From a young woman in Portugal: I have been suffering from obsessive fears for 7 years now, however for one year I have developed an obsession about having anxiety during a special moment where I am supposed to be happy. Before a special exciting moment happens I get the thought of anxiety and immediately start panicking and dwelling on the thought, which in turn makes it worse.
I tend to dwell on my anxiety and hope desperately that it will go away before it ruins the special moment. It’s not a very well known phenomena, but I’ve read stories online from others that experience this and some have said that it actually ruined their good moment. This terrifies me and leaves me hopeless. Are there any strategies to manage this so the anxiety doesn’t have to be so powerful?
This is more common than you might think. Many people who have a high level of anxiety start to be anxious about being anxious. It can be immobilizing. You shared that you have some tendencies toward obsession so it makes sense to me that you are now obsessing about the effects of anxiety on your happiness.
You say you’ve been suffering since you were a teenager. What you don’t mention is whether you have gotten any help. If not, I highly recommend it. If you could resolve your anxiety by yourself, you would have done so long ago. There is no need to continue to suffer like this.
First, see your doctor for a thorough medical check up. Sometimes this kind of anxiety is a symptom of a medical issue. You want to be sure that you are physically healthy. If you are physically fine, then it’s time to seek out help from a mental health professional. There are well-established treatments for the kind of symptoms you are reporting. Working with a therapist will help you reset your level of anxiety to something more manageable and learn new skills for coping so you can enjoy the pleasures life has to offer.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Anxiety about Having Anxiety
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Anxiety about Having Anxiety. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/11/16/anxiety-about-having-anxiety/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.