At the time of writing this blog I hope that all clients and followers of It's just a feeling are as well as they can be and are working towards their own remission of anxiety or panic symptoms.
Within this blog I would like to use my own experiences to show that it is entirely possible to move from a place of vulnerability and hopelessness while suffering anxiety to a place of strength, motivation and hope.
I do get asked time and time again "Is it really possible for everyone to be able to find their own piece and quality of life, removing unhelpful anxiety?". My answer each time is undoubtable yes. I really do believe that it is possible for anyone to regain their quality of life after anxiety, I really do. I have seen it in myself and in many others, all of us believing wholeheartedly that we were the one who had it so bad that we could never recover. We were the one who was incurable and to be honest it is just not true. We can all achieve and maintain recovery when we understand that it takes work and understanding and most importantly a goal.
What is your goal? It is in my opinion important to have and commit to our own motivation for removing anxiety, something that drives us to change our unhelpful behaviours and to work towards our recovery each day. A goal that motivates us even when things get tough or we experience a setback (normal in the anxiety process).
As you know, my own anxiety manifested in agoraphobic type symptoms. This is not a fear of going outside, more a self limiting condition as the fear of feeling fear caused me to avoid people, places or situations where I felt I may experience fear. This avoidance grew the more I avoided until my life was so limited I did nothing at all.
During my lowest ebbs, I would sit in the window at home, consumed by fear and promising myself that one day I would take on a challenge that tested my fears even beyond recovery. For many years as I recovered I remained unsure of what challenge would push these boundaries at every level.
At the time one addition to my daily routine that really helped to supplement my recovery in addition to behavioural changes was exercise. Exercise remains a vital part of my maintence even to the present day. Over time I became engaged quite by accident in triathlon. I found the challenge and the battle inside my head to keep going when my body was screaming to stop as I completed a course quite addictive. The entering of a race meant that my training stayed on track and acted as a motivation to get out every day training.
Interestingly it tested agoraphobic and anxiety type symptoms on every level, once a race started I was unable to carry a mobile phone or in fact anything else that may "keep me safe", I had to navigate a course alone, away from members of family and I had to learn to swim in open water, putting myself in the middle of a lake helped me to learn to control panic as I was away from the shore and alone in the water. There were many times I felt scared, but experiencing fear was a good thing as it enabled me to work with in and in turn to gain strength and resilience that would help me to overcome it.
While taking part in first sprint triathlons, I turned my attention to pushing my comfort zone and endurance further and began to enter longer distance. That is when I became sure of my goal - Iron Man.
For me, Iron Man is the ultimate test of strength, self resilience, self motivation and endurance. The goal was to complete a 70.3 (That is swim, bike and run for 70.3 miles) Once I mentally committed to the goal, this provided the motivation to take on the training commitments required to achieve it. I understand that Iron Man may not appeal to everyone, your goal must be personal to you, however I wish to illustrate my point but speaking about my own experiences.
Yes I felt nervous, training was hard. Getting up each day, pushing my anxious boundaries by running up country lanes in a morning alone, swimming in lakes and being miles from home on my bike. I do consider myself to have been in remission for a very long time, but still this was a new challenge with new boundaries to push and it felt important for my continued recovery.
Slowly but surely, I committed and worked towards my goal. This journey was to symbolise how far I had come. It felt important.
The day a year later was scary, I felt anxious and controlling my nerve before the event felt hard. I reminded myself how normal it must feel to be anxious at an event like this and channelled my anxiety into motivation, re-framing it as excitement. All those years ago, sat by that window, I had promised myself a day like this and now here I was. I didn't want to forget that.
I left my family and my phone, my safety and plunged into the lake for a 1.2 mile swim, exiting for a 56 mile bike ride through a route that was unfamiliar to me (I could not have even imagined this many years ago), followed by a 13 mile run. All the way round I had the mental battle with my fear monster as well as with fatigue, but I said no, this was going to be my moment.
Running down that red carpet and seeing my family cheering me on was emotionally overwhelming. I had done it, more to the fact I have shown myself I could do it, which is so important in anxiety and you can too.
What is your goal, however big or small?
Where would you like to be after anxiety?
What would it look like to achieve it?
How will you feel when you get there?
What do you need to do to get started?
What is your plan?
How will you execute that plan?
Maybe it can be time to consider the above questions and feel the motivation to push forwards and away from these symptoms?
I know that you can do it.
Until my next blog,
As it has been a little while since my blog update, below is an overview of what I can offer and what is new with regards to the website.
New Developments and Updates.
There will be some new pages that are planned to add to It's just a feeling over the coming weeks, the first of which will be a page about Male Depression. During my degree studies I researched this subject and was shocked at how differently depression may manifest in men and the sheer lack of available knowledge or recognition of the difference in depression between men and women. I feel its important to use my resource to help raise awareness of this important subject and to project the message to men that it is ok to come forward, speak out and get help should you be depressed or anxious. Look out for the page, it will be added soon.
You Tube Channel.
I am hoping within the near future to create my you tube channel where I will be able to post videos. Please watch this space. New videos as they happen will be uploaded to the home page.
I have limited availability for anxiety coaching either via telephone or in person. There can be enormous benefits around engaging in coaching for anxiety and having regular support while working to your goals. I prefer to work with clients over a minimum of six weeks and their is a discount for purchasing six sessions together via the website. A coaching session is £40.
Counselling is different to coaching, in that counselling provides a safe, non judgemental space for a client to explore their own thoughts and feelings. I am a registered Therapist and I am able to support clients during their experience of difficult feelings in person within Yorkshire on a one to one basis or within a wider geographical area via telephone. Counselling Sessions are £40 per session and I suggest a minimum of six weekly sessions to begin with, with regular review.