Amy was referred to TALKWORKS by her health visitor. Initially, Amy was sceptical if Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) would be right for her, having previously tried this with another service which didn’t help her. Here Amy shares her story and her very different experience of having CBT with TALKWORKS. After nine months of therapy Amy now has the coping mechanisms and tools in place to help her cope with everyday life. Thank you Amy for sharing your moving story.
“In November 2022, I gave birth to my son. Straight after the birth, I knew something wasn’t right. I went back and forth from feeling nothing towards him to hatred. I would find myself avoiding him, hating myself, and crying for hours about even having a baby. I couldn’t even recognise my own baby in a baby group setting, and all my mind was telling me to do was run away and leave my husband and baby behind, as they would be much better off without me.
“This went on for about a month after the birth, with family members telling me ‘it is just the baby blues’, before I reached out to my health visitor, who straight away signed me up to TALKWORKS, as well as other mental health services.
“Much later, I found out that I had severe post-natal depression, post-natal anxiety, and birth trauma. I knew deep down something wasn’t right, and it took all my strength to admit how I was feeling to a professional. But once I had taken that first step, so many doors opened up for me!
“In 2015, I collapsed in the bathroom through ill health, which really shook my mental health. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and my grandparents had to look after me, as I was too afraid to live alone in case of it happening again.
“Through the doctor, I was signed up for CBT (not through TALKWORKS), but unfortunately the trainee practitioner who delivered it did not fully understand my circumstances, and so gave me an online course to complete, which didn’t even address my health anxiety issues.
“In the end, I found the only way to live each day was to make sure I had 10 hours sleep a night, as that seemed to keep my anxiety at bay. Any less, my mind would race and I had no other coping mechanism to turn to.
“Of course, having a baby means you do not get a good night’s sleep anymore. The sleep deprivation was hard, especially with my anxiety through the roof and I found myself obsessing about how much sleep I was getting each night. My husband and I would take the night in shifts just so I had some ‘solid sleep’, but even then that wasn’t good enough to control the anxiety. This really took a toll on our relationship.
“When I turned up for my first TALKWORKS appointment and found I was greeted by another trainee/apprentice, my heart sank. I thought no real help would be offered. However, Rebecca listened to me and after a couple of assessments she determined that I needed a lot more help than she could offer at her grade. My case was then passed up the line to Caroline, who I saw after two months of waiting after the initial assessments. Between these times, I had the Perinatal Mental Health team supporting me, which was set up by the health visitor.
“When Caroline first spoke about CBT in our first appointment, again my heart sank. I had already been through this before and it hadn’t worked. However, this time was completely different. I had 1:1 in person sessions fortnightly. They were tailormade to me and my issues and she listened to me fully and understood exactly how she could help me. She was very easy to communicate with and I felt fully supported by her. I really enjoyed attending our sessions.
“After nine months of therapy I am signed off and now know myself better than I ever have before. It turns out that my anxiety issues started a long time before the incident in 2015, and just knowing that has helped me understand why I have always done certain behaviours etc. I now have coping mechanisms/tools in place to help me in everyday life with my anxiety. So far they have been working amazingly and I finally feel in control of my life again after all this time. I am also pleased to say I now have a wonderful bond with my baby, which continues to grow daily.
“These past nine months haven’t been easy, and I have had to resurface a lot of demons from my past in order to conquer them. However, if you put in the effort/homework, you will definitely reap the rewards. I would love to say ‘I am cured’, but I can’t, as with life, it constantly throws you new challenges you have to face. But with the coping tools that I now have in place, I feel a lot more in control and positive about the future now.
“I fully recommend TALKWORKS. They have honestly changed my life.”
If you are finding things hard and are in need of some support, TALKWORKS is here to help. We are Devon's NHS Talking Therapies Service. A free, confidential, service, part of NHS Talking Therapies, for people (aged 18+) in Devon (excluding Plymouth)
We are a team of qualified psychological wellbeing practitioners and psychological therapists, offering both face to face and remote appointments.
We are an inclusive service and welcome referrals from those over 18, no matter their race, gender, sexuality or religion. You can get referred to our service by your GP, or you can self-refer online or by calling us on 0300 555 3344.