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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have experienced small bouts of depression over a number

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I have experienced small bouts of depression over a number of years and am emotionally quite a sensitive person, probably due to underlying self-confidence issues. For a while I seemed to have this in check, with only very minor meltdowns, but recently, because of starting a university course and relationship issues, this has spiraled out of control.
I started experiencing small panic attacks within exams which have worsened and have become more frequent and happening in other situations.
Since, I have been struggling to focus on anything and memory recall is really bad. I am also not sleeping properly.
I have had some counseling and have tried self-help books, but don't have time 2 read them constantly as have other work to do.
How do I know for sure what the underlying issues are and how do I go about solving them?
my gp just gave me a self-help book because I asked about the panic attacks.
I am really worried all this is starting to ruin chances I am trying to make for myself in life.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like there is something in your past that might be causing your panic attacks and depression. It is often the case that when someone suffers with these types of symptoms, they were abused as a child. Is this true for you? If not, where there other issues in your childhood or as a young adult that you feel would trigger these symptoms? Answering these questions will help you start to understand the root of your symptoms.


When you start to feel anxious, there are things you can do to help yourself. First, remember to breath. That may sound strange, but often with anxiety people take shallow breaths which makes them more anxious. So remember deep breaths. Remind yourself that you are safe. These are only feelings you have and they will not hurt you. Allow the anxiety wash over you. Accept it. The more you accept it, the less hold it has on you. Practice these techniques as much as you can. Then they will become automatic each time you feel anxious.


There are two things that help with anxiety and depression. One is seeing a therapist. I know you said that you lack the time right now to see anyone. But you may want to try to fit it in. Therapy is an important part of recovering from anxiety and depression. It can make it easier for you to cope so you can accomplish all you want to. Even if you saw the therapist once every two weeks, it's still more effective than nothing at all.


You mentioned that you saw one before. Did it help? If not, keep trying to find a therapist that you can work with. You can ask your GP for a referral. Or if you attend church, talk with your pastor. You can also search on line at and


Two, you can work on this issue yourself. Time being a factor for you, these are resources that you can read a piece at a time. Here are some I recommend:


The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Edmund J. Bourne


The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus


Self-Coaching: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression, 2nd Edition, Completely Revised and Updated by Joseph J. Luciani


You can find these on or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this has helped you,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No abuse, although my childhood was quite tumultuous, yet some of my siblings seem fine so don't understand why it is I am not dealing with stuff well and they seem ok.

It always seems to be linked with the learning environment too, or anywhere there is a pressure to suceed or potential of failure. Deffinately whenever there is pressure to know or learn something.

If I go the therapist route, as suggested, what type of therapy should I look for? there are many different types out there.
Yes, I have read self-help books already, but I will try those you have suggested too, thanks,

It was a university coucellor I was previously seeing, which did seem a bit helpful until I stopped seeing them and then developed the panic attacks. Do you think this will be sufficient or should I go to my gp and ask for counseling through that route? (I did not mention to my counsellor about panic attacks and am not sure what level of therapy they can provide)

I am really confused about everything and worried that whatever I try next still wont work Frown

Everybody reacts differently to stress, especially in childhood. It depends on your personality, environment and how you process what is happening. That is probably why you reacted differently than your siblings.


Pressure to perform well in school can cause much stress, particularly if you are struggling with self esteem, anxiety and depression issues. But the need to succeed can also come from feeling less than others, something you may have picked up as a child. Maybe you were compared to other kids? Or you felt you could never do well enough. Or you were not paid attention to by those that mattered. They are all possibilities to explain your feelings.


When searching for a counselor, look for one who can do Cognative Behavioral therapy (CBT) or Integrated therapy, both of which are highly effective with anxiety and depression. They work to help you change your thought process and integrated therapy also helps you find the origin of your symptoms by doing talk therapy about your past. Any Master's level therapist can help you. This includes M.Ed, MSW, LSW or MA therapists. You can see a psychologist as well. That is someone with a Ph.D. A psychiatrist is unnecessary at this time unless you feel you need medication. But therapy should be enough at this point for you.


The University counselor is ok if you feel they have the qualifications and experience to help you. But if they cannot be there for you long term, you may want to seek out a therapist outside of your campus.


Keep in mind, anxiety is highly curable. Try some of the books, especially the Edmund Bourne book. I use his book often with great results. With therapy and some self help work, you should be feeling better very soon.



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