I mentioned in my "Lets Talk – Anxiety" post how I had been dealing with a particularly bad bout of anxiety which forced me to seek help from my GP which was a great experience so much so I wrote about it, which you can read here. At the appointment I was offered a referral to see a counsellor to talk about my problems with mental health focusing mostly on my anxiety. I didn't expect to get an appointment this quickly but on Monday 31st July I got a message to say there had been a cancellation and asked whether I could make an appointment on Wednesday morning. Of course I said yes. It wasn't until I got to the appointment that I realised I wasn't going for counselling but something called social prescribing.
I met with the Selena in my doctors practice (how convenient is that?). I would like to say that before the appointment that I was as cool as a cucumber, but that would be a massive lie. I was shitting myself, I had no clue what I was going to be asked, if I would cry, if I would feel at ease, feel like I'm wasting valuable resources or feel like a complete idiot. Thankfully Selena is lovely and made me feel at ease almost straight away. I guess in her line of work, making sure people are at ease are a part of job.
At the beginning of the session Selena explained who she worked for which is FDAMH, which is my local authorities mental health association. As I mentioned earlier this isn't actually counselling session but social prescribing sessions which aims to help the individual towards recovery through self management. In totally there will be 5 sessions with Selena, she did mention that after the sessions I still need to see a counsellor she will refer me on to that.
During this first session we spoke about my history with anxiety and depression. I explained that for as long as I can remember I suffered from both, but whilst I was a teenager I was in denial and refused to seek help, unlike now whew I am no longer ashamed that I have mental illnesses. Selena queried my sleep and I explained that I have never been a good sleeper, waking several times in the night and never waking feeling refreshed or recharged. She knows of my fibromyalgia and how chronic fatigue can go hand in hand with the condition. But she wants me to focus on my sleeping habits to see if that will possibly help improve my anxiety or mood. I guess that'll be the self management aspect!
Selena suggested that I stop taking naps with Alex, as she feels that could be cutting into my evenings sleep, She recommended that I stop watching television in bed and to cut off any social media or phone use an hour before bed! The napping thing I do know is hard because I love having sleepy snuggles with my wee fella, but nine time out of ten when I wake up I feel rubbish, she does know however that sometimes I may be to exhausted that I may need to nap but it would be preferred that I do something else like read a book or listen to a podcast or music. As for the tv in bed, that is going to prove more difficult considering that when Alex goes to bed I usually crash out in my bed to watch crap telly, maybe what I'm going to have to do is limit the time I spend watching and ensure I switch the tv off at a reasonable time, such as 10pm.
Ir is safe to say that my first session wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, but I have great hopes that these social prescribing sessions will benefit me in the long run, and if not I am hopeful that Selena will get me referred for actual counselling. I left with the date for my second appointment and a few leaflets with suggestions that might help me sleep such as apps for meditation. I'm optimistic to see if they will help me sleep better but I'm not sure how that will help with my anxiety.
Have you had any experience with social prescribing sessions? Did you feel that the self management route was the best option for you? I would love to hear other people's thoughts and opinions on this matter.
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