In the United States, approximately 40 million people experience anxiety every year, and more than 16 million experience depression. While anxiety and depression are separate conditions, they often “co-occur”, which means that many people experience symptoms of both conditions at the same time. We would like to share the story of one of our patients who experienced anxiety and depression, and now manages her symptoms through behavioral health treatment and lifestyle changes.
Melissa is a PHN patient who moved to Pennsylvania several years ago from Colorado. In addition to adjusting to a new job and home, Melissa’s only son was in the military and deployed. She began feeling overwhelmed and depressed, and at times her anxiety increased to the point of panic. Over time, Melissa started to hide her real feelings and would pretend to be fine in front of others, while inside she was filled with worry and sadness.
Melissa began seeing Carolyn Brumbaugh, CRNP, and Sue Ellen Grego, LCSW to help manage her symptoms. She states that she is lucky to have found both providers at PHN’s Altoona Behavioral Health location: “Sue Ellen gives me plenty of time to talk and is very attentive; she is not fooled by my happy expression and I never feel like just a number when I see her. Carolyn has adjusted my medication to make sure I am doing well. They are both committed to helping me feel better.”
Melissa also began incorporating new things in her life to help her relax, including gardening, painting, writing in a gratitude journal, and starting a social group in her town where people can come together to eat and play cards.
When asked what advice she would give to others who may be experiencing what she went through, she says, “I think many people could be helped with small reminders that you are valuable. Before you can give anyone else happiness, you must have your own self-worth. I don’t know that I would have been as comfortable telling my story and giving advice had I started seeing a different provider, but I highly recommend the team at PHN.”
We thank Melissa for sharing her experience, as we understand that these situations can be difficult to talk about. Sue Ellen Grego, LCSW, and Carolyn Brumbaugh, CRNP provide behavioral health services at our Altoona Behavioral Health location. If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, talk to your primary care doctor or find a behavioral health office to schedule an appointment. You are not alone, and we are here to help.