David M's Story

For 20+ years I struggled with generalised and social anxiety and used alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms to avoid having to deal with the difficult feelings and emotions I was experiencing. Sometimes I would just sit indoors, afraid to go out and face the world, lost in a haze of smoke.

Just over 3 years ago I suffered a serious bout of stress and depression following some deaths of a close friend and family members and injuring my back with a disc herniation. I was in pain, both physically and emotionally, and had to take 6-weeks off from work. I received support through my employee assistance program as well as counselling at the time, but it was only when I received Hypnotherapy for anxiety that I began to feel some improvements.

I began to realise a lot of my anxiety stemmed from being bullied at school when I was much younger.

This had led to very low feelings of self-esteem and confidence. I then became fascinated, and studied, all aspects of the mind and enrolled on a Mindfulness class at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre in Sauchiehall Street and a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course at the Glasgow Mindfulness Centre. These courses was life-changing for me as I learned how to notice and accept feelings that arose, that my thoughts were transient, did not define me and that a regular meditation practice could help calm my racing thoughts and help me be less anxious.

3 Years on and I have myself qualified to be a Hypnotherapist with the National Hypnotherapy Society, specialising in stress, anxiety, self-confidence and self-esteem, am an AnxietyUK approved therapist and completing a course to become a Mindfulness teacher in September 2017. I believe that we all have an ability to turn our struggles into a success and to be able to help other people through our recovery and showing empathy, support and encouragement, based on our own lived experiences.

Yoga and Mindfulness have been life changing practises for me.

I don’t need to sit on a cushion and stare at my belly button for hours on end. Bringing simple awareness and attention to everything I do, not beating myself up about the past, or worrying about the future, but simply bringing my entire presence into the present moment has seen me find a level of peace and calm that I never expected to find in my life. Mindfulness is simply mental training and the practices of gratitude, compassion and loving kindness, both to myself and other people, has been transformational.

I would encourage anyone who is struggling in any way to experiment as much as possible, whether it is CBT, Mindfulness, exercise, yoga, hill-walking, art, music or simply being in nature – try everything you can until something clicks and surround yourself with encouraging and uplifting people who are willing to talk openly about their struggles and provide support along the way.

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