Natalie described herself as an overall anxious person for most of her life, even though she didn’t know when or why it started.
She began to notice an increasing frequency of panic attacks coupled with anxiety around her health.
She had experienced some significant health problems which triggered an intense fear of her health and quality of life deteriorating. In focusing so much on her health, she became consumed by her worries. She was exceedingly hypervigilant for any physical changes and sensations and would quickly shift all her focus and energy onto any perceived illness or injury. As a result, she spent an increasing amount of time trying to avoid any physical discomfort or any uncomfortable situation.
She spent a lot of time googling her medical concerns in the hopes of figuring it all out.
She regularly visited the doctor too and knew she probably went more often than was really necessary. As her focus on her body intensified, she began to experience more panic attacks. She would recognize an unexpected change in her body (e.g. dizziness, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, random pain, etc.) and then do all she could to try and calm herself to prevent it from worsening. However, the opposite would often occur. The anxiety or physical symptoms would intensify. She felt trapped. The more effort she put into trying to solve her anxieties, the worse they became.
Her family, while supportive, began to suffer along with Natalie. Almost all conversation in some way revolved around her anxiety.
While Natalie was grateful for her supportive family she felt significant guilt at the burden she felt she was becoming.
Natalie visited many different types of medical providers hoping to find the cause of her ailments. While medical doctors could treat some of her physical concerns, they could not seem to account for all her suffering, leading them to suggest anxiety as a potential cause. Natalie decided to pursue traditional talk therapy, but found the attempts to identify precipitating causes (such as an unprocessed traumatic event or difficult memory) unhelpful and unable to resolve her current complaints.
It was at this point, she found Anxiety Solutions and was eager to try a new approach: Exposure Therapy. She started seeing us for specialized help with her anxiety.
In Exposure Therapy , Natalie gained a new understanding of anxiety and what to do about it. She began to recognize how she had unknowingly been doing things to make her anxiety worse and began taking steps to work through her anxiety in a much healthier way.
Using the strategies she practiced with us, Natalie noticed a drastic reduction in the frequency of her panic attacks and overall intensity of her anxiety. She found herself worrying much less about her health.
She stopped googling her symptoms and going to the doctor so often. She felt much more equipped to deal with anxiety when it would arise and regained the freedom and flexibility to enjoy her life. Natalie returned to all her previously enjoyed activities and finally felt like she, not the anxiety, was in control of her future.