Gay & Lesbian Anxiety Counseling

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Anxiety might be the most painful, most difficult mental/emotional epxerience a person can have.  Sometimes it can simmer throughout the day, making you feel nervous, stressed, worried, and upset hour by hour.  Other times it can spike upward suddenly, and make you feel like you're in a slow-motion plane crash that never ends. 

There are many sources of anxiety, from a natural, inborn predisposition to be affected more strongly by things, to childhood experiences that have left a lasting imprint on one's personality, to specific traumas in youth or adulthood that hit you so hard that you are left rattled for months and even years afterwards. 

Sometimes anxiety has its roots in multiple factors that all come together and need to be untangled separately.  There is anxiety about work and money, about closeness and attachment in a relationship; there are specific fears and phobias, there is social anxiety, and there are many other types of anxiety. 

One of the most common, and fundamental, sources of anxiety is the experience of not feeling connected to your true and most vital self, causing us to live falsely in a variety of ways, impacting our career choices, our relationships, and every dimension of who we are.  And often from anxiety stems substance abuse, addictions, and other unhelpful ways of coping.  But all fake feel-goods wear off, and then you're left feeling even worse off.

"Breathe.  Your breath is the greatest tool you have to help you know exactly where you are.  The quicker your breath, the more agitated you are; the deeper your breath, the more relaxed you are.  Therefore, to relax in any moment, take six long, deep breaths in and out.  Be still.  The night grows still, and everyone rests.  The ocean and the wind rise up and become still again; it is the way of all things to return to stillness, just as it is the way of all creation to rest."  Daniel Levin

Although the source of your anxiety may be very specific to your life and your personal expereinces, and your life circumstances, and although most likely there will be some new choices to make and steps to take to deal with the root causes of your anxiety, almost all anxiety can be helped with basic meditation exercises.  "Mindfulness" and meditation are not a cure-all, but they can certainly take the edge off anxiety; and for many people they are extremely helpful.  

Check out this page at UCLA Health, offering free guided meditations:

When a person is feeling anxiety, and seeking anxeity therapy or anxiety counseling, the most important thing they are seeking is to just feel better.  Your body wasn't made it be activited and "on" and surging with adrenaline all the time.  The first step is trying to get your nervous system smoothed out and relaxed enough that the most acute part of the suffereing is reduced or dissipated.  Then comes the process of working through the issues that are causing the anxeity in the first place.  Lesbian and gay people often have an extra step to take in finding and embracing their true selves, and then living confidently out the truth of who they are.  My approach certainly includes that extra, personalized knowledge that makes such an important difference in the ultimate healing and recovery of one's anxiety, and more fundamentally, living as one's true self and reaching one's fullest potential.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions; I am here to help. Feel free to give me a call at 805-868-0767.

March 31, 2015  • By Manuel A. Manotas, PsyDMindfulness-Based Approaches/Contemplative Approaches Topic Expert Contributor

"While mindfulness is important and necessary for self-development, is it enough if we want to deepen our inner journey?"

  • Self-Perception Has Its Limits
  • Growth Requires More Than Mindfulness
  • Both Mindfulness and Relationship Are Essential

Read the full article at: 

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Erik Edler LMFT