ANXIETY IN THE MIND: RESTLESSNESS

The anxious patient cannot sit still. He fidgets and wriggles about. He cannot settle to the task in hand; he starts one job but feels uncomfortable, leaves it and starts something else. He is less restless when there is something definite that he has to do, so he is more comfortable at work than at home. On weekends, in spite of happy relations with his family, it is common for him to wish for Monday so that he can go back to the fixed routine of work.

Sometimes people feel that they will be better if they take a holiday and have a good rest. Of course, these patients are at their worst in such circumstances because they have lost the ability to relax and take it easy. Other people with anxiety are benefited by such a holiday, but when restlessness is a feature the anxious patient only returns more tense and frustrated than ever.

A forty-seven-year-old foreman wrote for an appointment, and described his restlessness in these terms.

“I have an inability to relax, nervous tension, anxiety complex and constant apprehension, I cannot sit [without a flush of anxiety] in meetings, church, theatre, dentist’s chair, barber’s chair, public transport, or as a passenger in a motor car . . . My flush of nervous tension makes me leave whatever I am attending . . .”

*13/57/2*

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