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Dear Anxiety Sufferers longing for hope and guidance,
Big, huge hugs, my dears. I have been where you are and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. You are here because you are suffering through (or watching someone you love struggle with) this horrible, overwhelming, terrifying feeling. You are looking for an anxiety treatment that will help you get your life back. You are here because you are done with the pain and agony of anxiety and panic attacks.
You want answers: What is anxiety? Where does anxiety come from? And, how the heck did you get stuck with it?
(I know I wanted answers when I was in the depths of my anxiety for over two decades and frozen in bed with daily panic attacks- My Anxiety Story.)
You want to know if there is an anxiety treatment that WORKS! I say a resounding "Yes there is!"
Anxiety is curable.
Anxiety is highly treatable. It is temporary. And, as I will explain, anxiety is not a mental illness.
But when you are suffering, it is hard to figure out what to do next. You just want someone to TELL you what to do. Enter me.
I'm Jodi Aman. I am a psychotherapist now helping others overcome their anxiety, but not long ago, I was in your shoes. I suffered from debilitating anxiety and panic for two decades. More about me.
Some days I could barely get out of bed. I was scared of dying, getting sick, being in an accident – you name it; everything and anything terrified me. My panic would last for hours and sometimes for days. I avoided restaurants, social events and traveling. I often couldn’t even go to work. So I know how anxiety feels first hand.
I searched everywhere for an anxiety treatment that works. And found it.
My efforts won me freedom from anxiety. Look at me now!
I figured out the path to anxiety recovery and so now I can give you the shortcut.
Do you wish you were this happy? Keep reading. I'm going to share what anxiety is, what it feels like, where it comes from, why you are suffering and how to find an anxiety treatment that is right for you.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is not your fault! It’s biological. Humans are equipped with the fear response - from the amygdala in the brain - that triggers you to release adrenaline and epinephrine when you may be in peril to immediately gain extra strength with your physical body, and boost your thinking power, to help you survive dangerous situations. (Don't gloss over this section even though you know this. It is important to review, because the real nugget of information is coming and I wanted to be on the same page with this part before I deliver it.)
Unfortunately, this fear response gets triggered even when you don't need it. In fact, hundreds and hundreds of times when you don't need it. Just IN CASE one of these times, you did need it. When your mind determines that you don't need it, it is designed to go away. When it doesn't, it is anxiety.
(There are many reasons anxiety stays when you are not in physical danger, I explain them thoroughly in my Anxiety-Free Me! Online Anxiety Recovery Program.)
Leftover fear response
Anxiety, as I see it, is the leftover fear response when you are not in physical danger. I define anxiety this way, so you don't get confused that anxiety protects you some way. The fear response can protect you. Common sense can protect you. But anxiety? That nasty bugger is unnecessary. While the fear response is an amazing piece of evolution, anxiety is pure suffering and you don't need it.
Don't judge yourself for being a freak because you have anxiety when you don't need it. I still maintain it is not your fault, because the fear response feels so scary that anyone: happy people, strong people, good people, competent people, amazing people, many, many people can and do get caught in its grasp. It is so easy to do.
You may have been thinking that you are the only one. But let me ask you, do people around you look anxious? No? What if I told you that 1/3-1/2 of the US population is or has suffered from anxiety? (And most people wait 3-10 years before getting anxiety treatment.) They are there even if you don't see it. Anxiety is invisible and it is easy to hide.
When you walk around no one could tell you are suffering, can they? Do you know how well you hide it? Yep, they are just hiding it, too. You are not alone.
Also, I understand you. Unfortunately, I have felt what you feel before. Sometimes I wondered if what I felt was anxiety. Do you? Let's clear that up.
Please note: there are over 100 recorded anxiety symptoms. Some of the lesser know anxiety symptoms can freak someone out because they feel different or they are afraid it is something else entirely (like a brain tumor or heart attack). You can self-diagnose and self-treat anxiety, but if there is a symptom you are not sure about, please see your primary care physician for clarity.
Here are the most common anxiety symptoms.
- Shortness of breath. Or feeling like you cannot get enough air in. Sometimes feeling like you can't breathe.
- Racing mind. Negative thoughts abound, especially about the worst-case scenario and how ill-equipped you are to handle it. Negative self-judgments fly, too.
