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​Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression is a normal, if unpleasant, part of life, and it can affect us all in different ways and at different times. Whereas stress is something that will come and go as the external factor causing it (be it a work, relationship or money problems, etc.) comes and goes, anxiety is something that can persist whether or not the cause is clear to the sufferer.        
Anxiety can make a person imagine that things in their life are worse than they really are, and prevent them from confronting their fears. Often they will think they are going mad, or that some psychological imbalance is at the heart of their woes. What is important is the recognition that anxiety is normal and exists due to a set of bodily functions that  exist in us.

Some people have a very identifiable cause for their anxiety or depression; a traumatic incident, lots of stressors or have undergone a significant life event (moving house, getting divorced, having surgery). However, some people don’t have an identifiable cause for their anxiety and it causes them some distress. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased muscle tension
  • “Jelly legs”
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Hyperventilation (over breathing)
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wanting to use the toilet more often
  • Feeling sick
  • Tight band across the chest area
  • Tension headaches
  • Hot flushes
  • Increased perspiration
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Choking sensations
  • Palpitations

What Type of Anxiety Do You Have?
Many people in Manchester struggle with anxiety. For instance, 40% of people will experience anxiety about their work. Which of the following difficulties do you recognise?

Social Anxiety
Social anxiety happens around other people. We worry about being the centre of attention, other people’s opinions, and getting things wrong. Social or work situations cause self-consciousness and fear. Typical symptoms include:

  • Censoring your thoughts as being ‘stupid’ or ‘not funny enough’ etc.
  • Feeling anxious when attending parties or meetings, when queuing or in busy places, or anything involving scrutiny.
  • Worrying about eating / drinking / writing in front of others.
  • Blushing or sweating in social situations.
  • Anticipating work or social situations with dread (or avoiding them altogether).

Performance Anxiety
Often associated with sport or the performing arts, this anxiety also occurs when giving presentations, taking exams, and within intimate relationships. It combines a fear of failure, judgment, scrutiny and rejection. This often leads to anticipatory anxiety, leaving us worried about things in advance. Typical symptoms include:

  • Panicking before or during exams, tests, presentations, speeches, performances, etc.
  • Worrying about failure, judgement, and getting things wrong.
  • Procrastination, distraction, over-planning, difficulties with motivation.
  • Low self-confidence and a pessimistic outlook on life.

This fear reflects negative beliefs: about failure, our own worth, and things going catastrophically wrong. It can be stubborn and rarely goes away ‘on its own’, which is when you need the help of a skilled therapist.

Phobias (e.g. fear of flying)
Typical examples include the fear of flying, enclosed spaces, driving (especially motorways and bridges), needles, vomiting, using public toilets or public transport, and heights.
Phobias can cause severe panic. 

Other Types of Anxiety

  • Excessive jealousy and insecurity in relationships.
  • Obsessive thinking; pessimistic thinking; OCD-type behaviour.
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism); Hair pulling (trichotillomania); nail biting; tinnitus.
  • Excessive sweating or blushing (including a blotchy chest) in social situations.
  • Selective eating disorder; health anxieties.
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (a ‘free floating’ anxiety which switches from one issue to the next).

Unchecked, anxiety leaves us feeling vulnerable, frantic, and misunderstood. I have worked extensively with anxiety in many people over the years and I am an approved Anxiety UK Therapist.

How to Overcome Anxiety
Anxiety sometimes has obvious causes, e.g. financial difficulties or problems at work. However, sometimes the basis for our anxiety is complicated. My skill as a therapist involves understanding your circumstances and selecting the right techniques for you. A combination of Hypnotherapy, NLP, Coaching and Counselling maybe required.