ANXIETY

Ways to stop the transfer of anxiety to your child

On my last post i explained that i was waiting for my dissertation results – well i can now tell you i am very pleased to have received a first!!

According to Kirmayer (2019) a clinical psychologist, the main part of treating anxiety in children is teaching their parents stress tolerance. This helps to direct the parent’s anxiety, while also helping them support and scaffold their child’s development of stress tolerance.

So if your a parent and suffer from anxiety, then you should ensure that you stay calm, with a neutral demeanour when feeling anxious in front of your child. This will teach your child that being calm is the way to deal with stress. However, if you cannot control your anxiety infront of your child (there are times when i have not managed to stay calm and my girls have witnessed me have a full blown panic attack) then after the event the parent should explain to their child how they were feeling and explain why they acted the way they did.  You should then explain that there are better ways to deal with it and talk about strategies that might help. By talking about anxiety in this way with your child, you are letting them know that it is ok to feel stressed and anxious but you are teaching them that it is manageable.

It has been proven that parents’ behaviour and genetics can affect their child’s anxiety. Although a parent cannot change their genetics, there are ways parents can help their child not to get anxiety. It involves the parent modelling the behaviour they would like to see from their child, and not letting them witness any anxious behaviour.

A parent needs to look at their own worries and how they deal with it. Making changes to the way you act, can change how the child acts. You should give your child lots of encouragement and show you are interested in your child and the difficulties they are facing. For younger children reward charts can help, these reward the child for the behaviour you would like to see, for example sleeping in their own bed at night.

If you try to help your child avoid their triggers for anxiety, then although this might help in the short term, in the long term it is actually reinforcing the anxiety. It is more important to help them find techniques to manage their anxiety and to face up to it.

There is debate as to whether children should be given warnings prior to a routine change, as some need time to get used to the idea before it happens but others find this more stressful. Normally, you will know which your child would be better with.

The NHS suggests that a parent should talk to their child about how they are feeling, reassure them that they are not alone and that they understand how they are feeling. They should then support them with finding solutions to their anxieties rather than looking at how to avoid them. With a younger child, it is recommended to try and distract them from their anxiety, and with an older child relaxation techniques may be useful.

If the child’s anxiety gets no better after you have tried supporting them yourself, then seeking external support is the next step. Making an appointment with the child’s GP, who can then refer on to the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The Young Minds helpline is another point of contact, which can give you and your child advice on how to get support with their mental health. The support that is offered by CAMHS would depend on the child’s age and what is causing the anxiety. The most common support that is given for anxiety in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT involves talking to a therapist who helps the child identify patterns between what they think, feel and do in situations where they are feeling anxious. Occasionally, the counsellor may ask to do sessions with the whole family, especially if it is a family problem that has caused the anxiety. The NICE guidance states that CBT can be given one to one, or in a group, and that the child or young person should be seen between eight and twelve times.

Medication is used regularly with adults, but rarely with children. If CBT does not work with an adolescent or a young adult then a doctor may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Research shows that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the first line medication for children, and have been proven to work. There has been debate over the risks of children taking medication, but the research shows that the benefits outweigh the risks. Although, the long term effects have not been researched.

The American Psychiatric Association (2013) describes resilience as adapting well when faced with threat or tragedy. It first became a concept after the trauma of war. Practitioners in health, social care and education work together to try and promote resilience in children and young people. Parents can also help promote resilience in their children by providing their child with a balanced and positive view of the world and explaining to the children that although bad things can happen, that society and individuals can overcome them. Resilience can be built by talking, problem solving and support.

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds (2019) explained that compulsory health education, including mental health support will be taught in schools. These lessons will include mindfulness lessons and breathing techniques which will improve a child’s resilience. He also added that the Government is launching mental health trials in 370 schools, with them contributing evidence of the best mental health supports. This will include having a designated mental health first aider.

 

Just remember that talking to your child about anxiety and showing them ways to deal with it helps. Children copy their parents behaviours so try and explain to them why you have acted in a certain way.

Talking is the best therapy.

ANXIETY

Does parental anxiety naturally transfer to children?

The next few blogs I write are going to be based around my dissertation. I have only recently completed my dissertation and I am waiting on my results. I decided to do my dissertation on the transfer of parental anxiety to a child and whether there was anything to stop this transfer. This blog will look at the transfer and I will write another about whether you can stop it.

Between 8 and 11% of children suffer from anxiety that affects their daily life and it has been found that anxiety in children has doubled in the last two years due to the pressures of modern life.

