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Anxiety Disorders: A story of hope

Press Release, 10 November 2010 (Word count 452)
Anxiety Disorders: A story of hope

As we approach the “silly season,” and the inevitable pressures on work and spending; it’s nice to be reminded that Christmas is suppose to be a time of hope. Becky Alexander’s life is such a story. Now leading a new monthly Support Group at The Phobic Trust in Wellington as well as her own business, Becky’s anxiety disorders are becoming a distant memory.

“I had my first panic attack in my early 20s,” she said. “This developed into a panic disorder and agoraphobia. At my worst, I found it difficult to leave the house; I couldn’t hold down a regular job and relationships were impossible. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went from one specialist to another and would always get an unsatisfactory answer. I finally found my way to The Phobic Trust and was able to put a name to the problem – it was an enormous help and the first step to my recovery.”

For the past 30 years, The Phobic Trust in Auckland has been an international leader in treating thousands of suffers of a range of anxiety disorders including panic attacks, social anxiety, phobias, body dysmorphia, kleptomania and more. The Wellington clinic was opened in response to a similar need in the capital.

“I was diagnosed at The Phobic Trust in 2002,” says Becky. “Initially, I met with CEO Marcia Read QSO, who has suffered terribly from social anxiety since the age of five. Now she is heading the trust, presents at international conferences and has become internationally renowned for her work. To hear her story and to realise there are people out there like me that get through this problem, was an enormous inspiration.”

“The first 18 months of my recovery was the most difficult, I had to re-learn how to be socially confident, but I was lucky to have a good network of friends, who encouraged me to get out. Once I broke through that first period, I made improvement fast. Now I’m a fitness trainer with my own business. If you’d said to me seven years ago I would be in this position as well as helping people with similar disabilities, I wouldn’t have believed it possible.”

Next year Becky will be attending Massey University to begin a degree in Health Science majoring in Social Rehabilitation. Her goal is to integrate fitness and nutrition into mental health programmes to provide a more holistic approach to the road to recovery for sufferers.

The ongoing monthly anxiety disorders support group is held at The Phobic Trust in Wellington from 5.30pm-7.30pm on the last Thursday of each month. It includes business owners through to those unable to work due to their disability and a range of ages.


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