With Anxiety, You DO Have Control!

One of the biggest myths (tricks) of the Anxiety is that it makes you think you are out of control. Anxiety loves to make people feel that they are out of control. Believing this is one of the biggest problems for anxious people. If they knew they had control, they would not be anxious. For family members, friends, and mental health professionals, it is important that we deconstruct the belief that the anxious person is "out of control" and help him or her see what control they have, thus helping the anxiety decrease. (See Biology of Fear to read how taking action helps decrease anxiety.)

Control Over Anxiety

Dr. Ferati commented on my blog yesterday and seems to disagree with this. His comment:

My common and preferable statement to psychiatric patient with anxiety disorder is: everyone has got anxiety difficulties, but You have got uncontrollable anxiety. This one is in according with Your intelligent suggestion that anxiety is a “biological survival reflex”. Principally matter is if this discern has any relation with daily life circumstances or it is an unreasonable explanation. In first occasion, the anxiety is of neurotic nature. In second one, it is psychotic disorder that should to treat as associate symptom of psychosis. In both instances, non-treatment of anxiety leads to depression as most difficult complication of course to anxiety. Whereas, the appropriate treatment is psychiatric one by last psychiatric recommendations. ~ Dr. Musli Ferati

The Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog, however, invites a different perspective. Here the "problem is the problem, the person is not the problem." My hope is to portray a human model, where people can hold hope that they can get better. (Since no one can get better if they believe it is impossible.)

If a doctor (person in authority) supports the lies the Anxiety is telling you, "This is uncontrollable." You might-as-well sign up for a stint in the psych ward. The worst thing you can tell someone who has Anxiety is that they cannot control it or that they will have to deal with it forever. These two beliefs feed the Anxiety by disconnecting the person with their personal agency- the fact that they are an agent in their life. To calm an anxious person, please remind them that this is temporary, and help them find where and how they have control. Then encourage them to act on it!

Who feels out of control when they are anxious? And what would happen to the Anxiety if you felt in control?

Believing in you!

APA Reference
Lobozzo, J. (2012, March 2). With Anxiety, You DO Have Control!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R

April, 3 2017 at 7:47 pm

At the clinic I go to, the Psychologist there takes the angle that anxiety is there to help us. I agree with him, I see it as a survival response. What I don't agree with is the fact that he leaves it just there. Helping us cope with anxiety whilst it's happening would be a useful addition to the information he provides. It's almost like he doesn't realise that whilst it helps us, it equally harms us. Or that there's a difference between 'normal' anxiety and anxiety that leads to Agoraphobia, or panic, or Dissociation, etc. It's such a broad topic that needs so much more time put towards helping people to understand what's going on with their bodies.

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March, 6 2012 at 4:38 pm

Hi Jodi: I like some of your ideas. I'm not quite sure if the narrative therapy is the negative voice in our heads or if it can be someone separate that we assign to feel the anxiety!
Another question since you know something about panic attacks. Is it possibly that when cortisol is elevated and mixes with histamine, a physical reaction is produced? This is the form of panic attack I experience. It mimics anaphylaxis.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 6 2012 at 7:18 pm

Deb, I am not sure I understand your initial question. The negative voice is our head is the problem and can come from so many things. Narrative Therapy helps us separate from it. Change our relationship to it. Minimize it's influence on us. I cannot comment on the chemical reaction since I am not a chemist or MD. This is a great question and if you felt anaphylaxis, I am sure panic would come as I imagine this to be a scary feeling. Fear would be appropriate, until you could breath again!

March, 5 2012 at 12:34 am

THANK YOU SO MUCH JODI!!!!!!I really feel here like you are defending me when doctors tell me: sorry but nothing can help you get better.Why??? I am getting better now, without the hospital, without the medicine and without them putting me down. I am getting better because you gave me hope and you believed and helped me believe i can get better and deserve it too.I don't care anymore about diagnostics and treatments, because now i am learning with your help through your blog how to help myself, and the progress i have done is amazing. THANK YOU

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2012 at 1:22 pm

You are so welcome! I am so pleased you are hearing and implementing all of it! You must have been ready for it! Thanks for choosing to feel better!

Anne Slanina
March, 3 2012 at 1:36 pm

Thank you so much for attempting to make more human perspective on anxiety. So often when people struggle with "mental disorders" it becomes their identity. Instead of a person who struggles with anxiety they are an anxious person. I believe that by helping people separate themselves from this ideation is a helpful first step in overcoming problems such as anxiety. Once this step has been taken a person can feel more empowered to create a new narrative about their anxiety which makes it more manageable for them.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2012 at 1:23 pm

Sounds like a fellow narrative practitioner! Yay! You expressed it perfectly!

Kellie Holly
March, 2 2012 at 4:14 pm

I agree with you, Jodi! It is difficult to "not" second-guess myself when undergoing a bout of anxiety. However, I remind myself that standing still isn't going to change anything and that making one decision will get me moving. It also helps me to remember that there are very few decisions that result in permanent change - if I make a mistake, I can always try something else.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2012 at 1:24 pm

I love how you are easy with yourself around mistakes, such a great attitude to know that it is not permanent! Thanks for the comment!

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