My Journey with Anxiety and Therapy
*Please note, I am by no means a professional telling you how to handle or treat your anxiety. I am just a regular person like you who is sharing my journey and some tips on what has helped me along the way*
Hello everyone! If you follow me on Instagram (and if not, you should!), you know that I have been seeing a therapist over the past few months to help me with my anxiety; something I am very open about and love discussing. Reflecting on my childhood, it seems anxiety has always been something I’ve felt, just never knew how to properly label. The anxiousness and nervousness I would feel before exams or games seemed normal enough, but now realizing that it stemmed from the consistent fear of not performing or living up to expectations, whether set by others or myself, instead of typical “pre-game butterflies”, makes it clear to me that anxiety has always played a role in my life. The queasiness and overwhelming feeling that I used to express coming over me whenever discussing the idea of time never ending (a very odd conversation for a young kid to have, but I weirdly remember having it multiple times) is the first clear memory I have of my anxiety. Unable to describe what I was actually feeling, I now know was anxiety. As my life evolved, my anxiety did as well. I began to fear the unknown, become anxious over succeeding, struggle with giving up control, and consistently seek perfection. Heck, I’ve even tried to “perfect” my anxiety. Let me tell ya, it’s not possible!
Once I came to terms with the fact that these moments of shortness of breath, chronic digestive pains, clenching of my fists, and grinding my teeth were not a relaxed way of living life and were results of my anxiety, I began to focus on how to minimize these feelings by moving my life in a more relaxed and mindful direction. Enforcing a morning and nighttime routine, cutting back on my alcohol consumption, minimizing passive time spent on social media, practicing meditation, seeing an acupuncturist, journaling, swapping my coffee for matcha (see how to video below), practicing gratitude, and seeing a therapist are the main tools I have used to do this. That’s right, I see a therapist, and I’m sure as hell not embarrassed by it. Why should I be!? Would you be embarrassed to tell someone you see a trainer at your gym to improve your physical body? No. So why should I be embarrassed to tell you I see a similar professional for my mind and mental health? Good, now that we’ve got that behind us, let’s talk about why I started seeing one and how I went about the process.
After college graduation, when my anxiety was progressively getting more present, I saw a therapist for a few sessions at home before moving into NYC. I freaking loved it, but once I started my job and lived in this new city, I convinced myself it just wasn’t something I could fit in to my schedule. So, when I decided to begin working for myself, it was one of the first things I promised myself I would pursue. Using internet searches and personal recommendations, I narrowed it down to four therapists that I wanted to try out. Treating it like a speed dating program, I saw all four with the clear explanation of “I’m looking for a new therapist to see full-time, I’m seeing you and a few others, if I think we are a good fit then I’ll be in touch afterwards.” After a few sessions, it was clear that one was the obvious choice, and I’ve been with her ever since. Not only has therapy provided me a space to say whatever the heck I am thinking about absolutely anyone or anything, but it has also provided me a space to work through things from a different perspective than I normally would have taken, to acknowledge that certain things may be nagging me more than I’m acknowledging (ever leave a therapy session thinking “how the heck did we get there?!”), and become more comfortable and open with my feelings.
Because of these life changes, you may ask, do I no longer have anxiety? Ha! That’s a good joke. Unfortunately, I don’t think anxiety is something I will ever fully “get rid of”; and that is something I’ve recently come to terms with. Instead of focusing on perfecting my anxiety and refusing to believe that I cannot live the life I want with it, I’ve decided to confidently believe that those two things can coexist. I am able to be happy and successful while still having anxiety. Am I going to try to do all I can to minimize these feelings? Of course; why wouldn’t I? But I sure as hell am not going to tell myself I won’t be fully complete until it is gone. Hell, life is too short!I hope you enjoy my video below where I discuss my journey in more depth and answer the questions that some of my Instagram followers have sent in. Also, because of all you wonderful beings, I am able to provide you with a list of recommended acupuncturists and therapists (mainly in NYC). I personally cannot speak to these professionals as I have not personally seen them and they are recommended by followers.
*Update as of September 2019: I am currently on medication to help assist with my anxiety. More on that to come…*
NYC Therapist Recommendations
Psychology Today’s therapist search
NYC Cognitive Therapy
Center for Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Flatiron Mental Health
Therapists of New York
Briana Von Bank
Nisha Ver Halen
Outside of NYC Therapist Recommendations
Denise Broadwater (Charleston, SC)
Tegan Sorvino (Short Hills, NJ)
Barbara Lankelis (Wyckoff, NJ)
Jennifer Gregory (Indianapolis)
Marta Pickens (El Dorado Hills, California)
Sue Adams (Burlington, VT)
Meek Miller (Long Island)
NYC Acupuncturist Recommendations:
Hold Middle Acupuncture
Erin Kumpf (Jersey City)