Hellen's areas of focus in counselling:
- Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
- Panic Disorder (PAD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Abuse (Spiritual/Emotional/Sexual)
- Anger Management
- Caregiver Self Care (when caring for persons with a disability or aging)
- Depression and Supporting those with Depression
- Esteem Building
- Loss and Grief
- Personal and Spiritual Development
- Post-traumatic stress and Trauma Recovery
- Relationship Concerns
- Suicide signs/prevention
Hellen experienced the following symptoms:
- A heightened fear of what people think of you
- Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that are reminders of the trauma
- Chest tightness feeling, chest pains
- Difficulty concentrating
- Digestive Problems, Constipation
- Easily distracted
- Emotionally blunted, flat, or numb
- Fear of making mistakes or making a fool of yourself to others
- Feeling detached from others
- Feeling jumpy and easily startled
- Feeling like your tongue is swollen
- Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
- Feelings of unreality
- Flashbacks (feeling like the event is happening again)
- Heart Palpitations
- Heightened self awareness, or self-consciousness
- Hyper vigilance (on constant “hyper alert”)
- Hyperactivity, excess energy, nervous energy
- Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
- Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
- Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Living on high alert, hyper vigilance
- Loss of interest in activities and life in general
- Muscle tension, stiffness, aches, pains
- Muscle twitching
- Neck, back, shoulder tension and stiffness, spasms
- Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
- Not feeling like yourself, detached from loved ones, emotionally numb
- Shallow Breathing
- Startle easily Giddiness, jumpy
- Stomach upset, nervous stomach
- TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) – clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth
- Trapped in your mind feeling
- Weight gain; sudden weight gain
Hellen’s Anxiety Story
Hellen, born in Mexico, moved with her family to Canada at the age of 7. Immediately upon entering Canada, she faced some unfortunate challenges, especially for a young girl moving to a new country.
For example, merely a year later, at the age of 8, she was raped by a family acquaintance and subsequently also sexually abused by a family member for many years.
Also, at various points throughout her school years she was bullied, ridiculed, and shamed by other school students due to the stigma attached to her cultural background.
As Hellen grew up, she suppressed memories of abuse and avoided the conscious awareness of her anxiety and depression by keeping herself extremely busy and by being overly excited about life. It was not until her late twenties when an unstable long-term relationship ended that a crack in her defense mechanisms caused a barrage of emotions, memories, and delayed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, including those listed above.
Recognizing the impact of her struggles, Hellen went to counselling and support groups as well as turned to numerous books about sexual abuse, PTSD, and recovery, which contained stories of others who had successfully dealt with their traumas: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As a result, her struggles began to make sense as these writings normalized the after-effects and symptoms of what she had survived. All of which provided her with the tools she needed to change, heal, and grow.
During the time of memories surfacing, the usual defense mechanisms were unsuccessful so because of Hellen’s inability to trust and her need to be seen as strong, Hellen initially responded with anger towards people who tried to get close to her. Gradually, with the help of a couple of people who chose to respond to the frightened vulnerable girl inside Hellen’s tough shell, instead of withdrawing, she learned to let go of her anger and express her needs.
Since Hellen had ruled out conventional medication as an option, she pursued a “natural” approach to recovery, which included a change of diet, natural supplements, and changes to the way she was thinking and feeling.
Hellen continued to work on her underlying factors over the years and finally returned to normal and lasting health. She is another example of how identifying and successfully addressing the underlying factors of anxiety and depression can bring lasting relief. Today, Hellen is living a normal, healthy, and symptom-free life.
Hellen is from the Fraser Valley in BC but is currently living in London, Ontario.
Hellen has a Master of Arts in Counselling (Honors) from Providence in Manitoba, Canada. She is a Member of Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).
Hellen has used her skills in a variety of contexts including services to individuals and groups in the areas of addictions, abuse (spiritual/ emotional/ sexual), anger management, caregiver self-care, anxiety, depression, loss and grief, personal and spiritual growth, post-traumatic stress, and suicide prevention since 1995. Since 2010, Hellen has grown in a specialized focus on anxiety issues, incorporating professional learning as well as knowledge gleaned from her own journey of healing from anxiety, depression and PTSD.
Hellen also has 4 decades of experience supporting children and adults living with developmental disabilities (many with dual diagnosis) and their families. In that context, she has worked as a team member with other mental health care professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, youth workers).
Although currently not teaching, Hellen has developed curriculum and instructed in various capacities: Community Support Worker Program at a college in BC, Canada; the adult education program at a large church also in BC; a counselling related course at a Bible School in northern Mexico.
Hellen is also a presenter at speaking engagements and seminars covering topics such as anxiety, grief, forgiveness, and healing with humor.
Counseling with Hellen can be done in either English or Low German (Plautdietsch).
- For a comprehensive list of Anxiety Disorders Symptoms Signs, Types, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.
- Anxiety and panic attacks symptoms can be powerful experiences. Find out what they are and how to stop them.
- How to stop an anxiety attack and panic.
- Free online anxiety tests to screen for anxiety. Two minute tests with instant results. Such as:
- Anxiety 101 is a summarized description of anxiety, anxiety disorder, and how to overcome it.