Tom’s Story

In October of 2016, I had the misfortune of wetting myself because we were on the motorway and could not get to the service station in time or pull over – this made me even more of a routinist regarding toilet trouble.

At the end of that week I went into Nottingham with my grandparents on the tram and felt very nauseous and sick. Upon arriving in Nottingham, we went into the shopping centre, the Broadmarsh, entered a cafe, but I found that I could only muster having a small Fruit Shoot, and was too anxious to eat any cake or food. Whilst we were in the cafe (about 20 mins), I ended up having to use the bathroom 4 times in the duration. It was all a bit too much and after 45 mins of being in Nottingham and me feeling like I was going to vomit everywhere, we had to leave for that reason.

In the December, we went to stay with my Grandma as we do annually and visited my Dad’s friend who lived about 45 mins away from my Grandma. I was torn as to whether I should go or not as I was feeling a bit queasy, but thought it’d be a bit rude if I stayed, so went along. In the car, I was constantly feeling like I was going to be sick and this of course was an unpleasant feeling.

There was no real structure to the day which slightly unnerved me but we decided to go to a nearby pub and have some lunch. Throughout the meal I was constantly having to go to the toilet and was struggling to down my baguette and chips. I decided to go outside for some fresh air, and then I was sick- for the first time in about 6 years. We left and went back to my Grandma’s and by the evening I was fine, and we were a bit at a loss as to the cause of it.

In February 2017, we went to Birmingham on the train for a trip to the BBC studios there, and I was feeling nauseous and as soon as we arrived, I was sick in the plaza at the train station. We were then a bit unsure as to what was happening, so thought we would see the doctor.

After having a negative experience in a city close to me, and then being given anti-anxiety med called Propranolol in the March and the day after, I had a bad experience in town. Things were getting worse for me and when I did my GCSE’s these problems were escalating. The school held a pre-exam revision session in the morning and as I was being driven in I just felt full of anxiety and nausea and this put me off from attending these sessions again.

My school discussed my options and a decision was made for me to see a sort of counselor for 3 sessions during my exams, and she introduced me to No Panic, but the tips which the counselor offered was never going to cure my problems because I had dug myself too deep.

I expected my anxiety to disappear completely after the exams, but when walking into town was a regular difficulty, it wasn’t going to be easy. After being referred to a local NHS mental health department in the summer, I was told I’d have to wait for 8 months to get NHS therapy, which was an incredibly long time for me to have to wait.

With increasing tensions for the start of college and the incredibly daunting process of getting on a bus for 40 mins, your correspondent Lynne helped me with the process with her kind words of encouragement.

In October I started private CBT therapy in order to help out with my fear of travelling, public places and eating out which was causing the anxiety to remain. It was getting to about February this year and none of the methods I was being given were helping me, leading me to think that I’d never get better, but I found Headspace, as recommended by my therapist, and it has been a great help to me.

Unfortunately I have developed other issues as a result of the anxiety, but I am living proof that it can be sorted even when you feel like there is nothing left to do. It’s not been easy, but thanks to exposure and meditation services courtesy of Headspace, I’ve been able to take control of my anxiety and last month I attended a music gig in a place where I had never visited before, which was something that was very scary but totally worth it and incredibly rewarding.

Incredibly thankful for your services,

Tom Stevenson

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