Eve, 35 Years Old: Overwhelmed with Stress and Anxiety
Jessica Entered Therapy Severely Distressed
When Eve came to therapy, she was stressed and exhausted. She was a manager at a tech company and was finding her job difficult. Working up to 60 hours a week or more, Eve didn’t have much of a life outside of work.
She had over 100 employees to manage in her job. Several of them were causing problems due to underperforming.
In addition to the stress she had with her employees, Eve had high expectations of herself that she was often unable to achieve.
Some days she would have panic attacks that frightened her to the point where she thought she might die. These attacks caused her to worry about her ability to keep her job.
Eve often laid awake at night, worrying about the next day. Some nights she barely slept.
She was desperate for help when she arrived in my therapy office.
Eve ‘s Anxiety Dissipates, and She Begins to Enjoy her Life More
During therapy, I used somatic therapy (ST) and Mindfulness techniques to help Eve deal with her worries and fears.
Eve told me that she had always had anxiety, but it only became a serious problem when she started her job 2 years ago.
Gradually, through therapy, Jessica became more aware of the origins of her anxiety and the types of events that triggered it.
Somatic therapy helped her work through a fear she had since childhood that she wasn’t “good enough.” She felt she could never please her parents, no matter how hard she tried.
Her anxiety began to decrease as we worked together, and as it did, her perfectionist tendencies subsided too. Eve began to work less, and it became clear that she wanted a job where she didn’t have to sacrifice her health and happiness.
She began to enjoy her life more as she connected with old friends and developed new ones, practiced yoga, and rediscovered her passion for writing.
Eve’s sleep habits improved, and her anxiety eventually diminished.
Steven, 47 Years Old, Grief-Stricken After His Wife Left Him
Steven, Feeling Desperate, Was Reluctant to See a Therapist
Steven came to therapy after his wife, Nancy, had left him. He felt alone and desperate. He reported that he didn’t know how he could go on living without her.
He hadn’t slept well in over a month. His Performance at work was suffering, and his team was upset with him for not pulling his weight.
Steven knew he should get himself together, but he couldn’t.
When a friend suggested he see a counselor, he resisted. He didn’t see how therapy would help him. He just wanted his wife back, and he clung to the hope that she would return.
But, when his colleagues and boss at work gave him an ultimatum, Steven relented and made a counseling appointment.
Steven Overcomes His Long-Held Anger
Although Steven was skeptical that therapy would help him, he slowly opened up to exploring the deepest layers of his grief.
Nancy was the third woman who had left him in the past 20 years. He couldn’t understand why his relationships always failed.
Through therapy, Steven came to see that he held a great deal of anger, which he had been carrying since his mother died at the age of 10.
When in relationships, Steven had a deep fear that his partners would leave him. When they needed space from him, he would become angry and demand that they spend more time with him.
Eventually, Steven realized that his anxiety about being abandoned lead to his anger, which ultimately chased women away. Steven was amazed when he came to this realization.
Steven continued in therapy for six months, where he healed his deep-seated anger and started to feel more secure in himself. He began cautiously dating again as he continued to work on himself.
When he left therapy, Steven felt more confident that he would, at some point, have a fulfilling long-term relationship.
He was now more secure in himself and thought he would be able to give a partner more space.
Alexis, 39 Years Old, Was Depressed and Felt Hopeless
Alexis Enters Therapy When Her Pain Becomes Unbearable
Alexis suffered from depression on and off for as long as she could remember.
There were a few times in her life where she felt strong and hopeful for a short period. Eventually, however, something would happen, and she’d feel herself being drawn into the darkness again.
Alexis felt she was never able to stay “happy” for long.
Recently, a series of painful events led Alexis to therapy. She was laid off from her job, a long-term relationship ended, she developed a chronic health issue, and her only child moved to another city to attend university.
Before coming to therapy, Alexis kept her problems with depression to herself. Even her friends didn’t know her secret struggles with her dark moods. Whether it was with friends or people at work, she felt she had to put a smile on her face and pretend everything was ok.
But everything definitely wasn’t ok.
Alexis felt lonely and isolated. She often spent her evenings alone, drinking alcohol and overeating.
She was horrified that she was gaining weight but felt powerless to control her eating.
Alexis Feels Lighter and Hopeful About Her Future
After a few therapy sessions, Alexis started practicing Mindfulness. This activity helped her feel calmer when she was agitated and overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness.
Somatic therapy helped Alexis process and heal the part of herself that was full of self-hatred. She wasn’t aware that she spent much of her days being critical of herself.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was beneficial in enabling Alexis to catch herself when she engaged in negative thinking and to be more compassionate with herself.
After many months of therapy, Alexis stated that she started to feel like a new person. Her depressive moods were few and far between. She stopped drinking and overeating.
Even when she had a significant conflict with a friend, she didn’t get “sucked under the black clouds.”
When Alexis ended therapy, she felt more optimistic about her future than she ever had before. She never dreamed she could feel so good about herself and her life.
Devon, 23 Years Old Trapped in a Binge-Restrict Eating Cycle and Feelings of Not Being Unworthy
Devon was a delightful young woman with a great sense of humor. She worked in a successful tech company and had a promising career ahead of her.
Despite this, she suffered immensely due to problems which were the result of childhood emotional and sexual abuse and a rape by a boyfriend when she was 18.
For much of her life, Devon had nightmares about the abuse she experienced. She never slept well and experienced a lot of anxiety.
Devon also had a history of relationships with men who didn’t treat her well.
Devon felt so unlovable that the men she became involved with matched her self image.
She felt she would never be deserving of a loving relationship. She believed she wasn’t thin enough, wasn’t pretty enough, and wasn’t smart enough.
To top it off, Devon had a secret eating disorder. Whenever she felt stressed which was often, she would binge eat junk food until she was so full that she made herself vomit.
Sometimes after a binge, Devon would feel so horrible about herself that she would not eat anything for a few days, and then the binge-restrict eating cycle would start all over again.
Therapy Helps Devon Learn to Love Herself
During therapy sessions, Devon disclosed her history of abuse, her eating disorder, and her relationship struggles.
She also reported that her parents divorced when she was young, and she then lived with her mother, who had a mental illness. Her mother struggled so much that she was unable to give Devon the love and attention she deserved.
Through therapy, Devon came to understand how her abusive and neglectful childhood was the cause of her belief that she was not deserving of love.
In each therapy session, Devon gained more insight into how she had become her own worst enemy because of her deed self-loathing.
Using therapy techniques designed to access and heal the deep traumatic wounds Devon had, she started experiencing herself in a new light.
She began to have compassion for herself and all that she had suffered with during her life.
Her problems with bulimia became less frequent. Devon became more self-accepting of who she was, recognizing all she had to offer in her work, in friendships, and in relationships with men.
Because she started to value herself for the first time in her life, the men she dated treated her with kindness and respect.
* The above success stories are not cases of actual therapy clients. However, they are typical of the clients I work with in therapy.