To better understand your anxious feelings, you could try the Severity Measure for Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This self-assessment tool will help you identify how your anxiety levels compare to the general population.
Let’s take a look at some anxiety symptoms:
- Sometimes your heart starts to race, and you get shortness of breath, you may begin to feel dizzy, and your body may tremble. These are all symptoms that you have a panic attack. Panic attacks, also known as anxiety attacks, are a type of anxiety disorder.
- I am feeling uncomfortable and sweating more than usual when in social situations. Thoughts can be about being an outsider while at a social gathering. These are all signs of social anxiety that may start with leaving early and lead to complete avoidance.
- Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate or focus. Forgetting things off the shopping list and getting distracted at work are signs of anxiety. The inability to concentrate can make a person useless, which creates further anxiety.
- Are you feeling Nervous? It is normal to feel nervous about an event outside your comfort zone, such as a one-off public speech. However, suppose that anxious feeling is not event-based or based on something that is an everyday task. In that case, it is more severe and likely to be an anxiety disorder.
- A sense of impending doom is generally a sense that something terrible will happen. The phrase itself tells us that there is a high level of fear and uncertainty about something that has yet to happen. The feeling of anxiety comes from a fear of what will happen in the future.
- Perfectionism is the thought that the finished result must be of a very high standard. Perfectionism is not realistic for most of us in a busy everyday life with lots of things to do. It puts a lot of pressure on the individual and could be the underlying cause of anxiety disorders. It could also be a symptom of the anxiety disorder, as doing things of high standard helps reduce anxiety for the person with the disorder.
Anxiety Coping Strategies:
Be in the present. It is helpful to think about the past and learn from it. It is also beneficial to think about the future and be better prepared. Also, spend some time in the present, a place where you are free from past regret and future uncertainty. To bring yourself to the present, think about what you see around you, what you can hear, smell, and taste. Use your senses to get yourself to be in the present.
Believe in yourself! Having confidence in yourself means that you can handle things no matter the hurdles you have to overcome. You are willing to take on risks and overcome obstacles. Sometimes it is easier said than done.
Look at your past accomplishments. What makes you proud? What wise decisions have you made in the past?
You are your own worst critic. So it is time to think about what others have said that they admire or like about you. What positive things do your friends say?
Do tasks where you feel you have control. Prove to yourself that you are confident.
Lower the bar. Things do not have to be perfect. Affirm yourself for giving things a go. Think about how no one is good at everything, and most of the time, it takes practice to build skill and confidence.
Diet, Exercise, & Sleep. These three things are essential to keep your body and mind healthy. If they are out of balance, it will increase your anxiety. Start by making three easy changes:
- Go to bed at a regular time.
- Go for a 20-minute walk each day.
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake.
Just get started. Anxiety can be paralysing, and the longer you wait, the more stress can build.
Do something that makes you proud. Activities that will help improve your self-esteem and confidence.
Anxiety Benefits. Recognise anxiety as a natural feeling and acknowledge that it is not something you want to
eliminate. Anxiety helps us be productive and meet deadlines. Anxiety helps us avoid dangerous situations where we put ourselves at risk.
Early intervention. Like any health problem seeking early treatment can mean a faster road to recovery. Start using the cognitive interventions described in this article. Measure the intervention results using the Severity Measure for Generalised Anxiety Disorder tool. If you do not see any improvement, try counselling or visiting your doctor.
What is infidelity?
Infidelity is an act of unfaithfulness when a spouse or partner engages in an intimate relationship with other people outside of the relationship. The affairs can be either physical or emotional.
Physical affairs are what it says. They meet and engage in either intimate or sexual acts. While it is more definitive, physical affairs can be a gradual form from emotional affairs as physical chemistry develops.
Physical affairs are often quickly picked up due to changes in the spouse’s behaviour.
- Upbeat mood.
- Spouse spending more time grooming and getting ready, asking for advice on chosen outfits.
- More frequent outdoor activities or late nights working.
- Emotionally less demanding and would often encourage the other half to do things separately.
It is not uncommon for people to find someone to confide in outside of the relationship. Women seems more at ease about it than men, due to men having attached stigmas being too friendly with a co worker of the opposite gender.
