Occasional depersonalization ( i.e. looking at my extremities and feeling that they weren't mine, certain common words seemed odd) This was quite infrequent.
One spot (about the size of a silver dollar) that was numb on my back
Pictures would flash in my mind of terrible scenes that I couldn't shut off.
Racing, pounding heart
Severe pain in lower back
Tingling/numb/cold hands and feet
Vision problems (i.e. seeing dark spots, eye fatigue, going cross-eyed)
Doug Wildman knows the pain and
anguish of uncontrollable anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, and
feelings of incompetence. For years he struggled with the symptoms
and consequences of anxiety and depression.
At an early age, Doug questioned his value, self-worth, and
sanity. Consequently, his grades plummeted, he felt isolated
and misunderstood, and thought that he was “flawed,” defective,
unacceptable, and a failure.
There were many negative
influences around Doug during his teen years. These influences
caused even more disruption and questioning. His thoughts became
obsessive and intrusive, and his depression deepened. Over time
he was convinced that there was something seriously wrong with
No matter how hard he tried to get better, his internal voice
insisted, “You will never succeed. You are different
from everyone else. You are incompetent and stupid. You are
marked for failure.” Doug’s condition worsened.
In 1989, however, Doug began his journey toward freedom from
anxiety and depression.
In May 1989, Doug volunteered with Youth Development International
in San Diego helping young people in crisis. He then moved to
Timisoara, Romania where he worked with the Romanian people who
endured through the anxiety and oppression of living under a
communist regime. Doug also worked with gypsy street children
who suffered under the influence of substance abuse, societal
disregard, and past parental abuse.
In 1992, Doug and his fiancee, Ingrid (they are now married)
returned to Canada. Unfortunately, Ingrid began to experience
post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from her overseas
experience in travelling to refugee camps and orphanages in Croatia
and Romania. Ingrid was struggling with nightmares, increased
anxiety and stress, and detachment from people around her. She
was reliving stories she had heard from refugee children living
in camps. These stories were punctuated with sporadic gunfire
she heared nearby. She had developed a diminished interest in
activities that used to give her pleasure, became detached from
others, struggled with her feelings, and had a depressed demeanor. Doug
was able to help Ingrid through this difficult time and she began
to experience freedom and joy again.
In May 2000, Doug was on his way to a weekend youth retreat
with a van full of young people, when the driver lost control
of the van causing it to plummet over a ravine and into icy water.
The crash was so serious that the emergency personnel who attended
the accident couldn’t believe that anyone had survived
such a terrible accident.
This event caused Doug to personally experience post-traumatic
stress disorder. He began to be plagued by nightmarish
panic attacks, he couldn’t drive as a passenger without
getting feelings of tightness in his chest, accelerated heart
pounding, and feelings of not being able to breathe (it felt
like he was having a heart attack). He experienced periods
of “reliving” the accident in his mind only to be
suddenly jolted back into reality by a pounding heart, labored
breathing, sore muscles, profuse sweating, and heightened senses.
He also experienced nightly nightmares about the experience,
which made him hyper-vigilant and always fearing the worst about
those around him. Every day was filled with foreboding and underlying
Finally, after a year and a half, Doug began to conquer his
condition. Over time, his anxiety, fear, and the intensity of
that experience faded away.
Doug is now completely anxiety and depression free.
Doug Wildman, M.A., is a therapist that specializes in anxiety
disorders, depression, and marriage and family therapy. He
has his Master of Arts in Counselling from an accredited post-secondary
institute. He is an Associate member (member #283SK05)
of a national counselling association in Canada (PACCC). In
2005, Doug became the co-administrator for this national counselling
association where his area of specialty lays in the handling
of ethical concerns and counsellor relations.
Doug has a deep desire and passion for helping those who are
suffering through issues of anxiety/panic and depression. His
personal experience with, and victory over, anxiety and depression,
coupled with his gentle character and understanding nature, make
Doug an effective counsellor and therapist.
Doug and Ingrid Wildman live in Norquay, Saskatchewan with their
four young children where they attend the Norquay Evangelical
I would like to say some words about
my experiences with Doug Wildman, anxiety, and anxietycentre.com.
I can’t express enough gratitude for the amazing help
I have received through Doug Wildman and the resulting transformation
I have been going through with assistance from the member’s
area of the anxietycentre.com website. My life has changed
forever and I am finally turning into the person that I always
wanted to be...and the person I never thought I could be.
It all started in 2006 when I got my first panic attack.
