When I was struggling badly with anxiety last year, there became a point where I decided enough was enough and I needed to do something to combat how I was feeling.
One of the things I did, was self-refer to Suffolk Wellbeing and following a telephone appointment I was placed onto a stress awareness course. The course ran over a period of 6 weeks, where I attended an hour and a half session a week after work. Each session had a different focus and we were provided with work books with activities and advice in. One of the first things we are told at the course is that everyone has stress and actually stress is crucial for survival. There can be good stress and bad stress, but it’s all about understanding the stress you have, the effect it can have on you and how to cope. Each week we explored different areas which ranged from looking at our thoughts and feelings to how we sleep.
Before I started the sessions, I was really nervous. It’s not easy putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, but week on week I felt more confident and felt I could manage my stress and emotions better. Each week you were asked to fill out a self-assessment form which was a bit like a mood tracker which enabled me to see my progression as well as identifying areas that I needed to pay more attention to. My mood tracker scores improved week on week to a point where anxiety was no longer controlling me. It’s important to note, that this course alone didn’t ‘fix me’, but it gave me tools I could use in practice, alongside other support systems. While I found the stress awareness course helpful and I would encourage others to give it a try, it might only be the start of your journey. Don’t feel disheartened if the course isn’t for you. There are plenty of other options out there.