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Walking the path from struggle to strength  
 

I asked my clients to write a few words of feedback, advice or encouragement for people thinking about whether to start CBT, as they are the experts from experience. I’m sure you’ll be inspired about possibilities for change, when you read how far others have come!  I hope it also gives you a more detailed sense of how I could help you on your life journey, from those who have walked the path from struggle to strength themselves. There are no identifying details, not even first names or initials, as, to me, it‘s of utmost importance to protect peoples’ total confidentiality.
 

Overcoming phobias, health anxiety and panic

There’s so much more to my life now. I now feel able to step outside my comfort zone and feel the good feeling after it! Before doing CBT I would never have been able to get on a bus without knowing exactly the route, but now I’m able to step out and feel absolutely fine. I feel safer and happier within myself and more relaxed and in control, whereas before I felt trapped. It’s amazing how powerful the mind is, and how anxious you can make yourself feel and how you can also calm yourself down”

One day I was having lunch with a friend and felt like I was having panic attack – I wasn’t hyperventilating but couldn’t get a full breath and didn’t know what to do. I ended up in A&E and the doctor there said to me that anxiety was causing it. As I left the hospital I knew I needed to speak to someone to help me. With Eleanor’s help, I am now able to manage my symptoms while getting on with the day-to-day, and looking forward to the future. I have been able to talk through my problems with Eleanor and have learned effective coping techniques to use. The symptoms I used to feel have become less intense and less frequent so I know that I am on the right path and am over a really awful time in my life. Without Eleanor’s help, I don’t know where I would be. My relationships with my boyfriend and friends have improved as they can see a real difference in me and they have noticed that I am more or less back to my old self. I am more carefree and have a genuine desire to enjoy myself now”

I decided to start CBT with Eleanor because with my experiences of shortness of breath and other uncomfortable symptoms of more and more frequent panic. I felt scared, anxious and that I wasn’t able to cope very well with things like work and social situations, which I would have had no problems with before. I started going to the GP’s at least once a week, sometimes more (!!), hoping that they could advise why I was feeling this way. Even getting negative test results didn’t ease my fears and I was convinced that they hadn’t done the relevant tests and that there was definitely something wrong with me.  I wanted to address the constant worrying about my health and what the symptoms I was experiencing could be. I needed continual reassurance from my GP, boyfriend, friends and family that the symptoms weren’t an indication of some underlining sinister disease, and that I was going to be ok. When the comfort of their words wore off, I was back to square one and off making another appointment to see my doctor. My health anxiety was beginning to take over my life and I felt as though I was losing control of the person I had been. I couldn’t believe how bad things had become in such a short space of time but I knew that I couldn’t continue the way things were.

My work with Eleanor has helped me to stop obsessing about potential illnesses and to enjoy my life much more again. I know that my friends, family and boyfriend are relieved that I am back to my old self, and in fact I am happier and more relaxed than ever before!  They know that I am not preoccupied by my fear of illness and if I experience any symptoms, I am now well able to get on with it and not let them stop me from living my life.”

I finally discovered the real reason to be alive: is to enjoy it!”

— Rita Mae West