Get over anxiety

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Rebecca Watson, 27, from Aspatria, is speaking out as part of this week’s global campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues …

Rebecca Watson, 27, from Aspatria, is speaking out as part of this week’s global campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues
I was first referred to First Step last year through my doctor who felt I needed some help get over anxiety

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  • 1. CUMBRIAN WOMAN TELLS STRESS AND ANXIETYSTORY TO HELP OTHERSRebecca Watson, 27, from Aspatria, is speaking out as part of this week’s global campaign toraise awareness of mental health issues.One in four people will be affected by some sort of mental illness at some point in their life.It could range from mild depression to severe illness and can affect anybody.Yet opening up about these issues remains taboo.This week, to coincide with World Mental Health Day organisations across Cumbria have beenaiming to tackle that.Rebecca, design and social media specialist at the Cumberland Pencil Factory, is open abouther own problems and how she overcame them with the help of experts in the county’s FirstStep service.“I was first referred to First Step last year through my doctor who felt I needed some help getover anxiety,” she explained.“My anxiety was affecting my daily life – I had trouble driving and would frequently feelpanicked in traffic jams. Even in meetings at work with lots of people around, I felt it difficultto sit knowing that if I were to get up and leave people would notice.“Generally, I was feeling very stressed by day to day life and would feel extremely tired andnauseous because of anxiety – I didn’t really know what was happening to me. It soundsstrange to look back on how much it affected me but when it’s happening to you, you feel veryalone.”Once she was referred to the First Step service, which supports those with mild to moderatemental health problems, Rebecca was able to attend sessions at the Aspatria surgery – a reliefas it prevented her having to drive.The counsellor went through Rebecca’s symptoms and she said at each visit it got easier todiscuss her feelings about her anxiety.“The sessions were very practical and I’d be set small tasks to do in order to combat some ofmy anxious feelings. One of them was to build up to driving on the motorway which I’dpreviously been very nervous about. However, facing my fears, with my counsellor’s support,was the best way to deal with it. Anxiety is just a feeling which can’t cause any seriousproblems. That racing heartbeat is just an inconvenience and the tingling hands will go awayif I practice some breathing techniques.”A few months on and Rebecca is feeling a lot more confident. “I wanted to share my story asI hope to inspire others to have the courage to say they’re not feeling their best – it’s nothingto be afraid or ashamed of,” she added.The First Step service, run by the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has now helped
  • 2. more than 35,000 Cumbrians to overcome conditions like depression and anxiety.To get help either talk to your GP or you can self refer by calling 0300 123 9122.