Self-Assessment Is the First Step
Anxiety looks different for everyone. For some of us, anxiety is manageable. For others, it can be debilitating. And even if we feel like we have a good handle on anxiety in general, sometimes it can spiral out of control when we’re under significant stress.
Let’s face it. Anxiety is tough. It can affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It can cause difficulties in our relationships. It can cause struggles at work, at school, and at home. Anxiety can make us limit our lives and make us feel like we’re never good enough. Worst of all, anxiety can make us feel lonely, lost, and hopeless.
Whatever level of anxiety you’re experiencing, the good news is that there’s always something you can do to feel better.
The question is – what’s going to work best for you? Maybe therapy isn’t the answer for you at this point. Sometimes all you need to feel better are a few simple tools and techniques or to make a couple of lifestyle changes. Maybe what you can learn from online materials like mine (or from my book Calm & Sense) will be exactly what you need to feel better.
But sometimes those things are just not enough.
Sometimes your anxiety can overwhelm you and make you feel like your life is out of control. If that’s happening to you, if you’re feeling like you can no longer function normally, you might want to consider getting some help.
But maybe you’re just not sure.
So, how do you know what’s best for you?
It all starts with a self-assessment. An honest look at: 1) where you are today and 2) where you’d like to be. And feeling better begins by taking this first step, whether it’s here or with someone else you trust.
Doing a Self-Assessment as a Starting Point
Here are two ways I offer for you to do a simple self-assessment. Now let me just say this is in no way a clinical diagnosis – just a couple of online tools on the Web that can offer you a place to get started on your healing journey. They’re quick and easy to use, and best of all you can do them safely and in the privacy of your own home.
1) Self-Assessment: Mini-Quiz
First, I have a simple quiz: Find Out the Cost of Your Anxiety
It only takes a couple of minutes, and the questions will give you a rough idea of your overall anxiety level. Then based on your answers, I’ll send you some carefully curated information and recommendations about what, where, and how to help you start feeling better. All of it is free. Yes, it will ask for an email address. But, I promise you I will be a good steward of that information. I will treat your inbox with respect, and I make it easy to opt out with every message. This is low-risk vs. the potential benefits.
2) Self-Assessment: 8 Reasons
Second, listen to Should I Go to Therapy? (Episode 53 of my podcast)
In this episode, I list the 8 basic signs that might indicate the need to see a professional. No more wondering – some real specifics about the times when going to talk to someone can make a real difference in your life. Then you can decide on your own whether or not to find a good therapist in your area.
Important: I need to reiterate. What I'm offering here is not diagnostic in any way. My website (or any website, for that matter) is never a substitute for diagnosing or treating a mental health problem.
What to Do After Your Honest Self-Assessment
So, maybe you’re thinking that therapy might help, but you’re still reluctant or feel like you’re not ready to go talk to someone.
I get it.
Over the years, I’ve heard lots of reasons why people DO NOT want to go to therapy. I’ve even experienced a few myself. Let’s face it, there’s still a stigma attached to getting help for mental health issues. People who wouldn’t hesitate to go to their PCP when they break a bone or have the flu... put off getting help for their mental health issues.
They don’t want to share their secrets with a “stranger.” They feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness or personal failure, or that therapy is something that “other people need,” but “not me.”
Let’s face it, asking for help of any kind is tough. Making a change or taking a risk is scary especially for those of us with anxiety. It takes an enormous amount of energy to step outside our comfort zone, into that amazing life that’s waiting on the other side.
But I’ve found a secret to help those of us with anxiety tiptoe past the fear that’s keeping us trapped and claim our best life.
What’s the secret? Simple.
Having a plan can be a powerful fear-buster for those of us with anxiety. It can take us past our fears and finally set us free. If you’re interested in learning more about how the simple act of PLANNING can help, I have two resources for you:
The Power of Planning (podcast Episode 52)
And maybe the result of your planning process includes making the brave decision to start seeing a therapist. Or at least to give it a try. It’s one step in charting a new course for the life you want. No pressure; it’s easy to back out if you’re not ready.
But what would your life look like if you decided to give it a try?
Saying “Yes” to Therapy
Let’s say you’ve decided to see a therapist. What can you expect?
For many people, therapy can be an empowering experience. In fact, I’ve seen therapy change people’s lives. Now, I’m not saying therapy is easy – in fact it can be challenging and sometimes difficult. But therapy can be an incredibly rewarding experience when you work with a trained professional.
The truth is, a good therapist can help you find what will work for YOU in particular so that you can get through each day more confidently. The results can be amazing; I’ve seen it first-hand and I’ve lived it myself.
Let’s Do It Together: A Community of Those Who Understand
Over the years. I've learned a lot about living with fear both from a life time of dealing with anxiety personally and years working as a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor). And now it’s my goal to share what I've learned with you and everyone else who’s dealing with anxiety. We don’t have to suffer, and we don’t have to do this alone.
That's why I do my podcast and newsletter – I want to create a community of people who all get what it's like living with anxiety. Almost everything I offer online is free. The only thing I have for sale is my book – with a new one coming in 2024!
So let’s agree that we’re done pretending that “everything’s just fine,” when it isn’t. Let’s agree that we’re no longer going to allow our fear to keep us from living the life we’ve always longed for. Let’s agree that we’re going to stop waiting for things to change and take control today.
Now… today… with one small step towards feeling better.