Consider the following scenarios.
- I would text the person and have a long conversation everyday, anytime of the day, even while in bed when my spouse is asleep.
- I make sure I contact the person with updates, big or small first before I tell my spouse. Am not concerned that my spouse is the last to know.
- I am comfortable having inappropriate jokes with the person because they get me.
- Often I would make comparisons between my spouse and the person. I think I would be much happier being in a relationship with the person instead of my spouse.
- I dread holidays as it means spending more time with my spouse. I would rather spend more time with the other person than be bored at home with my spouse.
- I would delete messages from the person and pretend to be talking about work when they ring so that it does not look suspicious.
- I would start daydreaming about our conversations with each other, and it filled me with warm fuzzies. And when they make contact, I get nervous feelings in my stomach like on a first date.
- I get jealous seeing photos of the person on holiday with their loved ones wishing I was there with them.
Emotional affairs play a massive part in the disruption of a relationship. It is often unnoticed or blinded by the friendship banner. If the above scenarios are relatable to you, please consider seeking some therapy to discuss this further. Consider online counselling for flexible session times so that it can be worked around family and work commitments. It would also make it more convenient for partner/ spouse to participate in the session together.
When does it become an emotional affair?
You would become nervous and restless because you would be away from the person, and you would do everything you could to ensure you could still make contact and stay close to them. You became more distant and resentful towards your spouse.
But there is no physical connection. Is that still cheating?
This concept is hard to accept. An emotional affair is often harmless until it becomes something more apparent, like a physical affair. We act and react based on our conscious and subconscious thoughts. As humans, we have needs and wants. When the needs and wants are fulfilled, in one way or another, we get creative to ensure we get some of the innate feelings met, so we feel alive and wholesome.
Who is more prone to having an emotional affair?
Both men and women are equally susceptible to being the person that betrays. As men and women break free from the traditionally defined gender roles, we become more responsive to listening to our desires and wants. Hormones became the driving force of our exploration of what freedom looks like to live and love.
Getting over infidelity
An affair does not mean the relationship needs to end. It is an opportunity to take a moment to review the relationship. Separation does not always end in divorce. It is a chance to give each other space to breathe and examine what is essential to each other still. Engaging in relationship therapy will also help both parties get a safe space to unpack their emotions.
For the betrayed, grief will be at its most intense during this time as you mourn the loss of the relationship you once had. There will be denial, anger, depression and acceptance.
As you go through the emotions, you become apprehensive and fearful. Fearful that if you stay, you are weak. But if you choose to leave, you fear you may not be able to survive without the partner. These thoughts create anxieties as they can lead to you feeling ambivalent or anxious-preoccupied, wondering if you are worthy of being loved still or is he worthy of your love. Your confidence and sense of self-worth diminish if you perceive a threat to the relationship. You may not want to be separated from your partner and will constantly check upon them.
This kind of attachment will not be helpful if you want to restart your existing relationship or form a new relationship with others.
For the betrayer, it is not easy being the person to rock the boat. You may realize you are not perfect, and that’s ok. You are also grieving. You ended the relationship you had that was passionate and intimate. You may find the urge to defend yourself or the other person.
What does recovery look like?
If the intention is to stay together, understand that both of you will be feeling raw from this experience. Give each other space to grieve and take turns listening as emotions arise. In a therapeutic setting, a counsellor acts as a mediator to give each person the chance to express the feelings of each thought process.
Be gentle with each other. The relationship you both have had has died. It is time to start a new relationship with each other.
Rediscover the love languages for one another.
- Words of affirmation.
- Quality time together.
- Physical touch.
- Acts of service.
- Receiving gifts.
Take some time to heal. Trust that you can listen to your spouse/ partner when they express their anger, hurt, desires and disappointments and have it reciprocated. Again, participating in relationship therapy can help you learn how to describe yourself so that your partner/spouse gets to know you more instead of being kept in the dark.
Our desires and wants drive our emotions. As we become more advanced, so will our desires to explore. Progressively, we rebel against gender defined expectations of a relationship. But deep down, we want to feel loved, wanted and cared for.