It has been proven by many researchers that anxiety runs in families. One study showed that children who had a parent with anxiety were seven times more likely to experience anxiety than other children.

It has also been proven that anxiety can originate in early life due to the rapid growth and development of the brain. Neurodevelopment psychopathology begins prior to conception. So a mother who is anxious during her pregnancy can pass this on to her baby during pregnancy and soon after birth.

The main way that anxiety transfers from a parent to a child is through a parents behaviours and coping mechanisms. This is a transfer through learned behaviour.

Children look to their parents for information on how to interpret a situation. If a parent feels anxious then the child will determine that these situations are unsafe.

An anxious mother often over involves herself in her child’s life, and this can also increase their child’s perception of threat.  If a parent then becomes over protective, the child learns that they cannot deal with the threat themselves and that they need their parents help. This can then lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of inadequacy which can lead to anxious behaviours.

A parent with anxiety is more likely to use catastrophising language which makes their child more anxious.

There have been many studies carried out looking at the genetic link and learned behaviour and it has been found that learnt behaviour is more likely to transfer anxiety from a parent to a child.

 

I can definitely see how my behaviours may have passed on anxiety to my daughter. My next blog will be about what we can do to stop this transfer.

Have you had any experience with this. Please share your stories.

ANXIETY, babies and miscarriage

Miscarriage and anxiety

So when I wrote my post about the exhausted smile I was a mess. It turns out what had got me into that mess was another miscarriage. Over Christmas I had started to feel really poorly with flu like symptoms but the last time I had felt like that I was pregnant. My husband was the one to realise my period was late (I hadn’t even noticed).

I had had my tubes tied during my c section with my son in 2017. So I shouldn’t have been able to get pregnant. After a few days of worrying I took a pregnancy test and it was positive.

I was devastated. I already had three children and did not want anymore. Plus we have australia booked in the summer and I knew it would affect me being able to go there. But on the other hand I don’t think I would have been able to have an abortion  – it’s just not in me. So I had no idea what  I was going to do.

During this worrying I got a stomach ache. I went to the toilet and I jwas bleeding. As I wiped I saw my foetus on the tissue. I didn’t know how to feel. I was relieved but devastated at the same time. Even when you do not want the baby,  you also do not want to miscarry.

The next few days were strange as I didn’t know how to feel. I spoke to my friends and family about what had happened and that helped me try to process my feelings.

A couple of months went by and I thought I was dealing with it quite well.  But then something changed, and I felt like my world had crashed down. I was struggling to do anything, struggling to think of anything happy.

I just wanted to be alone, didn’t want to do anything with my family or friends.

Being around people at work and at home was draining and i stopped going to work. I just wanted to shut myself away.

As I have felt like this before i was able to recognise that I needed help.  I went to the doctor’s and told her everything that had happened recently.

Straight away she said the miscarriage was affecting my hormones and had also affected the sertraline I was taking. It was back to how it had been when I had been pregnant with my son. The sertraline was being covered by my hormones and so wasn’t strong enough to do its job. She doubled my setraline and also referred me for a blood test and to the gynae clinic to see if my tubes were definitely tied.

The sertraline worked, within a few days I was feeling back to my normal self. My boss told me I should have come to her and told her about my miscarriage and about how I was feeling. I realised I should have done.

I am normally very good at talking about my feelings and experiences but in this instance I hadn’t been and I regretted it.

 

Update on my tubes – I had a scan where they put dye in to see if they were closed properly (it was the most uncomfortable thing ever,  I felt like I was having contractions ). They have found that my right tube is tied but my left tube has come un done.  I have no idea how this has happened and I now have to wait for my appointment in June to find out what they can do about it.

 

Final message – please talk to someone about how you are feeling as you are important!

ANXIETY

Talking about our experiences

Today my family and I have attended a family day ran by the manchester resilience hub for all those families affected by the Manchester bombing in 2017.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the day , I was going to support my daughters and didn’t really think about how it might help me.

We met lots of new people which was amazing. Everyone had their own experiences of that awful night, some alot worse than others. But by bringing everyones feelings and experienckes together it meant we could be open about how we all felt and how to support each other.

It was great for the girls as they got to talk about their feelings and experiences with others who were actually there  (something that they’ve never been able to do before).

For me it helped me know how to help the girls with their trauma. They talked about how everyone deals with trauma differently and how it can last a long time.

They talked about grounding techniques – smelling strong smells, drinking fizzy drinks, concentrate on your feet touching the floor, look at a photo to remind yourself that you are safe.

