I have had anxiety since I was a young child. This is not to say that my childhood was bad in any way, because it was not. My childhood was very typical overall. But there has always been a level of fear and panic which influenced my behavior.
It was in high school that I realized that I had actual phobias. Driving and bridges to be more specific. Even still, I did most of the driving out of my friends, and they knew I struggled with driving at times.
Through my early 20’s I searched for answers. I literally tried anything that promised it will help with anxiety or depression. I wasted a lot of time, and a lot of money exploring and trying different things.
When I was 22 years old I became a housebound agoraphobic. My anxiety had elevated to a point that I could no longer manage it, and it consumed my life for months. Slowly and gradually I was able to get out of the house, but I never traveled very far from home.
At 26 years of age, I was frustrated, desperate and I wanted once and for all to “get rid” of my anxiety issues. Thumbing through the phonebook, I came across an ad for White Plains Hospital Anxiety & Phobia Treatment Center, and I called immediately.
Making that call changed my life. I enrolled in a workshop at the time, and that is where I met my counselor, who I credit to this day for saving my life. She was extremely patient with me and taught me everything I know about creating recovery.
However, during the workshop, I did not make great progress. I was suffering so badly that I did not believe that I would be cured by what my counselor was telling me. I felt like I needed something “major” – like surgery, or medications – something strong. For the first couple of months of meeting my counselor, I would meet with her once a week, and the rest of the week I was still exploring other methods of recovery.
After a couple of months, I was no better off and feeling completely exhausted – hopeless & helpless. I remember the night I met my counselor and she saw the exhaustion on my face and she asked me, “are you ready now to start recovery?” I responded “yes” – and that marked the official beginning of my journey to recovery. That was in the summer of 1994.
In 2010 I entered a training course at the Treatment Center and became a certified counselor myself in the same program that helped me so much. Being hired by the hospital, I ran workshops myself and a weekly support. This training and ability to work with others allowed me to explore my own recovery even further, and compare it to the difficulties that others experience when trying to create recovery.
I pledged that I would help anyone that suffers from anxiety disorders. This is why I am making myself available. I will continue to chronicle my own journey – the steps that I have taken to create my recovery – as well as the things that have helped me, slowed my progress and I will share the experiences of clients of mine as well. I hope you will find benefit from this information.
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