- Temperature change. Too hot or so chilled you can't stop shaking. Redness in the face or turning pale.
- Shaking. Feeling like you want to jump out of your skin or run a marathon.
- Being frozen. Not being able to do anything.
- Excessive worry.
- Physical pain, headaches, backaches, foot and hand pain & chest pain.
- Nervous stomach, nausea, constipation and/or diarrhea.
- Obsessions and/or compulsions.
- Difficulty sleeping/eating (too much or too little).
- Tension in the body. inability to relax. TMJ. Numbness and tingling. Dizziness.
- Weak or restless legs.
- Mistrust of yourself and others.
- Judgmental, irritable, depressed.
- Empty mind. Feeling like a lost touch with reality. Feeling like you're going crazy.
- Fear things that are relatively safe: Driving over bridges, flying, heights, spiders, social situations.
- Focused vision.
- Pulling back from friends and family.
- Fear of the feelings you are feeling.
Many words are used to describe anxiety.
Everyone thinks of it and understands it differently. Whatever words you use to illustrate your anxiety come from close to your experience, so go with it. There may be terms here that you’ve never associated with anxiety. You’ll likely find it helpful to see examples of how anxiety hides as other feelings and problems. Exposing these disguises will give you the advantage. These are described thoroughly in my book, Anxiety...I'm So Done with You!
Read my blog about this: Stress Vs. Anxiety
When you’re always going, going, going and struggling to balance your work and home lives, it may be hard to tell whether you’re stressed or anxious. You’re not alone in trying to figure out the difference between stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety are relative terms, so they do not have a true definition. Stress, worry, anxiety, doubt, fear, panic and embarrassment release the same hormones in the brain: adrenaline and norepinephrine. However, people use them to describe different intensities of the same physical process. So are they the same? Sort of. It depends on how you want to use them. Stress has less stigma and may cause you less self-judgment which will help you recover faster. However, stress can lead to anxiety because when you are under stress in your life, your amygdala is going to trigger more easily.
It is up to you to decide if stress is normal because I couldn't answer that for you. It's been a long time since I have believed in normal.
When to get anxiety treatment
However, if your stress, worry, nervousness, discomfort, (or whatever you call it) is negatively affecting your life, causing headaches, affecting your relationships, sleep, mood, or eating, or if it’s making your mind race, your suffering is too high. It is worth seeking anxiety treatment to get rid of it.
Many sufferers want to make sure people understand that anxiety is different than stress. This is because they want people to know it is harder for them. This may help them feel understood for their efforts to make it through each day despite this debilitating problem, but defending anxiety in this way does not serve you. It just strengthens anxiety and increases your sense of powerlessness. I am against empowering anxiety and for empowering you.
Life with anxiety is too hard. You do not deserve to live like this. And, you do NOT have to "learn to live with it."
Talk to your family about your anxiety treatment - Five Things People With Anxiety Want You to Know.
Where does anxiety come from? Why is it so common today?
- Our individualistic culture that is focused on succeeding and meeting cultural ideals that are unrealistic and so cause us all to be hard on ourselves and not feel good enough. Then, we can't trust ourselves. Read more about this.
- A cultural focus on what we can't control instead of what we can. Read more about this.
- The mind has a desire to make sense of the world. When something is nonsensical, it feels out of control thus instigating anxiety. Read more about this.
- Virtual and lived trauma effect on the brainstem. I explain the link between anxiety and a history of trauma in my online Anxiety-Free Me program.
is a worry-based physically and emotionally intense sensation due to the release of the adrenaline hormones triggered by the fear response. It is the physical and emotional suffering that happens when you are not in physical danger but it makes you think and feel as though you are. It's usually accompanied by distressing thoughts as well as desperation to feel calm again because of the way adrenaline hyper focuses your mind. You feel helpless or worried that you "can't handle it" or that you'll "go crazy." You feel stuck, trapped in a feeling of vulnerability and out of control, even though you're not in immediate danger.
Why are you suffering?
Not because you are mentally ill. You are suffering for two reasons. One is because you care. You care if things turn out okay, you care if the relationships work out, you care if you succeed, you care if others are happy. And, you care what people think of you. You care and that is awesome, but anxiety has falsely convinced you to worry so much about losing those things that are so precious to you and tells you that you are out of control when you can't guard their safety. This feels helpless and hopeless and UNHANDLE-ABLE.
