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?
Well, I put it off last week, but today I made another step forward.
Following my assessment at Mind a few weeks ago, we agreed that I would try counseling and attend the Anxiety & Depression Group.
I attended my first Mind 'Anxiety and Depression Group'. This was the first of any group session for me and I was, not surprisingly, anxious, but whilst it had been on my mind leading up to today, it was not all consuming worrying thankfully. I managed to do a few things this morning rather than just obsessing about the session.
My wife dropped me off and I went in on my own to Mind's office in Rushden and to the group session. It was good, there was around 7 of us and a facilitator. We took it in turns to talk about our week and I used the opportunity to explain a little about my background.
Overall it was a good session, I particularly liked meeting other sufferers and hearing their experiences and each of us relating to others experiences and feeling. The group felt safe and relaxed. I find the whole Mind office environment feels very safe - which is very important to me.
So I have come away pleased, slightly worried about how I put things about the kids, but they will get to know me better over time and I them.
So that is a date in my diary for each Monday and a big thanks to @rushdenmind
22nd July 2013
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
My Anxiety was asked: 'My friends have a middle aged son with mental health illnesses who can no longer work, what financial help & support is available for him? He is struggling more and we are getting older and are worried about him now and when we are gone'
The first step is for him to acknowledge that he is ill and go to his GP for help.
For mental illnesses the GP may treat the illness in terms of medication and/or therapy at the primary care level, or they may refer the person to secondary care and the mental health team for medication and therapy. He will need a medical certificate if he wants to claim sickness benefits.
Once you have a medical certificate and there is medical evidence/records of an illness he could submit a claim for Employment Support Allowance , which is managed by the Department of Work and Pensions, like Jobsseekers Allowance.
If the initial application satisfies the DWP they will make payments whilst they investigate and you attend a medical. If the person does not fully acknowledge their illness and discuss it openly they will NOT pass the medical. See my recent blog on Atos Medical
Following the medical the DWP will write to advise whether their application has been accepted and how long before a review is required (6 to 24 months)
Link to ESA claim details: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/overview
If someone is successful with an ESA application they may want to consider a Disabled Living Allowance which comprises of a care element and a support element.
Link to DLA Claim: https://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit
Details of the benefits available for people who are ill can be found at my benefits post, click on each of the tittles to access more information from government websites.
To help matters the government is changing both the ESA and DLA benefits at the moment.
To be blunt if the person is not able to acknowledge their illness and seek and engage in medication and therapy treatment - then the benefits system is likely to fail them completely.
More help can also be found at http://www.mind.org.uk/ and http://www.sane.org.uk/
18th March 2013
I am an individual diagnosed with anxiety & depression in 2009 following a mental breakdown; I was also diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2000.
My privacy is important to me, as when I have bad mental health periods I can destroy everything I have created online, then have to rebuild it again from scratch. I am therefore trying to prevent my name being associated to the site, so if I have another bad period I might not destroy this version of My Anxiety.
I have worked in the property field my entire life; reaching senior level at a London based Organisation. I think a combination of work stress, an element of bullying, financial problems, not telling my employer I had Ulcerative Colitis and serious problems within my immediate family all contributed to my mental breakdown in 2009.
We now live in the East Midlands and to be honest I am a lot happier, even with my continuing mental health problems.
In 2009 I had no experience of website build, other than as a client to creative agencies. I have taught myself and learnt my website design and build skills by using resources from the internet and reading.
Managing and developing this website gives me pride & purpose and a safe area to spend my time.
14th January 2013
I have been taking 150mg of Trazodone at night for a week now, the good news is my head / mental health seems to be a lot better, I feel less anxious and depressed.
BUT I am suffering with aching joints, particularly my knees and back, find it difficult to physically get out of bed because I ache and feel so 'heavy', to the point I am close to calling my wife to help me out of bed.
I have found a number of discussions and acknowledgments of the problem of joint ache whilst taking Trazodone, but no one seems to be talking about what they or the doctor did about it. I would be reluctant to stop taking Trazodone because I feel so much better mentally. Anyone else got any experience of how they dealt with the pain?
14th January 2013
The medication I take of Trazodone, Pregabalin and Asacol Mesalazine tablets are working for me so I will continue with them
I am attending Solution Focused Brief Therapy every two weeks and find that very helpful; I always come away feeling more positive, happy and motivated.
I am spending a lot of time developing My Anxiety website, which is giving me focus and purpose. I am now considering establishing it as a charity so watch this space
I have had my bicycle repaired and want to start using it more. Physical activity helps both Ulcerative Colitis and depression and anxiety.
I am getting things done in our home, many things have been left like fitting the skirting board to the lounge and dining area and repairing the shower. I am not doing it myself I hasten to add, but have had builders into quote and one of them starts next week on the skirting board.
2013 has started well, I feel I have a purpose and a plan, which accommodates my mental health as it is, so I don’t have to think if only…. All of this is helped by knowing I have not got to prove that I am ill by attending a DWP ESA Medical until March 2014. I feel that they are leaving me alone for a bit.
11th January 2013
I have been on Trazodone 150mg for a week now.
Firstly Trazodone has stopped the awful side effects I was getting from Duloxetine withdrawal – which is great because the nightmares, dizziness, brain zaps and sleep problems where getting to much. So lesson learnt is always do what the doctor tells you...............
Secondly the Trazodone seems to be alleviating my anxiety and depressive moods. I sleep 8 hours a night and have no recollection of any nightmares in the morning.
Thirdly, whilst my head is better the physical effect on my body is significant, getting up is hard work and my whole body aches and is difficult to get started. During the day my joints ache and are slightly ceased, I suspect I am walking like an older man and have to be careful on the stairs. Hopefully this will pass once my body is used to the Trazodone
Trazodone is an older drug and part of the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) group. I assume from the fact it stopped my withdrawal from Duloxetine that it is managing my serotonin levels, but in a slightly different way
So other than the fact my body aches and getting out of bed is so hard, the Trazodone is working. Given the choice between how my head was mentally before and the current physical difficulties, I would opt for taking the Trazodone any day.
Another benefit to me is I have a sense of purpose again, hence all the activity on My Anxiety website and establishing all the social media accounts
11th January 2013
I suffered a mental health breakdown in 2009 and I am now living with a mental health illness, in the form of my anxiety and depression.
I also have Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the form of Ulcerative Colitis
MyAnxiety website is maintained by me, an individual living in the United Kingdom. I am a male in my 50's.
I feel I have learnt a little, but of course am still learning, about mental health Issues & Ulcerative Colitis and wanted to share my experiences with you. All opinions are from a patients perspective, I am not a medical person in anyway.
My Anxiety website aims to be of interest to those suffering from anxiety and depression and family and friends of sufferers to. Please feel free to comment on my blog or contact me via social media or email. My Anxiety wants to act as a signposting website providing easy access to other relative sites on the internet
Also visit My Anxiety social media accounts at Twitter Facebook and Google+
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