Tom had always been a worrier.
But things got much worse when he started his new job. He was worrying all the time about his job performance, his relationship with his girlfriend, his finances…even if he felt ok about one thing, his mind would always come up with something else for him to worry about. It took him forever to make decisions, even simple ones. He felt like he needed to be certain about everything. He felt anxious pretty much all the time.
Tom talked a lot about his worries to his parents and his girlfriend.
At first they would keep reassuring him that he is fine and his fears are unfounded, and this would help his anxiety briefly. However, once he felt reassured about one thing, his mind would always bring up another worry and he’d have to talk about that.
Tom could tell that his parents and girlfriend were getting tired of listening to his ongoing anxiety. They would tell him to “just stop worrying about it” and “let it go”. But Tom felt like he couldn’t just let things go. It was like his mind was a runaway train that he couldn’t control no matter how hard he tried. Tom even started to worry that his girlfriend would get so sick of his anxiety that she’d leave him.
Eventually the anxiety started to cause some physical symptoms.
Tom would wake up in the morning feeling sick with worry. When he was at his most anxious, he would feel a tightness in his chest, get nauseous and even have diarrhea. Then he would start to worry about the anxiety itself! Tom began to feel depressed and started losing interest in things he normally enjoyed, like hiking with his girlfriend and hanging out with friends.
Things became so bad that Tom decided it was time to seek help.
He heard about my (Dr. Stein’s) unique approach to counseling for generalized anxiety and decided to give it a try.
Using the skills I showed him in therapy, Tom got much better at pushing his worry off and ending the worry cycle instead of obsessing on things. After a few sessions, Tom got used to allowing himself to feel some degree of uncertainty and his anxiety subsided.
Therapy helped Tom feel less anxious and more energetic.
He was able to concentrate better and perform more effectively at work. He stopped needing so much reassurance from his parents and girlfriend, which improved his relationships with them. His physical symptoms went away. He slept better and felt more confident at work. His mood improved and he no longer felt depressed. Best of all, he stopped worrying so much and started to enjoy life again.
He was so glad he had done Exposure Therapy with me and thanked me for all our work together. We had a few follow-up sessions over the next few months and he was still doing great and comfortably enjoying his life.