B.A.C.P. Registered Counsellor in Tonbridge, Kent

Anxiety Counselling

We can all have feelings of anxiety in our lives, such as when taking an exam or sitting in the dentists waiting room, at these times feeling worried and anxious can be perfectly normal. However, when it becomes hard to control your worries or the feelings of anxiety become more constant it can begin to affect your life. You may not even know why you are anxious. If the anxiety becomes severe it can be terrifying, overwhelming and exhausting as though you may die or that you are going mad. You may start to fear the anxiety, which can set up a vicious circle. You may feel anxious because you dread feeling anxious, and then experience anxiety because you are having anxious thoughts.

Some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Hyperventilation (over breathing)
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wanting to use the toilet more often
  • Hot flushes
  • Increased perspiration
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick
  • Tension headaches
  • Weakness, wanting to sleep

Some of the most common psychological symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Thinking that you may lose control and/or go “mad”
  • Thinking that you might die
  • Thinking that you may have a heart attack/be sick/faint/have a brain tumour
  • Feeling that people are looking at you and know how anxious you are
  • Feeling as though things are speeding up or slowing down
  • Feeling detached from your environment and the people in it
  • Feeling as though you are in a dream
  • Feeling on edge
  • Feeling like wanting to run away/escape from the situation

Anxiety is natural and enables us to respond to danger such as seeking medical help when we feel unwell or leaving a building when the fire alarm rings. It goes back to our ancestors when they responded to danger with fight, flight or freeze. This physical response leads to chemical changes in our bodies when hormones such as dopamine and adrenaline are released leading to our hearts beating faster, breathing heavily, loss of appetite and dry mouth. But when anxiety starts to take over your life and becomes a source of fear and worry it has become a problem.

Some people experience a constant feeling of anxiety that doesn’t go away and in others anxiety flares up to cause panic attacks. This can lead to people avoiding events, places and people that may trigger the anxiety. We all experience anxiety in our own unique ways, some have struggled with it since childhood and others have developed it later in life perhaps as a response to a particular event. You may use substances and alcohol in an attempt to control the symptoms. Through counselling we can explore your anxiety in a safe, caring empathic space where we can look at what is happening for you and together find a way forward.