for anxiety help? Here is help that’s practical and powerful. It's the highlights of what I learned from my patients in 30 years working as a psychologist to help people overcome fears and phobias. And it's free. Come get some!
First, three things you need to know about anxiety disorders:
Anxiety Disorders are surprisingly common. About 40 million Americans struggle with an anxiety disorder. Many of them are under the mistaken belief that they’re the only one, or one of a very few. Not true!
Why do anxiety disorders seem to be so uncommon? Two reasons.
1. Many people who experience them feel embarrassed and ashamed, and keep their fears and phobias a secret.
2. There are few observable signs of an anxiety disorder. A person experiencing high anxiety often believes everyone can see there’s “something wrong” with them, but it’s usually pretty hard to tell, because anxiety disorders are principally an internal reaction.
matter that they’re common problems? Yes, because people with anxiety disorders
often believe it’s their fault somehow, or that they’re an unusual oddball.
Noticing how common these problems are can remind you that these are problems
that occur to lots of people through no fault of their own. The shame and blame people often experience is just another symptom of an anxiety disorder, and not a valid judgement of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Anxiety Disorders are solvable problems, and generally respond well to treatment. Today we have good treatments, based on exposure, acceptance, and cognitive behavioral methods, which offer recovery to many. Unfortunately, only about a third of those who need anxiety help actually get such treatment.
Treatment, or well-informed self-help work, is usually necessary because anxiety disorders don’t typically “go away” on their own, nor do people’s instinctive efforts to oppose them help people recover. In fact, it’s quite common for people to notice “the harder I try, the worse it gets”.
This is because anxiety disorders are counter-intuitive problems which don’t respond well to intuitive solutions. If you want to solve a counter-intuitive problem, you need a counter-intuitive solution. You need to fight fire with fire.
What is a counter-intuitive problem? Let’s say you adopt a new puppy, and no sooner do you bring her home than she gets off the leash and runs down the street. How will you get her back? If you chase that puppy, who’s got four legs to your two, the results will be poor. Run away from that puppy. Now you’re playing “chase the owner” and all ends well. Counter-intuitive.
You wade into the ocean, and a large wave comes toward you? If you turn and run for shore, the wave will probably knock you down. You’ll swallow saltwater and sand. Instead, dive into the base of the wave and let it pass right over you. Counter-intuitive.
You drive on an icy road, and skid toward a phone pole? If you steer away from that pole, you’ll probably be talking to your insurance agent soon. Steer into the skid and aim for the pole, you’ll straighten out and be okay. Counter-intuitive.
The difficulty with counter-intuitive problems is that when you’re trying so hard to solve a problem, and failing, your natural instinct to “try harder” will make things worse. This can frustrate you and fool you into thinking there’s something wrong with you. Nope! There’s something wrong with the method you’re trying. It’s like putting out fires with gasoline!
This site can give you much of the anxiety help you need. Most of this website consists of free articles and videos that will:
If you like what you find here, and feel the need for more, you can also find my anxiety self-help books available here for purchase, and a contact form if you are interested in getting professional treatment from me.
There's a lot of material here! I hope you find it helpful.
© 2010-2023 David
Carbonell, PhD. Anxiety Coach® is a registered mark.
P.O. Box 256539, Chicago, IL 60625
Last updated on October 11, 2023