“Before I became a client at the Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center, my life was a mess. I had been suffering from depression, panic attacks, and episodes of agoraphobia for about a year. It was one day during a break at work that I noticed an ad in a Chicago magazine. I remember the questions in the ad: ‘Do you suffer from anxiety?’ ‘Do you feel your heart racing rapidly?’ ‘Do you feel like sometimes you are going to lose control?’
“My answer to all of these questions was a resounding ‘yes.’ I remember when I called and talked to Mark Pfeffer, the director of PARC, for the first time. There was a feeling of relief that someone actually understood what I was going through.After months of therapists who could only tell me that I had depression and were quick to prescribe anti-depressants, I now had found a way to deal with my panic disorder. I only wish that I had known about PARC sooner; I would have saved a lot of money spent on other types of treatments.
“I remember my first group session at PARC. There was such an immediate bond because we were all suffering from the same thing. It was such a relief to know that I was not the only person who had panic disorder and that I finally could get the help I really needed. I should point out that I was never the most diligent of students in high school or college and it was a little disconcerting to know that I would be doing homework again. But honestly, this was the most important homework I’ve ever done in my life.
“We learned about cognitive restructuring, breathing techniques, and ways of dealing with anticipatory anxiety. We also made lists of what we hoped to accomplish through the course of the program. For me, it was being able to get on an airplane again and see a concert, both of which I had avoided for a year. I gained so much confidence through the support of my class and through Mark’s guidance. It was toward the end of the program that I met my fiancée (our first date was a Bruce Springsteen concert) and a week after my last class, I got on a plane again. Thank you, PARC, for everything.”