It’s important to remember that thoughts are just thoughts and are not facts.

So if you or someone you know has dealt with trauma or anxiety, talk it through with someone you trust. Or even better find people who have gone through a similar experience to yourself and talk it through with them. Share your thought’s and how you deal with it.

 

Talking helps!!!

ANXIETY

A child’s anxiety

Since I can remember my eldest daughter has suffered from anxiety. She has always worried about her families, friends and her own health, she has worried about the house burning down, everything she can worry about – she does. We use to think it was something she would grow out of. She would check we had locked the doors, check we had turned off the hob and the oven and would ask us to check too.

But then came the 22nd May 2017 – the day that changed her life and most peoples in England. She and her sister had received tickets for Ariana Grande’s concert for Christmas. As I was due to give birth on the 20th May (he came on the 15th) we had asked my sister to take the girls to the concert. They were very excited as they had watched Ariana on TV for a few years on Victorious and Sam and Cat and loved her.

After school they got ready and went to the train station with my sister. The train was cancelled and the next one they could get was going to mean they missed the support acts. But this is what happened as they couldn’t get an earlier train. I had a text off them to say they had arrived and then a photo of them enjoying the concert.

I then went to sleep as my baby was only a few days old and I was trying to sleep when he was. My husband was going to drive to Manchester to pick them up so I knew they were in safe hands.

But I was awoken by my phone ringing, my sister spoke and said “I am just letting you know we are all ok”. I said “ok” i thought it was wierd her ringing to say they were ok as i hadn’t thought they wouldn’t be. But then she said “have you not seen the news?” I hadn’t. She told me what had happened.

They had been enjoying the show and then Ariana had gone off stage and had been called back on for a final song. She came on and sang “One last time”. Hollie had needed the toilet at this point but my sister had said for her  to wait. As you all know what happened next, i won’t explain it. I know a lot of people’s lives changed for ever that day – 22 lives lost, many injured. My daughter Ella’s story is that of post traumatic stress disorder.

Ella was trampled on in the fight to escape the building – her shoe had come off and she was trying to get it back. She was very slightly injured but nothing that needed medical attention – she was very lucky in this respect. My sister did an excellent job of keeping my daughters both safe and i will be eternally grateful to her for this. When my husband arrived he saw what had happened and was focused on finding the girls and my sister and getting them to safety – which he did. When the girls arrived home they were in shock – all they could think of was praying that Ariana was ok. I don’t think at their age they had understood the scale as to what had happened and all the people involved. At that point we wanted to shelter them from it.

But the next day at school (they went in late, but it was their sports day so we knew it would distract them) everyone was talking about what had happened. The news was all about it (as obviously it would be) and so our plan to shelter them from it, came to an end and we had to answer their many many questions. This continued for the following weeks as everytime the radio was on there would be a report on it and the girls would have more questions.

At first we thought they were both dealing with it well, considering. But as time went on we realised Ella was struggling.

Over the summer she stopped eating, her anxiety over everything had got worse. She found chewing hard, as she thought she was going to choke on her food, so instead she stopped eating. This was horrendous to watch your 9 year old daughter being too scared to eat. We took her to the doctors, who confirmed to her there was nothing wrong with her physically to stop her eating but obviously her anxiety needed treatment. She had also started having panic attacks.

CAMHs thankfully got her in very quickly – this was mainly due to the Manchester Resilience Hub ensuring that anyone who had been present at Manchester on that night, that needed counselling, was seen within 2 weeks of seeing a doctor. The Manchester Resilience Hub also sent out questionnaires around this time for anyone who attended the concert to fill in, online. From the results of Ella’s questionnaire – they had phoned me to speak about her results and see in what way they could help.

CAMHs deemed her not to need the post traumatic stress counselling, but that she did need regularly counselling for her anxiety and panic attacks. She started having counselling once a week – i wasn’t allowed in with her. After a few weeks she came out and said i have told them i do not need the counselling anymore. I couldn’t do anything about this, even though i think she should have carried on.

Things got a bit better, she started eating again but she still won’t eat any meat that is chewy as it gets her into a panic. Over the last year or so the panic attacks have become more regular again. Anytime she hears a loud noise from an unknown source or their is an alarm of any kind she goes into a panic. She says she can hear screaming and thinks that their is another terrorist attack. It is horrendous as a parent to see her like this and not be able to do anything to help. A few days ago we were in Morrisons cafe and the fire alarm started going off. Ella started having a panic attack. People were running around, others were hardly moving as no one knew what to do. It turned out to be a false alarm but this did not help as Ella was in a full panic attack by this point. We have realised that we need to find her some more help and support as she seems to be getting worse rather than better.