Infidelity has existed for centuries and is nothing new. We have learnt that having an affair is terrible. The spotlight on the betrayer is more intense, even more so if the couple chooses to remain together to work it through. What is essential is compassion and support to give them the strength to work through their differences for better or worse.
“A depressed person is very tough to be in a relationship with,” says Irina Firstein, LCSW, a New York City psychotherapist with 20 years of experience treating depression.
Loving someone with depression can be challenging. It can make you angry, frustrated and alone, as it can be an uphill battle to try and stay connected.
Depression has been largely misunderstood. It is a medical condition and should not be perceived as a weakness.
Depression can be from singular or cumulative events. The symptoms are present both internally and externally.
Physical symptoms are often more noticeable as their nervous system reacts to the high level of stress hormones produced. A depressed person may show the following external symptoms:
- Constant tiredness.
- Complaints of sore achy muscles.
- Signs of low immunity such as skin breakouts and cold and flu symptoms.
- Cramps and sore stomach.
- Lack of sexual desire.
- Short-tempered and more argumentative.
- Increased alcohol consumption.
- Increase of screen time on their devices.
- Takes longer to complete daily chores.
- Loss of appetite or increase in food binging.
The internal symptoms are often harder to pick up on. This may include:
- Lack of intimacy.
- Look of sadness or unhappiness.
- Constant sighing.
- Feelings of anger and frustration over little things.
- Often appear distant and not engaging in conversation.
- Appear more clingy and anxious if they know they are going to be away from you.
- Unwillingness to participate in family gatherings or social outings.
- Constant negative view of their self-worth.
- Overly critical of any decisions you make.
- Talks of running away to a place where they do not have to care about others.
- Asking doom questions of what you would do if they die.
There will be many questions that are currently going through your mind:
- Why am I here?
- Is it worth waiting for her to get better?
- Am I the right person to help him?
- Am I in danger?
- Can I help fix her/his/their problem?
- Am I still loved?
Before you can help others heal, you must first learn to heal yourself. Your mental health is equally as important as that of your loved ones’. You may want to unpack your current experiences and emotions.
Do your mental health check by taking an online assessment. It gives you a good measure of your mental health inventory. If you need to talk to an expert or would like to bring along your loved one for couples counselling, please feel free to contact me here. If you have any questions you can submit an enquiry to me directly.
Hypervigilance can lead to anxiety and stress.
In Omicron Phase three, we are no longer being restricted on places we can and cannot go. In this self-management model, it is up to us to keep ourselves safe including our loved ones, workplace and the local community. While we are vigilantly doing this, we often ignore the impact it has on our mental well being.
Common symptoms can include:
- Feelings of losing control.
- Experience of emotional distress.
- Feelings of sadness and emotional pain from memories.
- Feeling alienated thinking that you will be judged and made to feel unwelcomed.
- Difficulty being around people that appear to be erratic or chaotic.
- Urge to constantly keep tabs on the whereabouts of your family members and friends.
- Feelings of frustration and anger when the internet connection cuts out or when the electronics fail to function properly.
There are ways to cope with hypervigilance.
- Exercise -Regular exercise promotes positive health focus. It also helps reduce the stress hormones namely adrenalin and cortisol. Exercising helps create endorphins in our brain. Endorphin is beneficial in elevating our moods and acts as a natural painkiller.
- Medication – Please consult your doctor on suitable medication to help regulate your moods. It is also normal for your doctor to recommend talk therapy in conjunction with medication prescriptions.
- Talking therapy or counselling therapy is a good way to help address the stressors that lead to anxiety. The most commonly used therapy modality is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). The main focus of CBT is to analyze the negative thoughts that fuel your anxiety and address them. There are many ways you can get counselling therapy, either by contacting a counselling centre or finding them online.
- Complimentary therapies such as meditation and psychoeducation can also be helpful. We get better as we learn more ways to cope with our worries.
There are many solutions out there on how to cope with anxiety and stress. The first step is to acknowledge that you need help. I offer one on one online counselling sessions. Bookings are available on counsellors.co.nz