Hi, my name is Sarah and I am from Market Deeping near Peterborough. I suffered anxiety from primary school age. This continued throughout senior school, college, Nurse Training and into my first job as a newly qualified Nurse. However, it was not until many years later when it came to a head and I was unable to go to work that I recognised the symptoms for what they were. They had been manageable up to this point and I knew no different
The anxiety manifested itself in work by constantly double checking work with members of staff, going back over notes to ensure I had documented correctly (which I always had) seeking reassurance about my practice (no amount of reassurance actually helped) and hitting a low spot of not being able to get out of the house without checking the door several times to ensure it was locked. On several occasions I drove part of the way to work then drove home to check the door again, which of course made me late for work.
On my worst days if I had a perceived problem, I would ring someone to talk it through with them. I would then ring someone else, then someone else and so it went on, and still this did not satisfy my anxiety but fed it. Everyone gave the same answer to my problem but it never helped.
My symptoms were wide and varied, the most common ones being double checking, panic attacks, thinking of worst case ‘what if’ scenarios for everything, pacing, palpitations, over breathing, headaches, not being able to sit or lay still, not being able to concentrate, not trusting myself to do my job correctly, loose stools (not pleasant), no appetite, loss of weight (no surprise there), constantly seeking reassurance, short tempered, unable to smile, to list but a few. At one time I would avoid driving on certain roads as they held a memory of anxiety, to the point where I had to stop myself doing this as every road home held a negative memory, and I needed to get home at the end of the working day!
My husband was supportive but I did not share my feeling until much later about anxiety with my family. I had some really close friends who were very supportive but they gave reassurance, not realising this was actually feeding my anxiety, but at least they did not desert me. I have spoken to some of them since I have recovered and they had not realised the trauma I had been going through at the time.
My husband felt frustrated but never angry. I met him just before my symptoms became at their height when I was working in a solitary role. As my symptoms became worse, he supported me the best he knew how, rationalising my fears and anxieties. Thankfully he is a level-headed person who didn’t blame himself for my condition.
He gave me one bit of advice that has stuck with me to this day. “If a sentence begins with ‘what if’, it is complete rubbish’ - not quite the last word he used but this is the polite version! Every ‘what if’ I ever came up with turned out to be exactly that, rubbish, with no place in the real world.
Over a period of several years, I had time off work, anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication along with counselling, using cognitive behavioural therapy, just kept my fears alive and in my head. I remember the horror of a counsellor suggesting that we discuss my worst fear and taking it to the absolute worst that could happen and talk through it. I had a panic attack at this point, and needless to say, we did not go down that route!! Counselling appeared to help to a degree but I recognised that it was ‘papering over the cracks’ rather than recovering from anxiety. Many times I was told I could not recover completely but would learn to ‘manage’ my symptoms. The medication I took didn’t make me feel any better, and at one point was prescribed sleeping tablets, which made me feel hung over and irritable the next day that in turn affected by ability to work.
I was made redundant in 2006 and had the summer off work. I felt great during this time because my anxiety always manifested itself in my work role. After starting a new job in September 2006, my anxiety resurfaced. I left this job after nine months and began a desk job, still in health and a job I enjoyed, but still the anxiety was there. There seemed to be no respite from it. I was frustrated with the health care system and started to look for alternative methods to help me deal with the anxiety. I discovered the Linden Method on an Internet search. After much deliberation, I bought the online method and then upgraded this to the print copy also (belt and braces!!).
"I can leave the house without worrying I have not locked the door"
I started to implement The Linden Method and had lots of hiccups, ringing the helpline to ask for advice because my anxiety would constantly make me question my own judgement. They gave advice and helped to get me on track with the method. It was now 2007. Slowly but surely I began to understand the method. I became more confident at work and became able to stand up for myself and give my opinion. I had a light bulb moment on a trip to York whilst sitting in a Jacuzzi that I wanted to go back to clinical practice and attain my degree and NVQ assessor course. I thought I had recovered from anxiety.
"I can make decisions, carry out actions and support others without fear I am giving them the wrong advice."
I had a tough time in the job, which some people mistaking anxiety for moodiness and they were extremely unsupportive and bullying, led by one particular person. However, I was determined to gain my qualifications and stuck it out. Over time, the ringleader of the bullying moved out of the department and things started to settle down, with new staff coming in. By now I was implementing the method and sustaining it. I continued to study and gained my PGCert and Practice Teacher status, with my goal to secure a place within the NVQ team.
There wasn’t a particular time when I recognised that I was fully recovered from the crippling anxiety I had suffered, more a realisation over time. I am now in a role where I teach candidates, assess them and am also an internal verifier for units submitted by other assessors, carrying a great deal of responsibility for the NVQ centre. I could not have achieved this if I had not recovered from anxiety.
I can make decisions, carry out actions and support others without fear I am giving them the wrong advice. I can leave the house without worrying I have not locked the door; I can sleep at night without disturbances. I can recognise problems that I have (which we all have) and rationalise them to seek a solution in a timely manner, without the constant worrying of ‘what if’. I can smile and be happy. I don’t worry ‘what if’ when things go wrong – sometimes they do and you have to try something different.
My plans for the future are to take each day as it comes, look for opportunities to enjoy new experiences (who knows what they may be). I have rejected ‘friends’ who used to take advantage of my anxious state. I love my life now and will never look back unless it is to inspire others to recover from anxiety.
I decided to become a Linden Method Ambassador because I am living proof that despite the ‘experts’ saying no one can fully recover from anxiety, you CAN. I believed I was doomed to live life with anxiety, but it’s not living, it’s existing, which has no place in my life. I am able to give other people inspiration to believe they can recover to so they can live productive happy lives instead of having their symptoms managed by others. You don’t’ have to live with it. I believe that the Linden Method can work with anyone given the right information and the right resources, allowing an anxiety free existence, leaving the person free to enjoy life and its experiences. We only get one life, make the most of it.
I am an not an Anxiety Disorder Recovery Specialist, so I cannot provide recovery support or guidance to clients.
If you are interested in starting your journey to recovery and want to ask a question, you can get in touch with The Linden Centre by using the form below.
that you can quickly become the person you were born to be.
Hi, my name is Beth, I am director of Linden Tree Education.
You will receive unlimited, qualified support from amazing Recovery Specialists when you start the courses.
If you wish to receive guidance or support, please contact the support team through the TLM
If you wish to book a course, please contact
Beth is director of Linden Recovery and course director of the Anxiety Recovery Retreat programmes.
Beth Linden. Director.
Linden Tree Edu.