I had been highly anxious since I was a young child
but I did not become seriously symptomatic until I
was 38 years old. That first attack set in motion an
intense fear of my symptoms until the point where I
was paralyzed in fear...intense fear, panic attacks,
feelings of gloom and doom, crazy thoughts, sweating,
heart palpitations, racing heart, tingling sensations,
depersonalization, shivering, shaking, muscle twitches, headaches,
dizziness, and nausea. I also encountered terrible insomnia.
At its worst, I didn’t sleep for a four-day stretch.
To say I fell apart would be an understatement. I was convinced
that my life was over, that I was going to lose my family,
and that I was going to end up in a mental hospital.
My doctor prescribed antidepressants,
which I took for a year. After getting SOME relief...with
emphasis on SOME, I went off of them. Six months later I
was back on them after another panic attack hit me out of
the blue. I thought my life was going to be a lifelong struggle
with a disorder that I could not control and that I would
be on medication for the duration of my life.
websites, went to a psychologist, and purchased books...I
tried everything. I finally found a program that gave me
some optimism that this condition could be eradicated but
I quickly lost interest when I wasn’t
getting immediate relief. Sound familiar??
My life changed dramatically in March
of this year when I found anxietycentre.com. It sounded great
so I purchased a membership and began to read the site. I
was absolutely floored with the amount of information the
site provided. I knew I had found the best anxiety information
on the net. I started putting the information into practice
with respect to recovery strategies and was slowly starting
to notice improvements. I followed the advice closely.
I started to feel better, a lot better actually,
but I still wasn’t feeling like I was on my way to complete recovery.
I still had periods of bad anxiety mixed with feeling “ok” at
best. Still, it was a lot better than before.
Then I started to read about personal
coaching on the site. I became interested in the underlying
factors of anxiety after reading about them on the site,
because I could relate to them. I noticed how poor my mental
habits were and how it was contributing to my anxiety and
resulting depression. I made my first appointment with Doug
Wildman in May of 2009.
I was instantly at ease with Doug and he made me
comfortable from the beginning. It was so refreshing
talking to somebody who had been through the same
crippling anxiety that I had. Here I was talking
to someone who was just like me, and beat the condition.
If he could do it, maybe I could too. I was also
shocked at how well I could relate with him on how
I felt and thought. For the first time, somebody “gets
me”...understands me. Honestly, it was like talking
to a mirror, because the problems that I thought were unique
to me were just classic anxiety symptoms and issues that
he lived through and defeated himself. I was not crazy after
all...I finally had hope!!
I was skeptical
at first that I could achieve complete recovery like Doug.
That’s not unusual,
because I think many of us anxious people think our condition
is worse or more entrenched than the other person. “Sure,
they could do it, but I won’t be able to because my
condition is worse and I have had it longer than they have.” But
I was dead wrong on that thought. More on that in a moment.
I have been
working with Doug since May on my underlying factors, and
it has been the most eye-opening experience of my life.
Not only are my anxiety symptoms no longer a significant
issue, I have learned incredible life lessons and tools
to cope with everyday life. I’m happy,
motivated, calm, and content. Quite frankly, I’m already
feeling better now than I can ever remember in my life...even
as a child. I’m not tense or irritable any longer either.
I have learned to be comfortable with myself and live life
the way it was supposed to be.
I still plan
on working with Doug into the future because I still have
a lot of learning to do. I’m still in recovery mode, although anxiety is no
longer a significant issue for me. For all of you anxiety
sufferers, I can’t emphasize enough how important personal
counselling is...and Doug is top notch. Great person and
a great counsellor. He’s my mentor.
A few important
words for the anxiety sufferers out there. Take these words
to heart because I’m
a living, breathing example of someone who has lived it and
• YOU CAN BEAT IT. It’s
not easy, but consistent application of the advice on anxietycentre.com
and working with a counsellor WILL fix your disorder.
• IT TAKES TIME. You will have days where you question whether you
will get better or not. You will have ups and downs and it will test your patience
and confidence. Hang in there friend, and don’t give up...I felt like
giving up over and over again and I stuck with it even when I felt down. I
now reap the benefits and have defeated it.
• YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN OTHER ANXIETY SUFFERERS. Your disorder
will go away if you apply the strategies. You are NOT a hopeless cause and
your condition is BEATABLE, despite how poorly you feel. Take that to the bank.
