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I have been a life-long sufferer of General Anxiety Disorder and Emetephobia. Like many with the same challenges almost every life choice I made was centred around dealing with and succumbing to what my challenges would allow. I would  plan my life and events totally around only doing things I knew were within my comfort zone. I couldn’t ever understate what a devastating impact this had on my life and my family.

Having reached the age of 43 recently, I was faced with the prospect of having to fly half way around the world to see my parents. To put it mildly, I would rather have done anything (quite literally) to avoid the flight. My ability to deal with the anxiety was totally beyond my control and the usual “safe things” I normally did to lower my state of panic and anxiety were having no calming effect.

I had to get help. It was a firm decision, at the age of 43, that I had to take control, get my life back and finally find how to manage my challenges. The very best I had hoped for was a deeper understanding of my challenges and mental state and perhaps few coping mechanisms. I wasn’t ever considering a solution. I didn’t even know a solution was available to me.  Out of sheer desperation I searched for therapies and therapists in my area. Having read Fiona’s website, she was the person I called on. Her understanding of my conditions and challenges immediately confirmed I had made the right decision. We met at her practice in Henley-on-Thames and 3 sessions later I had my life.

The therapy was straight-forward, all of it positive and calming. There were some tears along the way of course but after hurting for as long as I can remember, tears were always going to happen. Over those 3 sessions, Fiona identified the “pinch points” in my life that triggered the anxieties. We dealt with them and I picked up some useful coping mechanisms along the way too. I haven’t ever needed them but at least I have them.

Within 2 weeks of seeing Fiona I was flying, I was eating in restaurants, instead of avoiding dinner parties I was arranging and hosting them and I had a world of experiences waiting for me. I had even broken my routine of being in bed by 10pm in case I felt ill from being tired. After nearly 30 years of trauma and living in a constant state of anxiety, I finally had a life that was my own to live and enjoy. Having a live is a simple I know but for me, it’s blessing I am so grateful for.  My life the way it is now wouldn’t be possible without Fiona. She may never know or acknowledge it, but I was one life saved.
Graham Arnott

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