Abbie’s Story

Abbie is in her early twenties and lives with depression and anxiety. When she began to  experience  intrusive thoughts, she tried to access psychological wellbeing support,  but was met with a long waiting list.

“Since I can remember I’ve always had mental health issues, and I have taken medication to help with my depression and anxiety for a long time.

“In the summer last year I started to get really bad intrusive thoughts. They were very disturbing: I think there was a lot of built up stress that I had just been pushing back that led to me becoming overwhelmed.

“I thought – right, I need some help  to deal with this because this is beyond the pale, I’ve been able to muddle through throughout the years but I need help with this - so I phoned my GP. I have a great relationship with him, he’s really helpful and understanding and he referred me to psychological therapies.

“I got a screening call with a clinician around a month after referral, and I told them how much I was struggling and how I was really thinking I’ve broken my brain, I can’t think normally, if this goes on forever I’m going to kill myself.

“It was a relief to hear that I qualified for talking therapies and I was told it would be within 16 weeks.  I thought well that will be around December and will be hard, but maybe I can focus on other things in the meantime. But we are well over 16 weeks now and I still haven’t heard a thing.

“While I was waiting I felt like I wasn’t dealing with how I was feeling, just avoiding it. Eventually, my manager mentioned I could get subsidised access to private therapy through work and I thought, well I have to give it a try, because I can’t keep waiting like this. It just felt like a never ending uphill battle trying to access services through the NHS, like there was no urgency or care. It’s really disappointing, I wouldn’t have sought out help unless I really needed it.

“In December I finally had my first appointment with a private therapist. Even after a few sessions it has already made a huge difference.  I’ve never felt more understood or accepted and it has given me some really helpful mindfulness techniques to help me to deal with my intrusive thoughts.”