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
15/09/2016 at 2:21 pm
Embracing new challenges with the Media Group
I first started attending FDAMH with Jane the Link Worker, she came with me to the Next Step group which I thoroughly enjoy.
From there she introduced me to the Media Group, sitting in the room while I was there. After some time I felt able to be in the room with the other people in the group. I found it a bit difficult when new people started coming, they then started to bring other people with mental health problems to the group as well, I really was not in my comfort zone, but unlike other times when I felt uncomfortable in a group I did not run out, that was because I enjoyed it and knew that if I left then the only person to lose out was me.
It was difficult at first but after a couple of weeks I had become used to them and we were starting to talk. Now we are all a group who care for each other.
Not long after that we started to do some drama, I went along to join in the exercises, although I thought I would not take part, but I would like to help in the background. After a couple of weeks the play was written with a part for me and I felt I could not let the group down by not taking part.
Because of this I have gained confidence in talking, and have had to face my fear of people with the help of the group. We did art too and yet again I found that I was more able than I had given myself credit for, that particular piece now has pride of place in my room.
I am looking forward to whatever the group does next, I am sure that it will continue to stretch me to help me to make the most of life
Tags: Activity Groups, Anxiety, Panic
26/05/2014 at 7:30 pm
A recovery journey with FDAMH
I was recently asked this question what does FDAMH mean to you my answer is so totally simple – everything.
Several years ago I was made redundant after serving 40 years in various junior and senior management positions. The effect this had on my life was indescribable I just went into total emotional melt down, I spent the first two years isolating myself in my own home not wanting to speak or see anyone, I never even went beyond my front own door. I could never put into words how black life felt for me at that time.
I was eventually persuaded by my family to see my local GP, he in turn referred me to my local hospital psychiatric department for treatment and after receiving over two years of intense counselling I slowly started to get my life back together. It was decided by the hospital consultants it was time for me to try to get back into a more out door social environment.
My hospital consultant made contact for me with a local help centre called FDAHM this was the first time in more than 4 years I had ventured out into the public domain. On my first day I was welcomed with open arms by the very friendly staff and volunteer members at the FDAHM centre they were so good to me. I was very gently introduced to other members of the drop in group.
One of the first things I noticed about the FDAMH centre and at that time it was so very important to me was I was never made to feel I had to stay there or partake in any group activities. It was so important and reassuring to me at that time knowing that I could come and go and join in as and when I pleased. After the first few weeks of attending the day centre and mainly due to the kind and understanding staff members I slowly started to get my confidence back and started joining in with the many group activities spending a little longer with each time I was there.
After attending the day centre for a short while I asked a member of staff would it be possible for me to receive one to one counselling has I was still finding it hard to deal with my worries and feelings of anxiety and panic attacks. Over a two years period at the FDAHM centre I received two twelve weekly therapy sessions, each of these sessions were of a tremendous help to me giving me both the strength expand my new found confidence and also helping me to feel that I could go on to put my past broken life back on track.
I have always felt even from my early days at the day centre how can I help to repay their kindness. I owe so much to FDAMH and its fabulous full time and most generous volunteering staff, for with their help and understanding they have helped me to turn my life around.
Last year I was asked at the centre if I would like to consider taking part in a short volunteer training course at the centre, I said that I would be very happy to attend. I was thinking that maybe this could be a way of not only helping myself getting back some of my own self-belief but I could also in some little way give help and support to the other day centre drop in group members.I completed this excellent training course which I found to be most interesting and informative.
I have now for several months been running a weekly family history and genealogy group within FDAMH. The members of my group love talking about the old times, it’s a great way to get them communicating to each other, they also love finding old family photos and genealogical records and sharing family history details with each other. I have also found that my family research group is a great way to getting older group members interested in using computers some for the first time, they may find it slow going at first, put are quickly delighted when they find some interesting family details via the Google search engine system.
FDAMH thank you so much for helping me to find my own self confidence and self-belief.
Tags: Activity Groups, Anxiety, Counselling, Drop-In, FDAMH Training, Isolation and Loneliness, Panic, Volunteering
26/11/2013 at 9:12 pm
Without my Link Worker I’d still be shut up in my house
My experience of the link service is a very positive one. I met Jane when she came for a visit, after a talk it was decided that I would benefit from this service. Jane would come to the house and pick me up, then we would go out for a walk and decide what would happen next. She helped me get into a craft group (not an easy task), we were getting on really well till a group of about 6 people entered at one time. I escaped panicking and could not go back in.
After trying another couple of things Jane suggested we go down to FDAMH and we went up into her office. Next she introduced me to the Next Step Course and came with me on the days out, I was quite secure when we were out in the open I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jane continued to support me in many other ways too, I could only get off the bus at one bus stop, so Jane met me at the bus-stop for a few weeks then she got on the bus with me to a stop nearer the centre, this was very scary for me as I was afraid she would not get on the bus. After another couple of weeks she met me at the next bus stop instead of coming on the bus. After that she would meet me further and further down the road till the first time I made it on my own, You have no idea how I felt that day.
I was introduced to the Arts and Media Group, this was amazing, I actually got up on stage in front of a crowd of over 100 people and played my part in our brilliant play, ‘We are all Bobby’, my husband and son could not believe it! We are now rehearsing for a Comedy charity night during Mental Health Awareness Week in October, can’t wait.
With Jane’s encouragement I applied to be a volunteer with the Third Age Befriending Project, I completed the training, I am now waiting to be matched with a befriendee, who would have thought it!
Without the help of Jane as my link worker I would still be shut up in my house, I cannot say how big a support the Link service is.
Tags: Activity Groups, Anxiety, Isolation and Loneliness, Link Service, Panic, Volunteering
25/11/2013 at 7:14 pm