Phobias Answers

Can someone help my husband to get his driving anxiety under control?

Good Evening Driving Anxiety, I am so very sorry to learn of your husband's issues related to a potential phobia surrounding driving. It can be rather heartbreaking to watch as someone you love is crippled by fear, especially when you feel you do not have any tools to help them. I am not sure how long you have both had to cope with this problem but I imagine it is too long and I am deeply sympathetic. That said, yes, a BetterHelp therapist/psychologist could certainly help your husband through his phobia related to driving on parkways, bridges, and traveling via planes. They would first have to identify the origin of the fear. They would likely ask the following questions in an initial assessment of the problem: 1. When did the problem of becoming afraid of driving on parkways, bridges, and traveling on planes begin? 2. When did the problem intensify to the point of you feeling like it is necessary to avoid these scenarios altogether? 3. When is the last time you attempted to engage in driving or flying? 4. What symptoms do you experience when trying - sweating, heart racing, crying spells, etc? 5. What was the history of your treatment for these issues - when did you begin treatment, when did it end, what was helpful in relieving the symptoms that may have arisen when you were driving on parkways, bridges when you were flying? They will take a full inventory and likely settle on exposure therapy to help treat your husband. This is likely but it is not the only treatment modality that could be helpful to him. In fact, there are plenty of others and they can be highly effective in helping people work through the thoughts, feelings, etc. that are creating barriers to them interacting in their lives with the quality that they deserve. It seems your husband has lot some of that quality and you have lost as well as a result. I hope this answers your question and allows you to think about the next steps for your husband and your family. It certainly is highly important that he is able to take his life back and reclaim the road. Please feel free to come back to us here on the BetterHelp platform should you have any further questions and need some help taking on life's very tough hardships! We are here and rooting for you always. Be well and safe! 
(MSSW, LCSW, LICSW)
Answered on 10/18/2021

how I can not longer strangely with phonephobia ...?

  For one thing the problem that you are struggling with is fairly common. A very good treatment option is exposure therapy. It consists of several elements that I will lay out for you. I also suggest you work with a therapist. Applying these principles on your own will unlikely be successful as it is difficult to overcome the logical reasoning that developed this problem in the first place. Since you state that this is especially when dealing with males a male therapist would be a good choice. It may be difficult at first but you could begin your exposure treatment with a challenging aspect.  The there are two important elements to construct before beginning to expose yourself to what you dread. The first is to construct and practice using a reliable method to measure and determine the level of distress you are experiencing. This is named a SUDS. That stands for Subjective units of Distress Scale. Once you build this, it pays to practice using it until you can obtain a relatively accurate measure of the distress you are experiencing in the moment. The reasoning for this is so that you can see that by repeated exposing yourself to stressful situations, you can see it becomes less distressing. Having this information will compel you to continue and move forward.   Secondly, it is well to develop and practice distress tolerance skills. There are many choices here, many of them are mindfulness based. You may obtain and practice these on your own, but it is well to have someone outside of yourself monitoring their effectiveness. Our perspective from the inside might be biased, whereas an outside observer whom you trust, can provide a more accurate appraisal. This is another good reason to employ a therapist. They could be well versed on providing your skill set and seeing how well they work. Once you have these skills developed, you can begin the exposure treatment. Here the job is to create a hierarchy of activities that relate to using the phone. These could range from simply holding the phone and pretend you are using it, through calling a number you know only a machine would answer, all the way to calling a male whom you do not know. Here again a trained therapist would be helpful in created a list of activities that would start at the low end of distress and work you up to successfully facing this daunting task. I wish you the best, in going forward with exposing yourself to accomplishing this goal.  
(LMHC, LCMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I become more confident in myself and in social situations?

It can be so challenging to find our confidence, especially in situations where other people are involved! Add in the pandemic and isolation over the past year and a half, and it's okay to feel uncomfortable with the idea of being out and about again. I think that working on one's own self confidence is the long term goal, but in social situations, prepping ahead of time can be really effective as well. Think about it - when you give a presentation or a talk, you prep ahead of time, don't you? (And, if you don't, I want your tips on how to do this!). So, why not do this for those scary or anxiety provoking social situations as well?   This can look like practicing greetings and interactions in the mirror with your reflection, identifying a few conversation starters to take the pressure off in the moment, and learning and utilizing coping skills in the moment or right before walking in to decrease anxiety. It can also be really helpful to envision the entire situation, from getting ready to leaving to arriving to walking in. These visualization exercises help us rewire our brain to think of best case scenarios, rather than worst case! This is something that is super useful to talk about and focus on in therapy, and therapy is a great place to do this work and find ways to help you feel more comfortable!   Focusing on those immediate practice steps and coping skills will help you in the moment, but therapy is also a great place to delve deeper - where does the social anxiety come from? What triggers it? How long have you been feeling this way? By addressing the root of the issue, we can treat it fully from the inside out, so that instead of just being reactive and applying a bandaid of solutions in the moment, we cna be proactive and create a long term healing salve instead.  Having a multi-pronged approach is key to addressing fears and worries - and, is something that can be worked on at your own pace and when you're ready. BetterHelp has some great counselors that can help you in your journey!
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can i stop my repititive thoughts?

