Back in November, it was suggested that I attended an NHS run ‘Stress Management’ course as it’s always been apparent that my mental health flares when I am particularly stressed. My anxiety goes through the roof, my depression hits all-time lows and I feel just outright shitty when I’m under stressful situations. Exams are a definite no-go for me most, if not all, of the time.
My place on the course was confirmed at the start of January – six weeks of 90 minute sessions – and I thought it’d be interesting to document how I felt upon leaving each session. So this post has been written over a course of six weeks to work out whether this course was useful or not.
Session 1, 28th January 2016 – Learning About Stress
Quite frankly, this session was a waste of my time. The two best things about it were the free cup of tea and leaving. I don’t need to learn why I’m stressed, I just need to know how to fix it. The two women leading it basically told a group of about 35 of us that you get stressed which can lead to other significant mental health issues – wrong! I definitely had anxiety before becoming seriously affected by stress. And the worst thing is that we have ‘homework’. Included in this homework, we have to set daily goals of things we can do such as ‘go to the shops’. My mental health is in pretty good nick for me at the minute so I can manage mundane tasks. I need to learn how to control the stress when I don’t have time for the mundane tasks because I’m too busy stressing. I dragged my boyfriend with me and he found it way more informative than I did but he’s not the one dealing with it. Oh well, I guess I have to look at next week with an open mind and make sure I’ve done my homework.
Session 2, 4th February 2016 – Controlling Your Body
I didn’t go to this session, and it’s sort of hard to admit. Yes, I was ill but to be honest, it was more because I thought it was useless last week. I could’ve attended this week and maybe the fresh air getting there would’ve done some good. But I hated it and don’t see the point in me going. I guess I should try again next week.
Session 3, 11th February 2016 – Controlling Your Actions
When the second session you attend is just as pointless as the first, you really wonder if you’re just wasting your time. I honestly have nothing more to say about it.
Session 4, 18th February 2016 – Controlling Your Thoughts
Out of the three sessions I’ve attended so far, this was the most helpful in an objective sense. I can totally understand why the things they suggested would work. It was basically “What is the issue? How can you tackle it? Choose the best option”, but 5 and a half years down the line of dealing with this, don’t you think I’ve tried that already? I also needed two cups of coffee during this just to stay alert.
Session 5, 25th February 2016 – Controlling Your Panic
The woman I spoke to on the phone about this said that this session would be great for me. For starters, if that’s the case then why couldn’t I just go to this session? Anyway, this was sort of helpful but as I’ve been dealing with it for going on 6 years I can tell when a panic attack is coming on. Plus, in a panicked state of mind I’m not going to remember that something bad isn’t going to happen – that’s just not how it works.
Session 6, 2nd March 2016 – Controlling Sleep
Out of all the sessions, this was by far the most helpful. I don’t have sleep issues that often but I need to make my bed just for sleeping. I am terrible for taking naps because I spend all my time in my bed. I do uni work in bed, watch tv in bed, write blog posts in bed and sometimes (always) even eat meals in bed. It might be a depression thing but it might just be me wanting comfort. Maybe assigning my bed just for sleep and nothing else will help me when I do get into a really bad way and insomnia hits.
All in all, a little pointless really. I’m going back to the doctors this week for a general mental health checkup and I’m going to tell my GP what I thought of it all. I’m sure this would be a helpful to people who have newly experienced stress but I’ve had it for around 1/4 of my life so I’ve read all about the techniques, and learnt very little. The next step, I believe, is to get me to see a therapist/counsellor/psychiatrist/whatever on a one-to-one basis to see if that does anything.
My health has definitely gone downhill as these sessions have gone along which isn’t the sessions’ fault, it’s just a shame that it’s not helped it (or at least kept my mentality stable).