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Showing posts from July, 2017

Counselling via the NHS Part 3: Afterthoughts

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My last two posts have been about my experience being referred for and waiting for NHS counselling, and about my experiences at the sessions themselves. The third and final post in this mini series will be my afterthoughts.

I've rounded up ten thoughts that go some way to summing up my experience of receiving counselling through the NHS, and here they are:


It's no lie that mental health services in this country are massively under-resourced. Waiting times are far longer than any of the practitioners would like them to be, and longer than is ideal for anybody struggling with their mental health. However, when you do get the help, the support on offer can be incredible. I have all sorts of thoughts on things that could surely be done to hep improve the current way of doing things, but I'll save you from seeing them all here.You've got to be persistent. Unfortunately, not all GPs are as clued up as one another when it comes to mental health, and even those that are are so …

Counselling via the NHS Part 2: The sessions

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Having shared about the process of being referred for and waiting for NHS counselling, today I'm going to share some of my experiences of the sessions themselves. My final post in this three-part series will be my overall thoughts on the whole process.


Before my first appointment, I was scared.

Simple as that.

It's bad enough knowing you have to open up about your deepest thoughts with someone you've never met, but on top of that I get incredibly anxious about appointments in general, about going to a place I've never been before, and about the whole 'getting in an Uber to get there' thing.


My appointments were in the psychological services building of a local hospital a seven-minute car journey away from where I lived, and it was a hospital set in an old building in very open grounds. It didn't feel at all like a hospital, which made me feel more calm.

I signed in at reception and was directed to a waiting area, where there was a pile of questionnaires. Th…

Counselling via the NHS Part 1: The doctor, the referral and the wait

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One of the questions I've been asked the most by those close to me or by other people struggling with their mental health is what my experience of counselling has been.

I've been down both the private and NHS route, and by far the counsellor who transformed my thinking the most was the NHS worker I had 12 sessions with while living in Ilford, during the second half of last year.

I thought I'd share a bit about the experience in a three-part series, over the next three days:
Day 1: The doctor, the referral and the wait
Day 2: The sessions
Day 3: Afterthoughts

I hope this is helpful to anyone nervous about asking about help themselves, or those wondering whether this would be the right route for them.



My anxiety and depression journey has spanned about four years, and halfway through 2016 I hit one of my very lowest points, and really needed proper help. I was actually sent home from work one day as they were so concerned about me, and told not to return until I had got prop…

Book Challenge 2017: Months 4-6

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Every three months, I'm sharing my progress with the Book Challenge, aiming to read a book a month, one from each of the given categories. I already read a lot, but I thought it would get me to widen my net a little. You can read my selected list from way back in January here, and the round-up of months 1-3 here.
Here are my reads from April, May and June.

April: A non-fiction book based on a popular or topical subject The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking

'Hygge' was everywhere in the second half of 2016, and I was given a copy of this book for Christmas. Hygge is an atmosphere or experience, best described as feeling cosy, warm, comfortable, at home and in good company. A concept originally from Denmark, it's easy to see why the idea is such an appealing one. 
In this beautiful little book, Wiking explains what hygge means to him and to Danes in general, and provides tips to add a little more hygge into all aspects of life. I found it a really calming, comforting read,…

The Little Mermaid, NK Theatre Arts

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Last night, I headed back to The Forum Theatre, this time to see the latest offering from NK Theatre Arts' young performers: The Little Mermaid.
Having absolutely loved the adult group's recent production of Made in Dagenham, I was very excited to see the young people who are growing their skills within this tight-knit theatre family.
This show featured over 60 performers aged between 5 and 16, and yet again I was wowed. Having grown up doing musicals with similar groups, I know the time and dedication taken by the young people and also the whole team around them to pull off a show of this standard.
The Little Mermaid was a perfect choice of show, and one I've not seen on stage before. It's packed with great songs, has lots of group numbers, and there are many characters and roles, meaning lots of people get their 'starring moment'.
So much thought had gone into the staging, which immediately transported audiences to the watery depths of the sea, and the use of…

Turning 25

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A lot can change in a year.

Never has that applied more to my life than when comparing my 24th birthday to my 25th.


On 7th July 2016, I realised I really needed to change my life.

I had been temporarily signed off work due to my anxiety and depression, and I couldn't eat, sleep, speak, smile or function in a 'normal', day-to-day fashion.


On 7th July 2017, I realised how much my life has changed.

In fact, this week I'm making one of my biggest, most exciting moves to date, and BIG THINGS are happening that have put a massive smile on my face.

(Well, I've got an exam tomorrow but once that's out the way the smile will be glued back to my face!)


What's changed? You can read a bit of a summary I wrote back in February here, but it's been a year of counselling, meditation, yoga, learning to eat again, working out, learning about myself and learning who I need to be spending my time with.

It's been a challenging year in a lot of ways, as I've been lea…

Hello, July 2017

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So here we are at my favourite month of the year.

It's my birthday month, but that's not the only reason.

It's summer, people are excited about holidays, there's more going on, you can be outdoors more...

I think this year could be one of my very favourite Julys so far.

There's very exciting things to come, all of which will appear on here over time.

For now, let's just say big things are happening.

It's going to be a month of big change.

This time last year, I was trapped in my room, in my mind, in my unhealthy eating patterns...

This year, July brings change of the positive kind.

After a period of limbo and recovery, this month things begin to move forwards again, towards times that are putting a huge smile on my face.

Watch this space...