Hannah received treatment from TALKWORKS after realising she was burnt out. Through accessing support and regular therapy sessions, she was able gain a better understanding of how she was feeling and what she was going through. By prioritising her mental health and taking steps to improve her overall wellbeing, she has been able to feel more like herself again.
"I’m Hannah. I’ve spent the last 14 years working in education. I’ve always struggled with boundaries and doing anything in moderation. Last November, I realised that I had burned out.
I finally gave in to what my doctor had been telling me to do for months and was signed off from work. This made me feel even worse as every day I felt sick with guilt with the pressure I was adding to my colleagues and the disservice I was doing to my students by not being there. But I just couldn’t cope. I struggled to just be alone. I felt broken. I didn’t feel capable of doing anything or seeing anyone.
Initially, I didn’t want to find happiness or learn to put myself first as I didn’t think either of those things were possible. My GP suggested TALKWORKS, and having previously had a positive experience of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and counselling for an exercise addiction and eating disorder, I was keen to gain as much support as possible.
After the referral, I was contacted by phone and offered an initial appointment. At the appointment (which was only a week later) I talked about how I was feeling and what difficulties I was having. I was listened to, and felt heard. I was told about different options for therapy that might work for me and it was made really clear to me what the support would look like and what I could/couldn’t expect.
During the weeks that followed, I talked a lot about my thoughts and my feelings, about the issues I had that I was aware of and about the issues I was possibly about to discover. I cried… a lot. There was silence when I needed it. There were questions when I needed them. I felt listened to and heard and in no way judged. I was made to feel like a priority.
Between sessions I worked on agreed tasks and through Silvercloud’s online self-help modules. Sometimes I did loads, sometimes I did very little and I was made to feel okay about both of those. Over the weeks I became more aware of myself and more in control of my thoughts and feelings. To this day, I’m not in a position where I can stop myself thinking or feeling certain things; that, as a concept, is alien to me. But I am in a position where:
- I have a better understanding of depression and anxiety,
- I am better able to notice feelings. I’ve learned so much about my emotions and what impacts them.
- I have methods of boosting certain behaviours and know that small changes can help me feel so much better.
- I am better able to spot thoughts and understands how they affect how I feel and impact negative thinking patterns.
- I am better able to challenging my thoughts and generate more balanced thoughts.
- I appreciate the role worry plays in anxiety and am learning how to manage my worries.
- I am aware that my core belief is that I’m not good enough and knowing that and starting to explore where that has come from is enabling me to understand and identify how unhelpful this is and learn how to create more balanced core beliefs about myself.
I’m still not where I want to be but I am in a completely different place to where I was last November. When I initially started with TALKWORKS, I was signed off sick, heavily medicated and felt like a shell of a person with nothing to offer anyone who never wanted to go out. I’m now more sociable than I’ve ever been, am more self-aware, am happier, am not medicated, and am back in work. My mental health is something I’m now prioritising.
I joked with the various people I worked with at TALKWORKS that I couldn’t wait to look back on that time and be in a different place. I ‘joked’ because I wasn’t sure it was possible. But it is and I couldn’t be more grateful. Without being dramatic, I have no idea what life would be like had I not had my weekly phone calls with them and had the support of my amazing doctor. I’d urge anyone who is struggling to get in touch with them because they truly can make a hugely positive difference."
If you are feeling overwhelmed or are unsure where to turn, please remember that TALKWORKS is here to help you. You do not need to see a GP in order to access treatment and support through our service. You can refer yourself either online or over the phone by calling 0300 555 3344.
Posted by Victoria Walmesley on 15 May, 2023