It seems to me that if GERD is creating that much anxiety and discomfort, your therapist is nudging you in the right direction. First, I'd say that 40mg Protonix once a day is inadequate. I have a reactive stomach and recently took antibiotics. Since then my stomach has been very uncomfortable. Fortunately, since I had the Nissen surgery, it's staying there. However, during these flare-ups I revert to my pre-Nissen medication of 40mg Protonix before breakfast and before dinner, as well as 300mg Zantac at bedtime.
Once things settle down, I will go back to just 40mg Protonix at dinnertime. (my doctors are being very careful because before my surgery my lungs were in horrible shape due to GERD, so they are acting on the fact that even after a Nissen a small amount of reflux may be present.
The reason I bring this up is that it seems like you may be under-medicated. Please go back to a GI doc and explain the difficulties you're experiencing. Stay away from the anxiety end and bring a list of specific physical discomforts your GERD is producing, and how it affects your daily life.
Hang in there. Things will get better!