What makes us different

Anxiety Care UK is a non-profit registered company committed to helping people to
mobilise their own strengths and abilities to deal with anxiety problems;
focusing on recovery and a return to normal life rather than simply support.
This is usually linked to aid in the devising and implementation of programmes
of gradual exposure to the feared object or situation – a recognised and widely
used technique

Anxiety Care UK workers are providing a service for people with anxiety disorders and
their carers. Those who have been doing this are
very aware of the ‘silent majority’; sufferers who have little concept of self-treatment or
who have problems with low self-value or simply fear of living brought on by
severe anxiety that stands in the way of applying these basically simple
techniques. There is literature readily available and easy to
understand for those who are willing to try to help themselves unaided.
Many hundreds of copies of a specially written self-help book explaining
the process in great detail have been distributed as have hundreds of leaflets
on a wide variety of anxiety and phobic problems. These and other literature are
now available via our website; but this isn’t enough and Anxiety Care UK
has always known it. People learn best from other people, not from the written
word.

One of the most frustrating truths to come from this work is the rapidity with
which often chronic conditions can be eased by this structured help.
The knowledge that there are literally hundreds of people in every town
who, for lack of simple, easily acquired skill, are trapped by their anxiety
disorders. People who do not need to be suffering the way they are.

Often, those who panic find the symptoms so terrifying that they feel totally unable to
confront it. They begin to watch themselves ‘tick’ and treat the prospect of
further symptoms with terror and dread. This
inevitably leads to a reduction in capabilities, for anxiety is a shrinking
disorder. It chips away at confidence and abilities, encouraging the sufferer to
do less and less until s/he may, for example, become totally housebound or
so bedevilled by obsessive rituals and thoughts as to be unable to function at
any sort of reasonable level. Lives
contract. Dread of panic, or of an obsessive response, focuses a person’s mind
on defending him/herself. Most of this person’s energy then goes into
avoiding ‘danger’. Families
begin to revolve around the handicapped member, usually to their great
detriment. Frequently, by the time
help is sought – when the terror of facing the feared situation is balanced by
an intolerable degree of handicap – the anxious person is unable to commit to
statutory therapy that would involve presenting at a regular time and place.
Even if the sufferer is able to reach a therapeutic venue or accept
professional workers in the home, he or she may be so frightened by travelling
or the thought of being made to face the fear that full use of treatment is not
made.

Here Anxiety Care UK’s mutual support, recovery groups, and online support
can be of enormous help.
On direct or professional referral, trained recovery support workers work with the
person using counselling and listening skills. Unlike most statutory
responses, Anxiety Care UK has no time limit on this type of help, as long
experience has shown that it may then take many weeks or months to help a person
to a point where they are able to begin to work through an exposure programme or
take full advantage of whatever professional therapy is available.
This is because fear at a disabling level can involve sufferers in deep
mistrust of themselves and their environments.

Their bodies and minds have let them down and may generate terrifying or
humiliating symptoms in face of the most innocuous of situations.
They may spend much of their lives at crisis points of terrified
expectation. At this level, fear does not respond to logic or reason. Such
people may be back at an immature learning level that requires much support,
simple exposure to positive events and the practice of activities many times to
retrain themselves.

While it is accepted that straightforward counselling or other one-to-one
talking-help may optimise at 8 to 10 sessions per client, the support that
Anxiety Care UK gives is broader based, as can be seen, where recovery work and
recovery maintenance may take many forms. Even if the idea of change has been
well seeded by a professional therapist or counsellor, it can still take a
great deal of supported effort to achieve and maintain recovery, and to face
the inevitable problems that life will bring in the future. This type of
ongoing help is virtually never available via the statutory services.

Anxiety Care UK’s mix of group and individual support, refined over
many years, works very well with most levels of anxiety disorder.
Clients may take part in online, mutual support and recovery groups.
They are always encouraged to ‘pick-and-mix’ available
services to tailor a recovery programme to meet their own specific needs.
Anxiety Care UK stays very firmly with the Maslow concept here that suggests
that:

if the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail

Building their own recovery system from a range of available sources
rather than being expected to fit in with what is available (a common but
understandable problem with statutory help) has a profound effect on many
sufferers, encouraging rapid, personal growth and the belief that they are in
charge of their lives.

The availability of online services, mutual support and recovery groups and
one-to-one work, where the person may remain anonymous if s/he wishes, can
be a vital starting point for many, particularly a young person needing
help. Most young people are comfortable with computers and Anxiety
Care has experience of teens, particularly those with a social aspect to their
anxiety disorder, who find that online contact is the only way they can break
down the barrier between themselves and working at countering their disorder
with an outsider.
Working with Anxiety Care UK’s trained recovery support workers online can then be the vital first step into recovery.

The Anxiety Care UK service is successful, cost effective and can be applied by
ordinary people trained to a level of skill and competence that is attainable by
virtually anyone. However, despite the size of the problem, the need to fund
this kind of work is often not viewed with any urgency. Anxious people do not make headlines.
They are not a danger to others.
They ruin their own lives and those of their families with little
outwardly visible sign. To make it more difficult, many unaffected people
believe they understand anxiety – it is what they experience.
It is then very easy to conclude that those disabled by it are weak and
ineffectual. Sufferers often feel
this way too, believing themselves somehow of less value and less worthy of
respect and support than ‘normals’, so compounding their problems.
But if they could ‘pull themselves together’ or ‘snap out of it’
they undoubtedly would.

The man who washed until he bled; the woman who had spent her adult life
virtually a prisoner in her own home because of agoraphobia; the seventeen year
old girl whose obsession with her bowels courted life-long physical handicap;
the thirteen year old boy who was contemplating suicide through his fear of
school. None of these and the thousand upon thousand like them suffer as they do
because of weakness. It is because
they have a clinical disorder and need help that often cannot be obtained.