I blogged about my ‘dream’ job a few weeks ago - 'The Next Step 2017' and applied for the job that weekend.
I have learnt a lot about myself and my anxiety in the following days and weeks. So here is what happened and my reflections after the event.
[I have used this image, as it sums up how the phone ringing does affect me and my anxiety - acknowledgement #CollegeHumour]
Well, things are different, better, yes better and good, still traveling on the path to recovery, but better.
I had a break with dad in France in October (2013) and again he was telling me about this hypno-therapist that had worked 'magic' with people suffering anxiety and depression. Dad has been encouraging me to go see him, the therapist for some time, by that I mean for at least a year. So at the end of our break, I agreed I would make contact with the therapist and go see him.
A week after my return home, dad called and in passing asked if I had contacted the therapist. I replied am feeling better at the moment, so ‘no’, his reply was well if you are feeling better, then it is a good time to contact him - good point pops.
So after a brief telephone conversation I went to see my hypno-therapist. I had a two hour session, where we talked about my problems, focusing on my anxiety and IBS, which I knew were (note past tense) directly linked.
I am now going to attempt to describe my understanding of hypnotherapy, this being slanted by ignorance, scepticism and the unknown. The brain is in two halves, left and right. The left controls most day to day activities and the right works in the background keeping a check on things. His two examples which helped me were:
A bird pecks at the ground and finds food and seeds to eat, whilst he is concentrating on finding and eating the seed, he is also monitoring his surroundings to ensure he is not in danger; the left side of his brain is working on the food finding, whilst the right side is monitoring his surroundings in the background.
Second example, is whilst I am at a party talking intently to one person, I am still able to 'hear' if someone else in one of the many conversations going on in the room says something like: 'oh Adrian would be able to help you with that' I.e. left side having conversation and right hand side monitoring what is going on in background.
Now, my high anxiety means that the right hand side brain doing the monitoring role has gone into overdrive and is constantly sending alarm or warning signals because of previous experiences.
So what does solution hypnotherapy do, my interpretation as a client, don’t forget. The therapist talks to the right hand side of the brain changing the learnt or programmed thinking that keeps me in a high anxiety state. Because I don’t need to 'hear' this directly (remember background monitoring and thinking), I relax in a hypnosis state or as I decided to accept/call it a meditative state, whilst the therapist talks to your right hand side brain.
So sessions comprised a brief discussion of the problems and then what changes I had experienced or noticed. Then a gentle relax into a meditative state, whilst the therapist talked to my right hand side brain, and I listened (directly) or not. That was it! - from a patients, oops sorry- client perspective it was easy and not a great deal of effort needed on my part - to say the least.
So I had four double sessions, between each session I noticed I was less anxious and the constant worry was reducing, first week for a day after session and a day before next session. Following week few days each end of week. Now was very difficult times to, I had two periods of dark depressed mood during the therapy.
But overall, I have now lifted the overwhelming, constant high anxious state that I was in for the past few years. I am taking small steps; I go out on my own for small activities, like taking the dog for a walk, buying a paper, and getting the bread rolls from Lidl. Also, my bowels are significantly improved; I am not going to dwell on this in this post, but massively better.
You may have noticed my reference to scepticism earlier, I was massively unsure about this therapy, partly because dad presented it as a 'magic wand' solution and because of the reference to hypnotism. But my anxious state is lifted, no that coincides with new medication that I have been on for 3 months and the hypnotherapy sessions, whether it was all down to hypnotherapy or helped by medication, I don’t know and I suppose it doesn’t matter.
So I have lifted the anxiety, what is now clear is that I am still of the path or journey to recovery, because I am now struggling with new, other, hidden, revealed issues which i will talk about in a different Blog.
If you are thinking about hypnotherapy, are drawn to mediation, mindfulness then I think you should give it a go as PART of your recover journey.
4th January 2014
I have had a renewed effort to tackle my anxiety. I have been to a few group depression and anxiety meetings at Rushden Mind. I enrolled on a self esteem course too at Mind; sadly there were not enough attendees, so the course is postponed to November. I am also fast approaching the top of the list for a therapist.
In the meantime I am reading a Self Help book: The Complete CBT Guide for Anxiety and read How Not to Worry by Caroline Carr. The key message I am taking from the books is that I am now in numerous habits of avoidance to minimalise my anxiety. But as this is preventing me from doing things I wish to do. I have started tackling the issues and reversing my habits.