Dear Lily,   Thank you for your message.   I understand how difficult it is to try stopping your thoughts. I could imagine how hard you have been trying and how frustrating to feel that nothing is working. You have done so well in noticing your worries, and make strategies to focus on what would be the likely outcome over what our imagined outcome is. Yet no matter how spiritually and mindfully mature we are, it is still inevitable that we experience feelings of fear, anxiety and grief at times. That is unfortunately what life brings us, however just as how you have noticed before, sufferings do make us wiser and stronger, and sometimes allow us to discover things that we would have never discover without sufferings.   We can't stop our thoughts, but the more we practice being mindful of the present, the better we can catch ourselves with our thoughts and develop an alternative response to them, and learn to let go.   During moments like this I remind myself the teachings of the Buddha regarding worries, it is consisted with a 2 part questions:   1. Is this problem within my control? If so, then this problem will be solved given time and the right intervention. 2. Would worrying about it make any difference? If not, then is it worth it to sacrifice our time and mental health worrying over something that (1. can't be solved anyway / 2. will be solved anyway)?   This is definitely easier said than done, therefore as a fellow human being, I am working with you to pay attention to what is good, what is kind rather than our worries.   Obsessive or consuming thoughts can make living miserable when you are plagued by them, but this very situation can become the invitation to transcend mind and be free of suffering forever.   Can you stop obsessive thoughts? - If you could, it would be great, but the truth is that it's slightly more complicated than just suppressing your thoughts which at-most you can do for a few seconds. Plus suppressing thoughts is even worse than enduring thoughts. It builds up a lot of negative energy inside.   So how to stop these stops thoughts? The secret to stopping these thoughts is to detach from the mind because You cannot fight mind with the mind. Let's look at this in more detail.   What Causes Obsessive Thoughts?   If you generated the thoughts, you could've controlled them too.   The truth is that you don't generate thoughts, the mind does. And the mind is on auto-mode most of the time.   You can see this for yourself; can you predict what you will think 30 seconds from now? If you can't how can you assume that you are generating the thoughts?   If you believe that you are your mind, that's a false notion again.   If you are your mind then how can you observe the thoughts? So you must be separate from the mind to see what the mind is doing.   The mind generates thoughts, which are mostly just energy forms. These thoughts pass through like clouds. We identify with some of these thoughts and obsess over them.   So in truth, all thoughts are just neutral energy forms; it's your interest or association with the thoughts that makes them obsessive. If you can understand this truth, you have taken the first step towards getting rid of obsessive thoughts.   How to Stop Obsessive Negative Thoughts?   If you are asking this question, ask yourself another question - "is this question not another thought? It's a thought about killing thoughts".   All your attempts at suppressing and stopping thoughts fail because you are using the mind to stop the mind. The police man and thief are both the mind; so how can the police man catch the thief?   So you cannot kill the mind by force. The mind dies its own death by the poison of disassociation.   What gives power to a thought? - Your interest. If you have no interest in a particular thought then it loses its hold over you.   You can try this out now. Let the thoughts flow through your mind but don't take interest in them. Just stay as a bystander or a watcher and let the thoughts float.   Initially you might have a hard time watching thoughts because of your inherent habit of associating with each thought that arises.   It helps to know that you are not your thoughts, that thoughts are just energy forms created in the mind. Why does the mind create thoughts? No one knows - it's just something it does, why bother. Do you ever ask why does the heart beat?   With a little practice you will get really good at watching thoughts and not involving yourself with them.   You will stop giving power to thoughts by not giving them your interest. Thoughts die immediately when they are deprived of this fuel of interest. If you don't associate with the thought or give power to the thought, it will wither away quickly.   What Are Thoughts?   Past events get stored as memories. Your mind conditioning and beliefs are also stored as memories. All this is unconscious storage; the mind does all this in auto mode.   Perceptions and interpretations are created in the mind based on its past "external" conditioning and also its natural conditioning (genetics). These interpretations, perceptions and judgments come up as thoughts in the mind, and they can be positive or negative depending on the mind's conditioning.   Thoughts are generated based on the past incidents/memories, future projections and interpretations on the present life situation. It's like a computer trying to predict or conjure up projection based on the data it has collected so far.   When thoughts are negative in nature (thoughts of worry, anxiety, stress, lack, resentment, guilt etc.) they produce resistance to the movement of your life, and this resistance is felt as suffering. Negative thoughts will always stand in resistance to the movement of your life, like blocks of stone in the midst of a swift current of water.   Life is a stream of pure positive energy and hence any negative thought will stand in opposition to it, causing friction which is felt as suffering in the body.   The thoughts in your mind gain power from your attention and interest. Your attention is the fuel for your mind. So when you give attention to consuming thoughts in the mind, you are unconsciously fueling it and thus attracting more momentum for these negative thoughts.   The momentum of negative thoughts in your mind will slow down, and ebb away, automatically when you stop feeding your attention to it. Stay as an open space of awareness without focusing your attention on the negative thoughts of the mind, and soon they will lose their momentum.   You can focus on the positive thoughts generated in the mind, and thus develop a positive momentum in your mind. Every time your mind produces some positive thoughts, e.g thoughts of love, joy, excitement, abundance, beauty, appreciation, passion, peace etc, focus on it, milk it, and give attention to it.   This will cause your mind to attract more positive thoughts and thus build a positive momentum.   Whenever the mind thinks negatively, don't give it attention or interest, this will cause the ebbing away of the momentum of negative thinking. It's really that simple. Once you understand the mechanics of how thoughts gain momentum in the mind, you will be in total control of your state of being.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to talking with you more :) Jono  
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Is there a cure for extreme emetophobia?

Hello, Most counselors will tell you yes. Any fear based phobia of any type can usually be overcome by a number of different types of counseling methods depending on what that phobia is. With this particular issue I would first like to know; what is it about vomiting that you fear the most? Is it that you may choke on it? Is it the feeling of it coming up? What is the fear exactly? My next question to you would be; what is the worst thing that could happen to you if you did vomit? You throw upright. No one as far as I am aware of, has ever died from vomiting. It is an automatic response from the body to try to get out something that does not agree with it. A way of releasing what it feels is poison or toxic to it.  I am also curious because you said it causes you a lot of anxiety. What about it makes you anxious? Is it more so when you are out and around town and less when you are at home? That would make more sense because of the fear of having to worry about having the feeling to vomit while in public. I get that. That's fair. Again, I would still ask you; what is the worst that can happen? Everyone and I mean everyone on the planet has vomited at least once in their life and they are still here. It's ok to have fears don't get me wrong. We all have fears and some make absolutely no sense as to why we have them. Our job is to figure out why and then concur that fear. That's what makes you stronger right. :-)  My approach to most fear based issues is to tell my client to confront the fear. It is an amazing feeling when you can confront the thing that scares you the most and you concur it. You feel like you can concur anything; most times.  I would also help the client to figure out where this fear came from because fear is just an emotion, it's not real, it's a feeling. An important one yes but still just a feeling. I hope this answers your question for you. Good luck! You can do this! I have faith in you!
(MPHIL, LCSW, CACIII)
Answered on 10/18/2021

