I’ve suffered from chronic anxiety and debilitating fear since childhood ( I’m now early 60s). My anxiety since lockdown has tripled in intensity and I can’t manage. I’ve tried over 18 medications non of which have been effective apart from a very low dose duloxetine ( 20 mg just about helps me function on a very basic level) . I’ve tried counselling, meditation, mindfulness, cbt therapy many many times but there has been no change. I’ve come to the end of my tether now. How do I go about getting help from an NHS psychiatrist? ( I can’t afford private ).
Psychiatrist help: I’ve suffered from... - Anxiety Support
Hello FelixI have suffered from anxiety for nearly 50 years too and tried just about everything the only thing I find helps is exercise When the pandemic hit and we were only allowed out for an hour a day my husband and I walked for that hour and I notice a huge improvement with anxiety symptoms I suffer from osteo arthritis so can't go and spend hours in a gym or whatever but walking I'd start off with anxiety and come back feeling calm and relaxed after that hour Recently I found a Chinese Exercise class To start to go there took a lot of courage but it's an hour of gentle but also effective exercise and when I have finished I feel I could go anywhere I feel great for it
I have also found books like the DARE Response very helpful and Clare Weeks has been my "bible" for years
but exercise for me has been the best thing ever
Now I'm sorry if you want to scream at me and say I've tried that and it hasn't worked but for me getting rid of the adrenaline that causes my anxious feelings has been just so wonderful
All the very very best
I’m 75 and have been a long time sufferer of anxiety. I ride my bicycle 8 to 10 miles everyday… so many days I feel so awful I don’t want to go…I drag myself out the door and do it anyway. It doesn’t make my anxiety disappear but helps tremendously and I’m able to manage the rest of my day:):)
It’s very difficult but well worth it..🤷🏻♀️😍
Hi Dixie, I have a one hour walk everyday with the dog. It does help a little. I’m very much an introvert and find doing things on my own or with my dog is much better than clubs or groups. I have some very good understanding close friends whom I meet occasionally and they know that 1hour with them is my maximum. I am also autistic but have had a professional job most of my adult life. I think that having had to mask and fit in has taken a severe toll on my mental health and Unfortunately the anxiety still remains severe even though I’m retired and no longer work.
I can empathize with how you're feeling. Although I've struggled with anxiety and depression for over 50+ years, I have yet to find anything to substantially help me. It sounds like we've been down the same road with medications, therapy, etc..
When you asked how you could get help from an NHS psychiatrist, I wasn't sure what the NHS was, so I did a quick Google and evidently you live in the UK. It also seems that it may be hard to see a psychiatrist there because there is a severe shortage of them. That seems to be the rule anymore, even in the U.S..
As for your question, this is what I read: To see a psychiatrist, you will usually need a referral from your general practitioner (GP), in the same way you would with any other specialist. Within the NHS, most referrals will go to the mental health team. Initially, you may be seen by a team member who is not a psychiatrist.
This may be something you already knew, but I didn't want to assume anything because I'm often wrong in my assumptions. I've had the same issues here in the U.S. with finding adequate care and possible treatments, although my health insurance may help cover them. I've lost a lot of faith in the healthcare system as a whole, but find it deplorable that people with serious mental health issues often have to suffer due to inadequate resources. I'm still grasping at straws, and often feel like time is running out.
I wish I could be of more help to you, and I hope you find some relief from what you're going through.
Thanks Mofro. I was hoping that someone may know of any new/ novel ways of accessing a NHS psychiatrist in the Uk. Or even wether anyone knows of any free new mental health support service that does not include counselling or CBT. In the UK we are still way behind with mental health support. Accessing a psychiatrist via the usual GP referral can mean a wait of anything up to 2 years!! Wishing you some calm and wellness for the future x
Dear Mofro, have you found that your mental health has worsened since the pandemic and as you’ve got older? The only things that get me through the day are lots of distraction techniques to keep me busy. I count the hours off until I can get some peace in sleep. I’ve read though that distractions although helpful in the short term do not help get to the root of my problems and just delay trying to address things. Meditation is not at all good for me and I’ve been advised to stop because I have severe dissociation where my mind can leave my body very easily.
Hey Felix125. In short, absolutely. I'd like to go into more detail, but it's been a very bad day for me in which everything seems futile. I'd just go to bed earlier than I do to find the peace in sleep you talk about, but I don't even have that luxury anymore due to insomnia. I wanted to at least give you the short answer for now, and come back later to finish a few thoughts. I'm just grateful, for reasons I don't even know myself, that I've never tried to self-harm in any way. I'm not sure what to do, but I know I won't do that. Unfortunately, it's hard to see it as a consolation right now.
Mofro, I’m so sorry that you’re having a bad day. It’s difficult to know what to do with oneself when you feel like that. I’m glad that you don’t self harm though. My thoughts are with you. X
Thank you for your kind words Felix125. I can't say I'm much better today, but thought I'd get back on here and try to add a bit to what I started yesterday. I was severely depressed yesterday, and today has been one of those days when I actually feel as if I'm losing it. My mind that is. Yeah, I know it's just overwhelming anxiety, but knowing that never seems to help. Something else that didn't help was my therapist bailing on me today. I was about to walk out the door, and noticed there was a voice message on my phone telling me she had to leave early for some reason. I re-scheduled to see her in a couple of days, but really could have used the session today.
