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The #1 Problem that Causes Severe Anxiety

The #1 Problem That Causes Severe Anxiety
One of the most common reasons why people seek out psychotherapy is because they struggle with anxiety. However, saying that someone has a problem with severe anxiety doesn’t really say much about what is it that the person is really struggling with.

12 thoughts on “The #1 Problem that Causes Severe Anxiety

  • April 1, 2015 at 10:49 am

    What you have shared is right on the mark. I have dealt with anxiety for a long time, finally fear, mistrust, and anger were able to be acknowledged and faced when those since long “forgotten” events began to reveal themselves through usual traumatic symptoms. Therapy was not a quick fix, but a long journey, where one of the hardest parts was feeling safe and trusting the therapist. After that, many events, feelings, and thoughts were faced. I have been fortunate, as my therapist has been real, up front, caring, patient, and kind, along with assertive when needed. I am just finishing up now after 7 years, and in the beginning I wanted to quit every session. I am doing so much better now, and am very grateful.

    • April 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Kimberly, thank you SO much for your comment and for sharing part of your story with the readers! You are absolutely right when you say that therapy is not a quick fix but rather a long journey, and that establishing a sense of trust and safety is the first and most important part of the process! I am sure that your words will inspire others to take the leap of faith and give therapy a try as it is not an easy thing to do, especially at the beginning when you feel doubt, pain, anxiety and fear! Thank you for your honest and brave comment!

  • April 1, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I too have some very traumatic experiences in the past. Now all the time I get flashbacks, then anxiety shows up and I cannot think, and I forget everything, and then I get severely depressed. I can’t find any relief anywhere for the trauma. I don’t know what to do! I feel like I cannot live a productive life like this anymore. Everyday I am filled with anxiety. Nobody seems to know what to do about trauma. I was physically and emotionally abused as a child. I’ve been through mobbing at high school which traumatized me at the exact same time my parents divorce traumatized me. So now, the theme of my life is I get overwhelmed by work place distrust and anxiety as well as homelife anxiety. The doctor treats the symptoms but the root cure or treatment to be free evades me even though I read everyday anything I can get my eyes on about finding out what is wrong with me. This is the root problem and that’s my trauma. At work I always get mobbed. I always work too hard. I always burn out. I always never feel safe enough to let people get to know me. I have been severely suffering for 25 years! I’m at my wits end. Is there anything that can help? What is a treatment that works? Where I live they always treat the symptoms but not the root. What will help me get rid of this agony? None of it was even my fault! I’m always the ostracized person, the guy people think is shady even though I am the most honest person…I am shy and introverted. I treat people respectfully and all I get sometimes is scorn and no one understands me. I don’t even understand me. Anyway…

    • April 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I appreciate you sharing your experience and recognizing the devastating impact that trauma has on us, especially the one from our early childhood and adolescent years. Most of you have no way of knowing this but you are not alone in your suffering! There are so many of you, who have already reached out to me one way or another, and I am so grateful and thankful that what I write resonates with you and gives you a sense of being understood, heard and validated. The scariest thing when we feel out of control and in pain is to think that we are alone and there is no-one to turn to. But there is! And having that sense of community or that one person, that feeling of “I am not alone in my pain” can be so powerful! Truly, the best way to treat this problem is in psychotherapy and it’s never too late to start! But what can I do to help those of you, who feel like you have no-one to turn to and maybe are not ready or able to seek psychotherapy or psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the moment?

      • April 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        I am a bit confused. I have been diagnosed as bipolar and just had a 3 month episode of severe anxiety and depression. I can think of no really traumatic experience that would trigger all of these, just a lot of health issues with my spouse and I and some financial difficulties. My father did commit suicide many years ago. I feel I have dealt with this, but apparently not. I fear going far from home for any length of time except for visiting my grandchildren. Every little thing makes me anxious. I do explode in anger for little things. So far my psychiatrist listens, but basically just changes the medicine dose and gives me Valium for really bad times. I would love to get off some of the medication, but get worse when I try. Is this what you are talking about or am I worse than that? I would have no idea where I would go for help. There are some other issues and behaviors more minor than these that I would have to write a book for. I live a fairly normal life outside of these doors, but at home it’s a different story and i do hide a lot.