What are ways to help get over phobias, specifically bugs for me and high anxiety/paranoia

Hello! I am glad that you reached out! I am sorry that you have been experiencing this phobia. Your phobia would be best treated by seeing a Mental Health Professional who specializes in phobias. You would need to meet with a therapist and have a thorough evaluation to know exactly what you are experiencing and to get the proper treatment. Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including anxiety and phobias. Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as a phobia. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time at the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to shop around and ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. I recommend that you seek a therapist that specializes in phobias. I wish you the best as you seek out proper treatment for your specific situation.
Answered on 10/18/2021

How to overcome agoraphobia? In order to live life naturally. It became from epileptic seizure

How to overcome agoraphobia? In order to live life naturally. It became from epileptic seizure Based on your question, I would highly recommend that you see a professional counselor and or therapist to be assessed for an official diagnosis. A professional counselor and or therapist can support you in assessing your specific mental health needs in regards to your treatment goals. While there are great advantages of doing counseling online, such as ease of access, there are also some limitations. Once, you have been assessed properly and you would have received a thorough and full evaluation/assessment from a local professional counselor and or professional therapist. A professional counselor and or professional therapist in your local area can assess your current mental health concerns with you to see what triggers your symptoms of agoraphobia and assess what it looks like in your own words.  If your symptoms of agoraphobia are severe, a professional counselor and or professional therapist can provide you with a referral to a professional psychiatrist and or medical provider for a medication evaluation based on the medications that you are already taking. After you are assessed by a professional psychiatrist or medical provider your current prescription for medication in regards to your specific mental health needs may be altered in an effort to decrease or alleviate your current symptoms of agoraphobia. Medication can work quickly to begin relieving some of your symptoms of agoraphobia within around 14 days. Therapy and medication together can help minimize the severity of your symptoms of agoraphobia once you receive an updated assessment of your current symptoms. Individuals who receive therapy and medication often see quicker improvements and overall better outcomes than those who only receive therapy or those individuals who only take the medication in regards to dealing with agoraphobia.   Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in treating individuals who have struggled with symptoms of agoraphobia.  A professional counselor and or professional therapist can assist you in learning how to effectively implement coping skills to decrease your symptoms of agoraphobia. A professional counselor and or professional therapist can introduce you to deep breathing techniques, calming techniques, grounding techniques, stress management techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and imagery as a means of decreasing your symptoms of agoraphobia.   In an effort to decrease your symptoms of agoraphobia you can also try to commit to changing the way you think. It will take a lot of practice, dedication, and determination to alleviate your symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, trying to do this will help you feel better and it can lead to your feeling much better and becoming more productive. You can recognize when it is happening and when you find it happening you can choose to think about something more productive. You can also look for solutions by committing to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can productively move forward, set aside time to think when you notice you are having stressing out, feeling depressed, experiencing specific phobias, and or crying outside of that scheduled time, remind yourself that you will think about it later, distract yourself with a self-care activity and you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the key to living in the "here and now." When you become mindful, you will be completely present at the moment. It can be like a form of meditation that takes a lot of practice, but over time and with consistency, it can be very beneficial in decreasing your symptoms of agoraphobia in an effort to help you experience an overall healthier mental well-being.   Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a professional counselor and or professional therapist, medical provider, and or psychiatrist to continue to assess your medication management routine at this time. The help of a mental health professional counselor and or professional therapist can be quite beneficial in helping you to properly get a better understanding of your current symptoms of agoraphobia, as it can look different for everyone. Please remember that mental health is not one-size-fits-all, so it is very important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs in reference to your symptoms of agoraphobia. Best regards to you!  
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Why am I being paranoid

