I posted recently about my anxiety medication and my intention to ask the doctor to review it.
Today I telephoned the Doctors surgery to ask to for a non urgent appointment to discuss my medication. I was advised that, because of Covid-19, the GP was not reviewing medication at present. So having felt somewhat deflated, after plucking up the courage to telephone, I thought I would try writing to them instead.
I used the opportunity of not being able to sleep last night, to consider what helps me live with my Generalised Anxiety and Ulcerative Colitis conditions.
So here is my menu of options in no particular order that help me:
I have been told about a really useful new App that has been available in Germany for some time and is now here in the UK
The App is called MyTherapy and is available to download for free to help manage medication and treatment, by reminding you to take medication and recording activity and other health information.
I searched for MyTherapy in the Apple App store and downloaded it easily and quickly. You have the option to register with your email address or just provide your date of birth and sex. I then used the barcode scan feature for my Pentasa tablets and entered the details manually for my Lyrica 300mg tablets.
I just wanted to share with you my current mantra which is helping. My counsellor has kindly credited me with the thinking, but I can’t help but think it is already well and truly out there.
When I am down, overwhelmed and struggling with my mental health, I am ‘now’ able to focus on and believe that the next day CAN be different and better. This enables me to get through the current day and focus on the opportunity for a new, fresh start the next day. Most importantly the thinking and belief has worked for me, so I can now build on this experience by telling myself that the next day has been better in the past so it will be better again in the future.
During times of anxiety, I can use a number of different tools to ease the anxiety and try and focus on the now.
These can include music, reading (although it can often be difficult to concentrate during intense periods of anxiety), writing in my journal, going for a walk (again sometimes tricky), talking to someone, mediation and now I have added option of colouring sheets for mindfulness and stress.
Hello, gosh it has been a while. I am doing okay, still on medication and suffering with anxiety, but I consider it to be more managed now. I don't go out a lot, but can attend local supermarket, when I know it will be quiet and on a good day, and local store in High street. I am doing part time work on a self employed basis at home, in the form of website design and internet marketing for a few hours each day.
The interesting (and sad) point is that I am now caring for my poor wife, who having managed to look after me and her mum for many years, is now suffering with anxiety & depression herself. She is under the care of the local psychiatric team, on various mediation and seeing a counsellor weekly at our local Mind, But does seem ironic that she is now ill, but I suspect not that unusual. The recent pressures mounted on historic issues and brought the whole to a head for her.
I continue to use my key tools to manage my anxiety & depression which are:
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?
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
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 tried out a main stream mental health charity’s forum over three or four days...........
Following a recent visit to the GP, I think I have a slightly better understanding of how care operates in the NHS, UK........
Solution Focused Brief Therapy or Brief Therapy or Solution Focus is really a form of coaching. The significance for me is that the focus is on the positive rather than dwelling on the past or the negative......
The general principle of treatment seems to be that medication will help you on the road to recovery whilst therapy and/or time will actually enable the recovery; well this is the case for anxiety and depression so they say. I am told to use the analogy of a broken leg, the medication is the plaster cast and pain killers and the time and physiotherapy exercise after the removal of the cast is the therapy. My only observation is that three and a half years is a blasted long time to mend a broken leg!
Below I consider the therapy and medication treatment I have accessed .......
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