• YOU ARE IN CONTROL, NOT THE DISORDER. And in time, those obsessive
thoughts that were giving you trouble (those thoughts that you never thought
you could control) eventually go away. Take comfort in that.
My life is better than I could have imagined.
My renewed confidence is going to take me places in life
that I never dreamed would be possible. You could feel like
that too...just give it a chance.
By the way,
I’m also now medication-free!
God Bless Jim Folk for starting this website, and God Bless
Doug Wildman for being there for me as my counsellor and
The work with Doug made an enormous difference in helping to control my anxiety levels. He was thorough in understanding my issues and consequently his counsel led to almost immediate and highly effective results. I would recommend Doug and anxietycentre.com to anyone without hesitation.
Anthony F., Switzerland
Hi, my name is Marc, and I would like to share my story about my struggles with anxiety disorder.
To make a long story short, because as people know, every day with anxiety disorder can be a full 300-page story in itself, to say the least! In my case, it was, for sure.
At the age of 31 years old, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder after several doctor visits, including a neurologist. In my case, I always lived a life with strong irrational fears, and my use of recreational drugs didn’t help. I was unlucky in the fact that I experienced close to 50+ symptoms, and every one of them were extremely intense during those awful years.
Like most people, I searched the Internet like crazy trying to find out what was going on with me. In fact, I searched so much that it became a strong obsession.
The Internet, however, was helpful because there were a lot of great websites available (I did try some techniques that I thought were good), but the intensity of my symptoms were way too strong so I thought I needed to seek extra help in a therapeutic way. This meant I needed to talk to someone and preferably someone who already dealt with the many crappy symptoms I had.
When I went to a psychiatrist, he told me that I needed to be on medication for the rest of my life! But I said, "Oh no, this will not happen to me mister," even though I didn’t trust in my own statement at that time.
After that, I found anxietycentre.com and was able to contact someone who understood my struggle perfectly. Finally I was able to start some telephone sessions.
Now let me explain. My condition was no joke! The intensity was 24/7 without almost no breaks or rest!! My most concerning symptoms were the unbalance/dizzy feelings, depersonalization, and having a strong aggressive feeling.
- The unbalance feeling was so strong that I was not able to feel straight or steady on my feet. It also felt like someone was pushing me from the back all the time, and some days the discouragement was severe.
- The aggressive feeling was a sensation in my body that is really hard to explain. I felt I needed to squeeze objects until it hurt enough so that it felt better when I released them. It was like an extreme rush of aggressiveness that needed to be released. It was horrific to say the least.
- Now the depersonalization! Another quite scary sensation. I don’t know about other people, but for me, this symptom presented itself with a succession of really weird thoughts plus a strong feeling that nothing felt normal—everything was strange like a badddddddd drug trip, and for hours and hours.
Friends, family members, and relatives were all very helpful, but nobody—and I mean nobody—got a hint of how bad I was feeling. It affected everything I did: my spiritual state, daily activities, job, etc. Needless to say, it was an awful time!
I can go on and on with everything that I went through, but my ultimate goal is to let people know that the sensations and symptoms GO AWAY with time, even if you don’t believe it now! Just because the body is playing the same old tricks again and again, doesn’t mean it will forever. I remember when I got three to four days in a row with almost no awful sensations and symptoms, it was a massive relief!! And the more I continued with everything related to relaxing, doing new things, and training, etc., the more and more those sensations and symptoms went away; all of them; from electric shock to panic attack, or anything else. They ALL completely went away (NONE OF THEM stayed).
Let me be clear. When my body returned to normal health, there were NO sensations or symptoms left, except for the regular stress that I was dealing with before my body got really overstimulated.
I understand that it’s not easy to always do the right thing. Even now (35 years old) sometimes I look at what I am doing and say to myself, "Man, I did not take care of myself recently." I continue to work at this, but it’s no longer about being afraid of the sensations and symptoms, and no more being concerned with anxiety disorder. This is in the past now and it will stay there forever ...............
Through this experience, I've learned to accept things differently in life, being more open to try new things, being calmer, and not being over responsible at my job, and many other things.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Doug Wildman and Jim Folk for their help and support. I’ve been working with them for close to three years and it was worth it. I started with an extreme 'disorder' and I’m proud of the achievement that I’ve made through all the ups and downs, and all the negativity I felt inside due to my mental state.
