If you’re here for the first time, welcome, but those of you who have gotten to know me remember that I have PTSD.
And PTSD & anxiety leave you feeling unsafe and out of control of your own body. Panic attacks leave you feeling emotionally and physically drained. You are left feeling your fears control you.
Healing your self esteem by overcoming your fears in desensitization therapy will help you feel more confident and in control.
And if you have anxiety, you know that feeling in control of your body and emotions really promotes positivity.
Let’s chat about how desensitization helped me overcome my greatest fear and helped in healing self esteem in myself. And can help you start taking your life back from your fears.
How Healing Self Esteem Starts with Desensitization Therapy
There was once a time in my life where my PTSD was so bad it morphed into agoraphobia (fear of large crowds). Yes, you can get phobias from untreated PTSD. I felt alone, scared, and I isolated myself so much that I could no longer go outside my home without having a panic attack. Thinking about going outside left me a shivering mess in my shower.
That’s when my therapist prescribed a service dog for me and we started desensitization therapy to help me feel safer in the world. You don’t need a service dog to participate in desensitization therapy for anxiety. Just an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a desire to move through your fear.
Desensitization Therapy is for people who suffer from anxiety, PTSD, phobias, or fears they would like help to learn to resolve.
Desensitization involves learning self care and relaxation techniques to self soothe while slowly exposing yourself to your fear.
Desensitization for anxiety is MORE than just talk therapy. It’s confronting your fears, head on, and learning to accept, soothe, and push through.
Learning to manage the fear and anxiety while confronted with what makes you uncomfortable can help in healing self esteem.
It is best done with a doctor or therapist who can safely guide you and help you overcome any obstacles and emotional blocks you encounter. You will be uncomfortable as you learn, but you will learn how you cope, what works for you, and how to prepare.
It did me a WORLD of good! Desensitization chips away at your fears safely to help you live without your fears ruling your behavior.
For help finding a qualified doctor or therapist, Check out Psychology Today. Simply click your Country and start your search.
How Desensitization Therapy Helps Agoraphobia and Heals Self Esteem
Back in the early 2000s, Geez I feel old now, after a huge move from the US to Japan and the difficult birth of my daughter, I had a really hard time controlling my PTSD.
I relied more on my husband and eventually secluded myself and my daughter off from the world. By the time that I got back to the US, I had agoraphobia- fear of crowds.
I would become a walking puddle of fear anytime I would leave my house. Frequently crying for hours after having a panic attack.
There were days where I couldn’t even get out of my shower because the fear of having to encounter strangers was so terrifying for me, it paralyzed my body. I spent hours frozen in fear in a cold shower. My poor husband would come home to a wet, crying, freezing wife. He needed more time off to help me.
That’s when my husband, my therapist, and I decided desensitization therapy for anxiety would be my best long term solution.
We began by identifying why I was so afraid of people. For me, I felt unsafe and vulnerable. My husband and I did guided exercises to slowly expose myself to being near others. We sat in the car and people watched a lot while I cried and shook.
I got stuck in my therapy and developed an unhealthy codependent relationship with my husband. Our next step was to introduce a service dog into my treatment plan. Luckily, I had the perfect pooch, who was a perfect fit. He was my dog training demonstration dog; he just needed to learn the task work for my PTSD needs.
With the help of a great pup, support of my family, and some intense work in and out of therapy; I could start taking my life back.
I became active in my community again and started teaching public dog training classes- something that was IMPOSSIBLE for me before. I became an advocate for dogs with anxiety disorders like myself.
I could start caring for my family again instead of being cared for. My independence was reclaimed. I no longer felt like a child of my husband’s, but his wife again. And I became a better mother to my young daughter.
How Fear is Holding You Back From Healing Self Esteem
When you live your life with fear, it is lonely and stressful. You’re unplugged from life. I missed lots of birthdays, celebrations, and trips. My fear isolated me and had me trapped.
Learning to heal your self esteem through desensitization can help you with:
- Regaining your independence
- Learning coping skills for panic attacks
- Help you accomplish tasks you couldn’t due to fear avoidance
- Improve your relationships with your spouse and kids that have been altered by your fears
- Reduce fear related sleep problems
- Introduce Calming Techniques to your daily life
- Help you enjoy your life again
- Help you become involved with friends again
- and more.
