Two-thirds of my clients suffer from forms of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Most of them want nothing more than to live a life without anxiety. It burdens them greatly not to be able to live as they did before the anxiety began. Many of them are very desperate and sad. Some also don’t have any clue when it started to having the symptoms exactly for the first time. It often comes creeping and increases due to other stresses in life. Some of my clients have a trigger or think they know the reason, but still can’t do anything to get rid of the anxiety. For example, there are women who have become more anxious since their pregnancy. But others with panic attacks, however, can´t explain at all, why these fears suddenly appear – again and again. The limitations my clients have in their life due to their fears, of whatever kind, are often massive and depressing. For most of them, the worst thing is that the mind knows there is no reason to be afraid and yet they feel these feelings. Often I am asked, “where does the fear come from and why do I have fear and panic although I have no reason? I´m healthy, happily married, have a nice house, have enough money and a good job – and yet out of “the blue” this heat rises up in me, my heart starts to race, I feel enormously tense and have to “GET OUT” of the store or the hair salon or or or…” This could be one statement of many, as my clients often describe it to me. I try to explain, gently, step by step, why the anxiety can arise and why it does not need an obvious reason to develop an anxiety disorder. There are always several factors that could lead to the symptoms of the affected person. In most cases, one’s own feelings of self-esteem also play a decisive role, as well as self-confidence. Also the personality constellation and possible doubts in the current life situation are often reasons that promote anxiety. The occurrence of fears is more frequent in sensitive people than in people who have a “harder shell”. Sensitive clients in my practice often talk about situations in which it became “too much” for them. The music was too loud, the conversations too stressful, the air too stuffy or the light too bright. Sensitive people generally have a harder time in our “fast”, digital world, because they perceive the over stimulation more intensively and therefore find it more difficult to process. So they are getting faster into a stressful situation and feel overloaded more quickly. These people are also more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. Sometimes it’s enough to trigger anxiety when they sit at home in front of the TV in the evening and want to “come down”, to have a TV show about diseases on TV. Immediately they take this as a reason to worry about their own health, or that of their family. This often leads to the point that they get into the smallest signs of symptoms and can´t get rid of their fear for hours. Talking to their partner or distraction in other ways are then the only way for them to calm down again. When a client with anxiety or panic symptoms comes to my practice for the first time, he or she often does not yet know that there are other ways to “banish” the anxiety in acute cases or to minimize the anxiety-provoking thoughts. It is often the hopeless situation that causes people to find their way to my practice. Hopeless because they feel restricted in their everyday life because they can no longer do “normal” things. For example, they act tense towards their children or the anxiety thoughts are increasingly unbearable for them. After an initial consultation in which clients tell me about their problems and complaints, I try to explain to them that their fears are understood by me. That there are many people who feel similarly or sometimes the same way. I tell them that there are definitely ways to treat their complaints. Many clients tell me after this session that it does them good to have talked about their problems with someone who understands them. They often feel alone in their everyday life with these “anxiety problems” and think that there is no one who can understand how they really feel. This initial consultation is the first step towards improving the situation. My clients get enough time from me to just let out everything that is bothering them and to put into words the thoughts that are “buzzing” around in their heads – no matter if they are constructive or not. Also, the relief of learning that there are ways to treat these fears, often, already relieves the pressure that is on them. Every person with anxiety or panic attacks can decide to get help from outside. I don´t have a long lead time for an appointment in my practice, so my clients don´t have to wait long for the initial consultation, after calling me. That is especially convenient for people with panic attacks. I´d like to encourage people, who are in these difficult situations, to seek outside support.
Stephanie Kaschak / Alternative practitioner for psychotherapy / Deggendorf