I hope this story will encourage others who are discouraged or who may not believe they can recover. I was in that place for a long, long time. But the body and brain are well made and recover by themselves if we calm them down and change our attitude toward our sensations and symptoms. The sensations and symptoms of anxiety are all a lie, and will always be a lie. They aren’t something we need to be afraid of.
ex-anxiety disorder sufferer
Dear Doug and Jim,
The information and counseling I received from you and your
web site have given me the necessary instructions to recover
from a debilitating experience with an anxiety disorder,
brought on by a lengthy period of stresses I had experienced.
The first year of my anxiety condition, I was digging myself
deeper and deeper into the anxiety trap, as I worried about
all of my bizarre symptoms. When I finally found your web
site however, the information it provided made a lot of sense
to me, and helped to put my mind at ease. Although the recovery
process was slow, I have finally found my way out of the
trap, and have my normal life back.
I wish that I had found your web site sooner, or could have
found proper help in my area. Thank you so very much.
I thought I'd share with you all how Anxietycentre.com has
I have suffered from anxiety most of my life, but a few years
ago it became so bad I struggled with everyday tasks.
I was making frequent visits to my
doctor. The symptoms I was experiencing were so frightening
that I really thought I was dying or had some terminal
illness. My doctor explained I was suffering from anxiety/stress,
although he never really explained to me why all this was
happening to my body...I couldn't understand how anxiety
could cause all these strange symptoms...Oh! I should mention,
I had brain scans, heart checks, blood checks etc etc...
One night I had been looking up anxiety symptoms on the
Internet, and I came across Anxietycentre.com. I couldn't
believe what I was reading, "This is me" I thought.
For the first time someone understands what it's like to
have this condition.
I became a member, then after a while
decided to try coaching as I felt I needed extra support.
I was waiting on my first call from Doug (my counselor),
I felt so nervous, and I remember asking myself, "What
am I doing?" I was about to talk to some strange man
about my anxieties from the opposite side of the Atlantic
Ocean that probably couldn't understand me anyway?? (I'm
Anyway, I had no need to worry as Doug
put me at ease straight away. For the first time in years
I felt someone could truly help me
get over this. Please don't get me wrong. It's been hard
work and I've had some blips along the way. It has been worth
all the effort though...
It has been a pleasure knowing such kind and compassionate
people who understand what it's like to have these problems
as they have experienced themselves.
Doug and Anxietycentre.com have been
a Godsend to me . I will never forget them!
If you are in the anxietycentre.com
website, then you are looking for something or someone to
help you as I was when I came here.. Well, look no further,
because if this can not help you nothing else will..
I was at my very lowest point when I
came to anxietycentre.com. For FORTY YEARS I had panick attacks,
and everything that came from anxiety, such as dizziness,
breaking out in sweats, burning and pains in my chest, and
scary thoughts. I even had agoraphobia, afraid to leave my
house or drive my car.
I read everything in the member's area of this website,
then looked over all the counselors. I sent an e-mail to
have a session with Doug Wildman.
In just a few days, Doug called me..
That was the first day of my recovery. No matter what symtoms
I had, he explained them. It didn't matter how "off the wall"
my questions were, with kindness and patience he told me
why I experienced them .
I am 100% better today than I was since
my first session. "Thank You" to the Anxietycentre for making
this website available to me...
Doug, "THANK YOU" will never be enough
for showing me the way to recovery. You helped me get my
life back. God Bless You And Yours.
I can't say enough positive things about the Anxiety Centre
and my counselor, Doug Wildman. After having several anxiety
attacks over a very long week, I searched the Internet and
found the Anxiety Centre. I immediately became a member,
and had an appointment to speak with Doug just a few days
The information on the website is so helpful. I read and
re-read the symptoms and explanations for the symptoms. This
alone eased my mind. My level of anxiety decreased just in
knowing that anxiety was causing these strange symptoms that
I was having. I have used many of the strategies discussed
at the website, and I ordered the relaxation cd, which was
very helpful. Learning to recognize the anxiety for what
it was (mine was constant), and learning to not respond with
more fear, took some time. It can be done, it just takes
time and practice!
The discussion forum was also helpful because it was good
to see what resources and techniques were helping others.
I still use these resources because I think that they are
good for you whether you are experiencing anxiety or just
My most dramatic improvement came from my counseling sessions
with Doug. He is compassionate, caring, open-minded, a GREAT
LISTENER, and can relate with experiences of his own. I have
been able to work through many issues that go back to childhood,
and I am more confident. I am so grateful to Doug for all
of his help. I am a different person now.
I would highly recommend the Anxiety Centre to anyone who
is experiencing any type of stress/anxiety/depression.