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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Dear Elliott, Having trouble focusing with anxiety being bad

Customer Question

Dear Elliott,
Having trouble focusing with anxiety being bad this week. My questions are regarding if I hyperfocus on a something like a thread inside my clothes then look away and back again, or if I hyperfocus on sign on door and clock and turn and walk away or if I feel a pull in my chest from leaning over to look at something again from holding laundry does this affect the heart as well? my cbt therapy is going well but there is a lot to go over and comprehend
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Customer:

Hello my friend

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear XXXXX,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This will not hurt your heart in any way.

Customer:

CBT is going well but hit some bumps this week

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Have you told your doctor about about your fears?

Customer:

Even if I feel anxious after say walking away from door sign and clock?

Customer:

Yes I have told him and I have a lot of worksheets to go over but its been hard getting motivated to do review since my session on Monday

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I see you typing. I want to hear about the "bumps".

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Is he actually working with you in session, getting you to look down and then back up, etc.?

Customer:

The bumps were today I kept looking at the inseam which was black in my underwear I know this sounds weird and I was afraid if I take my view to quick off the gaze it may hurt the heart but this is false again just like the foot issue was?

Customer:

Also I get worried about not looking back after I stop myself from staring which leads to hyperfocusing like when I leave a room after looking at a sign on the door or wall clock which I was avoiding to stare at?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have to practice things like this with your therapist. He exposes you to them and then prevents you from responding in a negative way. Exposure and response prevention.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Why can't you work your worksheets? What is stopping you?

Customer:

So these things I have described do not harm the heart in any way?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

No. You have a strong heart.

Customer:

very tired last couple days

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

When you get anxiety your heart will sometimes race or you can get a pain in your chest but it is COMPLETELY psychological and causes you no physical harm.

Customer:

so the slight pain in my chest from leaning over to look at steering wheel while holding laundry was an example of that?

Customer:

my blood pressure has been averaging around 126/83

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Absolutely. It is a panic reaction. That is one of the symptoms. Panic is an anxiety disorder as is OCD.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Great pressure.

Customer:

and it does no harm to heart?

Customer:

what can I tell myself when I walk out of room after avoiding staring at an object whether it be a label on the door or a clock on the wall?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Tell yourself, "I made it. That wasn't so hard after all!"

Customer:

and that panic reaction in chest causes no pain to heart?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Absolutely no damage to you whatsoever. It cannot hurt you or give you a heart attack, even though it may feel very scary. Tell yourself, "This is just a panic attack and it will soon be over".

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Take some deep breaths slowly in and out. That will help as well.

Customer:

I think I am doing better but the staring and rechecking thread on my shorts freaked me out today

Customer:

that was weird

Customer:

but that also has no connection to the heart either?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

None whatsoever. This is OCD. Document all of these incidents and tell your therapist. Time, place and nature of event.

Customer:

I am trying so hard to stop the OCD action and not think about the heart connecting to this

Customer:

I should write these down though

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Be patient. You will get there.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Keep a journal as they happen. DATE TIME PRECIPITATING EVENT HOW YOU FELT

Customer:

So after I am driving home from work at think that I did not look long enough at clock or sign on door just say I made it and that does not harm the heart either from thinking if it could?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :


Cannot hurt you in any way.

Customer:

As far as the thread on the underwear am I better off not to keep checking it?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You should try checking it but not react. You may wait until you are with your therapist to do this. You have to learn to suppress your reaction and fear of doing this and anything else that sets you off.

Customer:

If my heart beats fast while doing this that is a normal reaction?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is the anxiety from panic. It is a symptom of your OCD.

Customer:

any advice on the hyperfocusing on how to stop it from happening?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Don't do it.

Customer:

and that is safe for the heart as well to stop it immediately before it gets bad?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes. Panic will not hurt your heart. You could not hurt your heart even if you wanted to. This is a psychological reaction.

Customer:

So I am improving by stopping and moving away before it gets bad?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

In a sense. You must get to the point that it will NEVER bother you. That is your goal.

Customer:

Thanks for believing in me

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are very welcome, and I shall keep you in my prayers, Kevin.

Customer:

any other advice tonight on my dilemas of anxiety? I know that I have to keep telling myself my heart is fine and I have to stop taking my blood pressure every day multiple times

Customer:

the cuff pressure on the left arm can never harm the heart from beating as well?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Keep in mind as you go to sleep that you are getting better and you will soon be healed. Cuff pressure can never hurt you.

Customer:

Thank you Elliott and I will work more on the sheets

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Great idea. Have a good night.

Customer:

just one last question so even if you think something like not looking at something again when you have left the area

Customer:

has affected the heart in reality it has no affect on the heart in that case

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It cannot hurt your heart. It is just panic and feels scary but can NEVER hurt you.

Customer:

Thank you Elliott so I should just tell myself I made it and my heart is fine?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes indeed.

Customer:

Thank you so much and have a good evening

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You too. Goodnight.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

God bless you Kevin. You shall be free of this OCD.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Dear Elliott,


my anxiety this afternoon happened in my work kitchen where I stood facing a table and kept fixating on a napkin holder with a smiley face sun on it. I became worried if I move away and walk to my right away from it and it goes out of view that will somehow affect the heart negatively. I kept telling myself my heart is fine but it was very hard for some reason to move away for some periods of time. Does this affect the heart or is there no correlation to heart and this is just anxiety telling me false thoughts again?

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Once again tese are the obsessive thought that you have as a main part of your anxiety.

There is no possible way that looking at the smiley face or not looking at it, being within view or not, cannot hurt you in any what whatsover.

