Before I started my journey with Derby City Life Links I was floundering in a sea of anxiety, depression and low self‐esteem. My sleep was erratic, I suffered from occasional panic attacks and my relationships were suffering. I was self‐medicating with alcohol which I am now aware was exacerbating my problems. I was withdrawing from my friends and family and was deeply unhappy with myself. I had reached a point where I realised I needed help to address my issues and regain some form of control over my life and my emotions.
I wanted to be able to control my anxiety and depression and learn ways to deal with my negative automatic thoughts, for instance: Jumping to conclusions (my friend hasn’t texted me back; she must not like me anymore..); Personalising (there is a bad atmosphere at work; it must be my fault..); Catastrophizing (imagining the worst possible outcome of a situation); and mind reading (I know they think I am boring and useless).I also wanted to control my poor sleep and break the cycle of bad dreams and long periods of wakefulness in the night.
I received 1 to 1 sessions of an hour’s duration with my support worker and I found these incredibly useful. I was shown how relaxation techniques and sleep /night time routines were important. I was encouraged to create a ‘toolkit’ which really helped. Mine consisted of special cards, photographs, candles, fabrics… a range of items which evoked special memories and reassurance that I am valued and should value myself.
Initially I was concerned that my issues were not deserving of attention and felt that there were others more deserving of the time but I soon felt reassured that this was not the case. I was able to discuss my anxieties and causes of depression, my relationships and my strange nightmares without feeling judged .
I have learned new ways of relaxation and I was encouraged to examine what activities/ hobbies etc make me feel positive and happier. I have learned to view relationships and situations from a different perspective and to recognise my strengths and self‐worth. My sleep has improved immensely and although I still very occasionally experience nightmares I feel much better equipped to deal with them. I no longer use alcohol and realise that I have the strength within me to deal with my problems instead of attempting to numb myself from them. I have been able to improve my relationships and no longer feel so anxious when faced with social situations which I would avoid previously. I have rediscovered the joy of ‘me time’ and am really enjoying creative hobbies again along with exercise which of course has lots of benefits.
I found the whole experience with Derby City Life links extremely beneficial and empowering and my life has greatly improved in so many ways. I would like to thank the staff for all the hard work, for listening, for not judging, and helping me move on from a very low point in my life.
I have rediscovered the pleasure of learning and am working my way through an online university course relative to my new career.
I am back on track!