RELATED POST: 8 Simple Calming Techniques You Need to Ease Anxiety & PTSD
How Desensitization Therapy is Healing Self Esteem
Before desensitization therapy, my mental health was very fragile.
I struggled every day just to care for my basic needs and the needs of my daughter. My husband had to fend for himself. Many days I didn’t have the mental energy to care for him too. Fear was taking up too much space in my life.
Years after my desensitization therapy, I can see just how afraid I was.
And just how much that fear took a toll on my self esteem.
Your self esteem will grow because you will:
- Gain confidence in your ability to deal with stress
- Rejoice in your ability to do things for yourself again
- Enjoy your time alone without feeling constant fear
- You can plan fun time to enjoy with family and friends without an anxiety meltdown
- The fear of constant panic attacks is gone
- You learn more about yourself and what you need for your anxiety
- You feel like a physical weight has been lifted off your mind, body, and soul.
- You’re able to be more productive in work, home, and fun!
RELATED POST: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Adding Positivity In Your Life
Healing Self Esteem with Desensitization Therapy and Journaling
I cannot stress this enough- Journaling is the KING of hobbies when you have anxiety or PTSD. You can use it for everything, especially therapy!
Not only are you organized, but you can keep track of your accomplishments and failures between therapy appointments. –Because who can remember their week when put on the spot? Not me, that’s for sure!-
You will have all your therapy notes from your sessions, and your observations and feelings from your solo work in one convenient notebook. No more losing your notes for your next session. Grab some category tabs and you’re ready!
When you have your notes, you can go back and discover patterns you didn’t know you had. -I found that one of my strongest anxiety & panic attack triggers was feeling unsafe.-
Discover your own patterns, true deep feelings, and have notes for your therapist and doctor to help with your personal self care & treatment plan by keeping journal.
This journal is the king! It has 700 full size pages to keep on those therapy, dr, and anxiety notes!
RELATED POST: 20 Healthy Mindset Habits You Need to Improve Your Anxiety
Wrapping It Up: How Healing Self Esteem Improved My Life
Life with PTSD and anxiety is challenging, but my time healing self esteem in desensitization therapy gave me my life back.
I rarely suffer from a panic attack now. I am able to be an active participant in my life again. I enjoy my family, friends, and even enjoy chats with friendly strangers I wait in line with.
I can help my family again. My husband has his wife back- I no longer feel like his child. My daughter has her mother back and she no longer feels the need to protect me. I am now self sufficient and feel optimistic about my life with PTSD & Anxiety after going through desensitization therapy.
Tell me about your how you are healing your self esteem in the comments! If you’re brave, share a fear.
-I am afraid of deep water from surviving the flood. But now I happily sit in water below my chest by swimming with my pups.–
Don’t forget to subscribe to get tips for anxiety, PTSD, & psychiatric service dogs delivered to your inbox!
Pin, share, and comment to share the love.
I currently have anxiety and take medication for it. Definitely learning techniques to help manage my anxiety has helped a lot. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.
what an eye opener story for sure
Thanks for sharing this part of your story with anxiety and PTSD. I also deal with both, and having pets and journaling has been a major source of comfort, even when the pets aren’t specially trained. I’m so inspired by you conquering your fears.
This is such a meaningful post and one I will be coming back to. Thank you so much for sharing. I think you can make a real difference.
Thank you so much for this! That really touches my heart!
Wow this is so interesting, I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this before! I have some PTSD from my previous marriage and I need to start looking more into this. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing how it helped you too!
I had literally never heard of this and I’ve suffered With anxiety for years!
I have a phobia of sharks. Don’t think I fancy trying to swim with them though! But would love to apply this elsewhere… especially obsessive thoughts. Thanks for the share.
I wouldn’t go as far as getting in water with real sharks, as that can actually threaten your life, but If you could be very comfortable being near water with sharks(like the aquarium or safe on a boat) that would be a goal to strive for. It works very well on obsessive thoughts. I have used this type of therapy to help with them.
This was so interesting to read. As someone who struggles with social anxiety I always find desensitization to be something I’m very curious about. Thanks for sharing!
Very eye opening article. Thanks so much!
Such a good post! I love how you mentioned that desensitization can help people gain independence and grow and sharpen coping and calming skills! All of us can benefit from better coping skills! Our mental health is largely determined by how we can cope with what we have going on in our minds whether that’s PTSD, depression, anxiety, or every day stress. Loved this!