Home Experiences Personal story of Maria


Published on Feb 15, 2024

“I get up without fear and I go to bed without fear. I dare to plan more things again”.

Maria, 45, had been suffering from anxiety symptoms for 14 years. Several times a day she checked herself for illnesses. The great fear of becoming ill and dying from it affected her daily life. Via her general practitioner she came into therapy at iPractice Utrecht.


When I noticed that something small was not right in my body, I immediately got scared
During bad periods, I checked my body several times a day for diseases. Especially focusing on cancer. When I noticed that something small was not right in my body, I immediately got scared. I had a moment of peace when everything seemed normal. Yet I caught myself checking that too to make sure I could have that rest. This caused anxiety. I had a great fear of becoming ill and dying from it. I was not only afraid for myself, but also for my family. I was afraid of anything that could cause death.


“I didn’t think therapy was necessary and I was afraid it would make things worse”

When I told my new doctor my life history, she thought this was quite something. She asked if I had therapy for this, such as EMDR. I had thought about this before, but I didn’t think it was necessary. After all, I was functioning normally. Both within my family and at work. I was just living my life and I didn’t think therapy would help anyway. I didn’t want to start either, because I was afraid it would get worse. I thought I was quite happy already. According to my doctor, I could be so much happier. I decided to give therapy a chance.


“I did not expect the experiences of my past to be such a direct cause of my anxiety”

My anxiety symptoms were caused by my experiences in the past. I did not expect my experiences in the past to be such a direct cause of my anxiety. But thinking back on it, they were. I developed my anxiety symptoms exactly after those events. To process these traumatic events, I had several EMDR treatments.


“I saw it as a big challenge to go back to the experiences”

The EMDR treatments were focused on the events that caused the anxiety symptoms. It was a big challenge for me to go back to those experiences and face my fears. My world was briefly turned upside down after this. My symptoms seemed worse, temporarily.


“Suddenly there is a point where you notice that things are going well” 

My automatic reaction was avoidance. If I didn’t go to therapy, I didn’t have to face it. I preferred to just move on, then to deal with my anxiety. I also didn’t believe it would ever go away. That made it very difficult to go on. I said this to my psychologists. Their understanding was very nice. With their help, I managed to get out of that avoidance and accept the challenge. After the most difficult sessions, there was suddenly a point where I noticed that things were getting better. From then on, I even enjoyed going to therapy.


“The combination of EMDR and ACT was very valuable to me” 

The causes for my anxiety symptoms were touched during the physical EMDR treatments. Online, we were more focussing on the here and now. Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I learned to deal with anxious thoughts and feelings in daily life and with the feelings that were released by the EMDR sessions. Also in relation to the roles I fulfill as a daughter, mother, partner and friend.


“Understanding how my brain works helped a lot”

I learned how unconscious processes in our body and brain affect how we think, feel and act. That I perpetuated the fear and therefore I could reverse it myself. I allowed my brain to experience that it does not have to be anxious. This was a new insight. I tried it and I noticed very quickly that this is really how it works.


“I think the combination of online and offline treatments is great”

The online treatment felt a bit uncomfortable in the beginning. The psychologists were very helpful in what felt right for me. The treatment was really customized instead of a standard protocol. Now I think the combination of online and offline treatments is great! I felt like I had 10 methods in one, which I really like. It allowed me to work on myself so much and intensively! That would never have been possible with 1 psychologist or 1 type of treatment. I also think it is very nice that I did notice that they had contact with each other. I didn’t have to repeat myself.


“I enjoy life more, feel more resilient and can make more choices for myself” 

Therapy has brought me a lot. I can really recommend it to everyone. Actually, I regret not having done it sooner. I always thought I already was very positive, but now even more. I get up without fear and I go to bed without fear. I dare to plan more things again. I didn’t dare to do this before. There was always a little voice “maybe you won’t be here anymore”. When that little voice comes now, I can easily dismiss it. I have practically no fears anymore! I enjoy life more, I feel more resilient and I can make more choices for myself.


“I learned to choose me”

When I have choices to make, I always think, ‘What’s in this for me?’ Instead of always thinking what does it gives the other person. In addition to trauma processing, I have learned to choose me. It has given me freedom and spontaneity. I say no more often. Also within my work. I dare to take steps and stand confidently in this. Physically, the therapy has also brought me much; I live healthier, move more and suffer less from asthma.


“Take yourself serious and give it to yourself. Give it a chance and go”

Do you suffer from anxiety symptoms or experienced trauma? Don’t get stuck, go! I tell everyone how it helped me, it changed my life. Give it a chance! Be open to a whole new world where you can learn a lot. The combination of EMDR and ACT for trauma was very valuable to me. It has brought me so much. So much more happiness. I am grateful that I got the help. The family doctor said “your life can be much happier. That really came true.


Looking for help?
Are you experiencing anxiety symptoms or symptoms after trauma like Maria? Don’t hesitate to seek help. Call 085-1308900 now and talk to a psychologist.

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