Everything makes me nervous
I had a first today with a client. The client was a tiny woman but grossly obese. She seemed to be almost as broad as she was tall. She was also excessively nervous and fidgety. And that was the problem she wanted to deal with: anxiety. Anxiety makes her overeat. She said she had been anxious for as long as she could remember. I asked her "what make you anxious?" She said, "Everything". I assume that this was a joke, but she told me she was deadly serious. "Everything makes me nervous."
So I started to look for the reason for the anxiety and the overeating. I expected that there would be something in her childhood. So I got her to tell me about situations where she feels nervous generally, and any specific situations where she felt nervous today. She couldn't find any. She just said "everything makes me nervous."
I started to talk about her overeating and what she might do to prevent anxiety. I outlined some situations where this or that might happen. As she thought about these, she began to get visibly anxious.
Not how to deal with anxiety
She reached down the side of the chair to get her handbag and put it on her lap. Then she opened it up and said to me 'Do you mind if I eat?' I thought I had misheard. I asked her to repeat what she had just said. To my surprise, she took out a packet of cookies. Apparently she carries around a bag of butter cookies everywhere she goes. She nibbles on one every time she feels anxious. My questions were making her feeling anxious right now, so she wanted to start eating a cookie while lying in the chair talking about overeating!