Dear Elisse,   Thank you for your message and for sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Fear of loss is what I might think about when it comes to anxiety in relation to loss or change, especially failures. We are scared of losing the ones that we love, losing our health, losing what we treasure, losing our relationships, losing our success and potential. Being scared of losing make us feel anxious and often we would act impulsively on these fear.   "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~Norman Cousins   Of all the things that scare us, the loss can seem like the most terrifying. At times, I've thought about it with such dread that it's felt overwhelming.   Whenever I quit a job I hated in that past, I felt stuck between two loss-related fears: the fear of losing my passion by staying, and the fear of losing my financial security if I walked away and didn't find something else.   Whenever I considered leaving a bad relationship, I felt paralyzed by two similar fears: the fear of losing my chance at fulfillment by staying, and the fear of losing the comfort of companionship if I walked away and didn't find someone else.   I haven't only worried about the potential for loss as it pertains to big decisions. I've worried about losing people I love, pleasures I enjoy, and circumstances that feel comfortable. I've dreaded losing my youth, my health, and my sense of identity.   And then there are the everyday losses: If I don't do this, will I lose someone's respect? If I don't do that, will I lose my own? If I don't go, will I lose some of yet unknown opportunities? If I don't stay, will I lose my sense of comfort and security?   I might even go so far as to say that whenever I fear something, loss is at the root of it. I suspect I'm not alone.   We buy things we don't need (or groupons we won't use) because a sale's ending soon. We grab an item of clothing because there's only one left and someone else might take it-even if we aren't really sure we want it. We keep gym memberships we aren't actively using if we know we won't be able to get that same rate again.   And then there are the bigger things.   We turn down opportunities that could be rewarding to avoid the risk of losing something else that feels good enough. We use our time in ways that feel unfulfilling because we fear losing time on a decision that might be wrong. And we fail to invest in ourselves, even though we're aching to expand, because it can feel painful to part with our money.   We can't ever know for certain that a risk will payoff, but we can choose to recognize when the fear of loss motivates our actions, and make a conscious effort to overcome it. If we don't, it can severely limit our potential for growth, happiness, and fulfillment.   Overcoming the Fear of Loss   I first recognized this fear, and it's associated irrational thoughts and behaviors, when I felt devastated after someone I wanted to break up with broke up with me first.   I realized I didn't make the decision myself because I preferred a bad (even abusive) relationship to being single. I also understood that I would have been far less affected if I'd made the choice to walk away, and that my feelings completely transformed because I felt out of control-like I lost something, and it wasn't my choice.   Since then, I've developed a little system for identifying this fear when it takes hold-and a few practices for overcoming it so that it doesn't overcome me.   1. Ask yourself, "What am I scared of losing?"   This may seem like an obvious question, but I've learned that it's all too easy to go through our days, making choices, without recognizing the underlying feelings that motivate them.   Whenever you have a choice to make, recognize in what way you're motivated by the fear of losing something, whether it's comfort, security, control, money, companionship, or something else.   Once you understand what you're scared of losing, you can…   2. Ascertain if you're seeing the whole picture.   There was a time when I worked 60+ hours/week to hold onto a job I didn't even want. I was the last remaining employee after a massive layoff, but I didn't feel ready to lose that job.   After several months of working long hours from home, I realized I'd never feel ready. It wasn't until I finally got laid off that I started planning for this site.   My logic was faulty-that it was best to stay with the sure thing, because I wasn't ready to do something else-because the reality was that I needed the time and space to figure out that something else.   In other words, loss was necessary to set me up for gain; it wasn't the other way around.   If you're making a decision, or avoiding making a decision, based on the fear of what you might lose, ask yourself if you're losing more by not doing what you really want to do.   When you attempt to see beyond the fear, you're better able to recognize if you're keeping yourself stuck-and if you'd benefit from letting go of what you think you need.   3. Use loss aversion as motivation to pursue what you really want.   My mentor once suggested that we can benefit from the fear of loss by charting our progress toward a goal. Just as we don't want to lose time and money, we don't want to lose momentum.   If you hang a large calendar on your wall, and put a star on every day when you do something positive-like exercise, practice a new hobby, or send out a resume for a new job-you'll create a psychological need to keep that streak going.   She said to me, "Your disappointment in seeing a day without a gold star is greater than your happiness at any single day's work."   Of course, you have to know what you really want first. That takes time and patience for us to reflect and think with our imagination, not logics.   4. Regularly assess your intentions and motivations.   This ties into the last one. Sometimes we think we want something because we've wanted it for years-and then we feel scared to lose that dream and all its related rewards.   But sometimes, as we grow and learn about ourselves and the world, our wants change.   A friend of mine racked up massive debt studying law, only to realize a couple years into her career that it didn't fulfill her as she hoped it would. She'd built her whole life around this possibility-and she had close to $100,000 in student loans.   She could easily have felt stuck, as if she'd lose too much if she walked away. But she did anyways. She moved to Chile and became a Pilates teacher, and though she ultimately realized she'd need to return to law for a while longer to pay off her debt, she's released the emotional fears associated with pursuing a different path.   And because she's experienced the joy of doing something else, she now has a compelling motivation to do it again: She knows what she stands to gain is greater than what she stands to lose.   If you're forcing yourself to do something and a part of you feels it isn't right, ask yourself, "Do I actually want this right now?" There's a chance you do, and you're just feeling frustrated and discouraged-but there's also a chance you don't anymore. Only you can know for sure what you really want.   5. Change how you see the inevitability of loss.   The reality is that loss is inevitable.   We will all lose relationships, situations, and states of being that we enjoy and love. Even if we practice non-attachment, on some level we will get comfortable with people and circumstances.   You could say that this is what makes life beautiful and meaningful-since nothing lasts forever, each moment presents unique possibilities worth fully appreciating and savoring.   Or you could say this is what makes life tragic-that everything is fleeting, and eventually it all slips away.   How we choose to see things dictates how we'll experience them. Would you rather see everything as precious or pointless?   If we can choose the former, we can recognize that every loss provides opportunities for future gains-new relationships, experiences, and ways of being that may fulfill us in ways we can't possibly predict.   Of course, this can only happen if we trust in our ability to recognize and create these new connections and situations. We all have the potential to do it.   Some losses feel devastating when we experience them-and sometimes, the gain isn't proportionate to the loss.   But somehow, we survive in the wake of almost every storm. Whether we thrive is up to us. That's a choice we need to make proactively, not in response to what we fear, but in response to what we genuinely want to feel and do in this life.   So I leave you with this question: Why are you afraid of losing? And are you ready to trust in yourself and your abilities so that you can get unstuck?   The answer could be no to this question. It is absolutely acceptable to acknowledge our fears and be honest with ourselves if we don’t feel ready to change. We are all humans and that means we have a right to not be perfect. There is no judgement. We are all in this together.   Looking forward to learn your thoughts, thank you for your trust. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do i overcome fear especially fear of death and getting old?

