Stress or anxiety

hand-wringing from stress

Stress is an external pressure that may be imposed on you (deadlines at work, a traumatic event, bereavement, a difficult relationship…).

Anxiety is generated internally: it’s the body’s natural response to a threatening or stressful situation. It may result in any of these symptoms:

  • Feeling continuously overwhelmed and on edge
  • Over-reacting to ordinary situations, (“losing it”), or losing trust in yourself or your ability to understand situations
  • Constantly seeking reassurance from other people
  • Avoiding stressful situations, with the result that you’re living in a smaller and smaller world, and becoming more isolated
  • “Managing” your overwhelming feelings through self-medicating behaviours such as using alcohol, over-eating or restricted eating, excessive exercise etc
  • Social phobias, panic attacks or OCD (these are all anxiety disorders)

Living with a partner who has high anxiety brings its own stress to bear. In which case, working together in couple therapy can help with communication and intimacy in your relationship. But do not suffer in silence if your partner is reluctant to attend. Get support for yourself.

You may be suffering from depression as well as anxiety. This dual diagnosis brings its own pressure to bear and you may benefit from some medical support and prescribed medication to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety whilst you address the issues underpinning your depression.

Reaching out for help may be one of the hardest things to do, but anxiety disorders are treatable, often with a combination of medication, psycho-education and talking therapy. There is no need to struggle alone.