I'm like you when it comes to distractions and using them to get through another day, and yes, I also find myself counting the hours until I go to bed. Not because I get restful sleep, but as a means of temporary escape. Even so, I really don't like to think of going to bed because I'll just have to go through the same thing tomorrow. I also don't think distractions are helpful in the long run and certainly don't address the real issues. They're often only a means for me to survive at best, and if that's what it takes to get by for the time being...so be it. Unfortunately, I haven't found another "tool" that works. Other than my therapist and a counselor I see each week, and support groups like this, I have no support from anyone. Being retired and isolated, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find any reason the leave the house. Everything about my life seems so futile at this point, but granted my head is in a terrible place. The counselor I see on a different day than today, would say I’m just having a case of the give a f**ks, but it goes deeper than that. The past couple of days have brought on a wave of suicidal ideation. If that isn't bad enough, I can start having paranoid tendencies just to make the day a little more enjoyable.
I was going to use my therapist session today as a diversion and a springboard to get out of the house, and hopefully do something after that. After hearing of the cancellation that idea was deflated, so here I am typing this. Days like this make me feel like a deer caught in the headlights and I struggle to get even the smallest thing done. I become frozen and find myself simply shutting down. From what I've learned, I suppose this is my brain protecting itself in some way. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get it through to my brain that it's not helping matters much by shutting down, although I appreciate the gesture. Overwhelming anxiety turns to pure fear. Like you, I end up dissociating a lot, feeling as though the world and/or myself isn't real anymore. A frightening feeling to be sure. I hang on, and put my hands in the air like I was on a roller coaster ride. A roller coaster ride would seem tame next to overwhelming anxiety. It can make a person afraid of anything and everything, most of them illusions of the mind.
I can't say that the pandemic worsened my mental health by itself, but I could have done without it as I'm sure the rest of the world could have. I was never really fearful of getting Covid and was never inoculated. I didn’t feel I became isolated because of it, as I wasn’t ever under any type of quarantine. I also didn’t intentionally isolate at any time because of it. My life was already in a downward spiral, and I was already very isolated after losing my last job in 2019. After being forced into retirement, I went on disability. I don't think I've ever recovered from that, and the loss I felt. There have been a lot of other "little T" traumas that have taken place in the last 5 years or so. The pandemic was just another hot mess that added to where I find myself at the present moment. I'll never say "it couldn't get worse than this" again. I keep getting proved wrong.
Getting old. Wow. I never thought I'd be affected by it the way I am. I can’t say I’m aging gracefully as far as accepting it. A lot of that has to do with how I view my quality of life now, as well as having no significant relationships of any kind. I was never afraid of being alone by myself in the past and could enjoy my own company. Even so, I need human connection and what it provides. I need people to talk to and to share life with. I honestly miss having friends to laugh and do things with. It seems so long ago in another life. Being estranged from the family I once had, and them not wanting to reconcile for past hurt that was caused, is taking a huge toll. It has made life very lonely and senseless. It seems I've lost so much of what I once valued and felt made life worth living.
Yeah, then there’s the increasing physical pains. I suppose it's a fact of life when you get older. I could do without hearing I have "degenerative" this or that every time I have an x-ray taken. I had a hip replacement in February because it was nearly bone on bone. I have a feeling my other one is getting there. Wouldn't it be super if they could replace a brain as well as they can bodily parts? Or would that do any good as there may be a connection between the human mind and the soul? If it would maybe I could still salvage what life I have left. Who wants to live to 100, when quality of life just isn't there? Getting older and the prospect of being alone until the end is tragically frightening to me, as I'm sure it would be for anyone. They say we all die alone, but I'd like to have some company until then. I say I'll never go into a nursing home, but what's the alternative if there's no one else in your life to help you when you inevitably find you can't care for yourself? If it happens, I truly hope I have severe dementia by then even though I watched my own mother go through it.
I usually don't like to talk about my own problems much when I come here, because it often makes me feel worse than I already do. I usually just read other people's posts and jump in when I think I can help in some way, or to validate how others might be feeling if I can relate to it. Sometimes we all need to vent and hope for an empathetic ear. I know a lot of us can feel so alone in our struggles, even if there is someone else in our lives. Quiet desperation. I wanted to try to answer your question, but I think my keyboard got away from me. It's all of this anxious energy after doing absolutely nothing for another day. I can only take this for so long. Again, I'm speaking though some very distorted lenses. I honestly think my ideation would go to the next step if I didn't have a sliver of hope things will not always be this way. I suppose hope is my purpose now. I’ll close by saying, yes, there is hope. Just to balance out a pretty dark post. I can only wish there’s hope for everyone on here. Speaking of hope, I hope I somehow answered your question. My mind is racing and thoughts are jumbled. I need to find another distraction because the day isn’t over. It’s been a long strange trip, that keeps getting trippier.
Dear Mofro, thank you for opening up about yourself so eloquently. You clearly have some deep understanding of yourself and many of the traumas that have contributed to some of your anxiety. Have you found that your therapy and counselling work at all? I have a real issue with existentialism and my dissociation. I agree that the future is scary as we get older. I believe that humankind has changed so much because of technology, media, and societal pressure and adult children in some “developed” countries have a diminishing sense of duty or care to their parents. We live in a fast disposable world where things are easily discarded , but not everything can be replaced. I am fortunate in that I have my art to distract me. I hope that you can find something that distracts you enough to get through your days. 🧘🏽