I currently can’t work due to my mental health. I have Complex Post traumatic stress disorder which means that I don’t know how I’m going to be from one day to the next. My Consultant has suggested as part of my survival, that I should attend some of the free course the my local branch of Mind offer.
Everybody has anxiety, it is part of what keeps us alive. But if you are like me, it can rule everyday life to a point that life itself is difficult to live. I have a lot of deep seated issues which are being slowly and surely worked through with the help of medical professionals, friends and loved ones. As all the courses sounded interesting, I simply picked the next available one, which happened to be “anxiety management and relaxation, 5 weeks” which seemed a good place to start! (They also offer a 10 week version which I imagine would go into more detail on the relaxation side.)
In today’s post, I will look at the venue, my initial thoughts and the course in general. Hopefully as the course progresses over the next few weeks, I can share how I get on with techniques and coping mechanisms I learn on the Course!
Course leader: Shaun is dressed casually, and gives everybody time when they arrive. He welcomes them, asks their name, has a brief chat and offered them a drink. This is very important to people like me who have anxiety, it means that I feel happier in the space, and don’t feel scared by the silence in the room. There is also quiet music playing in the background. It is still a long wait for the course to start. The poor course leader tried to break the tension in the room while waiting for everyone to arrive. No one wanted to talk, apart from him. I can imagine the mood will be different next week,
The room itself was a sunny conservatory in the Mind building near the canal basin. It is not a day suited being indoors, but with the back door open for easy escape and the random cigarettes, it was warm and breezy, perfect conditions for today’s course.
The Human brain:
As humans, we are complex and intellegent. We have over 70,000 thoughts a day. And a vast amount of those are to get through the day-to-day goings on. But Anxious thoughts are twice as powerful as a positive thought, and tend to linger in the memory for longer.
Only 17 out of 30 managed to make it. It is difficult walking through the door, and accepting that just signing up and attending is a achievement.
Don’t forget techniques when you are feeling good, if you continue with these it might mean you don’t crash as hard.
Fight & flight: the key to survival:
(Hand out why relaxation can work)
- Amygdala- centre if the brain = caveman brain
- Automatic, non thinking of the brain
Because it’s none thinking, it can’t tell the difference between ancient or modern threats.
Rational thinking goes out the window, language goes very monosyllabic. Think of people fighting on a Saturday night.
- 3 potent hormones- adrenaline, cortisone and …
It’s not a weakness. You can’t change your thoughts or emotions. No one likes being anxious
Symptoms of anxiety
Where do you feel anxiety?
If you start with high anxiety state morning, it means you have very low tolerance.learning techniques to bring that level down, it means you can cope with a bit more in a day.
No one else is in control. You are in charge of how how think, feel and act.
- similar to driving a car; slamming on the breaks.
- anxiety can be triggered unexpectedly
- use this anywhere
- Helps gain control back
- Say to yourself “stop!” (Either verbally or non verbally!) Take 6 breaths!
Do it as many times as you need to
- This can be the Key to recovery
- Find a time that suits everyday
- Practice daily
- Find a place that is quiet and free from distractions
- As you advance, you should practice in places that have more distractions, and work through them
- Relaxation and sleep are difference
- Relaxation can create better sleep
We practiced some techniques using a recording, and was given a cd to take away and continue at home. Some people found it very difficult to do this in a room full of others, but we were told that it was really important to try this as often as possible, so it becomes second nature. this means it can be pulled out of our toolbox when anxiety strikes!
My General thoughts on week one:
Wether you suffer from anxiety, it are aware that someone you know dies, this is a fantastic course. It show how anxiety is a normal part of life, and with some guidance is copiable on a daily basis!
What is more, this course is free (but as Mind is a charity, you are welcome to make a donation.)
Coventry site link: CW MInd
Professional and workplace training: Mind
Online learning: E-course
Find your local branch: getting help
If you need help with mental health issues please talk to your GP, they can advise you of what help is available to you, do not suffer alone.