This is what you do. Celebrate how wonderfully caring you are and let's teach your mind of the control it does have, so you can care without the suffering.
Two is because it is so damn scary that it perpetuates it. Once anxiety takes hold, it spirals from there. Because anxiety is so awful to feel, it takes on a life of its own and sometimes has you forget what you originally cared about because it has your full attention. You are terrified of it and feel more out of control.
Here's the thing: Anxiety needs you to be afraid of it for it to survive.
Anxiety affects our mind, body, and soul.
This suffering has stolen your joy, your sense of adventure, your opportunities and practically your very self. It’s time to take a stand against anxiety and get your anxiety treatment. Here’s why.
1. Fear and anxiety have taken up too much of your life.
2. It is possible to beat anxiety.
3. You don’t deserve anxiety.
4. It is not as hard as you think.
5. It’s time.
It’s time to break the bonds of fear.
Wouldn't you love to stop being afraid?
Time to rule your own life instead of feeling like you're ruled by your anxiety.
It's time to feel happy and present in your relationships.
It's time to reclaim your joy.
My Approach to Anxiety Treatment
Anxiety has you so exhausted and down on yourself that you don’t have the energy to fight it. It does that on purpose like the most skilled bully to keep itself powerful. So I am here to help.
I got myself anxiety-free, and now I won’t - no, I CAN’T- shut up about what I can show you. I can show you how to get anxiety-free, too.
Here are the six steps I have discovered to curing anxiety, worry, and panic:
- Understand it Biologically
- Learn the Lies it Tells
- Cultivate Your Control
- Forgive Yourself
- Repeat Affirmations
- Practice Daily Rituals
Within these are everything that you need to know to get anxiety-free. This world is so stressful. We’ve got our families, our relationships, our jobs, finances, homes, friends getting sick, horrible news every time we turn on the TV. We are entirely too stressed out. Please don’t go another minute without taking care of yourself. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.
Trust me. I know.
I was so burned out with my anxiety that I had no patience for my kids, I couldn’t help my friends, I couldn’t go anywhere with my husband. No way did I want to live like this.
I tried so many things to help myself with anxiety, and it wasn’t until I really figured out anxiety that things changed for me.
Don’t lose another minute to fear and panic.
Just one step
In fact, just the first step “Understand it Biologically” helps most people and maybe the perfect guide to get you started on your path. I would estimate, this is all that 50% of sufferers need to get their power back. Are you stumped by why you have anxiety? Actually, this quest for the reason why you have anxiety, why anxiety happens at all, and what can stop it – can be very distracting. It triggers negative self-judgment and leaves you feeling overwhelmed and worn out. Not to mention, you can get quite worried thinking that you have to know this to move forward.
Understanding where your anxiety comes is the first step to eliminating the problem from the source.
Otherwise, stick with me! I’ve already done all of the hard work, made all of the mistakes and figured out what works and what doesn’t. I’ve lost my footing several times along the way and fallen on my face more than a few times. And so you don't have to.
How can you understand and practice the six steps to anxiety treatment?
Jodi Aman, LCSW
I give people practical tools to break down the negative stories of their lives. Once invited to the big-picture view, they understand what is happening. From here, they can break free from emotional, spiritual, and physical suffering, and find harmony, peace, self-love, and connection.
As a psychotherapist for 23 years, I consult individuals, kids, and families locally in Rochester NY, and all over the world. I speak internationally to conferences, schools, and universities helping Gen Z, their parents, and helpers feel worthy, empowered, and in control. I train therapists, counselors, and psychologists in Spiritual Psychology, Narrative Therapy, and Activating their Intuition.
Because I clawed my way out of my own emotional turmoil, I totally get it. As a mom of teens, I double-dog get it. Through my TEDxWilmington talk, “Calm Anxious Kids” and my best selling book, You 1, Anxiety 0, I am changing the way we understand stress and anxiety. Grab my new book, Anxiety...I'm So Done with You! A Teen's Guide To Ditching Toxic Stress and Rewiring Your Brain for Happiness!