Social Prescribing and then Befriending helped beat terrible anxiety

I have always been an outgoing adventure seeker … I travelled all over and never had a care … In 2004 I was walking my dog when a tall man started yelling at me he was angry and mentally abusive.. there was no reason for his outburst but such a small act left a massive impact on me .. I was badly shaken.

A few days later out shopping with my partner I collapsed in a supermarket unknown to me I was pregnant .. I awoke to a sea of strangers all crowded around me .. it was the most horrific experience of my life I was absolutely terrified ..i have never felt so helpless ever and felt so incredibly shamed to have been stared at by so many at an obviously traumatic time. I passed out a further 2 times trying to get out of the store too quickly.

From then on I could not leave the house .. I spent 4 years too terrified to leave the house .. I couldn’t make it out my front door without having a full blown panic attack .

Both situations together in a short space of time knocked my confidence to the ground ..

When I had my baby I tried so hard to force myself to go out … after facing my fears a few occasions I found that I could travel in a car with family although I still had panic attacks and could only walk very short distances with family by my side it was still nerve wracking I managed to overcome the panic attacks and control them somewhat with my safety nets, bottle of water, sugary sweets, rubbing the sharp end of a key down my thumb just to keep myself in control.

I eventually lost all my friends due to my refusal to socialise – all I had was my family who lived a half hour drive from me .. I was not able to pluck up the courage to get on a bus or take a taxi so I had no way to get to my family whenever I wanted or on my bad days when I felt I needed them most.

After seeing many therapists over many years I gained some control over my life although I still could not go anywhere without a family member .

My doctor eventually referred me to FDAHM for therapy which helped immensely. I found the therapists (Social Prescribing Practitioner) actually listened to me and helped me with coping strategies, and helped me to control the fear and not let it rule my life anymore …

Then I was referred to the befriending scheme which really turned my life around .. at first it was completely nerve wracking the thought alone of going on a bus with a stranger terrified me .. actually made me have panic attacks sitting at home thinking about it … but meeting with Natalie I found her so relaxed and friendly and completely understanding of my situation never judging me only encouraging and helping me to see the positives in every situation .. she also reminded me to always be proud of my achievements no matter how small they are .. and by taking baby steps she encouraged me to do what I felt comfortable and never pushed me to do anything I felt would be too much for me.

She showed me that there was so very much in life that I have been missing out on even day to day things like going for a cuppa or going shopping its truly exhilarating now to be in a position where I now have found the confidence to get up and go whenever I feel like it without having to worry or panic ..

I never in my life thought I would do even half the things I do now I go on the bus by myself , I can go to my child’s school plays .. I never blink an eye at the thought of panicking now because I have learned through FDAMH that I can control my fears and I have and will continue to do so.

Without FDAMH I guarantee I would not be in the position I am just now of enjoying life to the full and I will be eternally grateful to everyone at FDAMH who has helped me on my journey. It has been difficult and sometimes very challenging but I could not be more proud of myself for facing those fears and not letting them rule me. FDAMH has given me my life back.

Tags: Anxiety, Befriending, Panic, Social Prescribing