Dear Pretty,   Thank you for your sharing. As humans we are all not as strong as we think we could be, and there are times we face situations like this that on one hand we are not satisfied with where we are, yet the thought of changing this situation also scares us. We don’t want to be abused, yet we fear more about being lonely.   Fear of loss is what I might think about when it comes to anxiety in relation with loss or change, especially failures. We are scared of losing the ones that we love, losing our health, losing what we treasure, losing our relationships, losing our success and potential. Being scared of losing make us feel anxious and often we would act impulsively on these fear.   "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~Norman Cousins   Of all the things that scare us, loss can seem like the most terrifying. At times, I've thought about it with such dread that it's felt overwhelming.   Whenever I quit a job I hated in that past, I felt stuck between two loss-related fears: the fear of losing my passion by staying, and the fear of losing my financial security if I walked away and didn't find something else.   Whenever I considered leaving a bad relationship, I felt paralyzed by two similar fears: the fear of losing my chance at fulfillment by staying, and the fear of losing the comfort of companionship if I walked away and didn't find someone else.   I haven't only worried about the potential for loss as it pertains to big decisions. I've worried about losing people I love, pleasures I enjoy, and circumstances that feel comfortable. I've dreaded losing my youth, my health, and my sense of identity.   And then there are the everyday losses: If I don't do this, will I lose someone's respect? If I don't do that, will I lose my own? If I don't go, will I lose some as of yet unknown opportunity? If I don't stay, will I lose my sense of comfort and security?   I might even go so far to say that whenever I fear something, loss is at the root of it. I suspect I'm not alone.   Loss Aversion   Economists have identified loss aversion as a major factor in financial decision-making, in that most people would rather avoid losing money than acquire more. The psychological impact of losing is thought to be twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.   According to Ori and Ram Brafman, authors of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, we often make poor decisions simply to avoid loss.   One example they offer involves Captain Jacob van Zanten, once a well-established and respected pilot who headed the safety program for KLM-a Dutch airline marketed as "the people who make punctuality possible."   In the spring of 1977, on a flight from Amsterdam to the Canary Islands, van Zanten learned that a terrorist bomb had exploded at Las Palmas airport, where he was supposed to land. Along with a number of other flights, his was diverted to a smaller airport 50 miles away.   After landing the plane safely, he started worrying about a number of problems that would result from failing to take off soon.   The government had instituted a mandated rest period between flights for pilots, which meant he could be imprisoned if he took off after a certain hour. Staying overnight meant putting the passengers up in a hotel, which would be costly for the airline.   Waiting much longer meant losing time, money, and his reputation for punctuality.   Ultimately, van Zanten took off in a thick fog-despite knowing the risks, and not receiving take off clearance-because it seemed like a now-or-never moment. He didn't see the Pan Am 747 across the runway until it was too late-and 584 people died as a result.   The pressures and potential consequences of lost time piled up, and van Zanten acted against his better judgment, hoping to evade them.   Loss Aversion in Everyday Life   We all make irrational decisions everyday simply to avoid losing.   We buy things we don't need (or groupons we won't use) because a sale's ending soon. We grab an item of clothing because there's only one left and someone else might take it-even if we aren't really sure we want it. We keep gym memberships we aren't actively using if we know we won't be able to get that same rate again.   And then there are the bigger things.   We turn down opportunities that could be rewarding to avoid the risk of losing something else that feels good enough. We use our time in ways that feel unfulfilling because we fear losing time on a decision that might be wrong. And we fail to invest in ourselves, even though we're aching to expand, because it can feel painful to part with our money.   We can't ever know for certain that a risk will payoff, but we can choose to recognize when the fear of loss motivates our actions, and make a conscious effort to overcome it. If we don't, it can severely limit our potential for growth, happiness, and fulfillment.   Overcoming the Fear of Loss   I first recognized this fear, and it's associated irrational thoughts and behaviors, when I felt devastated after someone I wanted to break up with broke up with me first.   I realized I didn't make the decision myself because I preferred a bad (even abusive) relationship to being single. I also understood that I would have been far less affected if I'd made the choice to walk away, and that my feelings completely transformed because I felt out of control-like I lost something, and it wasn't my choice.   Since then, I've developed a little system for identifying this fear when it takes hold-and a few practices for overcoming it so that it doesn't overcome me.   1. Ask yourself, "What am I scared of losing?"   This may seem like an obvious question, but I've learned that it's all too easy to go through our days, making choices, without recognizing the underlying feelings that motivate them.   Whenever you have a choice to make, recognize in what way you're motivated by the fear of losing something, whether it's comfort, security, control, money, companionship, or something else.   Once you understand what you're scared of losing, you can…   2. Ascertain if you're seeing the whole picture.   There was a time when I worked 60+ hours/week to hold onto a job I didn't even want. I was the last remaining employee after a massive layoff, but I didn't feel ready to lose that job.   After several months of working long hours from home, I realized I'd never feel ready. It wasn't until I finally got laid off that I started planning for this site.   My logic was faulty-that it was best to stay with the sure thing, because I wasn't ready to do something else-because the reality was that I needed the time and space to figure out that something else.   In other words, loss was necessary to set me up for gain; it wasn't the other way around.   If you're making a decision, or avoiding making a decision, based on the fear of what you might lose, ask yourself if you're losing more by not doing what you really want to do.   When you attempt to see beyond the fear, you're better able to recognize if you're keeping yourself stuck-and if you'd benefit from letting go of what you think you need.   3. Use loss aversion as motivation to pursue what you really want.   My mentor once suggested that we can benefit from the fear of loss by charting our progress toward a goal. Just as we don't want to lose time and money, we don't want to lose momentum.   If you hang a large calendar on your wall, and put a star on every day when you do something positive-like exercise, practice a new hobby, or send out a resume for a new job-you'll create a psychological need to keep that streak going.   She said to me, "Your disappointment in seeing a day without a gold star is greater than your happiness at any single day's work."   Of course, you have to know what you really want first. That takes time and patience for us to reflect and think with our imagination, not logics.   4. Regularly assess your intentions and motivations.   This ties into the last one. Sometimes we think we want something because we've wanted it for years-and then we feel scared to lose that dream and all its related rewards.   But sometimes, as we grow and learn about ourselves and the world, our wants change.   A friend of mine racked up massive debt studying law, only to realize a couple years into her career that it didn't fulfill her as she hoped it would. She'd built her whole life around this possibility-and she had close to $100,000 in student loans.   She could easily have felt stuck, as if she'd lose too much if she walked away. But she did anyways. She moved to Chile and became a Pilates teacher, and though she ultimately realized she'd need to return to law for a while longer to pay off her debt, she's released the emotional fears associated with pursuing a different path.   And because she's experienced the joy of doing something else, she now has a compelling motivation to do it again: She knows what she stands to gain is greater than what she stands to lose.   If you're forcing yourself to do something and a part of you feels it isn't right, ask yourself, "Do I actually want this right now?" There's a chance you do, and you're just feeling frustrated and discouraged-but there's also a chance you don't anymore. Only you can know for sure what you really want.   5. Change how you see the inevitability of loss.   The reality is that loss is inevitable.   We will all lose relationships, situations, and states of being that we enjoy and love. Even if we practice non-attachment, on some level we will get comfortable with people and circumstances.   You could say that this is what makes life beautiful and meaningful-since nothing lasts forever, each moment presents unique possibilities worth fully appreciating and savoring.   Or you could say this is what makes life tragic-that everything is fleeting, and eventually it all slips away.   How we choose to see things dictates how we'll experience them. Would you rather see everything as precious or pointless?   If we can choose the former, we can recognize that every loss provides opportunities for future gains-new relationships, experiences, and ways of being that may fulfill us in ways we can't possibly predict.   Of course, this can only happen if we trust in our ability to recognize and create these new connections and situations. We all have the potential to do it.   Some losses feel devastating when we experience them-and sometimes, the gain isn't proportionate to the loss.   But somehow, we survive in the wake of almost every storm. Whether we thrive is up to us. That's a choice we need to make proactively, not in response to what we fear, but in response to what we genuinely want to feel and do in this life.   So I leave you with this question: Why are you afraid of losing? And are you ready to trust in yourself and your abilities so that you can get unstuck?   The answer could be no to this question. It is absolutely acceptable to acknowledge our fears and be honest with ourselves if we don’t feel ready to change. We are all humans and that means we have a right to not be perfect. There is no judgement. We are all in this together.   Looking forward to learn your thoughts, thank you for your trust. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

