Why Do I Have Anxiety?

If you’re enduring chronic anxiety, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” While anxiety is more common than you think, the unfortunate stigma around mental health has discouraged multitudes of diverse sufferers from talking about it or seeking treatment. This leaves you feeling as if you’re the only person fighting this battle. Seemingly isolated, you wonder why those around you seem to function without these thoughts. This leads to a place where you’re asking, “Why do I have anxiety?”
This important question is one that I hear often. If you’ve ever experienced anxiety, you might ask yourself…
Why am I feeling this way?
Why now?
What brought this on?
Is this going to keep happening?
When it comes to anxiety, you may or may not be able to identify when or why it started. For some, anxiety is triggered by an event or experience. A few examples that I hear often include:
“I used to drive without a problem, but ever since that fender-bender last year I’m terrified to get behind the wheel again.”
“I never experienced anxiety before I had kids. Now I’m worried about something happening to them constantly. It’s like I’m living in fear every day.”
“Last time we stayed at a hotel I had a stomach virus. Now I get anxiety any time I step foot into a hotel. We haven’t been able to take a vacation in years.”
For others, anxiety comes on without any warning signs or any apparent triggers. General feelings of anxiety and/or panic attacks are experienced at random times, even when you feel perfectly fine. Some people even experience nocturnal panic attacks (panic attacks occurring in the middle of the night, waking you from sleep). Those with seemingly “random” anxiety often say:
“I was in a great mood all day. Then all of a sudden I started feeling nervous before leaving work. The feeling wouldn’t go away no matter what I did.”
“I fell asleep last night like I normally do and around 3am I woke up panicking. I was having trouble breathing and my heart was racing. Why is this happening?”
“Almost every day I wake up feeling anxious. Even on my days off of work, I can’t seem to start my day off feeling relaxed.”
Despite its pattern, chronic feelings of anxiety inevitably leave you asking “Why?”  While the answer is different for everyone, here are some possible explanations for why anxiety has forced its way into your life:
1.  Genetics
You can thank your parents for this one! (Kidding). If anxiety runs in your family, you can be predisposed from the time you’re born. Early childhood experiences can affect this predisposition, which we will focus on in #2.
Physical health conditions, such as Diabetes or hormone imbalance, can also impact your anxiety,. Be sure to get a full physical from your primary care doctor to rule out possible conditions.
2.  Experiences
As mentioned above, certain traumatic events, even in adulthood, can trigger anxiety. This is especially important in early childhood. Experiencing events that are stressful or negative can increase your chances of developing anxiety, regardless of age.
3.  Socio-Cultural Environment
Especially in the hustle and bustle Tri-State Area, a culture of work, stress, and anxiety is ever-present. Maintaining a sense of calm can be challenging when you sense chaos in your surroundings.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, a key first step is to better understand these challenging thoughts. Meeting with a counselor specializing in anxiety can help you understand the patterns of your thoughts. From there, learning coping skills can help reduce the severity and frequency of your anxious thoughts. Regardless of the source of your anxiety, there is hope to begin changing these patterns.


Do you want to work on your anxiety? I’d love to help. Contact me for a free consultation.


Couples Therapy FAQ

The decision to try couples counseling is a challenging one. It’s natural to have questions about this process, so I’ve gathered the most common questions I hear about couples therapy:


Which kinds of couples do you see?
We welcome couples of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and marital status.
When is the right time to start couples therapy?
Contrary to common belief, there is no “right” or “wrong” time to start couples therapy. Studies show that couples wait about an average of six years before seeking professional help. Whether you’ve been together more or less than 6 years, couples therapy can begin at any time.
What if my partner refuses to go to couples therapy?
Couples therapy should be a voluntary process, where both partners are open to seeing how counseling can help. If your partner has questions about the therapy process before our first session, they are welcome to contact usOtherwise, we welcome you to come on your own. Change in your relationship is still possible in individual sessions.
We don’t know whether or not we’re going to stay together. Should we still go to couples therapy?
Absolutely. Couples therapy can help you both decide what the future of your relationship will look like. Regardless of the outcome, we’re here to help.
Why should we attend therapy if we’re already separated and contemplating divorce?
Separation and divorce are complex and often emotional processes. Attending therapy together can help you healthily separate or divorce, avoiding possible resentment, conflict, and confusion. Sessions will be focused on communication, boundaries, and expectations.
Don’t see your question listed here? I’d love to help. Contact me with any questions you may have.