Counselling has helped me look forward to the future

After some prolonged extreme pressures at work, I started to experience what I now know to be panic attacks. I then began experiencing anxiety about those panic attacks.

This was 10 years ago. It very quickly took hold of my life, taking me from an outgoing, self-sufficient and confident young guy to a nervous wreck who could barely step outside the house let alone drive, go to work or socialise. My life became unbelievably limited in a very short space of time.

I first saw a counsellor about nine years ago. With hindsight, she wasn't the right one for me. Her techniques were a little too aggressive, and I never got the end result I was looking for - an anxiety/panic-free existence. I did, however, get to a level where I could at least function, i.e. drive short distances, visit local shops etc and I was able to keep the day-to-day sensations at bay.

I guess I was living half a life, avoiding the things that weren't essential and would be likely to cause me anxiety or panic. I lived this pretty much unfulfilling life up until 2009, when I hit rock bottom again, and struggled to leave the house or function at all.

Things were different this time around; I have a beautiful young child who is the centre of my world. I knew I couldn't let this take over my life any longer, I needed to get back to a full life and do the best I could for my little girl and my long-suffering but supportive wife.

Deciding to give counselling another try was the best decision I ever made.

I found a local counsellor who dealt with anxiety through Counselling Directory, and nervously booked my first appointment (with absolutely no idea how I was going to get through the session!). The day of the appointment arrived and my anxiety was at bursting point by the time I arrived. The counsellor kindly agreed to let my wife sit in on the sessions - it was the only way I felt I could get through it.

I anticipated that it would be hell and of course it was! Gradually though, over the coming weeks, my confidence began to grow and so did my trust in the counsellor and my own ability. So, one week she suddenly suggested that I attend the next appointment alone, and it didn't seem such a daunting task! In fact, this was a massive step forward for me - and the next appointment actually went really well.

Bit by bit, the sessions became easier. I felt relaxed enough to start to open up and really take a good look at my anxiety and thought processes. Going back week after week, making tiny steps to begin with, I soon saw little glimmers of progress. Then those little glimmers turned to reasonable sized leaps - I had no idea how and hadn't actually noticed how far I had come.

Its now about seven months since I went into counselling, which seems like a long time until you consider that I was 'out of action' for the best part of 10 years. I attended another session today and realised that I've now moved from making 'reasonable leaps' to giant steps. I'm not quite back to my anxiety-free life, but its only just around the corner now. For the first time in 10 years I feel free!

I feel like I have a future and I believe it will be an anxiety-free one without limitation. I can't tell you how good it feels to say that, I'm actually beaming as I type this. This is all down to the support of an excellent counsellor.

My advice would be don't waste another second of your life, make that call today!

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