January 25, 2019
Aimee comes across as a confident, bubbly and friendly teenager. It would come as a surprise to anyone that she once struggled to communicate with strangers.
According to Aimee she had always dreaded situations outside her comfort zone like catching an unfamiliar bus or talking to a shopkeeper but she realized she really wanted to seek help for this following an incident earlier this year…
Aimee was outside of her comfort zone, she was doing her Year 10 work experience week in Sydney, figuring out transport and working in an environment that didn’t feel very supportive. She made a mistake and instantly felt overwhelmed as her self-esteem lowered and the feelings of self-doubt increased. She couldn’t breathe, she was shaking and crying and didn’t know what to do.
She called her mum and simply said; “I think I need help.”
From there, her mum Jodie made a call to headspace. Aimee was then asked to have an over the phone assessment with Kate – a Psychologist at headspace
Nowra. This was a big step for Aimee but she describes feeling immediately at ease with Kate. Aimee had an appointment with a GP and received a Mental Health Care Plan before starting fortnightly sessions with Kate.
After undergoing an assessment, Aimee was diagnosed with Anxiety and Panic Disorder. She actually felt relieved by the diagnosis at the time – taking comfort
from the fact that what she was experiencing was real and treatable. Aimee and Kate began to work on strategies in their sessions to help cope with stressful
situations, practicing things like self-talk, breathing exercises and muscle squeezes known as ‘Progressive Muscle Relaxation’.
Over time they also worked through an exposure hierarchy, starting with the things Aimee found easy to do and working up to the things she found harder -
building her confidence to take on more each time.
Aimee is now proud to say that following another assessment, she no longer has an anxiety or panic disorder and while she acknowledges that she still sometimes feel anxious, like any person does from time to time, she is confident in using the strategies she has learnt to de-escalate a stressful situation.
“Being told that I no longer have a disorder makes me feel a huge sense of accomplishment because I know that with Kate's help, I have worked through it and can get on with my life. I am now able to do the things that once scared the living daylights out of me and I actually enjoy meeting new people,” said Aimee.
Aimee says her friends and family have noticed a change in her, her best friend Alannah came with her to one session and regularly checks in with her. She
also had a family session with her mum and dad where she was able to talk about the things that make her feel anxious at home.
Aimee encourages any young person who is feeling overwhelmed with their emotions to reach out to headspace:
“You’re not alone, your voice is valid and it will be listened to.”
Suite 1, Ground Floor
336 Keira St
Wollongong NSW 2500
PO Box 1198
Wollongong NSW 2500
Phone - 02 4220 7600
Fax - 02 4226 6489
PO Box 513
Bega NSW 2550
Phone - 02 6494 8800
Fax - 02 6494 8855