Jan 4, 2020 | By: Dr. Melissa Hudson, LMFT-Supervisor
When I speak of anxiety, people often think I'm speaking of the clinical term. And while I am, I am using the term to refer to everyday anxiety, subclinical levels of anxiety as well as a clinically significant level warranting a diagnosis.
You see, we all have anxiety; in fact, we need it. It's just a signaling system, like an alarm system in our brain. And I always say, "We all have anxiety; either we are managing it or we are not." And that's the truth. Even if one has a subclinical level of anxiety, it can still be distressing or unhealthy over the longterm. And the good news about anxiety, once you have learned to recognize it physiologically and mentally, then you can learn ways to mitigate it.
Here are some of the expressions I hear often from folks just telling about themselves and how they operate; these code words represent a level of anxiety, however. And what I have observed is that these expressions of an anxious state become the way people define themselves and their mindset. They don't think of them as euphemisms for anxiety or anxious thinking or changeable even. But the great thing is, anxiety can be tremendously improved. So for instance, I often hear, "I'm type-A" or "I'm a perfectionist" or "I'm a people pleaser" or "I'm a worrier" or "I like to have all my ducks in a row" or "I'm a control freak" or "I have anger issues" or "I can't sleep." These are the ones I hear most often. They represent a dynamic state that can be improved upon with some knowledge and practice.
Sometimes, I get a big-eyed look when I inquire, "So you are anxious?" But, without fail people say something along the lines of, "Well yes, that seems correct. I'd never thought of it that way." And what's interesting about the euphemisms is that people have often decided this way of being is simply who they are. I was one of them, too...a planner, a perfectionist, inflexible at times. You see, people think to have anxiety that could be addressed, it must rise to the level of an anxiety disorder. But that is absolutely false. We all can work to manage our anxious thinking, to increase our ability to manage our anxiety...it's lifelong work where we can continue to improve.
If you'd like to learn more about your anxiety and how to address it, I'd love to work with you. Want to change your life for the better? Learn to manage your anxiety better.
About the author: Dr. Melissa Hudson has been a Plano couples' therapist and licensed marriage and family therapist since 2012. She offices near the Shops of Legacy in West Plano conveniently located to serve the communities of McKinney, Allen, and Frisco. She also specializes in working with those contending with depression and anxiety as well as a wide spectrum of other psychological concerns you can learn about here.