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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW

Anxiety: Don't Get On The Bus!

Anxiety often starts as a whisper, but can snowball into BIG fears. Anxious thoughts can even lead to panic attacks. Part of the work in therapy is recognizing anxious thoughts and feelings in your body, and understanding your cycle of Anxiety--how it grows and becomes stronger, so that you can interrupt the cycle and break free from the suffering Anxiety can cause.

Breaking Free from Anxiety with the Bus Metaphor

Imagine there is a bus. The bus goes to Panic Attack Land, or where ever your Anxiety cycle leads you at its worst. You don't want to go there--it's not comfortable, and it's a rather scary place to be.

You realize that the bus is Anxiety. You notice the bus coming around the corner as you experience your first anxious thoughts or anxious feelings in your body. When you allow those thoughts to overpower you, you are, in effect, waving the bus to stop and let you on. And now you are on your way to that scary destination.

The good news is that once you see this happening, you can stop it!

If you find yourself on the bus--you can get off before you get to the last stop! Just knowing where this ends and remembering that you CAN get off before it gets worse can really help let your bus driver know that you want to stop.

You can even start to see the bus coming--knowing what triggers your Anxiety, recognizing first signs of Anxiety--and now you know that YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET ON! You can simply see the bus, wave to the bus, and let the bus driver know that they can keep on going--you're not getting on!

The Bus in Everyday Life

You have a task that's due this morning. You know that you've completed it. You've edited it, checked it, it's all set and ready to go. You present it, hand it in, it's over. You move on with your day. But you start to have anxious thoughts. "You forgot to include this really important detail", your Anxiety whispers. You think about it, and think you remember including that detail, but now you're really not sure. "What if I did forget?", you think, anxiously. "You were so busy last week, you didn't put your full concentration on the project", Anxiety whispers. "Did I really forget?", you start to feel confused in your memory and start to question how well you've done the project. You start to feel hot in your body.

Right now, the bus is coming around the corner. It's pulling up to stop for you to get on.

IF you see the bus, recognize Anxiety whispering to you, notice the hot feeling in your body, you can remind yourself that this is the bus, and it will lead you to a very distressful land. You can breathe and talk yourself through it. "This is Anxiety talking to me. I am not getting on this bus. I did everything I could do, and I was fairly confident when I finished. I've already handed it in, and am not going to worry about something I can no longer control. I've done my best and that's all I can do. I feel good about that". The bus will likely keep going without you.

If you don't recognize the bus, you will inevitably get on. "I can't believe I forget that detail! I was so busy, I didn't take the time to prepare! I'm going to fail/get fired! I'm a huge disappointment! What is my teacher/boss going to say? I'm going to be humiliated...". You feel your body shake, your heart is pounding, you're having trouble breathing, your mind is racing. You are well on your way to the last stop.

It's not too late to get off!

When you recognize these thoughts and feelings as Anxiety--you can breathe and talk yourself through it (see above) and get off the bus.

How Therapy Helps

At Creating Space Counseling and Wellness, you can learn strategies like the bus metaphor to help you be more in control of Anxiety and other distressful emotions. What often makes these feelings uncomfortable is that they can feel overpowering. Strategies like the bus can re-connect you with your own power.

In therapy, you will learn to recognize your own cycle of Anxiety and how and when Anxiety has been able to feel overpowering. Understanding this can help you interrupt the cycle, see the Anxiety for what it is, and make choices based on care for yourself rather than desperate escape from distress that tends to make Anxiety stronger. At Creating Space Counseling and Wellness, you can learn to see the bus pull up, and watch it go by.

Get on the Therapy Bus instead!

Call today to schedule an appointment! 856-281-1664


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