June 20, 2016

As a Social Worker, I often see people in my office with complaints that they do not want to go out anymore, avoid calling people or answering the phone and would find it easier just to stay in bed all the time.  The first thought people have when hearing these symptoms is that they are depressed.  While depression is a possibility, my job is to talk to the client to figure out what exactly is causing those symptoms and very frequently I find it is a fear of something that is behind the avoidance.

Anxiety is often noted as a cluster of symptoms such as feeling nauseous, increased heart rate, sweaty, shortness of breath etc but is also our bodies way of protecting us from a threat, that isn’t actually there.  When we start to worry about what others will think about us, being judged, doing something wrong which keeps us inside our homes, inside our heads: worrying!  We may notice that our worries do not fit with the real situation or that we spend a lot of time worrying which can impact our sleep, appetite and relationships.

Anxiety is normal. We all feel anxious at some point, anxiety can motivate us to study for a test or can be with us as we head into a job interview.  Worrying about what might happen leads us to feel more anxious, have more symptoms, then worry about feeling anxious!

If you notice you have been avoiding doing things you enjoy out of fear or worry that something will go wrong, try asking yourself: “What is the worst case scenario? Can I survive it? Is it really so bad?”  Take a few deep breaths focusing on what you see and hear around you.  If doing this does not reduce your anxiety at all, maybe its time to take a trip into your health care professional or open Anxiety BC for more information about anxiety and ways to reduce your worry and get back out in the world.

Amber Sperling MSW RSW