You have a relationship with your anxiety, just as you do with the other personal and professional relationships in your life. I often say to my patients "personify the relationship you have with your anxiety". They looked confused when I ask this question. I then ask them to describe the relationship they have with their spouse, roommate, a friend, parent, etc. Suddenly, they have no problem answering the question. Answers include statements such as...."kind, friendly, serious, frustrating, loving, trusting". I then say, "if your anxiety were a person you were living with, describe your relationship with him or her". Their answers include, "exhausting, controlling, negative, hostile, bossy, etc." My point is simply this. Any relationship you have with someone can be summarized by the interactions you have with that person on a daily basis, based on trends. Those who experience chronic anxiety, or an Anxiety Disorder, understand that they are in a controlling and abusive relationship. For example, patients of mine who are dealing with Panic Disorder, are constantly being reminded (by their anxiety condition) that they cannot go to a particular social event due to the belief that.., "what if I have a panic attack in front of all those people. That would be so embarrassing and perhaps even result in a heart attack, stroke, or some other life-threatening condition".
People who are suffering from chronic anxiety are in an abusive and controlling relationship. They are being held HOSTAGE by their anxiety. The question becomes, how do I leave this abusive relationship? My answer to this question can be seen earlier on this page, when I discussed my Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT) orientation.