Nervous Breakdown?

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’ve battled anxiety forever and lately it’s gotten worse.  Is there anything I can do about it?  I’ve been in therapy on and off my whole life but I walk away usually feeling like I just paid to hear myself talk for 45 minutes.  Are there any therapies that really work?

ANSWER

Anxiety results when we have a thought and then a second thought about the original thought.  It’s a two-thought process.  If we could stop after the first thought and leave it alone, we would eradicate human anxiety.

Here’s an example:  The mail comes and suddenly you find yourself riddled with anxiety.  Why?  It’s not coming from the mail.  It’s coming from the thoughts you have about the mail.  Actually, it’s coming from the secondary thought you’re having regarding the mail.  Your first thought is, “The mail is here,” and if you stopped there, you’d be fine.  But people who experience anxiety don’t stop there.  They attach meaning to the mail and become upset over their fear of how the mail will make them feel.

Typically, the anxious fear never comes to fruition.  But that doesn’t stop the person with anxiety from writhing in anticipation of it.  Often, the person goes a step further and decides (consciously) that the process of suffering and worry is what keeps the negative occurrence from actually occurring.  If you’re laughing right now, this is for you and you need to read on.

Anxiety is curable.  But it’s a TON of work.  Let me repeat:  Curing anxiety is about as much work as it would be to teach an American adult how to speak Mandarin.  But it can be done.  At some point down the road, I may offer a 60-day workshop through AskDrDarcy (if you’re interested, please write me), but for now, let me give you some strategies to incorporate today:

1.  Engage in cardio daily.  Anxiety is fueled by excess energy.  Stop living a sedentary life, and burn off some of that energy as humans are meant to.  Ideally, 30 minutes daily 5 days per week, but 3 days per week will make a difference to someone who does no cardio.

2.  Buy and listen to Holosync daily.  No, I don’t own the company, though I wish I did.  I plug it as though I do, but I plug it because it works.

Your years of living with anxiety have resulted in your brain firing in an unbalanced way (an oversimplification).  Through daily use of Holosync, your brain will begin to establish new neural pathways that are more balanced and that will promote the peace and absence of anxiety that you desire.

3.  Take the following vitamins daily:  Ginseng, Omega 3’s, BComplex.  These vitamins will help to regulate your adrenal functioning, which is usually amuck in someone who experiences anxiety.

Does therapy work:  I find that the more I focus on anxiety in my work, the more anxious my client becomes.  I prefer to treat the patient for anxiety by prescribing those items above, and by focusing on their strengths to promote their wellbeing.  My clients identify a goal that they *want* verses one that they want to avoid (click here to see why focusing on what you don’t want DOESN’T work). So for example, someone with anxiety will often come in saying, “I want to get rid of my anxiety,” to which I say, “And what would you like to experience in its place?”  This question helps a client to identify a positive goal which then becomes the focus on our work together.  Humans manifest what they think about, so focusing on what you want vs. what you don’t want is particularly helpful in effecting change.

Therapy does work.  That said, I’ll openly admit that I’ve had clients walk away from the therapy process still experiencing anxiety.  I believe that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  Until then, Freud himself wouldn’t be able to cure someone who’s just not ready.