“I just can’t shut my mind off. I’m tired when I lay down, but it’s like my brain goes into high gear and I can’t fall asleep. I try to relax, I try breathing exercises, I pray, I’ve even tried counting sheep, but nothing works.”
We all have nights like that now and again. It may have been a crazy day or the night before an important meeting or a vacation. But for some people, nearly every night is filled with that strange energy and uneasiness. No matter how hard they try, they can’t get rid of those feelings. Some try to block them out with a glass or two of wine before bed, but then they may wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 and lay awake for an hour or more. They wonder what’s wrong with them.
They may be suffering from anxiety. That’s not a made-up condition. Anxiety is a very real medical issue that’s related to your life experiences, coping skills, and brain chemistry. While we all experience it from time to time, for many people it becomes a chronic condition that interferes with their lives, robs them of sleep, and can have lasting effects on their overall health.
Anxiety isn’t normal nervousness. It’s not a sign of weakness. It is an emotion that typically includes feelings of tension, apprehensive uneasiness, or nervousness that may develop into an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear. Often, people with anxiety report feeling out of breath, sweating, and having an increased pulse rate. They may develop recurring thoughts or concerns that won’t go away and may even become obsessions.
The sad news is that half of all people experiencing anxiety (or depression) will not seek help for it, for a variety of reasons that may include fear, shame, or a sense of resignation that nothing can be done to help them. That’s unfortunate, because anxiety doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. In most cases, people with anxiety who seek therapy report significant improvement in their symptoms after just a few sessions. For some people, a combination of therapy and medication proves to be helpful.
Beyond addressing the current symptoms, trained therapists like the professional counselors at Care to Change help people develop strategies that lessen the likelihood that feelings of anxiety will return, along with ways to head off anxiety when they start to become uneasy.
If you or someone you love is experiencing anxiety, one of our counselors can provide an evaluation and recommend the best way to proceed. There’s no shame in asking for help, and it’s the first step in moving toward the life you were meant to live. There is not need to suffer in silence any longer. Contact us today to set a time to talk.
Jean Crane is one of Care to Change’s licensed mental health therapist. She has helped adults and teens cope with issues related to trauma, healthy relationships, depression, anxiety, and stress.