I have a very stressful job but also suffered a bereavement in the last year which, added to the stress, anxiety and increased workload caused by the Pandemic, resulted in me becoming unwell with stress and anxiety.

I’ve been in my role for approximately 20 years and it has always been stressful but I always just got on with it and ‘coped’ but as mentioned the strain of the Pandemic, nursing a loved one through a terminal illness and subsequently experiencing a bereavement seemed to ‘knock me over the edge’. I got in touch with Andy and even though I had heard of CBT I had no idea of what was involved, but from the first session Andy put me at ease, listened intently and worked out a treatment plan for me.

He’s very good at challenging, and helping you recognise your bad learned behaviours and helps you with techniques to address them, as well as explaining how our brain works with our feelings, reactions and behaviours. However, the technique that has undoubtedly worked, and continues to work for me, was the one I was initially most skeptical about- breathing. I mean we all know how to do that, right? Wrong! I never realised that we are all breathing incorrectly until speaking to Andy and thankfully am now able to enjoy the undoubted benefits of nasal (proper) breathing on a daily basis. Any time I feel my stress and anxiety building I now quickly recognise it and use the techniques Andy has taught me to calm my breathing and reduce my anxiety levels. Just a couple of minutes of a breathing technique helps to calm me and helps me to focus and deal with any situation that is in front of me.

My anxiety had also resulted in me being unable to sleep properly but Andy introduced me to better sleeping habits which in turn helped in reducing my stress and anxiety and improved my mental health.

I’m still in a stressful job but now that Andy has shown me techniques that help me to recognise the physical signs of stress and anxiety and shown me techniques, such as breathing, to help me deal with them, I can honestly say that I’m starting to be and feel more like my old self but with less of the harmful behaviours! I certainly have some invaluable tools at my disposal to help me cope and deal with the stresses and strains of modern life and can’t thank Andy enough for his help in getting me back on an even keel.