I feel worried, nervous, stressed, and am having trouble sleeping. Is this anxiety?
Try as you might to avoid stress, life itself is stressful. Stress is commonplace, and feeling stressed is normal. Thankfully, our bodies and minds are built to handle and rebound from stress. The problem is when stress becomes chronic. Then, recovery can be difficult. This is when consulting with a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker, is important.
A chronic stress response and chronic anxiety have much in common: often sleep is difficult or disturbed and there is a feeling of nervous fatigue. A person can feel clammy and shaky and find themselves worrying obsessively. There can be a feeling of dread, even if the source of the dread is unidentified. To make matters worse, stress and anxiety can affect relationships and productivity; a person can feel irritable and impatient with friends and family.
There are three things in general that a person can do to lessen stress and anxiety. The first is to learn stress management behaviors, including relaxation. I recommend mindfulness training which combines relaxation, acceptance, and awareness. Secondly, a person can learn to handle relationships, work, and family life differently. This requires some thoughtful conversations and reflections; to do this with a counselor is most helpful. And lastly, sometimes there is a place for medication. For this, a consultation with a psychiatrist is best.
Everyone is different and unique. Here is where a therapist comes in. A good therapist is skilled in identifying what fits for you and what path to take to get through your difficult situation.
My name is Michael Wizer. I am a health psychologist and work in the BridgePointe, Blue Ash office. I have more than twenty years of clinical experience treating chronic stress and anxiety, integrating mindfulness and other cognitive and behavioral strategies into my counseling work.