Irish Daily Mail - YOU



QI am really struggling. I used to suffer from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) when I was in my teens, but eventually learnt to manage them. I am now in my mid 30s. However, after nearly two years of pandemic I am having anxiety problems again. I’m also finding it difficult to sleep. My GP has referred me for cognitive behavioura­l therapy (CBT), but there is a long waiting list and I can’t afford to go privately. How can I cope? I’m just about managing to quell the OCD but I feel fidgety most of the time.

AI’m so sorry that you are struggling. Remember that you learned to manage your anxiety before so you can do so again, but it sounds as if you need a bit of a refresher on what worked. Exercise and daylight are crucial, as well as human connection. So take daily walks (or swims or cycles) and make time to see (or talk to) and confide in close friends or your partner. Kindness to yourself is also important, so don’t pile on the pressure with lots of ‘shoulds’ – instead, engage in relaxing activities such as taking a hot bath or reading a good book. You could also try phone apps such as the Stress & Anxiety Companion (on the App Store or Google Play, from €1.99 a month) to coach you in CBT, and the free podcast Nothing Much Happens to help you sleep.

Although you say you’re managing your OCD, it can be a debilitati­ng condition that often needs profession­al help and sometimes medication – which may also help anxiety. So see your GP again if you start to feel out of control and check out the charity for support.

CONTACT CAROLINE Write to Caroline West-Meads at: YOU Magazine, PO Box 5332, Dublin 2, or email c.west-meads@youmagazin­ Caroline reads all letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally. DON’T FORGET: BEL MOONEY’S ADVICE COLUMN APPEARS EXCLUSIVEL­Y IN FEMAIL EVERY THURSDAY – ONLY IN THE IRISH DAILY MAIL

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