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My chronic anxiety is taking over

(4 Posts)
TenthMuse Tue 13-Nov-12 13:33:55

I've always had a tendency to worry in certain situations (long-standing fear of flying etc), but over the past year or so this has escalated to the point where my anxiety is now chronic, and is becoming debilitating. I am suffering from palpitations, terrible IBS (which I've had for a decade, but has worsened), muscle aches, sinusitis - you name it! All of these symptoms are stress-related - while I cope with most things pretty well on the surface (work colleagues often comment on my calm demeanour), my anxiety always manifests itself physically. As a result I end up feeling pretty lousy most of the time.

I'm currently trying (unsuccessfully!) to combine a Master's degree with part-time teaching. I quit my full-time teaching job to do the Master's and seek a different career path because I realised I'm too much of a perfectionist for teaching, and my constant attempts to do everything perfectly were making me ill. I'm finding myself turning down teaching work because I can't face it, and am sometimes unable to fulfil bookings because I've had an anxiety attack the night before and haven't slept. My partner is incredibly supportive, which is great, and our financial situation is OK, but I feel guilty because DP is going out to a stressful job every day while I'm not contributing - we've gone from two full-time salaries to me essentially being a kept woman!

I've also become an irrational hypochondriac, envisaging terrible illnesses or accidents for myself and my family. A possible fertility issue that I've been having tests for has also been blown up to disastrous 'I can never have kids!' proportions before I've even had the results. Every time the phone rings, or I can't reach a family member, I immediately imagine a worst case scenario. Even simple things like getting on the Tube or crossing a road are beginning to induce anxiety, and I really think it's time to do something about it.

I've been researching CBT and other possible treatments, but have no idea how to go about finding a suitable practitioner/counsellor because there seem to be so many - a local search came up with dozens of CBT practitioners within a couple of miles of my home. How can you possibly tell which of them are any good? I've already been to see my GP but they weren't terribly helpful - said they couldn't refer me for counselling on the NHS, but offered me beta blockers, which I don't want - I'd rather get to the root of the problem. I'd be really grateful to hear from anyone who's been in a similar position - any other ideas for effective treatments?

ClareMarriott Wed 14-Nov-12 09:09:31

Just to cover a couple of things you have mentioned. British Airways ( and possibly other airlines ) run courses for people who are afraid of flying so you might like to contact them. With regards to counselling, I think your GP is not correct in saying that counselling is not available on the NHS , it is, so talk to him/her again. An alternative is if you contact BACP they list all types of people who do all types of counselling so you should be able to find one that suits you and it may well have a beneficial effect on any of your physical symptoms

Also, what I would say is that EVERYONE is nervous and/or anxious about something but actually the sky does'nt fall in on us - so you are NOT alone .

How great to have a supportive DH !!!

Dolallytats Wed 14-Nov-12 09:40:01

I don't know why your GP won't refer you, I am currentlygetting CBT on the NHS. Could you contact your Primary Care Trust to find out if this is correct? If you are interested in looking for a private counsellor you could contact the BACP and do a search for people in your area.
Like anything, you may have to try a few different ones before you find one you feel comfortable with. This may not be the case, but I wouldn't want you to be put off if this did happen.
There are some really good books on anxiety/panic including the Anxiety Workbook that gives you steps to work through. These are usually available on Amazon. Also, if you have a branch of Mind near you, they may be able to offerb counselling too.
Good luck.

Kellyl26 Fri 16-Nov-12 22:21:13

I really think that teaching causes anxiety. I have just quit after four years teaching adults in an fe college because I was suffering from anxiety to an uncomfortable degree like you. On reflection I think the workload is ridiculous and, that I did not suffer with the anxiety before I started teaching & that it worsened the longer I was teaching. I feel completely free now. I have considered leaving for a while & compared teaching to other jobs I have had & my friends have. I have concluded that it is just too stressful.

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