Meet Kayla, a client at our Long Beach Outpatient clinic. Upon entering therapy, Kayla struggled to manage her intrusive thoughts, excessive worrying and daily stomachaches. Months later, she has learned new ways to manage her stress and endure the “roller coaster” that is anxiety. This is Kayla’s drawing of what her therapeutic journey has felt like as she learns how to cope with anxiety and overcome her challenges.
The roller coaster means that there are a lot of twists and turns in my life, and after therapy the roller coaster just started being straight and smooth. On the negative side, every stop sign meant to stop and cry, and the “anxiety ahead” signs symbolize danger signs. On the negative side, it was dark and raining, and there were skulls on the floor and a cactus. On the positive side, there are sunflowers, a bright, blue sky and a “happiness up ahead” sign to stop and smile.
Kayla has been able to make such incredible progress because she has the courage and dedication to take what she learns in session and directly apply it to her life in a way that makes sense to her. For example, Kayla has always been creative and artistic, so now she uses art as a way to manage her anxiety and clear her mind of intrusive thoughts. She also created a relaxing bedtime routine for herself, which includes making herself a cup of hot tea and applying calming, essential oils. When Kayla first began treatment, she was scared, tearful, and not her usual, outgoing self. Now, after making positive changes in her life, she is happier, less fearful, and back to her “normal self.” I am very proud of Kayla, and hope she is proud of herself, too.