I suggest that you do some experiments with the smiley face, walking around it in various positions and going in and out of view, all the while telling yourself that this can NEVER harm you. These are merely obsessive thoughts and you must disconnect these thoughts from any idea that they they are associated with any harm coming to you in any form - heart, or any other part of your body and mind.

Take deep breaths when you do this, and be courageous and strong.

You must overcome these thoughts with your own personal strength, to the best of your ability.

Be patient and never give up, for you will win and overcome these thoughts in the long run.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you so much Elliott,


At the end of the work day I only looked back at the smiley face napkin holder once and said goodbye to it and walked away. Is it the anxiety that makes me freeze up and stare at this object or any other object. As my therapist says move away from it but the thoughts get so strong it is hard to move away fast at times. Any way I can shorten the duration of the staring?

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Force yourself away. Walk fast and move to something else.


Elliott

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

YOu are doing a wonderful job, but you must continue to tell yourself that this is all a figment of your imagination. YOu cannot hurt your heart.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I just wondered if you could answer the question to this problem on staring at objects. At work I tend to stare at the wall phone by turning my head to the right where it is at. In order to break that cycle I turned my head to the left then up and down on table. Does staring for periods of time affect the heart negatively and am I best to stop focus on it and ignore it when it gets bad? Also tonight I looked at my car through my condo vestibule window for a few minutes and my heart was beating fast from anxiety was it safe to turn away and go up the stairs without looking back at the car again? The looking at my car was turning into staring so I turned away and walked up the stairs. Was this harmless to heart as well? Thank you

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

Don't be afraid to stare at the car or the phone or your feet. I challenge you to stare at the, turn away, and say to yourself, "this can't hurt me EVER. Not now, not tomorrow, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.

Touch the car. Touch the phone. Touch your feet. Touch whatever you fear. You will be fine. If you feel some anxiety take a few deep breaths and say to yourself, "I am fine. This can't hurt my heart. My heart is strong and these are just negative thoughts that can NEVER EVER hurt me.

Be strong and brave, Kevin, and you will overcome this.

Warm regards,

Elliott

Positive feedback is ALWAYS appreciated ! ! ! !
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have a follow up question regarding my OCD. This is embarassing and involves lifting my left foot and setting it on the ground. I have developed this fear yesterday morning that if I set my left or right foot down a certain way that would affect my heart in some negative way like change the pulse or rhythm so is that totally false thinking? Does the heart function separately from the movement of our feet? Thank you

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

All of our body parts are connected, as you know. Your pulse and the rate of blood flow is controlled by your heart. When you walk, stretch, or bend it does not hurt your heart in any way. Any movement or exercise is GOOD for your heart in fact. The heart is a VERY STRONG muscle and keeps beating and pumping.

You may have fears about your heart but you are having false thinking, as you said. You are fine and dandy.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thank you Elliott so actually the movement of lifting the foot up and setting it down is good for the heart because in a way it is like exercise however I do not want to treat the obsession as that so there is no harm to come to heart by doing this action?

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Absolutely not. You should get plenty of exercise every day.

Warm regards,

Elliott


PS - Positive feedback is always appreciated for multiple follow-up questions. Thanks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much Elliott just one last follow up I stood in front of my mirror and lifted each foot up and set it down one at a time and said this does not harm my heart and did it with each foot four times. Then I stood straight ahead and said my heart is fine. I challenged the anxiety and I think I beat it because I stopped hesitating lowering my foot to ground. This morning when I was hesitating to lower foot to ground that was harmless as well to heart so basically none of these actions affected my heart in a bad way? Thank you again!

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

You survived so obviously they did not hurt you.

I hope that you are doing your therapy. You seem to be improving.

Best wishes,

Elliott
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

my bp was 118/82 and pulse of 64 at the doctors office but when I got home it was 123/76 with a pulse of 120. I did have anxiety looking at building in front of my car before turning away and walking to my condo also I had similar experience before doctors office looking at poles before walking away. Is the vision function still separate from heart function and could the anxiety have raised the pulse that high?

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Yes. The anxiety will increase your heart rate. It hardly affected your blood pressure, however.

You have a healthy hear, Keven. Try not to focus on it so much

\Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was in the waiting area at CVS and was looking at the spaces between the ceiling tiles one I stared at for a little bit then stopped staring. Was it safe to not continue to stare and this has no connection to the heart functions at all? Also this morning I became too sensitive to my feet placement on the ground in the shower. Is the foot position also separate from heart as we discussed and should I just try to ignore foot position?
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Dear XXXXX,

I remarked several questions back that I would appreciate more positive feedback from. I have answered many questions but you have only accepted one time. If you went to a restaurant and ordered a meal and paid, would you then expect to go back on a regular basis and have all succeeding meals included in the price of the first meal?

I will answer this question, this time.Re-lock

1) the spacing of the ceiling tiles cannot affect your heart in any way.

2) Your foot position can in NO WAY affect your heart.

I wish you peace and tranquility.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much Kevin. I do like to help and I do like to be compensated once in a while. You are much appreciated.

Elliott
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I kept looking at the wall sign that said Facial Tissue in the pharmacy department. I squeezed my left hand to feel my pulse and again the false thoughts about if I do not look at that particular sign enough it will somehow affect my heart. I did my best not to stare at it. Again even the nervous impulse to stare and not to stare at that sign has no impact on the heart function? Thank you

Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 11 months ago.
Dear XXXXX,

These are obsessive compulsive thoughts. Stare at the sign and then stare at the sign and tell yourself that this is absolutely unconnected with your hear function in any way.

Take a few deep breaths and tell your thoughts to go away.

Warm regards,

Elliott

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