The Manchester Resilience Hub has been brilliant, they send regular questionnaires which she answers and due to her answers they also ring us quite regularly to see what help they can offer.  The problem is that they signpost us to CAMHs who are so overrun that nothing seems to come of it.

I know many people were affected by the attack and alot are far worse off than my daughter but i wanted to share her story to show that it is not just us adults that suffer from anxiety and that although the affects on her are not physical they are still deep and affect her everyday life.

 

ANXIETY

Ups, downs and dreaming of travelling

Recently I have been very up and down. One day I am full of life and thinking about not wasting a moment of life, the next I cant be bothered doing anything and the next I want to uproot my family and go travelling.

I have never wanted to go travelling before, my sister has travelled the world for 8 years and still hasn’t seen everywhere, and I was never interested before. But over the last few months the urge has suddenly come over me. I am wondering whether this is because my anxiety is under control with my sertraline and I can imagine actually being able to enjoy travelling. I have read other peoples blogs about travelling and taking a family travelling. It looks ace. I think another reason that is making me want to go, is the monotony of everyday life:

work

cleaning

tidying

its so boring. I want to show my children the world, I want to experience different places and how people live and let my children see that too. As I work in education I think I could give my children a travelling education but I think the experiences of seeing the world would benefit them more than anything else.

But this is all a dream as there is no way we could afford it, and I think I am struggling to get my head around that.

But we are going on a travelling sort of holiday in the summer. It is my husbands cousins wedding in Byron Bay in August and to afford to go we are having long layovers. One layover in New York for 18 hours, one in Houston for 12 hours and then we fly to Sydney. We are then going to hire a car and drive up the coast to the Gold Coast. We are all very excited as it is a dream holiday. I have donated my eggs again to help pay the costs and also we are working hard and had some inheritance.

Anyway enough of that, I started with how iv been feeling. I don’t know what is causing me to have up and down days but I do feel like my anxiety is mainly under control. However last Saturday night I went out for a meal with friends to Salvatore’s (my favourite restaurant – if you haven’t been, you definatly should give it a try – the tomato garlic bread is to die for). I had eaten a lot and I was drinking barcadi and coke and the coke was sitting heavily on my stomach. I was due to meet my husband in town for drinks where he was with his work friends, who I had never met before. My mum was amazing and offered to take me into town as I do not like being in taxi’s on my own. But after she picked me up I started panicking as I was desperate for the toilet. the amount of food I had eaten and the fact I had had pasta and then drank coke was making my tummy go funny. I was sat in the car with my mum and my heart was racing, I wanted to jump out of the car into the cold air but at the same time knew I was best staying in the car so I could get to the toilet faster.  When I saw my husband I jumped out of the car and told him how I was feeling. He reassured me, and got me straight to the pub and to the toilet. I am so grateful to him as he always keeps me calm.

Thanks for reading, and if anyone has any feedback let me know. Also if you experience ups and downs or you can relate about wanting to travel as a family and maybe have any ideas on how we could finance that please comment.

ANXIETY

Rhodes – my sisters wedding

My sister got engaged on Christmas day 2014, and they planned their wedding for June 2016 in Rhodes. She had asked me, my other sister and my two daughters to be bridesmaids. I was so excited for her and I knew it was going to be the most magical day. The only problem was my anxiety – I was praying that I would not ruin or miss my sisters big day because of my panic attacks. I had been on my Sertraline for a while and my panic attacks had stopped but the worry was always there that they would return at any moment, especially as we were going to be flying on an aeroplane and being away from home for a week. All these situations where my anxiety would flare up. The drive to the airport, the airport, the flight, the coach transfer to the hotel, the actual wedding ceremony, the coach to the wedding venue, the boat trip after it, the taxi ride back to the hotel, the transfer back to the airport, the airport, the flight home and the car ride home. That was a lot of situations to worry about my anxiety flaring up, and that wasn’t counting any unexpected trips while we were away. I thought I would probably be ok in the hotel room as there was a toilet at all times and even though my husband, two daughters and I would be sharing the one room, they all knew that if I needed the toilet I had to go right away. But the last few times I had stayed in hotels I had had panic attacks, so this was a worry. I knew I was doing so much better on my Sertraline, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about all these situations.