      • April 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

        Lisa, thank you for your comment. What I refer to in the blog post as trauma looks differently for different people – physical, sexual, emotional abuse, violence, death, rape, chronic or sudden illness, divorce, alienation, war are just some examples of events that may cause psychological trauma. People react different to life events and have different psychological resources to cope with stress.
        Losing a parent to suicide is certainly a traumatic experience although based on what you have written I cannot tell for sure if that was the reason for your anxiety and depression symptoms or not. You say that you thought you had “dealt with this but apparently not.” It’s hard to know without putting everything in the context of your life and in the context of a therapeutic relationship.
        Unfortunately, you are right when you say that psychiatrists listen to you but few do much else than prescribe medication simply because of the state of their profession and the mental health system today. Usually, medication in combination with psychotherapy (and I would add psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy in particular) give best results for treating trauma, depression and anxiety. Most people seek psychiatric help first, usually because of severe panic attacks or debilitating anxiety or depressive symptoms that require medical intervention to relieve some of the pain that accompanies them. Ideally, however, working with a therapist in addition to seeing a psychiatrist for medication management yields best results.

  • April 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I have always been very anxious, however, I haven’t really gone through anything traumatic. At least, nothing that would have been considered that traumatic by most. It seems like it takes a lot less to make me “anxious” than it does other people. I’ve worried over the littlest things since I was very young. Mostly social anxiety related.

    • April 3, 2015 at 10:01 am

      Christa, you make a very good point when you say that your response to situations or people that make you anxious seems different from other people’s. As I mentioned in my response to Lisa, people are different and react differently to life stressors, etc. Something that may not seem as traumatic for most people may be a real traumatic experience for you. Trauma is a rather subjective experience and can be as “minor” as growing up with a very critical and scornful parent or sibling, for example.

  • April 30, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    One thing that is being omitted as a suggestion for working out emotional problems (that don’t require medical/drug intervention such as potential suicide thoughts, physical harm to someone, etc.)is the spiritual approach. In this world there is too much denial of “sin” that can create serious guilt, self-doubt, fear, blaming, plus any number of reactions/responses, that can cause emotional/mental problems. Too many workers in the therapeutic profession ignore the power of the Holy Bible and the answers it provides for serious situations, as can be seen if one will read/study the Holy Bible. But one must know that the Christian approach is the one most dependable for getting help. There are many false religious techniques that one must be aware of which can be harmful or wasteful. But personally I have found answers and solutions to many common problems we face, but over the years I’ve found total and peace-giving answers that are available to unhappy people who basically need help for their spirit and soul. Unfortunately too many are not offered this direction.

    • June 6, 2015 at 6:37 am

      It’s kind of hard to trust Christians when they think the metaphor of Jesus’s resurrection was an actual event.

      • June 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm

        If you look at the rational explanation of Jesus’s resurrection you have to consider that his followers and other believers who witnessed it, dedicated to living His principles, and went so far as give up their lives to what they saw and believed when they were challenged by the Roman soldiers. If you think that is some kind of mass hysteria, or self-hypnosis to give up your life for a “false event” you have to give me a rational explanation why many intelligent people would do such a drastic thing. A number of believers were sophisticated leaders and knowledgeable people in religion and politics and could speak and read Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic — so they weren’t just a bunch of ignorant farmers. If you actually study some of our modern day Biblical scholars, they will point out arguments for your belief. There is too much for me to discuss here, and many atheists have tried to be on your side without success.

      • May 17, 2017 at 8:20 am

        Mass hysteria does exist but really the question is whether you want to literally believe a guy rose from the dead, and dematerialized into another dimension. And he’s the only guy who ever did it. Or you can believe it’s a metaphor that helps you live your life better. Just because lots of other people believe in the literalness of it doesn’t make it true.


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