NEW TIMES How does this anxiety management service work?
MACK It’s an anxiety management group. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. The group’s a relatively new thing for me. I’ve been in private practice for years. With the group, people can learn skills to cope with and manage their symptoms. I have a curriculum that I use every week.
NEW TIMES How often do you meet?
MACK We meet once a week, Wednesdays from noon to 1:30.
NEW TIMES How do you know when your anxiety is problematic?
MACK In terms of whether or not it’s a problem, that’s subjective. I say people have a problem if the symptoms interfere with their life. People get symptoms where it becomes difficult to drive a car. When the anxiety gets to a point where the person feels like they’re limited in their ability to function, that’s what I would define as a problem. There’s a certain degree of anxiety that’s normal and just a part of life.
NEW TIMES What are the symptoms of anxiety?
MACK There’s so many of them. The important ones, I would say: shortness of breath or trouble breathing; heart palpitations or pounding heart; dizziness; unsteadiness or faintness; feeling of unreality as if you’re not all there; chest pain or discomfort and fear of going crazy, losing control, or dying.
NEW TIMES Does anxiety increase around the holidays?
MACK Oh, sure. Anxiety is very much linked to situational stress. Around the holidays, there’s a lot of situational stress. There’s family issues. There’s financial issues. There’s that expectation that the holiday season is joyous. For many people, that’s just not the case.