“I’ve suffered from social anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia on and off since I was a child. I had seen several psychologists specializing in anxiety disorders and while they helped a little bit, I still hadn’t really learned what anxiety was and why I reacted the way I did to it. I hadn’t learned to change my habitual, knee-jerk reactions to the slightest twinges of anxiety.
“When I started going through the group at Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center I had just bought my first home and was going through a divorce. I was extremely agoraphobic, to the point where I had difficulty even doing simple things like grocery shopping. I would try to get out for a walk every day, but if I had to run any errands, I would save them all up for one day, take some Xanax and rush through them. I developed a whole new set of phobias; I couldn’t have strangers in my home without severe anxiety. Then I got to the point where I couldn’t even have friends in my home.
“Going through the program at PARC was not a miracle cure for me. But it was much more helpful than previous therapy sessions I’d attended, primarily because the focus was solely on learning about anxiety and learning how to handle both the physical symptoms and erroneous thinking that leads from slight anxiety to major panic attacks. I’ve made incredible progress due to the help I received at PARC and my life has definitely changed for the better due to the skills I’ve learned. I took my first vacation (and plane flight) in five years and began getting out socially and doing the things I’d wanted to do but had been too afraid to. I no longer avoid situations out of fear. Especially important was the follow-up. I’ve been able to have individual sessions at PARC on occasion, particularly when I have difficult situations coming up.
“Most importantly, I’ve learned to change my thinking about anxiety and panic to the point where it doesn’t control me the way it once did. I check my breathing, accept my physical symptoms of anxiety for what they are, and ‘catch’ my cognitive distortions as they come up. This has made an enormous difference in how I view anxiety; it no longer has the terrifying hold over me it once did. I still have anxiety and I still have difficult times, but they are so much easier to deal with now and my anxious moments don’t last as long because I have the skills to combat my habitual reactions to anxiety.
“The Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center made an important difference in my life and I’d urge anyone with anxiety problems to go through the program, do the work, keep the journals and make the effort to show up for all the sessions. It’s your choice, but if you do the work and take it seriously, this program can make a huge difference in your life.”