Looking for a new approach to treat anxiety

I am looking for recommendations for my beautiful, smart daughter, 21, who has been struggling with anxiety/depression for about 4 years now. When it began, she was a college freshman away from home, and from that point on, endured a variety of unsuccessful therapies and anti-depressants (with terrible side effects). After two years, she went to a residential therapy program where they treated her for “inability to manage distress” as well as other social-related conditions. At that time, they determined that her struggles were related more to distress and anxiety (resulting in depression) than the other way around. She came out of that program a stronger person, with a plan, and then COVID-19 hit. She is now going to a local school and living on campus, but her mental state has been deteriorating with time. Unfortunately, when she came back from the program, she continued to see the therapist she had been with before she left, and almost every time, she comes back in a state of depression/anxiety. (Not exactly the result we are looking for.) At this point, she is really struggling and she is 1) extremely distrustful of anyone in the business of therapy/psychiatry because “nothing has worked”, and 2) convinced that something is truly wrong with her brain. Of course there is so much more, but I'm just wondering if this resonates with anyone else and if you have recommendations. The last thing I want to do is set her up for another failure so I'm trying to think out of the box a bit. At the very least find someone who will build her up and help her to feel strong. 

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My daughter is 22 and was diagnose with 3 forms of anxiety  along with depression and panic disorder at age 16.  She started therapy and meds at age 16 and had to experiment with several in the coming years.  At age 22 she is now on a cocktail of three combined meds that have greatly helped her.  While she still has her issues, we work with her closely along with her therapist to ensure she has a very support based environment.   She changed therapists a couple of times to find the right one for her and that is working.  Your daughter may have to do the same and be prepared to assist with that journey.   This is a journey, there are no quick fixes and for every step forward, there are several back.  Nothing is wrong with her brain as it were.  My kid is in the process of graduating college, has a full time job, a boyfriend and a very close friends who understand her and they created a support system for each other.  I would recommend  Laura Compton (925) 299-9033.  She is younger and relates really well with this age group.  I have watched my child bloom in the recent months and that is after a few failures in therapy with people who could not relate to her struggles.    Your daughter CAN be successful.  It can be a struggle to get there, but with a good support system, she can do it.  If my kid can, so can yours.  My kid was a wreck and to see her now is like night and day.  She has her good and bad days.  I make sure I am there for both.  I am what you might call the bad cop in the parenting end so to have my kid come to me for advice is a miracle.  Best of luck to you.  

Perhaps a skill based approach would help? Breaking it down into skills is a positive, empowering way to view growth and  development. Teens into 20’s is a time fraught with so many challenges- having issues does not mean your daughter is in any way broken or defective. Life brings about demands on a person, and in times of pandemic, none of us is fully  prepared to deal with what arises. Building skills in life areas provides a sense of “ I can do this”. Defining what to work on is key for helping anyone forge a path to better living.

this is a good workbook as an introduction to DBT. Reasonably priced, not at all pathologizing of people’s struggles, but does work for most everyone over a wide range of issues. Worth considering...

https://www.amazon.com/Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Workbook-Anxiety/dp/1572249544

Thanks,

 Jennifer

I'm so sorry your daughter is suffering and feeling so discouraged. Unfortunately, I don't think it's uncommon to experience professional therapeutic help that's ineffective at best, and harmful at worst. Fit is everything, and it's worth it to keep looking until you find someone who can accurately understand, connect with, and effectively help your daughter. I would highly recommend contacting Dr. Amy Berlin, MD, in Berkeley: ‭(415) 820-1588. After decades of also experiencing that "nothing has worked," it felt like a miracle to find Dr. Berlin. She's a real person in the therapy relationship (not a therapist persona), is kind, compassionate, and incredibly clear and insightful. She listens well, inspires confidence and is able to build trust. I'm not sure if she's taking new patients right now, but if she's not, she could direct you to a trusted colleague. Please tell your daughter not to lose hope! There is good help out there.

I think there are several avenues to try. !. Exercise. She should be really breathing hard at least once a day. Just a fast walk can probably do it. But running, bike riding, or whatever works for her are all good. 2. Nature. Spend time in a green environment such as an urban or regional park.  Just forest bathing is good, but walking and running are good too. 3. Meditation. Takes a lot of discipline, but this one really pays off. 4. Reduce exposure to toxins. Get fragrance-free laundry detergent, dish detergent, shampoo, and personal care products. Get rid of cleaners such as bleach, ammonia, 409, etc. Usually you need little more than water to clean; maybe some detergent for anything oily or greasy and maybe some baking soda for an abrasive. The other cleaners are counter-productive. New paint and new carpet can also be toxic. Open windows if the air quality is good outside. Stop burning wood, wearing fragrances, and using air fresheners. It will take a few weeks for her to clear the toxins from her system. Improvement should be subtle but clear. I hope these suggestions work. Use google for more info about them. Good luck. 

I have been on a journey to manage my depression and anxiety since I was your daughter’s age and really, traditional therapy and Meds helped stabilize but didn’t heal me. For the last few years I have been with Family Matters of Marin. They use a mix of more progressive modalities and I can feel major internal shifts. The modalities include Internal Family Systems, EMDR, trauma informed therapy, mindfulness. I have benefited from identifying anxiety as an internal part that has a purpose vs describing myself as anxious. My therapist works with a group in the East Bay as well, training folks in these modalities. I believe this includes Rachel Walker, Colleen West. https://www.colleenwest.com/ and i imagine there are more.