I knew I would have to put things in place to help me. So I cancelled the transfers to and from the hotel and decided we would get a taxi instead, this meant that I wouldn’t have to be on a coach with other people (which made me worry that I couldn’t ask them to stop for me to use the toilet or if a panic came on). I made sure I had toilet roll for the car journey to the airport, and that we set off in enough time so that if we had to stop we wouldn’t be late, and I listened to a youtube calming video the whole way. I had looked at the a map of the aeroplane to figure out how many toilets there were and where they were located and I had asked my sister to ring up and ask if there would be a toilet on the boat trip, which there was.

And do you know what I managed it all without worrying and actually really enjoyed myself. The holiday was amazing, a 4* hotel that was all inclusive – chocolate pancakes whenever we wanted them from the pool bar, the food was amazing, the kids had so much fun and we were with all my family. My sisters wedding was a magical day and she looked absolutely stunning.

I was so happy that my anxiety had not ruined it for anyone including me. I do put that down to the Sertraline and also the fact I was so open with all my family and friends and so I knew I could talk to them about it anytime and that they would be there to support me.

The last day of the holiday wasn’t as great. My mum, dad and brothers had already left to fly home but there was still my sisters and husbands/boyfriends, my nephew and my husband and children. We had had breakfast and then had been sunbathing around the pool. It was now the middle of the afternoon and we hadn’t had lunch yet as no one had wanted to move, but I was starving and so hot from the sun. We all decided to go for lunch, but they had all gone ahead. I was walking towards the lunch buffet and trying to work out where they were all sat. But I had my sunglasses on, not my glasses (and my sunglasses are not prescription ones) so I was having to squint to try and make out where they were. So I wasn’t looking at where I was walking and I fell off the slope. It wasn’t a big fall, but my leg just went from beneath me. I got straight back up but I knew something wasn’t right, I sat myself down, the next thing I remember is people coming round to check I was ok. My sister and husband tried to get me to lean on them to walk inside, and I just fainted into their arms. Apparently my husband then carried me inside the hotel entrance and a medic came over. I awoke to being sprayed with something up my nose, I had an oxygen mask and people surrounding me as I led on the floor. After a while I felt ok to sit up and my sister went and got me some food and drink. I didn’t feel right, and so they took me upstairs to lie down. We didn’t have our room as we were leaving that day, but my sister was staying longer so I led on her bed. I didn’t want to be on my own, my heart was beating fast, and I was breathing rapidly. I thought it was a panic attack (but actually it was just due to being overly hot, hungry and the fact that I had fainted). I was struggling to eat even though I was hungry and I started worrying about how I was going to be on the way to the airport and on the aeroplane. I didn’t think id be able to go home, but then I knew I couldn’t stay either. My sisters said I needed to sleep to try and feel better. I asked one of them to stay with me at all times, which they did. My family were all such a great support for me.

And in the end I was ok and flew home ok. Apart from that little hitch I had had a great holiday and I had managed it without a panic attack. I felt on top of the world!!

 

Remember if you are feeling anxious or depressed or even just a bit down please talk  to someone, there are so many people out there who care! I am always here for anyone who needs to talk. You are not alone!

ANXIETY

Sertraline

So the doctor prescribed me 50mg of Sertraline to be taken every day at the same time, I decided to take it in a morning when I have my breakfast. The first few days were hard as I was imagining all sorts of side effects, and as when I had taken tablets before for anxiety (propranolol) I was thinking it was going to make me worse. My brain was playing tricks on me again and actually I was ok. Within a couple of weeks I was feeling much better. Over the next few months I saw a massive difference in myself, I was finally able to go to social events that I had been avoiding.

Side effects

One of the side effects of Sertraline is that it numbs your feelings. I have experienced this side effect, in particular when I had my dose increased to 100mg when I was pregnant. This means that when a happy moment occurs I am still happy but can’t feel it the same as I use too. The hardest thing for me is how it stops me from crying. I have been through a lot of stressful and devastating situations in my person life over the last 18 months and although the sertraline helped me get through them it also meant I could not let out all my emotions by crying. I have always been someone who enjoys a good cry to let the emotions that are building up out but now they are just building and building. I can feel in my head that it is full and if I could just cry I could let it all out and feel so much better. That is actually the main reason I came back down to 50mg a few months ago in the hope I would be able to cry – but no such luck.

Another side effect I have found is if I’m a few hours late or I miss my sertraline (this doesn’t happen very often) but I can really tell I have missed it and so can my family. It sends me down a dark whole where I feel like I’m being swallowed by darkness, I really struggle thinking of anything good in my life (even though I know I have many good things).

