Thomas G. Shafer, M.D.
I began individual therapy with Mrs. Peggy Moore-Osteen after the death of my father in early 1985. My initial complaints were depression, panic-like episodes, and nightmares. I had suffered from recurrent bouts of depression since my late teens; these had no clear precipitants and lasted a few weeks to about a month. I tolerated antidepressant medication poorly due to cardiac arrhythmias. This was felt by my internist to be related to mild Mitral Valve Prolapse. Additionally, I had suffered since my mid-teens from prolonged sieges of recurrent panic episodes characterized mainly by tachycardia, shortness of breath and an intense fear of suddenly dying. These episodes could occur spontaneously but were also reliably precipitated by being completely by myself or driving down rural highways.
At the time I began therapy, I had been working with Viet Nam veterans for over two years, but for five years I had been suffering from nightmares of being involved in combat, despite the fact that my military service had involved no overseas or combat duty whatsoever. The nightmares were frequent, vivid with strong emotional content, and recurrent. There were three major dreams.