I’ve really missed not blogging. For the last month I’ve been studying hard for my Yoga teaching qualification. I’ve loved it. I’ve managed the balancing act of study, work and home fairly well. But I’ve missed writing; I know it is something I want to continue to do. More on the Yoga another time. This week is Gardening Week in the UK, that was going to be my topic today; the positive connection between good mental health and gardening. But something changed.

I’ve been having CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for about 4 months now. I’ve tried counselling before to help my anxiety, and whilst it was great to sit and talk about myself, what made me sad, anxious, confused, scared, it didn’t give me the “cure” for anxiety. I went to my doctor (again) in October and said “I don’t want to be like this anymore” His response filled me with hope. He said it wouldn’t always be like this and gave me the Depression and Anxiety Service details.

I’ve just got back from a session with my therapist and feel like a weight has been lifted, the way I feel right now matches the bright, blue sky, warm sunny day that we have today. Corny I know, but it’s true.

Having just written that I feel like I balanced the yoga assessment stress, with work and life isn’t strictly true. A combination of really wanting this qualification, the pressure I added to get better-than-just-pass marks, and a few other curveballs life decided to throw me, meant that for the last five days my anxiety reared its head. Chest pain, irrational thoughts, tingly lips and feelings of dread.

I went to therapy today, analysing how my week has been as I always do on my walk there. Pretty negative was my conclusion, on the evidence that I’d had anxiety symptoms for the last five days, having recently had a number of “good” weeks. My therapist sensed my disappointment of my perceived failing. But what I established throughout the session was actually how far I had come in my anxiety journey, and how I hadn’t failed.

Talking through my week I was able understand why I had been feeling anxious and what the symptoms were. But more importantly I told my therapist how I had dealt with these thoughts, because for me anxiety is the behaviour that stems from thoughts. You can have the irrational thoughts, but then you need to say “OK, but what is another option, what else could factually be creating the chest pain rather than a imminenet heart attack?”

As my therapist summarised our session, I physically felt the emotion rising in my chest. It rose from my tummy, through my chest, to my throat and my eyes. Relief. Lightness. The realisation that my perceived dark week was actually great progress, because I’d successfully used techniques that we have worked on over the past few months. The emotion was that maybe I really am on the way to coping with my anxiety.

Everybody’s mental health is different. My struggle has always been health related anxiety, maybe with a sprinkling of generalised anxiety disorder. But the goals or outcome is always the same and that is to beat it, and not let it define you or your life. More than ever today’s session has made me want to help others and continue to work hard to be able to deal with my anxiety. If you can get access to CBT through your GP/NHS or work, please try it. Stick with it. It’s tough at times, but so far for me its great.

Please get in touch with your thoughts and share the Shamelessly Me love so we can ease the anxiety of others.

Much love x