Therapy was probably the best investment I could have ever made
In April of 2012, while researching the symptoms of Lyme's disease, which I feared I had contracted, I found anxietycentre.com. The symptoms of Lyme's disease and anxiety disorder were almost identical.
I had been through a bunch of medical tests, including CT scans, blood test, lung X-rays, speriometry, heart ultrasounds, etc. I was sure I was dying from some mysterious undiagnosed disease. I was prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. The world had become a desolate and sinister place back then, and I felt like my days were numbered.
After reading the biographies of the anxiety counsellors on the website, I chose to set up an appointment with Stacey. He was a reassuring voice and enlightening presence during those dark days. Between our phone sessions, reading the website materials, and some lifestyle changes, I slowly began to regain control of my life. I learned that anxiety disorder didn't happen overnight, that it had been brewing all my life. I had been taught to be fearful and anxious as an infant by my parents, who were just doing the best they could at the time.
I was able to start working again. My physical, emotional, and financial health slowly began to improve. Bit by bit, my experience began to shift. Every month I felt a little stronger, a little more confident.
A little over a year has passed, and it's hard to even imagine that I couldn't sleep without taking an Ativan. I am no longer at the mercy of a negative inner dialogue, and respond to life's ups and downs in a more effective manner. I feel optimistic about the future now. I am much happier, and am able to appreciate all the things I have in my life. Although I still experience some anxiety from time to time, I am no longer thrown into turmoil by it. I know I have more work to do, but I can enjoy the process and am grateful for it. I am able to count my blessings these days...
I would say that the biggest benefit of my sessions with Stacey Ellertson is that I learned not to be afraid of my symptoms. By learning not to be afraid of my symptoms, my anxiety began to subside. I learned that anxiety and fear are inside jobs, and I was given tools to change that. Being armed with this knowledge, and putting the techniques into practice, was very empowering. As the anxiety subsided, so did the symptoms. My physical, mental, and emotional health improved, as I learned to be more self-accepting.
I didn't think I could afford to pay for therapy, but in retrospect, I could not afford to continue without it. Therapy was probably the best investment I have ever made.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated August 2016.