From getting up in the morning I clean constantly , certain obsessive personality ruins relation.

Dear CJ,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially on how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions through these obsessive behaviors. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Often the experience we've had about anxiety (or any strong emotion such as stress / depression) was so terrible (even physically) that our body sort of become traumatized to it. We naturally become nervous about these unpleasant feelings because we don't like these sensations and experiences. As a result we would do everything we can to avoid / fight these anxious feelings, often using numbing techniques such as using substances or distracting ourselves. Yet only to find that the anxiety gets stronger over time because we have never been able to make peace with it.   Therefore rather than trying to "change" / "fight" / "get rid of" these unpleasant sensations, perhaps the best thing that we can do is to make room for these feelings and even sensations, while staying on track to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment. Floating without judging / blaming ourselves through the anxiety experience, while focusing on making room for anxiety can be helpful.   Here is a short video put up by the author of the book "The Happiness Trap" which does a good job explaining this concept:   Please take some time to watch this and share your thoughts later :) I also highly recommend picking that book as well to supplement this therapy process.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCp1l16GCXI    We as human beings do not like sufferings, therefore often times we would be doing our best to fight it. However just like the analogy of swimming vs floating that we have talked about before, the more we fight it, the faster we sink. While if we can learn to float with these waves, we will realize that we won't sink.   Radical acceptance / Expansion is about accepting of life on life's terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life and all that life brings (including all sorts of emotions such as joy, sadness, peace and pain), just as it is without forcing our ways into our lives.   Why do we want to accept life as it is? Because with anything that we do in life that brings us meaning and fulfillment, it always accompany a wide range of emotions, we can't possibly just choose the ones that we like and fight / avoid those that we don't like. Learning to experience all emotions as they are, is a sign that we are living our lives to the fullest.   To do so we must learn to accept (and make room for) any unpleasant sensations, feelings or thoughts that we experience.   We don't want to fight it because the more we fight, the stronger they will come back.   We don't want to avoid it either because the more we avoid, the more we'll be afraid of it.   So the key here is to make room for these sensations, feelings and thoughts, while continue to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment in life.    Learning to "co-exist" with these feelings will naturally reduce the intensity of them.   Floating, is a form of learning to accept these feelings and make room for it.   Let me give you some practical guidelines on what I mean by accepting these feelings and make room for it.   You can look up "expansion technique" under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for more information as well.   How to accept our emotions (and make room for them):   1. OBSERVE. Bring awareness to the feelings in your body.   2. BREATHE. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe into and around them.   3. EXPAND. Make room for these feelings. Create some space for them.   4. ALLOW. Allow them to be there. Make peace with them   Some people find it helpful to silently say to themselves, 'I don't like this feeling, but I have room for it,' or 'It's unpleasant, but I can accept it.'   • When you're feeling an unpleasant emotion, the first step is to take a few slow, deep breaths, and quickly scan your body from head to toe.   • You will probably notice several uncomfortable sensations. Look for the strongest sensation - the one that bothers you the most. For example, it may be a lump in your throat, or a knot in your stomach, or an ache in your chest.   • Focus your attention on that sensation. Observe it curiously, as if you are a friendly scientist, discovering some interesting new phenomenon.   • Observe the sensation carefully. Notice where it starts and where it ends. Learn as much about it as you can. If you had to draw a line around the sensation, what would the outline look like? Is it on the surface of the body, or inside you, or both? How far inside you does it go? Where is the sensation most intense? Where is it weakest? How is it different in the center than around the edges? Is there any pulsation, or vibration within it? Is it light or heavy? Moving or still? What is its temperature?   • Take a few more deep breaths, and let go of the struggle with that sensation. Breathe into it. Imagine your breath flowing in and around it.   • Make room for it. Loosen up around it. Allow it to be there. You don't have to like it or want it. Simply let it be.   • The idea is to observe the sensation - not to think about it. So when your mind starts commenting on what's happening, just say 'Thanks, mind!' and come back to observing.   • You may find this difficult. You may feel a strong urge to fight with it or push it away. If so, just acknowledge this urge, without giving in to it. (Acknowledging is rather like nodding your head in recognition, as if to say 'There you are. I see you.') Once you've acknowledged that urge, bring your attention back to the sensation itself.   • Don't try to get rid of the sensation or alter it. If it changes by itself, that's okay. If it doesn't change, that's okay too. Changing or getting rid of it is not the goal.   • You may need to focus on this sensation for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, until you completely give up the struggle with it. Be patient. Take as long as you need. You're learning a valuable skill.   • Once you've done this, scan your body again, and see if there's another strong sensation that's bothering you. If so, repeat the procedure with that one.   • You can do this with as many different sensations as you want to. Keep going until you have a sense of no longer struggling with your feelings.   • As you do this exercise one of two things will happen: either your feelings will change - or they won't. It doesn't matter either way. This exercise is not about changing your feelings. It's about accepting them.   Does this make sense so far?   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

what is the effective practical method to overcome social enxiety ?

