Karen accessed support from TALKWORKS when she found herself in a dark in place as a result of number of difficulties that were impacting her life. By working with an employment support co-ordinator and undertaking regular therapy sessions, she was able to confront the challenges she was facing and start to feel better again. Read her story below:
"I was signed off sick from work December 2018. In 2019 I started having sessions with my therapist called Chris. I found the therapy extremely tough at times because it included intrusive memory diaries and reliving the trauma I had experienced. However, I put in the work outside of the designated therapy hours, which really helped. I was also struggling with my long term sickness review meetings as my head was not in the right place, and so Chris arranged for one of TALKWORKS’ employment support co-ordinators, Adam, to help me. What a blessing and a great support he was! Chris and Adam both encouraged me to be kind to myself. They suggested I made healthier choices which including eating well, drinking plenty of water, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep; all the things that were important for my recovery. By December 2020, I finally felt like I had turned a corner.
In June 2021, I went back to TALKWORKS to access help for excessive cleaning and being afraid to leave the house. I found my therapist Caroline to be really supportive to me during this time. Unfortunately in August 2021 I was attacked. This triggered my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety and depression. As a result of this, I started working with another therapist called Izzy who was very understanding. She helped me start to overcome the assault and to process the trauma that it had caused me. She recommended that I may benefit from some more intense therapy and I was assigned to Liz who was brilliant.
Liz took a slightly different approach and we used a method called ‘exposure therapy’ which involved revisiting the place of the attack. I found this incredibly tough, but Liz met up with me to do this, so that I wasn’t on my own. I spoke about how I was feeling the whole time and as soon as I said my anxiety was creeping up, we waited until I calmed down (we even had a cheeky ice cream) before proceeding. This therapy has really helped me. When I feel anxious in certain situations, I remind myself of what Liz has taught me to help me remain in the present moment.
By May 2022 I was ready to go back to work. Adam was there to keep me grounded and was always at the end of the phone if I needed a sounding board. To further help with my recovery I have volunteered as a Mascot. It has really helped me start to overcome my fears, plus no one knows who is behind the mask…
I am reclaiming and rebuilding my life now. My therapy journey has been incredibly tough but I can't thank TALKWORKS enough for being there and being part of it."
TALKWORKS can support adults (age 18+) across Devon (excluding Plymouth) who are struggling with anxiety, worry or stress. As part of the NHS, all treatment and support available through our service is completely free to access. We also have a selection of Employment Support Coordinators who can provide practical support, information and guidance for work-related stress, to help adults find and stay in employment. If you would like to access support from our service, please call 0300 555 3344 (our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm) or complete a self-referral form on our website.