self care as a gift

By far the most common concern that my clients who struggle with significant anxiety, obsessions and compulsions bring to the first session is the question. “Am I going crazy?” (“Am I having a nervous breakdown?” is a close second).  My answer is always a clear, unflinching, and outright, “Absolutely not.”  In fact, because I have heard this question so universally, I have taken to preemptively just putting it out there with, “Just so you know, you’re not going crazy, by the way.”   

I love working with clients who are seeking support for anxiety and OCD.  That’s because I always find them to be intelligent, creative, caring, conscientious, insightful, responsible, and high achieving.  They are people who take their obligations very seriously.  Just the type of client that we, as therapists, love to work with.

And they also tend to be perfectionists, overthinkers, hypervigilant, self-critical, self-tormenting and hold themselves to unrealistically high standards.  Not so great for them, but often highly validated by our achievement driven culture.  If you are being challenged by serious anxiety, obsessions, and compulsions, here’s why you’re not crazy.

First, as humans, we are all wired by evolution to be anxious. We are the descendants of people who overperceived and overresponded to threats.  These were the early people who survived to be our ancestors.  Early people who underperceived threats did not live long enough to produce many descendants.  

Second, related to this, is the natural human tendency to be uneasy with uncertainty and the unknown.  When we are uneasy, we are more alert and aware of potential threats.

Then third, because you have a fast thinking, imaginative mind, you can take these natural tendencies of being alert to threats and uncertainty and then spin endless stories about all sorts of dreaded outcomes—very quickly.

And finally, because you are conscientious and responsible, you can’t help but react to all these possible threats as important and then feel compelled to do something that will stop or mitigate them.

This can set up a cycle that is hard to escape on your own.  I work with my clients to recognize that their debilitating and obsessive worries are the result of a highly imaginative, fast thinking, and capable mind.  The compulsive urges are the result of being an overly responsible, conscientious person who takes their obligations very seriously.

From there, we explore how to put these very positive qualities work to work in service to you, rather than against you.  Your intelligence, your creativity, your sensitivity, your diligence, and commitment will come in handy when learning to rein in your anxious worries, obsessions, and compulsions.

If you find yourself needing support with anxiety or OCD, I’d love to work with you – schedule an appointment with me today.  Love Heal Grow has a variety of therapists who can also assist you.  Please do not hesitate to reach out or get in touch with one of our therapists.

Linda Rolufs best therapists sacramento california

Hi, I’m Linda Rolufs, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.

I help individuals and couples respond to their painful experiences and emotions in ways that bring them freedom and closeness to themselves and others.

You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Linda

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