Mira Mimi,   I read your passage where you discussed social anxiety since age 5.  I understand you experience inability to interact with others and fear being touched or conversing with males.  You also identified lack of confidence in yourself attempting to be perfect or put on a persona for others.  Social anxiety coincides with anxiety as it is defined as one inability to engage and communicate during social interactions.  Social anxiety is irrational and subconscious thoughts often living in a bubble or isolating to avoid rejection and disappointment.  Social Anxiety and Anxiety correlates together as one worry excessively of being judged, making mistakes, not feeling purposeful or embarrassed due to own self-perception.  Anxiety can be triggered by trauma or inability to process or cope with negative feelings or thoughts.  If you are experiencing self-doubt and excessive worrying you began to over generalize and create narratives of negative thoughts that falls in the category of social anxiety and anxiety category.  Anxiety is inability to stop worrying and control the negative thoughts resulting in a decline in daily activities and fear.  I suggest you work through therapy utilizing Cognitive Behavioral therapy to identify, challenge and replace distorted thoughts.  Your therapist can also work through exposure therapy to confront negative thoughts by engaging and decreasing fears.    Low self and lack of confidence is correlates with social anxiety an anxiety as you question your worth and capabilities.  It appears you are affected physically as your thoughts are overpowering your ability to put on a persona and be in control of your actions creating some frustration and confusion.  It appears you need to work on calming your thoughts through Dialectal Behavioral therapy and creating a self-care plan thought behavior modification technique.  I suggest you work with a therapist to help assist you with your automatic thoughts identifying patterns and roots of behavior. I believe there is some underlying issue that you have experienced as you specified men that creates social anxiety and shivering when approached.  Therapy will help with identifying factors to your behavior to achieve productive ways to cope without isolating or avoiding the problem.  Therapy will assist you in identification, self-exploration of the problems, problem solving effectively as well as well as support during difficult movement of recollections of past and present difficulties.  I mention earlier Cognitive Behavior Therapy to aid in identification and replacing negative thoughts of yourself as well as negative perception socially to increase healthy coping skills.  Dialectal Therapy will help reduce the intensity by learning to regulate your emotions, defuse situations, and set boundaries by challenging isolation and expressing feelings with confidence.
Answered on 10/18/2021

What can I do about having severe fear of getting bugs from peoples homes, traveling, or boxes?

Hello! Thank you for reaching out - as this is often one of the hardest things to do. That is, express that you are feeling vulnerable! _____________________ What a difficult experience this fear has undoubtedly been. Let's see if I can provide some general feedback on the information you provided, try to explain what you might be experiencing, clinically, and also offer some considerations and options for moving forward. Firstly, it sounds like what you are contending with is a very pesky "phobia." It is a very specific type of anxiety that people experience differing physiological and emotions as a result of. Phobias, like other anxiety disorders, can be influenced by genetics, environmental exposure or medical/health conditions. It is a type that is best-described as a persistent and excessive (in your words, "severe") fear reaction directed at a certain situation (e.g., "getting bugs" from traveling) or object (bugs, themselves). This often causes impairment or interferences in life, and in your case has even limited your social life! This is painful, and can lead to a great deal of dread - which can lead to other impairments you might experience in adjunct to anxiety - including depressed mood and sleep disturbances. There are a range of effects of anxiety such as this. The idea would be to reduce the impact of your symptoms, and there are some ways to combine forces in doing that:   Medication: SSRI's, sedatives and other anti-anxiety medications may be helpful can help tone down physical and emotional symptoms of both acute and chronic experiences of anxiety. See you physician, psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner for this discussion and evaluation, as there are many tried-and-true regimens that may provide some benefit. But, this should alway be done in concert with... Psychotherapy - Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Exposure therapy, Others: The problem has become that you are aware your fear may be irrational or over-the-top, but you feel as if you can't stop. Now that you've done that, we can start to address these thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, re-gain some control! There are various intereventions that many people respond well to, and the name of the game is to expose your emotions to a source of fear in a supportive, controlled, safe setting. In short, the idea is to identify and change negative thoughts, core belief systems that may not be adaptive and also unhelpful reactions in behaviors based on these.  _____________________ Please know that there is hope, and that more than 19 million others contend with anxiety experiences like this. Meaning, you aren't alone, there are many known treatments and considerations and that you've likely completed one of the hardest facets of conquering your fear - by giving you gift and your story to a professional. 
(LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

should i stay or should i go?

I think the biggest question is does your spouse want to alter the behavior with the OCD? If she does I think setting boundaries would be incredibly important in order to hold her accountable for her recovery and help her with the process of overcoming her beliefs, and help adjust them to become because more realistic within your living environment. Also I think it is important to identify if your spouse had a clinically diagnosised form of OCD or if she has a different clinical diagnosis. With the initial presentation you provided it appears there may potentially be some psychotic presentation with her symptoms as well which would require significantly different treatment methods, and likely medication to manage the condition.    If your spouse is unwilling to obtain treatment for her mental health condition I think it is important for you to identify what your boundaries are with also understanding that the person you are married to has a mental health condition that is going to take time, and patience to work through.   I dont think completely accepting her condition and learning to live with it seems very attainable at the moment because it sounds like she is impacting your ability to be an effective parent, and partner with her making accusations about you poisoning your family. However if the diagnosis truly is OCD keep in mind this is an anxiety disorder that is generally derived from trauma and intense fear that makes an individual believe that they and their loved ones are in imminent danger. OCD can take years of therapy to treat, and some of the obsessions may still linger. If the clinical diagnostic impression indicates potential psychotic features this can be even more difficult to treat because there is a lot more complexities to the condition.    With individual therapy therapist have one primary focus and work based off the context of what the individual says in the session and provides treatment based on this. Couples therapy has a much different dynamic and the primary goal is to ensure balance and harmony in the relationship and work within compromising based on 2 individuals needs. It sounds like the individual therapist is likely picking up on the frustration you are having with this and recommending you else boundaries for your own mental health. Where the couples therapist is seeing your spouses fear, and resistance towards change, combined with your frustration and trying to find a balance for your spouse to be supported during this transition while working with minimizing your frustration. 
(Licensed, professional, clinical, counselor, Certified, rehabilitation, counselor)
Answered on 10/18/2021

What are ways I can deal with anxiety of different types (social anxiety, medical phobias)?

