Call Audrey 00353 (0)86 3749358

Anxiety and Panic

I  can help you overcome debilitating anxiety, worry and panic in your life. There’s a normal level of anxiety that we know is healthy. However, if it is excessive and invades your daily life, counselling and psychotherapy can help.


What anxiety is

Anxiety is fear based on a perceived threat that causes changes in your body, behaviour and thinking that are disturbing.


What anxiety means

The word literally means constriction or narrowing. This is a good description of the tension an anxious person feels in their body, their thinking and their way of living.


What anxiety does to your body

It can cause chest pain, nausea, dizziness, high blood pressure, stomach pains, headaches, diarrhoea and constipation. It’s the flood of stress hormones moving through your body that drives these.


What anxiety feels like

Anxiety feels like tension, worrying, nervousness, inability to enjoy anything, concentrate or sleep. Acting in your fear in this way  is different from anger which is fear that makes you act out.


Common causes of anxiety

Stress from:

  • Relationships,
  • Work or school demands
  • Performance worries
  • Financial worries
  • Lack of social confidence
  • Drug side effects
  • Medical tests and conditions

Fear in these situations, feeling unsafe, drives the stress


How anxiety affects daily life

Anxiety brings ongoing:

  • Body stress with nausea, tiredness, loss of appetite etc
  • Mood change with inability to focus, sadness, anger
  • Behaviour changes including avoiding contact, fear of speaking, substance abuse, eating disturbance
  • Health problems including headaches, stomach issues, sleep issues, eating disorders and auto-immune syndromes.


How anxiety affects relationships

Anxiety, which is basically fear, causes dependency, avoidance, misunderstanding, and poor communication. It overwhelms others including children, parents, siblings and partners. Nobody’s needs get met. There is so much loneliness in relationships where there’s anxiety.



Are anxiety and depression the same thing?

Not quite. Anxiety is fear of contact. Before that turns into depression, there’s a stage where your need for support is not met and you feel low, even despairing.



Why anxiety is good

Anxiety motivates us, to study or take care of what needs doing. It also alerts us to the presence of danger which is good. We all experience anxious times in our life. They are good for us because they help us grow. Examples include preparing for exams or an interview, meeting new people, waiting for the results of medical tests, and making a wedding speech.



Why anxiety is worse in the morning

A higher amount of stress hormones circulates in your morning body, to motivate and mobilise you for the day’s tasks. If you’re already anxious, the extra hormones can make you feel worse.


Why anxiety is worse at night

You may not have processed daily stressors. Your emotions are dysregulated so adrenaline is still firing in your system at night when it should be at its lowest level.



When anxiety takes over

Anxiety fuels stress which fuels more anxiety. Now you’re in a dysregulated loop system and everything is threatening to you. The way out is through learning to manage and regulate your emotions. At Audrey O’ Carroll Counselling, we’ll help you to do that.



Are anxiety and panic attack the same thing?

They are not the same but panic does come from anxiety. They’re both fear states. With a panic attack, there’s a sudden onset of severe fear and discomfort that seems to come from nowhere. In reality, it began with anxiety that was building in the background. By contrast, anxiety’s trigger is known and the fear is less intense.


What panic attack means

Panic is a fear that’s higher than healthy anxiety and that comes on suddenly literally like an attack. There’s a fear of doing something wild. It can take hours to come out of panic.


Anxiety and panic attack therapy

The therapy for both anxiety and panic attacks is to meet, accept and process the underlying fear. I will support you to do that in a gentle caring environment.



How to overcome anxiety and panic attacks

To overcome anxiety and panic attacks, it’s wise to get appropriate therapeutic support. Remember both anxiety and panic come from the fear that started with insufficient support. Avail of counselling support to change that story.



How panic attacks happen

First, you feel anxious. For a long time, maybe years, stress hormones pour from the adrenal glands on top of your kidneys. Too scared to act, you become frozen. Then you go to the next level of threat response, panic. It’s your best attempt to come out of freeze to protect yourself.


What a panic attack feels like

  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Sudden intense fear
  • Impulse to run
  • The feeling of losing control
  • Like having a heart attack

Why panic attacks happen

Any life events that keep you stuck in fear will dysregulate your emotions and flood you with stress hormones. Panic is an end result of this. The events might be accidents, bullying, medical procedures, exam fears, anything. As soon as you learn to down-regulate fear, you will end your panic attacks.