I had suffered with anxiety for almost 4 years, although at the time, I didn’t realise that it was anxiety and I struggled to understand what was wrong with me. I found it hard to believe that I was suffering from anxiety as I didn’t feel ‘anxious’ or ‘worried’ about anything in particular; or not anything that I could identify at least.
The main symptoms were physical symptoms of constantly feeling as though I was going to be sick or faint or that I was having a heart attack. I had feelings of being trapped; and in crowded places or in meetings, I always felt the need to escape.
I reached the point where I dreaded going to work or even leaving the house; and even when I was at home, I was worried I was going to faint. I started to become quite depressed and at that point, I went to my GP who prescribed anti-anxiety tablets and referred me to St Andrew’s Healthcare.
At St Andrew’s healthcare, I had an initial assessment with a Psychiatrist who, after listening to my story, diagnosed me with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It was such a relief to finally have a diagnosis that explained all of my symptoms. The Psychiatrist explained that my symptoms were a result of the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event. This explained that my feelings were a natural human response and that I wasn’t ‘going mad’. This instantly made me feel better and I finally felt as though there was a possibility of getting better. The Psychiatrist suggested I undertake a course of Psychotherapy. This was a 12 week programme of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) with a trained Psychologist.
This programme focused on my thought processes and why I think the way I do about things and how I could train myself to think differently. This especially focused on thinking about the ‘worst that can happen’. I left each session feeling really positive and uplifted, and actually very much looked forward to the sessions.
Throughout my course of CBT, I had regular check-ups with my Psychiatrist. It was great to have such fantastic support and I really felt that they understood what I was going through and that they wanted to make me better. I realised that it was important to view my anxiety as an illness (in the same way as a physical illness such as a broken leg), and I took some time off work. Slowly but surely I used the techniques that I had learned which included relaxation techniques and thought techniques to overcome my anxiety. I remember attending an event and enjoying it; and I realised that it was the first time I had ‘enjoyed’ anything for many years!
I continue to go for yearly check ups with my Psychiatrist but I am so very grateful to the specialists at St Andrew’s healthcare for making me better and enabling me to live a fulfilling life. Since my sessions at St Andrew’s Private therapy clinics I have been happier than I had been for years.
I often share my story as there are so many people who suffer with anxiety / depression. I encourage them to get help and demonstrate that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.