How Her Anxiety Affected Her
Katherine shared about the anxiety she had and that it was difficult for her to make friends. She did not like to talk on the phone or make any calls. Thinking about going to college gave her a lot of anxiety about being around other students, and her learning challenges due to her problems focusing. In social situations, she never knew what to say, and she was afraid she would say something wrong. She was sure others would notice that she was different or laugh at her. In fact, she was so nervous in social situations, she often did blurt out phrases that were out of context, and then people would look at her, which made her even more nervous.
Strategies to Reduce Her Anxiety
Katherine and I worked on strategies that helped her reduce her stress and anxiety. She learned to plan ahead when she needed to do something that made her nervous, such as writing down what she should say before calling her doctors office. Although it was difficult for her, she went to the college resource center to get assistance. They helped her with adaptations for assignments, and made arrangements for test taking that helped her to be successful.
The Strategies Were Effective – She was Able to Go Back to School
We talked about how new situations and people made her very nervous, but that after awhile, she gradually got more comfortable. So she knew she would be uncomfortable starting school, but that those feelings would gradually get less and less. She knew that if she got too anxious, she could leave the classroom. So, she sat in a seat close to the door. After the first week of school, she was much more confident about being able to pass the class and continue with her education. She did say that having support helped her get through the hardest times.
She Addressed Her Sensory Processing Problems
Katherine learned to identify her sensitivities to crowds, bright lights, and noise. Being prepared helped her not be so worried about going places. She decided that wearing sunglasses indoors, and listening to soft music through earphones helped her tolerate a variety of environments. She did decide to meet with an occupational therapist for an assessment and treatment for her sensory processing disorder.
Progress and Follow Up
Katherine was able to make a couple friends through their mutual interest in astronomy, and they attended lectures together. She met with me periodically when she felt overwhelmed and when she had changes in her life.
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