I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with some anxiety and different phobias.  It is important to recognize when our feelings have a purpose versus when they do not.  We of course want positive feelings in our lives, but sometimes negative feelings are there for a reason and we need to live out that purpose in order for it to get better.  If we do not live out the purpose of our feelings, it likely leads us to feel worse.  For example, something as simple as having anxiety about needing to get the chores done has the purpose of getting us motivated to get the chores done.  Therefore, if we do not live out that purpose and the chores remain undone, that can lead to more bad feelings, such as, “I am lazy” or “I am worthless.”  This is a simple example of how if we do not pay attention to our feelings and live out the purpose, they can become much, much worse.  I want you to try to separate the thoughts that seem to have a purpose from the ones that do not have a purpose.    For the ones that do have a purpose, it can be helpful to allow yourself to think through the anxious thoughts because anxiety has a nasty way of going to the worst possible scenario.  If you can wrap your head around that scenario, it can make it less scary.  For example, I had a client that was very anxious daily about being single for the rest of his life.  Thinking to that extreme is clearly anxiety and it just lingers there.  Once he was able to think through that scenario and come up with a plan to make it less scary.  He then came up with that if he really is going to be single the rest of his life, which is highly unlikely, he is going to work towards being able to live close to the ocean since that is a dream of his.  Thinking about it now does not make him as scary because he recognizes he could be happy with that. So try to separate out the ones that do have a purpose and make sure you have a specific action plan to live out that purpose.    For the ones that do not have a purpose it will be important to try and overpower the thoughts before they are accepted as truths.  We can have power over our thoughts and I want to help you not engage in these thoughts that make you so upset.  The easiest example of this that I can think of is if I went skydiving.  If I went skydiving I would have some obvious, rational, anxious thoughts.  If I really have a desire to skydive though I will need to not engage in those thoughts.  I might have thoughts such as, "My parachute could fail, I will hit the ground, I am going to pass out, etc."  However, since I really want to follow through with skydiving, I would not stop those thoughts in their tracks with, "I know this is going to be really fun, they inspect the parachutes ahead of time, people hardly ever get hurt doing this, etc."  By focusing on those thoughts and not engaging in the others, I would be able to follow through with skydiving. So try to separate out the ones that do not have a purpose and make sure you are trying to overpower those.  For example, with certain phobias it can be helpful to have an action plan on how to keep yourself safe.   As you go through all of this it will be really important to try and validate yourself throughout.  Something that could be helpful for you is what I like to call centering thoughts.  These are thoughts that are predetermined and unique to you for you to turn to in low moments.  They need to be powerful enough to bring you back to your center.  It is important that these thoughts are accessible for you to look at when you need to.  Some clients prefer to read and re-read them and some prefer to write and re-write them until they feel better.  I have clients that write these somewhere they will see daily such as their bathroom mirror or phone background, while others simply have them in their phone to pull out when they need to.  An example of a centering thought would be from a client I had that related to nautical themed things and her thought was, "I will not let this sink me."  An Olympic skier actually had difficulties with negative thinking getting in the way of her performance so she went to therapy.  She mentioned that she learned about centering thoughts to battle all of the people telling her she “should be” or “should do.”  To battle those thoughts, she uses the simple centering thought of, “I am.”  She can then remind herself that she is good enough, that she is confident, and that she does want to still compete, which really affirms her own feelings and not others.  So try to think of something that is validating for you as you try to cope with your anxiety.     I hope that some of this is helpful and that you can apply it to your circumstances.  I hope that you can lean some on your family and/or friends through this time.  Doing so can help take some weight off of your shoulders and hopefully receive some encouragement from them.  I wish you all the best and I hope that you are staying safe.
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Hello! I was wondering how getting help would work with the two main issues I have.

There are two issues here: (1) fear of germs, and (2) comparing yourself to others. Germaphobia is closely associated with mysophobia.  Germaphobia is the irrational fear of germs, whereas mysophobia refers to an irrational fear of contamination.  Both conditions are most commonly associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Unfortunately, there are no studies that tell us how prevalent the conditions are in the general population. These disorders may occur following a history of anxiety, depression, or a traumatizing experience; the conditions sometimes run in families.  Both germaphobia and mysophobia may be treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Combining psychotherapy with medication is believed to result in the better shot and long-term results. Germaphobia and mysophobia can have significant negative consequences such as social isolation. Social isolation may make sense to the person afflicted by either one of these conditions.  After all, coming into close contact with others may expose us to germs; touching another person's belonging may result in the transmission of harmful herms. Therefore, the germaphobe will avoid social situations.   Comparing yourself to others may be a way to reduce a sense of uncertainty, and to normalize one’s thinking and behavior. However, when you compare yourself to others and consistently find that you are not as “good” as others or do not have as much as others, there may be an issue with self-esteem; there may be an issue with the negative core belief that you just are not “good enough”.  This belief of never being “good enough” can also create problems.  The person who feels he/she is not "good enough" will go through a lot of stress as he/she tries to achieve “perfection”. That person will raise the bar higher and higher in an attempt to reach that elusive “perfection”. "Never good enough" can often be traced to childhood experiences. Of course, perfection cannot be achieved, and when the person feels she has not achieved that perfection, the feeling of not being good enough gets compounded, it increases. Depression and anxiety often accompany the sense of having "failed". Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be quite helpful; challenging your assumptions, learning to accept yourself as you are, daily positive self-affirmations, learning about loving and forgiving yourself and having more compassion toward yourself can go a long way to counteract the constant comparisons.  Hope this helps.
(MS, LPC, RN, (ret.))
Answered on 10/18/2021