Anxiety is manifested by a wide sense of unease, of fear with respect to an outside stimulus or may arise from an unaware movement of the inner world of the individual.
Anxiety can also be accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, abnormal heartbeat, intestine disorders, insomnia.
For a person, even at a biological level, anxiety represents a sign of the presence of danger.
Often people who are suffering from anxiety have no idea of what is making them anxious.
Each evolutionary period of life, starting from birth, produces a characteristic fear, associated with that particular phase.
With birth, a baby is catapulted into a world which is totally unknown to him: a frightening world for him which he is unable to face by himself. It is only the mother’s body, her smell, her voice which he is able to recognize that can make him feel safe and calm. Little by little, and thanks to the assuring presence of the mother, he starts to become acquainted with his surroundings and whoever interacts with him.
Often people think that once childhood and adolescence have passed, with adulthood, all the emotional problems connected with the past have been “overcome”. In reality, all levels of anxiety, even the most primitive ones which have not been adequately welcomed, remain active and still in search of this acceptance. Indeed, they re-emerge more easily, just because they have remained as something unresolved in the inner world of the individual.
Anxiety may evolve to the point of generating terror. At that point one is dealing with outright anguish which grips the body, breath and head. It may lead to the point where the chest is so constrained that the person must make an effort in order to breathe.
Anxiety manifests itself in the body: before becoming mental, it is a physical state. It invades the body, blocks it, blasting any thoughts and memory.
There are various types of anxiety.
The oldest anxiety in the life of an individual is related to the fear of death, with the terror of annihilation: it dates back to the terror of the new born baby who is unable to face the world and survive alone.
On the other hand the anxiety of fragmentation manifests the panic of going to pieces, of losing oneself.
Non-integration anxiety perceives any change as a mortal threat.
It is terrible to feel anxious, or, even worse, anguished, not understanding why and with no one to understand you.
My task as a therapist is to feel together with the patient in order to understand the origins and the meaning of anxiety and anguish, accepting those parts of the individual which are afraid or, even worse, terrified.
Therapy can also teach you to recognize anxiety as part of the rainbow of emotions which are available to a person for his entire life, also playing an adaptive, creative function. In particular, in the case of anxiety, the solution of a problem may arise when one does not remain immobilized or at the mercy of it but rather activates the resources to cope with it.