As parts of the UK emerge from lockdown, the number of people seeking mental health support continues to rise. The added stress of lockdown and ongoing concerns regarding the continued prevalence of COVID-19 has, unsurprisingly, seen anxiety among adults in the UK soar.
Over the past few months Stephen Pattinson, head of transformational counselling, has witnessed a higher proportion of referrals being linked to issues surrounding anxiety.
Below, Stephen has provided an account that demonstrates how therapy can be extremely effective for alleviating anxiety.
There are various types of anxiety. One of the most common is General Anxiety Disorder, a long-term condition that causes anxiety about a wide range of situations and issues.
I’ve found this has a profound effect on many areas of the individuals’ life. I’ve been permitted to share some details regarding a recent case. The client has kindly allowed me to share these details to help give you a better understanding of how therapy can support those with anxiety.
This particular client presented with anxiety. She mentioned that she had spent over ten years suffering from the effects of constant worry. As a result, it had affected both her personal and professional life.
During our transformational counselling sessions, she recalled that, when she was younger, she had been the primary carer for her mother. Sadly, she saw her mothers’ condition deteriorating. One morning, she went into her mother’s bedroom and her mother had sadly passed away. This event had a profound effect on her and she began to worry about her own health.
She started to go through various obsessive-compulsive rituals. So, she would have to wear a certain coat on a given day. She had to check the doorknob was clean so she wouldn’t pick up any infection. The traumatic event manifested itself in other behaviours.
Through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), she started to recognise her way of thinking and understand that some of her thoughts were not based on reality. She began to realise that some of these thoughts were not true. However, she still found it difficult to let some of these thoughts go.
During transformational counselling, the main intrusive thought that came out was that she blamed herself for her mother’s death. This thought had a profound effect on the way she felt about herself. By working with her, she started to realise this wasn’t true. In fact, it was just the opposite; she couldn’t have been a more caring daughter.
Eventually, she started to realise there was something she could do about her worry. She began to challenge these intrusive thoughts and understand that she didn’t need to act on them.
Through a combination of mindfulness techniques, she found ways to relax her body and mind. She started to realise that she could take back control of her life. When you think about it, when somebody feels more in control, they begin to feel less anxious. If you feel like you have control over what happens in your life, you see that maybe those concerns won’t become reality.
Through this process, she began to recognise that she wasn’t a prisoner. She wasn’t a slave to her anxiety. She was in control.
This happened over a three month period and I’m pleased to say that today, her worry is lessened. Now, she can say with confidence that it no longer controls her life.
With the current pandemic, I believe there will be more people feeling anxious, particularly with issues around health. People may be worrying whether they will contract the virus, or give the virus to their loved ones.
It’s so important that people don’t sit on these feelings but reach out for help. There are trained professionals like myself, who are more than happy to help people deal with any difficulties around anxiety and depression.
So if you’re struggling right now, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is effective help out there.
You are not alone.