Rather than a gentle sliding scale of steadily increasing and decreasing anxiety it seems to go from nought to 100 in the blink of an eye.
This can be one of the main reasons why we end up getting diagnosed with an anxiety disorder…we no longer have any nuance to our responses.
We’ve stopped simply feeling the appropriate levels of anxiety about the more challenging aspects of our daily life, we’re now just experiencing random and severe visceral anxiety or even panic symptoms.
So, is this really simply because this is what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder, or is there something else at play here?
After all, before we developed an issue, anxiety was just one of our emotions, like any other. It’s function: to draw our conscious attention to whatever our mind deems to be the most important or pressing issue at any given time.
This only became a problem when our anxiety got to the sort of level that made anxiety itself the most pressing issue.
And this is where the problem arises.
I saw a client recently who mentioned that they’d previously seen another therapist who was talking about anxiety being a sliding scale from 0 to 10.
They told me they couldn’t relate to this as for them anxiety was like an on/off switch.
There were no varying degrees and no sliding scale. The moment any anxiety occurred it hit them at 10 out of 10 and that was that.
This was very much explained to them as simply what happens when we have an anxiety disorder. The working theory being that we just feel anxiety to a greater degree than the normal person.
However, they could remember a time before this 10 out of 10 effect started to happen, and they could even roughly define the moment when things went from normal to extreme. The problem was they were now getting anxious without any obvious cause.
The powerful physical anxiety symptoms would strike seemingly without provocation or good reason. They’d been told they had now developed an anxiety disorder but hadn’t really been given much more explanation than that.
An important part of what we might refer to as recovery is realising that this instant inexplicable high anxiety is the result of starting to regard anxiety itself as the big problem.
Believe it or not you do have a reason for feeling anxious. There is always, without exception a reason.
However, often even before that reason hits our conscious awareness a part of our subconscious process has freaked out about becoming anxious.
Your subconscious is far quicker at flagging imminent threats than you are at consciously recognising the thing you’re anxious about.
Any trace of concern about even the most minor situation in your life suddenly becomes swamped by the high anxiety or even panic you feel ABOUT becoming anxious.
For the full story about why this occurs and how we eliminate this effect take a look at the attached video from my YouTube channel.
Leave a comment letting me know if this helped.
The Control System | Master
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