ANXIETY DISORDERS Treatment and support
Anne - We had realised what it was, that it was something that was going to be there for the rest of his life that had to be controlled and that we were going to have to do something about it and get him onto a path where he was going to enjoy life.
Whereas, at that particular stage, he was not enjoying life at all.
Karen - It’s not as easy as just taking a little pill and away you go.
Um, so, yeah, you gotta work at your life and change a few things and the way you think and your beliefs.
Luke - Seeing a psychologist is helpful ‘cause it makes you... makes your problem more real. And, like... And, uh...plus, they can... they can teach you more about it. And, plus, you get a lot... ‘Cause it starts to consume you and you get the chance to get it off your chest, a lot of the... a lot of your worries and stuff, just talking about it.
Amber - My psychologist has been wonderful. And he...I’m seeing him, though, through a holistic way, so... And he’s addressing things like...He’s helping me understand the core of why I feel what I’m feeling and when I feel what I’m feeling. And I found that talking about it
with him or with other people that suffer the same thing helps to understand it more.
Karen - When you first go to therapy, you think that you’re going to start feeling better, but it takes...I reckon it took me six months to ever walk out of that office feeling better. I always felt worse, because you’re talking about it and by talking about it, it’s more real.
Carol - Kate’s seen a couple of people where... she just didn’t go anywhere with because she...she felt that she couldn’t really talk to them about what she needed to talk to them about.
Kate - I didn’t feel like I could open up to them. You have to feel comfortable with them and feel, like, that... Yeah, you just have to feel comfortable and feel that you can open up to them.
Karen - I guess the idea is to challenge bad thoughts, to challenge what you’re thinking as not real and not rational. And I’ve actually gotten quite good at that, I think.
Kate - I used to get panic attacks to the point where I just couldn’t control it and I had to have tablets that would knock me out, but then I learnt how to manage them and as I kept doing that, it just got so much easier.
Anne - Keith read a lot more than I did, but we both read, we both thought about it, we... And between that and the psychiatrist, um, we managed to get a path where we got him living a fairly good life.
Carol - Counting...
BOTH: Counting backwards.
Kate - Oh, God.
Carol - It was something we came up with together.
Kate - Yeah, you just count backwards and it takes your mind off it
because you’re thinking, “10, 9, 8...” You’re, like...you have to
think of the next number so it’s taking your mind off the anxiety.
Carol - Because to count forward, you’re just so used to doing that, but to count backwards, um, we found... But we started up at 900, though.
Kate - And it’s harder to say...
Carol - 899, 898...
Keith - I still now, at least three or four times a week, sit down in a very quiet corner
and relax, thinking about the lovely tea Anne’s gonna make me. But...and it’s a great thing.
Uh, we’re both keen bridge players and if it’s starting to get a bit stressful there, I can... (SIGHS)... and induce this feeling of relaxation. It’s good.
Luke - I keep up a certain level of exercise because it... I don’t know.
Personally, for me, it, uh... makes you feel five times better.
David - I think that the problem with depression and anxiety is you just don’t feel motivated. Um, uh... hiding or jumping under the couch but, you know, people will come round and they’ll lean their bikes against my window and I’ll think, “Look, I just don’t wanna do this,” and if I’m unlucky enough and they catch me, then I have to go and I love it it’s great. Just to get out and go for a ride, um... And I think you forget. I just think you forget you’re miserable and you’re anxious. You have no choice. Where I live is very hilly and there’s no time for thinking of anything else.
Anne - One of the things that we found wonderful was walking on the beach or by the bay.
Keith - Ooh, yes!
Anne -Whatever the weather.
If you just walked along the beach, Elwood or somewhere, and it just calms you.
Or find somewhere. It might be something else that calms you.
Keith - All weathers winter, summer or whatever. It was great.
Amber - I’ve found now that when I do go somewhere, I’ll take something that feels nice in my hands or something that’s going to calm me, that I believe in, or just something.
And every time I feel that way, I just sort of get it out of my bag and play with it or touch it or feel it and it kind of calms me down again, to balance me out a little bit again.
Anne - There might be some things which it would pay not to do. I wouldn’t go bungee-jumping if I were you or put yourself in a situation where you know it’s going to be high stress.
But on the other hand, you can’t avoid stress. So just learn to cope with it, breathe deeply if you can feel it coming on. And as I say, it...it will pass, this attack will pass, this period of anxiety will pass, and there will come a calm period in your life.
Karen - I never really voiced my concerns, whereas now I do. I deal with them. I don’t walk away. And I think what my main trigger was... It was OK for me to walk away but I was leaving it inside and I was thinking about it over and over and over again without shelving it.
Whereas now I find that I deal with things that concern me and by doing that, just that one little thing, I’m finding that, OK, it might seem anxious at the time I’m dealing with it, but I can shelve it.
Kate - I just tell myself that I can control it and it’s just my mind playing tricks on me. And sometimes I just, like, pretend that it’s, um... I don’t know, like a monster and I’m just punching it out. Like, the monster’s anxiety and you’re punching it to get rid of it.
Anne - Maybe somebody likes to go swimming together, or whatever.
But, um, just something that’s a routine sort of thing nothing too much and that steadiness
can get you through when you’re like this.
Something like that. That just...steadiness helps.
At least, I think so. I don’t know. It’s helped us.