TALKING CHANGES CASE STUDIES

HEALTH ANXIETY – JESS

“ I’m so scared I’ve got some kind of serious illness, like cancer. I spend ages looking at freckles and checking to see of they’ve chnaged. I’m always at the Doctors asking for reassurance and tests – they must be sick of me! I’m always Googling my symptoms. The idea of being ill petrifies me”

Jess was so terrified of becoming seriously unwell she would frequently google symptoms and check her body for signs of illness. Although she felt some short term reassurance from repeated visits to her GP her worries would quickly resurface in the following days.

Jess decided to take action and referred herself to Talking Changes for support after reading about Health Anxiety. As a result of the online work completed with her therapist Jess was able to identify the ‘vicious cycle’ she was trapped in and has since learned lots of new strategies to overcome this.

In turn Jess no longer feels the need to visit her GP as frequently and feels her wellbeing has improved significantly.

GENERALISED ANXIETY DISORDER – WILL

“Have you ever had that feeling where you feel like something bad is going to happen? It’s like an emending doom and your stomach hits the floor, it’s terrifying! I feel like I worry all of the time, about anything and everything I’m constantly asking myself, ‘What if…?’ It’s totally exhausting.”

Meet Will. He has struggled with worry for most of his life, constantly asking himself “What if…” and feeling unsettled, as though something bad was going to happen. Since working with Talking Changes he has been able to learn skills and techniques to manage his worry more effectively.

Will says, “I am now able to see that my excessive worry was a big part of the problem! I used to believe it gave me a sense of control and helped me feel prepared for things going wrong.

“Through guidance and support from my therapist I now understand uncertainty is a part of life and feel more able to accept this…”

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Dylan

“When people think about OCD they usually think about cleanliness and hand washing. My OCD is a constant obsession that something bad is going to happen to my family and it will be my fault. In order to keep them safe I carry out a number of rituals which have taken over my life.”

Dylan was referred to Talking Changes by his GP following a routine appointment. He has struggled with distressing thoughts for years but tried very hard to manage them alone, keeping them to himself.

After speaking to a therapist via telephone consultations Dylan realised his thoughts were very common and has started to make progress towards reducing his compulsions.

“I can finally see here is another way to manage my obsessive thoughts. Speaking to the non-judgmental staff at Talking Changes about my thoughts has finally made me realise this. I would urge anyone feeling the same way as I did to speak out- you are not alone.”

Panic Disorder – Jennifer

“I can be doing my day to day things when all of a sudden I’ll start to feel breathless, like I cant get enough air. I am convinced I’m going to die of a heart attack! I’ve stopped going out unless I’ve got someone with me.”

After a difficult and stressful year Jennifer started to experience panic attacks which seemed to come on out of the blue. “I have a really stressful job and home life wasn’t great. I started to get breathless and feel chest pains, I was convinced I was going to die! I stopped exercising and felt I needed to have someone with me all of the time”.

 

Jennifer attended the Anxiety Treatment Groups over a 6 week period and feels she has much better understanding on the way anxiety and stress affects her body.

“I feel like my body was trying to tell me to slow down but I wasn’t listening and just kept pushing on, now I know how important it is to practice good self-care and make sure my work-life balance is right!”

Specific Phobia – Anna

“I’ve never like hospitals or injections for as long as I can remember. As I get older it’s really starting to effect me more. I avoid the dentists and health acre appointments. I also have recently cancelled a holiday after finding out I needed vaccinations to go there.”

For many people having a ‘phobia’ does not impact on their function and usually people make steps to avoid coming into contact with the object or activity they fear. For Anna, it was really starting to impact on her life meaning she wasn’t feeling able to go the places she wanted to.

 

Anna was planning on going travelling with friends and asked for support from Talking Changes as she did not want to miss out. By working one to one with a therapist Anna was able to gradually build up the confidence to reduce her avoidance of injections. Although not an entirely pleasant experience Anna was able to use the techniques to help her access an appointment with to have required immunisations prior to her trip.

“I would never have thought I could’ve achieved this without Talking Changes, thanks so much for all of your help and support- I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of my life!”

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Marcel

“Everything was fine until I had a car accident last year. I just can’t stop thinking about it. I keep replaying it over and over in my head, but it’s like I’m back there, reliving it. I have nightmares about it too. Since it happened I haven’t been able to drive and have to get my partner to take me into work every day.”

Marcel had heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but thought this was something associated with those who have served in the armed forces.

 

Having worked with his therapist to gain a better understanding of PTSD and the symptoms associated Marcel began to feel much more hopeful about his situation, “I felt as though I was going mad, I was having all of these flashbacks and felt scared all of the time”.

Throughout his treatment Marcel was able to work through the memories of the accident and no longer has nightmares, “Thanks to my therapist I have started driving again…”

Social Anxiety – Suresh

“I really struggle in social situations. If I go into a place where I know there’ll be lots of people I think everyone is staring at me, sometimes I even think they might be judging me in a negative way. I feel really self-conscious, like I’m making myself look foolish in some way. I just keep my head down and avoid looking at people…”

Social anxiety is the fear of negative judgement from others due the worry you may do or say something considered foolish. As a result people tend to feel very self-conscious when in certain social situations, such a speaking publicly or talking in a group setting.

 

 

Suresh started to feel like this at a very young age following an incident at school which left him feeling humiliated. If he is unable to avoid a social situation he will rehearse, “small talk” beforehand and always wears a scarf to try and hide his blushing.

Suresh has worked with his therapist at Talking Changes who was able to gently challenge some of his beliefs around what others may be thinking of him.

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