Has Your Quest For Perfection Led To Perpetual Anxiety?
Does an insatiable desire to be successful drive your perfectionistic tendencies, leading you to feel like you’re never good enough? Are you often preoccupied with a deep-seated fear of failure or rejection? As you struggle to keep your thoughts from racing, do you often second-guess yourself or play out worst-case scenarios in your mind?
Perhaps your “all or nothing” way of thinking leads you to conclude that if you don’t do everything perfectly, you have failed. As a perpetual overachiever, you rarely feel satisfied and, instead, minimize your accomplishments. Your identity could be grounded in people-pleasing behaviors in which you equate your self-worth with achievement. This lack of confidence in yourself might make you risk-averse or uncertain when making important decisions.
Symptoms Of Anxiety Can Affect You Physically
With a host of unpleasant physical symptoms—including accelerated heart rate, hyperventilation, hot flashes, a nervous stomach, chest tightness, muscle tension, and dizziness—it’s hard to escape the feeling that you’re not okay. The frequency, intensity, and severity of your anxiety symptoms might spill over into other aspects of your life, causing problems in your relationships and impairing your ability to fulfill obligations at home and work.
You probably wish there was a way you could calm your worries and fears so that your physical and mental distress would subside. If only you could learn how to stop saying yes to everything and everyone, you’d feel less overwhelmed and better about yourself.
Fortunately, anxiety therapy can help you learn ways to manage the symptoms of anxiety so they no longer control your physical and emotional well-being. With the guidance of a faith-based mental healthcare provider, you can restore a sense of peace and safety.
While Some Anxiety Is Normal, Too Much Can Be Detrimental
The stress we experience throughout life can be both positive and negative. It is normal for us to experience feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety associated with different responsibilities and circumstances. We often get anxious interviewing for jobs, conducting a presentation, attending social gatherings where we meet new people, or making important decisions.
Many of us channel our anxious feelings into our performance and manage to excel. But there are other times when our anxiety becomes excessive and problematic, causing us to feel less productive and unable to control the situation. When our symptoms of anxiety remain frequent, intense, and don’t subside over time, it is considered to be a diagnosable disorder that can be treated with the support of a trained therapist.
The Stigma Of Being Vulnerable Prevents Us From Seeking Help
Perfectionistic traits go hand-in-hand with anxiety. When we suffer from performance anxiety, our feelings of self-worth are wrapped up in our ability to perform tasks and achieve results. As perfectionists, we tend to be self-reliant, independent, and strong-willed, which in turn cuts us off from our emotions. We try to avoid pain and suffering by suppressing negative emotions, but in doing so, we adopt unhelpful beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors about ourselves, others, and the world.
For these same reasons, those of us who suffer from anxiety often have a harder time admitting we need help. The stigma associated with being vulnerable and asking for support—particularly mental health support—exacerbates our problems, resulting in more distress.
But the good news is anxiety is treatable. Whether you experience panic attacks, performance anxiety, or social anxiety, treatment will help loosen the hold of thoughts and feelings that cause distress and restore a sense of calm and confidence.
Anxiety Therapy Can Help You Find the Courage To Take Action
Anxiety can fill you with a litany of unexpressed fears—the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of dying. But once you acknowledge and validate these fears, you can ultimately become more courageous in your life. Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the ability to make decisions and move forward despite the fear.
The goal of therapy will not be to eliminate your anxiety entirely, but rather to encourage you to live fearlessly by learning to productively channel anxiety rather than becoming paralyzed by it. Together, we will examine your attitude, thoughts, beliefs, and patterns of behavior related to events in your life that trigger your anxiety and panic.
You will develop the courage to confront your deepest fears—and gain the confidence to take risks—while having the freedom to fail. Learning to tap into the internal and external resources you have available will empower you to overcome disappointments in ways that promote both short and long-term mental health and wellness.
What To Expect In Sessions
Your therapist will encourage you to bring your authentic self and real-life situations into each anxiety therapy session. As you examine aspects of your personal life, relationships, and career from different perspectives, you will become aware of patterns that might hold you back from living the life you want.
By receiving psychoeducation about the cycle of anxiety, you will gain insight into why you experience the symptoms you have. Perhaps there is a situation that makes you anxious—such as dating or public speaking—so you avoid it. Although your avoidance provides temporary relief, eventually your relief will diminish as your anxiety surrounding the situation grows. However, confronting situations that make you anxious will neutralize the hold they have over you so that you can release fear and gain more confidence.
The Modalities We Use
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be beneficial for treating anxiety because it helps identify negative self-talk, adopting instead thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs that promote a more positive outlook. By understanding that your thoughts are not facts, you will learn to change beliefs that distort reality.
If you engage in catastrophizing—the tendency to predict every situation as a worst-case scenario—your therapist will ask you to question your thoughts to determine how much evidence there is that what you are thinking is truthful and accurate. Although the fear you may be feeling is real, what’s the likelihood of it coming true? You will learn to ask yourself, “Could I be misinterpreting the evidence or making assumptions?” Changing thought patterns will shift you to taking action and living a more courageous life.
Working with a well-trained anxiety therapist who will guide you to see beyond self-imposed limits can change your trajectory. You will find the courage to take action and become an active participant in your life, releasing your fear and restoring your hope for a better tomorrow.
But You May Wonder Whether Anxiety Therapy Is Right For You…
I’ve tried therapy before and it didn’t help my anxiety.
If anxiety treatment wasn’t a success previously, it’s helpful to understand why it didn’t work for you. What were your expectations at the time? Even though your overall experience wasn’t positive, did anything good come out of it? And why—or why not—was your therapist the right fit? Part of the process of finding help for anxiety is figuring out what you are looking for in a therapist. There’s never a guarantee that one of our counselors will be the best fit for you, but if not, we can refer you to someone else who can best fulfill your needs.
Why don’t you take insurance for anxiety therapy?
Unfortunately, taking insurance is restrictive because the carrier becomes a third party to therapy, dictating the number of sessions you’re eligible for and compromising client-therapist confidentiality. The private pay model offers us more freedom and flexibility to find you the best treatments for overcoming your anxiety. Additionally, we want your mental healthcare professional to focus on what they do best—support you in therapy—rather than be distracted by the complicated process of insurance reimbursement.
What if I prefer to meet with an anxiety counselor online instead of in person?
If you suffer from social anxiety or panic attacks, it’s understandable that you may prefer treatment online vs. in person, at least initially. The good news is telehealth sessions are not only convenient because you can attend from the comfort of your own home, but they also remain private and confidential. Additionally, online sessions are 55 minutes instead of 45 and provide more efficient communication between you and your therapist via secure messaging. However, as your comfort level grows throughout sessions, you may decide to start attending anxiety therapy in person, which is also encouraged.
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect—You Just Have To Be Human
Once you’re able to shed the burden of anxiety, you will feel lighter, freer, and joyful. If you would like to find out more about anxiety therapy, please contact us today.