One of the key anxiety problems I have is that I worry about my bowels, I have IBS and have changed my diet and started using Regucol, which is helping. Obviously getting anxious triggers bowel movements, so the IBS and Anxiety are aggravating each other more. So as I want to be able to go for walks, exercise helps IBS and Anxiety and losing weight will help my self esteem, I have bitten the bullet and started walking.
I have started walking by: taking small steps (excuse the pun); I went for a walk around the block with Eddie, our Parsons Terrier. Then I walked into our town, a little further and more people, then I went into the town and bought a paper, some days I wore my incontinent pants for insurance, the rest I took a jumper so if I had an accident I could tie it round my waist. I had my mobile and my wife was on standby to collect me if anything went wrong. I wanted to walk in the morning as that is when my IBS is at its peak.
So, I am a few weeks in now, and today I walked my old favourite walk with Eddie, down to Irthlingborough lakes and Meadows and the River Nene. I then walked my old circuit around the lakes with minimal thoughts about my bowels. On the way home I even took a detour to walk down some back streets I hadn't been down before. Got home safely, relaxed and pleased with my self. So much so that I have used a Google map to mark out my route around Irthlingborough lakes, and Irthlingborough Greenway
So ready for my next walk tomorrow, how about you Eddie?
Wow, it has been a month and quite a bit has happened.
A month ago, I blogged that I recognised I was stuck in a cycle with anxiety feeding IBS feeding anxiety, which was at the least hindering my recovery. So I have had a string of appointments over the past month, which included, GP, Psychiatrist, Gastroenterologist, and an Endoscopy.
So, to start, an anxious visit to the GP: who as usual seemed to lack empathy. I explained my bowel symptoms and link to anxiety. He concluded that I displayed the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and suggested I discuss it more at my next Gastroenterologist appointment.
Thankfully my appointment with the Gastroenterologist was the following week. He agreed that it sounded like IBS and said having looked at my blood test results that my IBD was under control. He suggested I have an Endoscopy to check my bowel as I had not had one for ten years. In terms of the IBS he suggested a drug called Amitriptyline, but because of my other medication wanted the Psychiatrist to prescribe it.
I then had my appointment with the Psychiatrist, where I discovered that the Gables Mental Health Hospital site has been closed and that I had another new doctor. We explored my medication and I was reluctant to change the Trazodone, as it has been good for me. So the Amitriptyline was not an option if I was to stay on Trazodone. He did though increase my dose of Trazodone to 150mg a day.
My outpatients appointment for the Endoscopy was fine. The consultants letter to my GP said there was no signs of inflammation or history of inflammation and that I no longer needed to take Asacol.
So the outcome of these medical appointments seems to be a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but I do not have IBD. So this means I can now focus on my Anxiety and IBS.
17th July 2013
PDF File Version for Blog Post- Visits to GP, Psychiatrist and Gastroenterologist, for printing or saving
Sorry everyone - bowel talk! So I have now worked out that my bowel control problems are not necessarily a symptom of my Ulcerative Colitis, (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and have now been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
So how did I get there?
Well I recognised that I had got caught up in a vicious cycle of getting anxious about bowel control, which meant my bowels reacted, which means my anxiety is proved right and round and round it goes, meaning I stay in the safety of my home. Bowel accidents do happen and have happened for many years, thereby confirming to my brain that it is right to be anxious.
So of to the GP I went and explained my thoughts, he said discuss it with my Gastroenterologist, with whom I had an appointment coming up soon.
So at my appointment with the gastroenterologist I explained again. He confirmed I probably had IBS linked to getting stressed and anxious. He suggested Amitriptyline, for stopping signals from my brain to bowel, but said that I would need to discuss it with my Psychiatrist, because he did not know how it would react with my other medication.
Luckily (again) I had an appointment with my Psychiatrist fairly soon. So we discussed it all, for me again. He concluded that Amitriptyline could not be combined with Trazodone. As Trazodone has been my best medication to date, I did not want to change it. So we concluded we would have to leave Amitriptyline medication for stopping signals from my brain to bowel for the time being!
It took me a week to recover from the anxiety of these trips and successfully entrenching my brains control of my anxiety and bowels. But I will not give up!
See my separate posts on my current medication [LINK TO FOLLOW] and trip to Psychiatrist [LINK TO FOLLOW]
22nd June 2013
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