Too much anxiety makes it hard to listen, think, focus and express, much like ADD symptoms. But how do we control the amount of anxiety affecting us? One thing we can do is get help. Talk to someone. If it’s a good professional you choose to talk to you are likely to get the most immediate relief from too much anxiety. Your therapist will take on some of your anxiety right from the start in the first session.
Where did too much anxiety come from?
So many different places in the here and now of daily life. If we are having primary or work relationship problems we could be feeling too much anxiety. If we don’t have an adequate living situation, or we don’t have enough money for basics, those could trigger too much anxiety. The “too much” is what needs to be understood. The above situations are anxiety producing in and of themselves. It becomes too much when primal fears of not surviving take over. Relationship problems often trigger the same old feelings from being a completely dependent child and having some issues with mom or dad. The dependency makes one fear that survival is at stake. We can’t take care of ourselves and we’re angry with mom or dad for some reason. Will we be rejected, put out, and go hungry? Even as independent adults, when we’re in conflict with our significant other, the old fear of survival comes up in proportion to how many times and how intense it was way back then.
When it didn’t feel like there was enough care, love, and attention as a child and especially if there was an excess of negative attention, the fear of not having enough of anything easily gets triggered. One of the most common forms of this old, primitive fear is the feeling of not having enough money. You could actually have enough but when something triggers this old fear, reality goes out the window. We become convinced of a serious shortage and become quite anxious. Then the superman part of our personality kicks in and suddenly we’re on a mission to get more money or spend much less.
This fear of not having enough can also play itself out in relationships. Some examples are feeling like you’re not getting enough attention, or not enough sex, or not your fair share of the family income, or simply feeling like you’re not being treated fairly or equally. These feelings can seem quite real like this is exactly what is happening. But, in reality, something old has gotten restimulated.
Suddenly something happens like back pain or the flu and quickly we’re thrown back into an old fear of not being ok like we won’t survive. We take medication like painkillers and antibiotics with a sense of urgency we have to get rid of the discomfort as soon as possible.This causes us undue stress and anxiety. Being afraid we’re not okay brings on high levels of anxiety that may compromise the immune system. Most of the time we are fundamentally okay even if we have some symptoms.
Too much anxiety feels overwhelming. We’re afraid we’re not okay. We can become preoccupied with worry about ourselves. Something has to be done to prevent what feels like an impending catastrophe. We can’t think of anything else. We’re in survival mode. The fear takes over and grips us vice-like. It’s like we’re possessed by it. It takes up almost all mental space and floods our bodies with overwhelming dread. We could have a panic attack.
We’re often thinking about what can be done. Strategy. Some plan. The superman part of our mind takes over feeling like this is an emergency and something MUST be done immediately to solve the problem and quell the fear. This is unlikely to be anything creative that could have a good result. The action comes from hating what’s triggering the fear and feeling compelled to get rid of it. Not likely the basis for creative thinking.
We may or may not be able to formulate a plan. This depends on how scared we are. To be able to formulate a realistic plan, we have to be able to think clearly enough but the intense fear may keep disabling our mind. This level of fear becomes self-perpetuating. It interrupts our sleep and that continues to keep us from thinking clearly. Sometimes getting help is the only viable choice to break the self-perpetuating cycle of too much anxiety breeding too much more anxiety.