149 The anxiety cure

For reasons unknown many creative people suffer from uncontrollable anxiety. Three months ago after an exceptionally anxiety ridden week I woke up and said to myself, “if you don’t cure your anxiety your career is over”. It was a radical thought–one that came out of the blue–but I knew it was true.

But I didn’t know how to find a cure. I’m reasonably well versed in the tenants of psychology. I reviewed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I studied years ago as an effective cure for depression. Unfortunately it had no effect on my anxiety. I tried meditation–a practice I abandoned years ago as anxiety overwhelmed all attempts to relax. It still didn’t work. I could only assume a meditative pose while anxiety played my nervous system like a bass fiddle.

A week later I attended a Christmas Bazaar and a physical therapist named Sharik Peck was giving complimentary massages. As I received my massage I told him about my anxiety. He said he had developed a new therapy that proved successful for many of his patients. I made an appointment and days later experienced the therapy. It was simple–I liked that part of it–but I suspected it might be too simple. During my first session I only had a moderately positive response.

Sharik told me to do the exercise every day. The first week was bad as I had additional stress from worry about the therapy not working (you have to have anxiety disorder to fully understand such absurd logic). But I stuck with it and within a couple of days I had the most amazing experience–no stress. I mean zero. It was incredible. I realized I had suffered from acute stress for decades. A profound peace enveloped me. My wife and daughter could see the difference in my face. I had found the silver bullet to vanquish anxiety.

After the anxiety dissipated I had a keen awareness how stress had disrupted every aspect of my life. It affected my relationships with friends, coworkers, and family. I saw how my condition had distanced people who might otherwise have helped me. It was humbling. On the other hand I was proud of myself for having lived on a volcano yet managed a semblance of normal life. No one knew–nor will ever know–how much discipline I exerted to hold it all together. Now I could use my emotional energy in more productive ways.

I’ve waited a month before sharing this process. It was possible the therapy invoked a placebo effect, a phenomenon that artists, with our vivid imaginations, are highly susceptible to. I’ve had many unfavorable experiences with the placebo effect and have no desire to share disappointment. I am sure this is a legitimate cure. I’m equally sure it won’t work with everyone. But for me it is as close to a miracle cure as I can imagine.

It is a simple therapy and if you live in Northern Utah I highly recommend making an appointment with Sharik Peck. If you live elsewhere drop him an email and he may have advice he can share with you. In time I suspect he may even have a video or other resources available online.

For me the foundation for banishing anxiety was Sherik Peck’s therapy but I felt it prudent to supplement my success by reading a few books on the subject (see below). From reading these two books I have resumed meditation, re-embraced elements of cognitive therapy, and am taking a high quality fish oil supplement (there is compelling evidence that fish oil helps with anxiety). If you know other resources let me know.

We are all unique. It is unlikely that what worked for me will work for everyone. But it might work for some. I wish you success in your search to be the best and happiest person you can be.

Update: I added a regimen of EMDR therapy to shore up my recovery. I use an inexpensive audio recording as well as doing some EMDR therapy with Linda Martin. EMDR therapy is explained in detail in the book The Instinct to Heal listed below. A related condition called High Sensitivity worsens stress. Read about it here).

Brad Teare December 2013

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Updated: 4th December 2020
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