Carol had anxiety and was scared of everything

Gender: Female Age group: 40-50 years

The issue

Carol* was frightened. She was frightened she would never get over her anxiety and be able to enjoy life again.

When Carol contacted me she said "I’ve just turned 50 and my anxieties are increasingly getting worse. I don’t want to waste the rest of my years frozen in fear. I'm scared of everything and don’t feel secure and safe in my life. I don’t know what to do or where to turn for guidance. I need to make these changes for myself and for my children."

Carol was single but had children from a past relationship.

Carol's anxiety was not only impacting her personal life but also her professional one as a Department Manager.

She was also having regular panic attacks.

As you can imagine, Carol was feeling quite nervous about starting The Thrive Programme so my first goal was to build trust and rapport so she felt relaxed.  

The approach

Building trust and rapport with Carol was easy as beneath her anxiety (like many anxious people) she was an open, honest, and gorgeous person. 

The measurement tools in The Thrive Programme are completed before Session One. These are questionnaires measuring what we refer to as the "core psychological foundations". One of these foundations is self-esteem. For Carol, her score was 5%. This means that if I were to ask Carol "how do you feel about yourself - what score would you give yourself out of 100?", her answer was 5 out of 100. That represents very low self-esteem. 

Low self-esteem is a result of hundreds and hundreds of negative thoughts being drip-fed into our beliefs daily. Carol was probably drip-feeding thousands of negative thoughts about herself each day. 

We discussed how she could interrupt this vicious cycle and quite quickly have a positive impact of her self-esteem with a proven technique unique to The Thrive Programme. Carol started working on this around session 3 and continued it throughout the remainder of the programme.

There were a number of challenges that popped up for Carol during the period she was completing The Thrive Programme so she was able to apply her new cognitive and emotional skills to some "real life" scenarios. While some went better than others, she could sense some growing confidence in herself as each week passed. 

One of Carol's key areas to work on was her perfectionism. In the work environment it meant she always felt stretched and never on top of everything. We discussed this at length and put in place some new ways of thinking that enabled her to gain perspective.

What was resolved?

By Session 7 Carol had turned a corner. 

She was noticing the positives over the negatives and in her words she said "she felt very powerful". Carol was training herself to manage her thinking better and she was getting better at doing exactly that!

When we first met, Carol was too anxious to even go to a cafe on her own. She was now trying new places for coffee and enjoying the experience.

Carol had become a fantastic detective regarding her own self-talk so she was catching herself with any unhelpful thoughts or language very quickly. Over time, these unhelpful thinking habits were being replaced by new empowering ones.

On the work front, things could not be more different than they had been. Senior colleagues from head office visiting would've in the past put Carol's stress-o-meter into the "red zone" but she felt calm, confident and very much in control of her emotions.

Carol had a very clear understanding now of just how much her perfectionism was getting in her way; and she now had the knowledge of what she needed to do if it popped up again.

In her last week of The Thrive Programme she said "she didn't have a headache for the first time during the week since she can't remember". 

The outcome

In eight weeks Carol went from someone who scored herself 5/100 for self-esteem to 90/100. Her anxiety score shifted from 100% to 15%. (The lower your social anxiety score the better.) 

She went from describing herself as old, a terrible cook, unattractive, overweight, and "this course probably won't work" to these three takeaways:

  1. I am more confident and feel comfortable in my own skin

  2. I no longer strive for perfection; and

  3. I am no longer anxious about everything!

What a fantastic outcome! Oh, and there have been no more panic attacks of course.

*Not client's real name

Michelle Carlyle