Anxious Amy

Amy is a 26-year-old graduate who lives a typical fast-paced city life with many aspects to juggle – family, work, church. Amy had previously shared with you her struggle with keeping a balance in life and finding time for each aspects of life. She occasionally feels anxious but was never debilitating. However, recently her anxiety escalated and severely affecting her relationships, performance and work and even her daily activities. As she shared more, you learned that there are many areas of her life that are affected by her anxiety:

Amy’s list: Going to grocery. Praying in front of others. Contributing ideas in Bible study. Eating in cafe. Attending small group. Driving. Initiating social and coffee. Going to church on Sunday.

Amy: I have this constant, nagging fear of disappointing my friends, family and even total strangers. I realised that I am just not as capable at doing everything as well as I thought I could, so now I avoid people as much as possible.”

You: “Amy, from what you previously shared, you’ve stopped doing many things – driving, going to movies, spending time in public, attending small group at church – all because of your concern that you might start panicking and embarrass yourself. We made this list of the things you’ve been increasingly avoiding. Today let’s try to rank them, from the easiest to the hardest. Then we pick one to walk through together. “

  • Praying in front of others.
  • Sharing thoughts in bible study
  • Attending small group
  • Initiating meals, coffee with friends
  • Going to church on Sunday
  • Eating out in a cafe
  • Going to grocery
  • Driving

You: “Where would you like to start. Some people like to jump into the deep end. Others feel more comfortable staring slow”

You: “Tell me what happens as you think about getting into the car and beginning to drive off.”

Amy: “Nervous”

You: “Tell me about the nervousness you feel. What’re you anxious about”

Amy: “I’m nervous that I won’t drive well. I would disappoint people and they get mad at me.”

You: “How do you evaluate yourself when all this is happening? If people get mad at you because you’re not driving well, then what would happen? How do you know when you’re nervous, where do you feel it in your body? If people are disappointed with you, what does that say about you?”

Amy: “I feel ashamed. I’m a failure.”