My name is Susan and I’m in my 60s. I’ve struggled with anxiety all my life and I’ve had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the past, but the loss of a close family member made me feel I was sinking into absolute despair with anxiety, I knew I needed help.
I went to my doctor and to my surprise, she thanked me for seeking help, and gave me a number to ring to start the process. Although I was nervous and anxious I started to feel positive about my future.
I don’t know how I got to my first session as felt so panicked about it. I could feel my hands getting sweaty, my heart pounding away, my neck felt tense, and I felt a bit sick. I kept telling myself to stay seated, because if I got up I would have walked out and been very disappointed in myself. However after a while I started to relax and take in what was being said and took work home with me to learn. I was determined to learn skills to help me manage my anxiety, I needed to get better.
My treatment was a worry management course, where I was taught Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques for managing my worries. I really liked the one where you set a time each day to go over worries – ‘worry time’, instead of worrying about them at the time you had them. Writing my worries down at the time, and going over and over my worries during my worry time, really helped get them out of my head.
CBT has made me look at anxiety differently, as before it was all-consuming and now I understand it more. It is not something I worry about now. If I get a bit stressed I know it won’t last and doesn’t feel half as bad as before I had CBT. Now I feel more confident, much more relaxed and so happy it worked for me. I feel able to cope and understand myself and like this new me.
I would encourage anyone who struggles with worries or anxiety to seek help and self-refer to steps2change or speak to their GP.