"Finding a way out and tackling my phobia"

About: Ealing IAPT

(as the patient),

I was always a bubbly and happy person who was full of life. But many things in my life started to change, I tried to keep it together on my own for two years, and went through many stages including: depression, in denial, anxiety, fear, and overall a downward spiral which only lead me to being surrounded by nothing but negative thoughts. My anxiety started to take a toll on me, and affected not only my personal life, but my work life.

I knew that I needed help. I needed time out. After going to my GP, I was told to try therapy. Naturally at the time I thought nothing could help me. I was very wrong.

I began CBT therapy in October and it lasted for 6 months. Within these 6 months, my therapist Naomi helped me achieve many things; things I have learned and taken on board, and lessons I will never forget. CBT is all about the way you see things, and how your thoughts can affect your behaviour and mood. Naomi did an exceptional job in making sure I made this link and how to tackle this problem using different methods and tools. She was always optimistic, supportive, positive, enthusiastic and hopeful; she helped me see the cup as half full instead of empty, to take risks and opportunities and to not be afraid of the outcome or the journey.

As my self esteem and confidence within myself is not all that great - I would always have negative thoughts and be quite indecisive about starting something, due to the fear and anxiety of not knowing and not being good enough. To this Naomi would always reply to me with "Do it anyway" "how will you find out" "what do you have to loose" - But mainly "Do it anyway". This phrase always plays in my head every time I come to a cross road and doubt myself; so I remind myself to just "Do it anyway". It reminds me that I need to "do" in order to get to the place I want to get to.

The biggest highlight for me would have to be tackling my needle phobia. At the age of 23 I had avoided blood tests all my life, never had I had one or thought of ever having one. The last injection I had was in year 6. The fear and anxiety was very bad. When Naomi gave me the option to focus on my phobia, I agreed; but I had very little to non expectations of me ever getting past it, or at least to a stage where I am okay with it. But after months of CBT therapy and training, I had my first ever blood test. Something I thought was never possible for me. I can't thank Naomi enough for guiding me and believing in me every step of the way. She has changed my life and perspective in ways I thought were not possible. For this and for all the support, life lessons and tools I have been taught, I am and always will be forever grateful and thankful to this amazing woman for giving up her time and effort into helping me.

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Response from Consultant Psychologist, West London Mental Health NHS Trust

Dear zed92,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post such a wonderful story on Patient Opinion. You have written such a detailed and brilliant description of CBT and how it helped you. I think it's wonderful to hear what progress you have made and how your life has been different after the treatment you received in the Ealing IAPT service. It's so interested to hear that at the start of the needle phobia treatment you didn't have much hope that anything could help you and by the end you were having a blood test!

I can see that your story has already been read on this site 160 times and I am delighted that so many people are reading your story and learning what helped you. I do hope that some of them may be encouraged to take the first step in seeking help themselves. I will make sure that Naomi and the managers of the Ealing IAPT service are aware of the story you have written - thanks again!