“It was the right time to get help” – an IAPT client’s story #MHAW17

I have been having problems with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, it was at a point where it was getting close to me not being able to go to work. I mentioned it to my doctor and he mentioned you can refer to the IAPT service. I had already attended some sessions of another type of therapy called ‘Guided Self Help’ in a different service. I then moved house and the person suggested I access Leeds IAPT for further therapy.

I then came to meet my therapist and started CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). By this point I had had lots of changes in my life, a lot of stress and pressure which was all adding up. It was the right time for me to get some help.

Before I came to see my therapist I was worrying about coming to the session and what it was going to be like. One of the big worries that I had was that I wasn’t unwell enough and I was going to be told that everything I was feeling was normal and they wouldn’t be able to help me. At that first session my therapist reassured me about these worries by listening to my concerns, she talked me through the process and what the treatment might look like. I really valued that she spent a full few sessions just listening to me and understanding the different sides of how I was feeling. I felt listened to and supported, she took me seriously.

I saw my therapist for 6 months where we covered lots of things. Over this time the most useful thing overall was that CBT helped me to understand my past experiences and how they affected me so that it made it easier to do the strategies that my therapist gave me for homework. This meant that I could do the things I needed to do to get better.

I still need to do things to look after my mental health, it is still something I have to make a conscious effort to do every now and then. I refer back to the material and homework that my therapist gave me and continue rehearsing them so I can build new habits. I am making progress with this. I have good days and bad days. But now I have more of the good days and the bad days aren’t as bad as they were before. I feel more able to break out of unhelpful patterns and more accepting that there is going to be a lot of pressure and that this is OK. Now I realise that when this happens I don’t have to cling to it and let it affect my whole week. I have more control over how I am feeling and I try to not put as much pressure on myself when I have a bad day but I am still working on this!

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