 

I know a lot of people who think medication is just a placebo affect and to be honest I was probably one of those people but after being on Sertraline for 3 years now I know it definitely works for me. And although I have had these side effects I am so glad I listened to my counsellor and went back to the doctors and asked for Sertraline. My life has changed dramatically and I have been able to go on holiday with my family a few times, I have been numerous days out where I would not have been able too. This has impacted my children lives so much that they can finally be part of a family that goes out on days out rather than their mum not being able to manage it or ruining it while out with panic attacks.

So if you are reading this and considering going to the doctors – I say do it. Counselling and medication have really helped me.

This is not to say anxiety is no longer a problem as it is – it is just managed better!

Thank you for reading.

ANXIETY

CBT again (part two)

Sorry it has taken me so long to write this blog, I have been super busy with my children and I have struggled knowing what to write as my memory of this time is not so good.

I was seeing my counsellor every two weeks and I enjoyed going and talking through how I was feeling but I was struggling completing the tasks she set me for home. I was trying to retrain my brain into knowing that certain feelings and symptoms were normal and not due to me being about to have a panic attack but to be honest I was failing. I would try and tell myself that it was all normal but I would head in to another panic attack. Then my counsellor told me she was leaving as she had a new job, she said she could still see me one more time but then she would have left.

I knew I didn’t want another counsellor as it would mean starting all over again and what if I didn’t get on with them – it could set me back. So I decided that after my last session with her, I would finish CBT. The last session we talked about medication. She explained that she thought that I should give medication a go. I explained my worries over it and how propranolol had made me feel worse. She explained that there were other medications and that maybe I should go to the doctor and ask to be put on Sertraline as she had heard good things about it. I knew she was right – that I had to try something as I didn’t want the rest of my life to be like this. Worrying about having a panic attack and having them. It wasn’t just my life that was being affected but my husbands and my children as there was lots of things I wouldn’t do.

So I decided I had to go back to the doctors. The doctor put me on 50mg Sertraline a day, my next blog will be about how I found the Sertraline.

 

 

ANXIETY

CBT again (Part one)

When my CBT finally started I had to go to a new clinic where I had never been before. This just made my anxiety worse, (my first round of it had been at my doctors surgery and the counsellor came there). I worried about where it was, where to park, who to speak too, where to sit in the waiting room. I had to fill in a form each week I went which asked for me to circle an option to how I had been feeling that week when it came to certain situations. Most of my answers were that my anxiety was affecting my life a lot. I answered yes to ‘had I been feeling that my family would be better off without me’. The counsellor I saw on my first visit (on the 2nd time around) was a lady, and she asked all the normal questions and wanted to know about how it had all started. But the way she spoke to me was as though she thought I was stupid for feeling that way and like she didn’t understand at all. This made me shut down and not really want to answer her questions and I didn’t want to volunteer any information about myself and my anxiety. I remember coming home feeling even worse than before I had gone. I didn’t want to ever go back. I thought well if CBT isn’t going to help, then nothing is, and I will be like this forever. That scared me. I felt even lower about myself if that was even possible.

After speaking to my husband and my family about my experience, they suggested ringing up and explaining how I was feeling and asking if my previous counsellor was available to see instead. After a few days of not feeling brave enough to do this, I finally made the call. They got my previous counsellor to give me call and I explained what had happened and why I didn’t want to come back. She put me at ease straight away and said sometimes people just don’t click with a counsellor and its perfectly normal to ask for another counsellor.

After that things went a lot more smoothly, I went after two weeks to see my counsellor. Each time I filled in a form answering the questions and at first I didn’t see any improvement in my answers but after a while I did. She gave me different tasks to do each time. I had to keep a diary entry of my symptoms and thoughts going through my head.

During this time we had a holiday to Centre Parcs again, and when we had arrived we had gone swimming before going to bed. I struggled to sleep that first night (it was the first time I had stayed away from home since my major panic attack that had landed me in hospital). I didn’t have a panic attack but I was definitely anxious. But I kept reminding myself how many times we had been to centre parcs and how much we all loved it. I managed to enjoy the rest of the weekend. When I explained to my counsellor my symptoms of how I was feeling that night she explained that actually those symptoms were normal – I was tired from working all day, then driving there and going straight swimming, I was cold and shaking as my hair was still wet. She said that my mind was putting the symptoms down to anxiety but actually they were just normal. She said I need to retrain my brain to know that sometimes these symptoms were normal and not me beginning to have a panic attack.

 

I will continue on with how my CBT went on my blog…..