As we learn more, we increasingly understand the connection between mental and physical well-being. The term “mental health” was somewhat stigmatised in the past but fortunately today the subject is far more openly discussed and the importance of seeking help is better understood.

If you had a broken arm or a bad dose of the flu, you would quite rightly seek professional advice. Our mental wellbeing is just as important and, whether you are trying to come to terms with a bereavement, need help beating an addiction, struggling with a relationship or feeling depressed or anxious, help is out there. Finding the best form of treatment or therapy for you is important. For information on common reasons why people seek help and the ways in which counselling can assist, please have a look at What’s worrying you?

When you are living with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue, it can often feel very lonely. Friends and family, although sympathetic may not understand what you are going through. For many people, just knowing that others have the same worries and that what they are feeling is totally normal can be reassuring. Below you will find some stories and testimonies in their own words from people that Jane has helped

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Panic attack

My job was always pretty stressful but I was managing OK. But at some point I started getting really stressed out about things. Before a big meeting my hands would be all sweaty and my heart would start thumping in my chest. One day it was so bad that I could hardly breathe, I thought I was going to black out and ended up in A&E. I was convinced it was my heart and that I was going to die but it turned out I had a panic attack.

I was really embarrassed but my doctor told me it is quite common, she offered me medication short term and recommended I try counselling. I didn’t really like the idea of talking to a stranger about my feelings and stuff but my wife persuaded me to give it a try. It was actually much easier than I thought, more like chatting to a friend and it helped me figure out what was stressing me at work and outside and also how to reduce that stress. I’ve since talked to a few friends about my anxiety issues and it’s amazing how many people have had similar problems.David

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Understanding abuse

After 10 years of marriage I knew that I wasn’t happy, but somehow always felt that I was doing something wrong. My husband would fly into rages and then tell me it was my fault for making him angry. He didn’t like my family, my friends; he would make a scene whenever we saw them and I would be mortified. I tried to minimise social gatherings, always found an excuse for his behaviour and, eventually just stopped seeing people. I became isolated. He would criticize the way I dressed, the food I cooked, the money I spent. He convinced me that he acted this way because he cared, he was protecting me.

Part of me wanted to leave but I felt that I was such a terrible person that that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I started getting physically ill, I lost weight, some days I could hardly get out of bed. Eventually I went to my doctor, he diagnosed depression and recommended counselling. I had spent so long hiding what was happening in my life that it took a while to open up. A counsellor doesn’t tell you what’s wrong; through talking and sharing, the truth sort of emerges. I’ll never forget the day “the penny dropped”. I was in an abusive relationship. How could I not have seen it?

Counselling helped me see that I hadn’t done anything wrong. It helped me to understand that no-one has the right to deliberately harm another person either emotionally, physically or any other way. It also gave me a better understanding of myself, my needs, my concerns, taught me how to spot abusive and controlling behaviour. It gave me the strength to make the decisions I needed” Emma

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Coming to terms with Dad’s death

My father was diagnosed with secondary cancer, we were told it was terminal. It was a massive blow but, we all pulled together as a family and did everything we could to make Dad’s last months as happy as possible.

Even though we knew he was dying, when it happened I was in total shock. I’d expected to be sad, expected to miss him but what totally bowled me over was the huge sense of rage that I felt. I was angry with the myself, my dad the whole world.

Counselling helped me to understand that the grief process is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. My relationship with my father hadn’t always been the easiest and being able to express that with someone outside of the family was really helpful. I still miss my dad, there are so many things I wish I had the chance to say but the anger has gone. I can now look back and remember the happy times.Jill

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Dealing with depression

“I’d always thought I was a pretty upbeat kind of person but after a series of family and work issues I started feeling increasingly low. It wasn’t just the odd bad day either, I struggled to get out of bed, didn’t have the energy to see friends but the more I avoided company, the worse I felt. Well-meaning family members told be to “cheer up”, “pull yourself together”, they didn’t understand that I just couldn’t. I was stuck in a really bad place.

Luckily I got talking to an old friend and she persuaded me to look for a counsellor. I found Jane’s details locally and decided to give it a go. I am so glad that I did! The relief of knowing that I wasn’t going mad, wasn’t making it up, that what I was feeling was very normal. It was helpful talking through what had been going on in my life and understanding how it made me feel. Having this understanding has also made it much easier for me to talk to my family about my feelings, something I don’t think I was able to do before.” Kate

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If you feel that any one of these stories resonate with you, or you want to see how Jane can help you work through the issues you are dealing with, get in touch today

The stories are genuine and are shared with permission, names have been changed.