Anxiety – A Case Study

Carrie went to lots of doctors; she began to take the anti-anxiety medication Paxil, which was somewhat helpful; it at least allowed her to sleep. But she continued to feel upset most of the time, unable to concentrate, uncertain about her life, and, at its worst, crying and exhausted.

What finally began to help was when she went to a therapist who encouraged Carrie to pay attention to what had worked for her before. Together they learned that focusing on what was important to her was the best antidote to anxiety. Carrie called it “mindless focusing.” Once Carrie could focus, then she could sort out what were some of the contributors to the anxiety. She began to see the huge cultural expectations that society inadvertently puts on young people; they were all the things she herself had said: a career, a relationship, meaningful goals. Even more, she felt the pressure to accomplish all those things “right now.”

Carrie found she could “back off” from that pressure. She accepted that she did want certain things and had specific goals, but that she could accomplish them in ways that worked for her and within her own time frame. She then experienced more peace and much less of the unsettledness, or what people were calling anxiety. Recently, Carrie said,

“Anxiety is just not a part of my lexicon anymore, and certainly not a part of my experience.”

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