Anxiety is sometimes defined as fear without a specific object. Because we never know when this free-floating anxiety will hit, we end up anxious about our anxiety. We are caught in a strange loop.
Different people experience anxiety differently. For some, anxiety can be experienced as an underlying feeling, gnawing at our every waking moment. For others, existential angst looms like a dark cloud. In other cases, anxiety has the sudden potential to unleash in the form of a panic attack.
Common anxiety symptoms include: claustrophobia or agoraphobia, fear of making a mistake, over-concern with what people of think, fear of losing control, or loss of reality/depersonalisation.
One common form of anxiety is social anxiety, also known as social phobia or social anxiety disorder. Sufferers have an irrational fear of being watched, judged, or of humiliating themselves in public. Avoiding social situations, social anxiety sufferers fear they will cause themselves embarrassment. If you suffer from social anxiety you know the fear is disproportionate, yet somehow you remain unable to control it.
Anxiety counselling first aims to develop strategies which help you cope in the short term. Then, the counselling process works to unfold the story behind the suffering. By exploring the narrative strands we may discover a link to surface symptoms. Naming forgotten fears and concerns from the past and working through those feelings, allows for longer-term alleviation of anxiety.