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Do You Have Anxiety? Take a 3-Minute Self-Test


Ok, time for a pre-quiz Quiz....


What is the mental image that comes to mind when you hear the word "ANXIETY"?

For me, as a devoted mother who loves my children very much... it's an image of my children...

Crying.


Weird, right? Why would my kids be a source of anxiety if I love them??

I will tell you why. Now that I've been a mother for more than 4 years, my anxiety imagination has spread to hearing/seeing any child...

Crying.


A lump in my throat, a pit in my stomach, hands sweaty.


Now, this is not because I think I'm a bad mother or that my children, or anyone else's "MUST" be unloved or not well tended-to because they're crying. I think I'm much less original or specific than that.

I think it's because, like the rest of us, like you, I worry that I'm just not enough. That old friend the Inner Critic immediately pounces when it notices our anxiety and says something like "AHA! You didn't predict the future and now look!", "You're selfish!" Etc" There's a lot of material to work with honestly because we are, every single one of us, found with fault. We are human. And the Inner Critic says that is not OK. But guess what? Being human will never change. It's the belief that goes along with our faults that create this snowball, spiral, or catastrophizing, if you will.




I've had many sessions with many well-meaning people who become so discouraged by this inner dialogue and their anxiety in general that they are crippled, beaten down into inaction and not even knowing who they are anymore. Because everywhere they turn, there is fault. There is a mistake, and what if everyone finds out they don't have it together? Are they a burden? Are they incapable of happiness? The issue is very often trying to meet unreachable standards, ironically often set by the Inner Critic Itself.


My challenge to you comes in two steps. So, if you've read this far, let's go ahead and keep the party going...



STEP #1: Determine first, whether you may actually have anxiety, or whether you're just surrounded by jerks. Note that this anxiety screening tool included below is intended for use by healthcare professionals and education for clients to determine the severity of a person's anxiety. It is not meant for use by clients for formal self-diagnosis. While these may be surveys or questions intended for clients, they are meant to be answered in the context of a clinician’s medical care and not on their own to diagnose or treat any disease.

In the spirit of self-awareness, take a look at the questions below and if you're feeling like going the extra mile, count up your score and see where you stand.



GAD-7 Screening Tool


IMPORTANT

Tides Therapy and Consulting, LLC provides tools and content intended for use by healthcare professionals and is not meant for use by patients. While these may be surveys or questions intended for patients, they are meant to be answered in the context of a clinician’s medical care and not on their own to diagnose or treat any disease.


Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems?

​Not At All

Several Days

More than Half the Days

Nearly Every Day

1. Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge

0

1

2

3

2. Not being able to stop or control worrying

0

1

2

3

​3. Worrying too much about different things

0

1

2

3

4. Trouble relaxing

0

1

2

3

5. Being so restless that it is hard to sit still

0

1

2

3

6. Becoming easily annoyed or irritable

0

1

2

3

7. Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen

0

1

2

3



So how did it go? Here's some information on interpreting:


  • Score 0-4: Minimal Anxiety

  • Score 5-9: Mild Anxiety

  • Score 10-14: Moderate Anxiety

  • Score greater than 15: Severe Anxiety

Generally, clinicians consider a score of 8 or greater as representing a reasonable indicator for probable cases of generalized anxiety disorder, or another disorder in that family. If you meet diagnostic criteria after being evaluated by a clinician, it's likely that your anxiety is causing fairly significant issues in your quality of life.



Step #2: Regardless of your artistic qualities, I'd like to now challenge you to draw on paper the visual image that comes to mind when you think of "Anxiety." It could be colors, a person, a mythical creature, whatever. Embrace it. Put it down on paper.


Once you complete this second step, this is where the rubber meets the road. Is the source of your anxiety something you can or cannot truly control? I'm not talking about influencing it. That's entirely different. I'm talking about actually taking it by the horns and controlling it. My suggestion is to you now, let it go. Let yourself be human. Extend yourself compassion. Better yet, extend yourself curiosity. Maybe even lower your standards for yourself because you realize that the source of your anxiety is that your standards are just truly unreachable.


Now, some of you in the moderate to high range scores are thinking, "What a quack... really? "let it go? Thanks Elsa, but no. Not possible." If that's you, just bear with me...What often stops people from being able to actually let go of what they cannot control is a core belief that almost ALWAYS, I'm talking 99.9% of the time, some identity, expectation, or judgment that comes from someone other than yourself. If you have an inner locus of control, it's a relatively easy day, counseling-wise. If your locus of control comes from outside of yourself, you have anxiety that is much more difficult to budge. This is because you are focusing on judgments that are coming from outside your scope of true control. Get the line of logic here? Bear with me, as this is just a blog and not a full counseling session. But I promise you, there is truth here. For all of us. Me included.


The good news is that once you get some objectivity, some distance, from your source, you can talk back to it when it starts to yell at you. Really! If you hear "You're so selfish" then maybe talk

back to that Inner Critic (in your head, or aloud- just tell the people who look strangely at you that a therapist told you to do it). Remind It of the evidence that suggests all the negative judgments are NOT true. Look at all the positive relationships you have. Look at what you have actually accomplished in your life and look at how hard you are trying. Even if your Inner Critic is saying "That sounds nice, BUT she doesn't know about all the **** things you have done," I would immediately challenge that inner dialogue because, why? Well, you are still reading, aren't you? There's some part of you that wants to know more. To find some peace. To find some purpose. So, let yourself, my dear. Let yourself be human and get your Inner Critic under your control again.


I don't know exactly who needs to hear this but being flawed is okay. Being human is okay, and I hope that you are able to embrace that sooner than later because today will soon be gone and with it, all the opportunities for you to live a life of fulfillment. I wish you light. I wish you peace. Take care until next time!


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