This is another repost from my previously blog account. I originally wrote this in March 2018 and I will keep what I have written as it is. I will do another update on my Anxiety in a future upload.
It’s hard to know where to begin, talking about my anxiety. It’s been a lot harder than I thought to write about and actually put it into words. Please feel free to ask any questions if it doesn’t all quite make sense.
I have been medically diagnosed with anxiety for about a year. It felt like a long battle with doctors to get this diagnosis and to actually get support in place. Looking back over the years my anxiety wasn’t that obvious to me at first, but thinking about it now it did affect my life massively.
My anxiety peaked, I believe between 2014-2016. A big anxiety attack happened when I went out to a club with a good friend. I was having a lovely time, then all of a sudden I felt like I was zoning out, I felt sick and had a incredibly bad stomach pains. This meant I left early which wasn’t what I wanted to do. This happened on several occasions when going to new places. It then began to make me feel like I didn’t want to go somewhere new or try new things. I only stuck to places that were familiar to me. At the beginning of 2016 was when my anxiety was at it’s worst. I hated the thought of going out anywhere different and began to stay in quite a lot.
My life stayed like this for quite a while, which looking back was only a few months, until I said enough was enough and decided a trip to the doctors would be best to find out what was going on and what caused me to feel like this.
When I went to the doctors for the first time I told the doctor all about my symptoms, he said it was acid reflux and told me to take gaviscon whenever this feeling came on. When I got home after the first appointment I looked up acid reflux and the symptoms of it. what I was feeling and what I said didn’t match up at all but I went with it. When I next had what I now know was an anxiety attack I took one, obviously it didn’t work. I continued taking gaviscon for a few weeks, each time it not working. Then I decided to go back to the doctors and see a different doctor as I lost faith in the doctor I saw as I didn’t feel like he listened to me and what my symptoms were.
The second doctor I saw listened to what I had to say and suggested that it may be anxiety. he prescribed me Diazepam and to only take it when I got my symptoms. I was told that it can be addictive if taken for a long period of time, I was aware of this but I needed something to relax my anxiety symtoms.
I continued to take diazepam for a few months, going through a particularly bad week in August 2016 where I ended up needing the medication every day for 5 days because I was having constant anxiety attacks. Once my medication ran out and was due a review I went back to see the same doctor that I saw the second time. He told me about CBT and how that can help people with anxiety. I decided that I wanted to try it, immediately filling out the referral form and sending it off. This was at the beginning of 2017. The doctor also changed my medication to citalopram which I was told to take a small dose every day to keep my body relaxed. I got an initial call from CBT to talk about my symptoms very soon after I sent the referral off, there was a lot of questions they went through that I had answer on different scales. They then said they would be in touch to arrange an appointment to start my CBT. In the end it was about 16 weeks later that I had my first appointment.
Overall I think CBT helped me in some ways, giving me tips on how to cope with my anxiety, however the service that provides it needs to be dramatically improved. In the 8 months I was with the service that provided CBT I only had 5 sessions. Some of them were 6 weeks apart due to the staff not being available or double booking appointents.
During the time of having CBT my anxiety slowly improved. I used the skills they gave me when I had an anxiety attack and I began to go to new places. In January 2018 I had a final conversation with CBT and we decided I no longer needed their support as I had improved and could cope better by myself. Throughout the whole time of being diagnosed with anxiety I knew everything thing was fine and there was nothing to worry about. My anxiety is just my bodies way of dealing with certain situations. Hopefully my anxiety attacks will slowly disappear and I will no longer have them.
Since then I have had a few anxiety attacks, when these happen I now know how to deal with it to then carry on what I was planning to do. Eventually I want to come of the medication I have been prescribed but for the time being I know it is helping me to gain control again.