Indianapolis man with anxiety shares experiences, treatment options

INDIANAPOLIS – A man who has battled anxiety since a child remembers his mental imbalance beginning right after a tragic event.

At 9 years old, David Dunham’s father committed suicide.

“I kind of developed an anxiety disorder from that even though I didn't know what it was,” said Dunham. “It just kind of took over my life, where I worry and fear was constant, not just something I could get over in about 30 to 40 seconds.”

His anxiety triggered other issues that made it difficult to complete daily tasks.  

“I then developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In my mind, I started doing things in fives. We had five individuals in our family so anything I would do, I would do in fives. Like opening a door five times,” he said.

Dunham said he worked to treat his anxiety physically, mentally and spiritually – and it helped – until he began talking classes again at Butler University.  

“The repetitive nature of things and thoughts of what somebody said would constantly go through my mind and I didn't know how to get rid of that,” he said.

Dunham began seeking help at IU Health where he underwent behavioral therapy with Dr. John Delaney. 

Therapy helped Dunham talk about his issues and sort out his treatment options.

“I think the main stigma is that they may be hearing from other people say ‘well you are just taking on too much or you need to be stronger, or you need to do this or that more,’” said Delaney. “I think a lot of people if they are suffering with pretty debilitating symptoms, if they hear that, it minimizes what they are going through.”

Dunham said with just a few months of treatment, he can tell the difference and hopes sharing his story will help others.

“Just to know it is okay,” he said. “Anxiety, any anxiety disorder is nothing to be ashamed of, but seeking help definitely will change y our life and make things a lot better.”

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