Counseling for Anxiety - Good News and Bad News
There's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that anxiety is something we can manage. Our team of counselors at The Counseling Hub specialize in individual counseling and therapy and love working with anxiety. It's something that, with the right understanding and practices, we can allow it to exist and not let it overwhelm us.
It's really important to emphasize this.
Anxiety doesn't have to be debilitating. It doesn’t have to stop us from functioning in our daily lives. There are millions of North Americans who thrive with anxiety and, in many ways, anxiety is self-protective and helps people to succeed in ways that those without anxiety can't quite understand. My point is that we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. Anxiety can be something we can manage and has served some people very well.
The bad news, however, is that all anxiety isn't created equal and anxiety isn’t something we can ever get rid of completely.
You’re telling me I can’t get rid of my anxiety?!
Yes and no. Please let us explain.
We've (as a species) had a longstanding and helpful relationship with anxiety - it has served us well, kept us alive, and it's really unlikely that it's going to be gone forever from your life. The Counseling Hub doesn't advocate for lying to potential (or current) clients, so we are forthright in saying that we can absolutely help you alleviate some of the anxiety, manage it emotionally, and live with it in such a way that you have a rich life and don't feel constantly overwhelmed by it. However, we cannot, nor will not, promise to help you get rid of anxiety completely.
Think of anxiety as on a continuum. If there’s too little of it, then that’s a problem. If there’s too much of it, then that’s also a problem. Our goal isn’t to get you down to zero, it’s to get you to a place where you feel comfortable with the amount of anxiety you have.
Okay, but why isn’t all anxiety equal? What do you mean?
We love good questions! Here’s what we mean.
Social anxiety isn’t the same as generalized anxiety.
Generalized anxiety isn’t the same as existential anxiety.
Existential anxiety isn’t the same as a panic attack (or panic disorder).
Panic disorder isn’t the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Obsessive compulsive disorder isn’t the same as post-traumatic stress disorder.
I think you get what we mean.
If you’re struggling with generalized anxiety disorder or existential anxiety, then you’re in the right place. If you’re really struggling with panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, then let us know and we can get you hooked up with the right people in the area! That’s not something we specialize in, but we know a few folks who do.
How do I know if I have anxiety?
Assuming that you’re struggling with either generalized anxiety disorder or existential anxiety, then you might be dealing with something that looks a little like this:
racing thoughts; brain constantly going
can't fall asleep because your brain is too busy thinking about the next day, horrible 'what if' situations
keep replaying conversations you had during the day and what you should’ve said or should’ve done
a pit in your stomach, also called a void, terror, or dread
fluttering, racing heart (at times, not constantly)
shallow breathing (at times, not constantly)
feeling like you’re suffocating
always waiting for 'the other shoe to drop'
constantly questioning if you've done enough/are enough
feeling a sense of dread, but with no clear reason or understanding of why
seeking reassurance from others (partner, friends, family) - "Are you sure?"
a sense of crawling out of your skin or of feeling like you’re “electric” on the inside
excessively irritable for no reason; quick to anger
Keep in mind this list is not exhaustive. These might be common experiences of anxiety, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only symptoms people report.
How can counseling help with anxiety?
Counseling can help with anxiety because it can teach you new ways of being. That sounds abstract, but let us explain.
Again, our goal isn’t to totally get rid of anxiety. Some of what we want to do is change your relationship with anxiety. For example, instead of seeing it as a giant, terrifying creature that we ignore and ignore and ignore, we can start to figure out what purpose it might serve and how to let it have a voice. In doing so, we become empowered and in charge, not our anxiety.
Think about a little kid. If a little kid is feeling ignored, they might shut down and go play by themselves for a while. However, if that continues and they continue to be (or feel) ignored, they start to get louder, more rambunctious, and a little (or a lot) more chaotic. It’s when they reach a fever pitch that we finally turn to them, exasperated, and loudly ask, “what do you want?!” We’re angry, tired, and just want them to stop being loud/chaotic/rambunctious. What we don’t think about is if we had addressed them in the very beginning, things might not have escalated to the level they did.
That’s how we think about anxiety. It’s not inherently bad. It feels uncomfortable, yes, but it’s not bad. It deserves some attention and focus in order to understand its hidden message.
If we start to explore our anxiety, we can often find a deeper meaning and purpose behind it, and from there, then we can really start to make some personal changes. Counseling can not only teach you how to explore and interact with your anxiety, but it can then help you cultivate you effective ways of coping with your anxiety. And coping with your anxiety usually leads to people feeling calmer, more at ease, more peaceful, and a sense of confidence.
The way to get there varies from counselor to counselor, but really common ways of exploring include meditation, mindfulness, journaling, cognitive strategies, and mild exposure therapy. You should never feel forced to do something that you don’t want to do. If you say, “hell no, I can’t and won’t ever meditate,” then perfect, we’re not going to force you to try. It is your counseling, after all!
This is helpful information. How do I start counseling?
If you're ready to start counseling for anxiety, then you can email us or click the button below and enter your contact information. We’re happy to help in whatever way we can, which might include answering questions to see if we’re the best fit or it might be getting you started as soon as possible.