Two Tay­side women speak out about liv­ing with men­tal health con­di­tions

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS -

Re­becca Shearer, 24.

I have a food-re­lated anx­i­ety, which started as the re­sult of a bad virus that com­pletely bat­tered my di­ges­tive sys­tem and tore my stom­ach lin­ing.

It de­vel­oped into a psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sue, where I as­so­ci­ated food with be­ing sick and had a pho­bia of be­ing sick in pub­lic. It got to the stage where I couldn’t eat in restau­rants, and be­fore I went to an event I’d make sure I hadn’t eaten, be­cause I was afraid of be­ing sick.

I had panic at­tacks where I’d retch, even though I wasn’t ac­tu­ally be­ing sick.

I’d also ex­pect to have a panic at­tack in cer­tain places or sit­u­a­tions if I had had one there be­fore.

I didn’t go through the stan­dard NHS route, be­cause I know a lot of peo­ple with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, and it af­fects ev­ery­one dif­fer­ently, so I be­lieve ev­ery­one’s treat­ment should be tai­lored to them.

For me, the most ef­fec­tive method was hyp­nother­apy. I don’t have to rely on med­i­ca­tion or be on long wait­ing lists, which works for me. So far it’s worked and I haven’t had a panic at­tack in months and feel a lot calmer gen­er­ally.

Fiona Grieve, 24.

I had been told at my first ap­point­ment that I was de­pressed and ba­si­cally “here, have some meds , ev­ery­thing will be bet­ter”.

I didn’t feel like I had got the sup­port that I re­quired so when I booked my check-up ap­point­ment for two weeks later I changed doc­tor.

With her we were able to talk and came to the con­clu­sion that my de­pres­sion was caused by my anx­i­ety, which was trig­gered by my low self-con­fi­dence.

As soon as it is di­ag­nosed as anx­i­ety rather than de­pres­sion the wait­ing list for ther­apy is short­ened by about five to six weeks and I was luck­ily taken just two weeks later.

I re­ceived three one-to-one ses­sions be­fore go­ing on a 10-week group ther­apy course for build­ing con­fi­dence.

Be­ing in a group where ev­ery­thing is con­fi­den­tial and ev­ery­one is there to sup­port each other re­ally helped.

I com­pleted the group ther­apy and have been off an­tide­pres­sants since July 2016.

I still have anx­i­ety at­tacks but I know how to con­trol them be­fore they start to spi­ral down­wards.

Fiona found group ther­apy ses­sions help­ful.

Pic­ture: Kim Cessford.

Re­becca says hyp­nother­apy helped her over­come anx­i­ety.

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