We have all had days when we are just not focused on the tasks at hand, when something else seems overwhelmingly “stuck” in our minds and prevents us from focusing on the present. Have you ever experienced this? Some have described the feeling as akin to an enveloping fog. There may be obligations and deadlines whirring around, yet they seem distant and unable to penetrate the stupor that encircles you. This fog can come on suddenly and is often triggered by stressful life event. For instance, perhaps you experienced a painful break-up, made a serious mistake at work or school, got into an argument with a treasured friend, or had a traumatic memory from your past triggered by a present situation. Or, it could also be that the event did not even happen to you directly, but you know someone you love is in pain and you cannot stop thinking about how to help. Suddenly, it seems like you cannot do anything else but center your attention on this concern. You might think, “What could I have done to prevent this from happening?”, “How can I fix this?” or, “Will this ever be resolved?”
We are all human and as such, we experience a spectrum of emotions in our lives, including the very joyful along with the despairing ones. It is also the case that most of us are wired to feel intense emotion surrounding stressful events. It is normal to feel distress when something upsetting has happened. Many of us having coping systems for helping us get through such challenges. These might include utilizing our support systems, taking time away from obligations to rejuvenate and regroup, or engaging in practices such as exercise or meditation, which can help us soothe our minds through the engagement of our bodies
While we all have difficult periods, and many of these resolve themselves on their own after a few days, it is sometimes helpful to talk to a professional about worries. When do you know if talking to a professional is right for you? Talking to a professional might be helpful if your worries are impacting the quality of your life over an extended period. If you notice that you are not sleeping, if you cannot get work tasks done for many days, if you are only rarely able to enjoy yourself in the company of friends, or even if you feel just generally “stuck” in your worries, it may be helpful to talk to a caring professional with expertise in the area of managing anxiety. While some may give the advice to “ride it out” and to manage problems on your own, it is important to keep in mind that we all respond to stress differently. An event that is not that upsetting to one person can be devastating to another, based on a person’s past experiences, genetic make-up, and other environmental contexts. There is simply no way to compare your own experience to someone else’s, especially when there are so many different factors at play. In any case, whether your worries are mild and transitional or major and life-consuming, know that there is hope and help available. Above all, as someone who has worked with many individuals who struggle with anxiety, I want to encourage you please be kind to yourself as you traverse your journey to healing. It can and does get better.
If you are struggling with worrying or anxiety, contact Sara through this webpage or at Sara@insightbrookline.com.