To understand anxiety, we need to understand the mechanism of fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety are functional and normal processes for all humans. If the person experiences excessive fears and anxieties, a clinical intervention may be required.
The difference between fear and anxiety is the time difference. As human beings, we are afraid if we witness that something will happen to us now. If we believe that something will happen to us in the future, we call it anxiety. For example, we are walking alone in a forest. We came across a very powerful predator, for example, a bear. Most of us are afraid that our resources will not be enough to fight a bear. A person does not usually criticize himself and is not criticized by his environment because he is afraid of the bear. What if he’s afraid of a stray cat? I intend to explore the answer to this question in the phobias article, so let’s move on to the topic of anxiety. The difference in fear between the cat and the bear is the difference between our power resources as humans and how competent we are (we are strong) compared to the bear and the cat. We are afraid of the bear in general, we are not afraid of the cat in general. Now let’s build the same example over the future tense. We are walking in a forest and we are worried/worried that a bear will appear in front of us. Here, while the fear object in the here and now causes fear, we call the fear that this fear object will appear in the future or that something will happen in the future. As you can see, the difference between fear and anxiety is whether it happens now or in the future.
So what are we gonna do? How do we get rid of anxiety (excessive anxiety)?
Answer: We will increase our strength.
The answer is actually very simple, but it can take a long time to internalize this simple answer.
At the same time, this phrase ‘we will increase our power’ is sometimes misunderstood.
The bear and cat example I gave above is for all of us to understand the subject easily, of course, it does not intend to harm any animal. Now, let me replace the example I gave about animals with an example from the field of relations.
‘Something will happen to me when I go out’
Let’s think of a person who does not leave his home because of the above belief. For him, society and the outside are fearful. He will be harmed somehow. This directed fear of the future is anxiety.
So how will this friend overcome his anxiety?
How will it be stronger?
When it comes to psychology, we use empowerment in a spiritual sense, not a physical one. The power here is the increase of one’s ego/self power. In order for a person to become stronger, he needs to meet himself; to meet their own thoughts, their own feelings and their own world of meaning. If a person grasps the origin of the thoughts and feelings he is currently experiencing, he will no longer have to deal with fears and anxieties that come from within and cannot make sense of.
There are two important ways for a person to meet himself;
1- What is going on now? (What’s going through my mind)
2- What happened in the past? (Childhood life)
What is happening now is the thoughts running through our minds. During the therapy process, we find the ideas that go through our minds and see how we can relate to them.
The past is our personality structure formed as a result of our childhood life (along with genetic factors).
By focusing on these two processes (thoughts in the mind and childhood experiences), we can make sense of the fears and anxieties that are happening right now. Thus, the person receiving consultancy service sees, understands and resolves the processes within himself. The person gets to know himself/herself and his/her ego becomes stronger. Ultimately, the person becomes free and happy.
Classifications related to anxiety;
1. Separation Anxiety
– Communication problems with the child’s parents
– Anxiety that adults experience in their relationships about their capacity for commitment and long-lasting relationships
2. Selective Mutism (Mutism)
– Inability to speak in certain situations, usually seen in children
3. Social Anxiety (Social Phobia)
Worry about being criticized, humiliated or doing something wrong in public/in a group
4. Panic Disorder
– When the person’s heart is beating fast (or thinks it is beating fast), fear of death/serious harm
– Concern that something bad will happen to the person in open spaces (home or outside of safe places according to him/herself)
6. Common Anxiety
– Anxiety that the person generalizes to most situations, regardless of a specific situation or person
I hope the article you read helped to make sense of some of your processes. If you are experiencing the processes I mentioned above, you can start your own counseling journey, regardless of the therapy school. Let’s not forget, every journey starts with the first step.