Call us for more info 07971 011 939

Call us for more info 07971 011 939

CASE STUDIES

Sally

Sally Aged 40

To cope better with stress and anxiety

“I am not cured of anxiety but . . . the difference is I can now moderate the physical effect”

Sally’s story

I arranged to try EFL after seeing a Facebook post by a mutual friend.  At the time, I had been trying, with varying degrees of success and failure, to deal with an ongoing problem with stress and anxiety.  Having tried ‘traditional’ counselling and medication without much-sustained improvement, I was keen to try a different approach.   I will confess to not really knowing what the sessions were going to be like, and whether they would make any difference, however, I really did have nothing to lose, so I decided to give it my best shot!

On the day of the first session I was really quite anxious – I liked horses, in the way that every girl who grew up in the late 70’s wanted to ride Black Beauty – but I had practically no experience of horses, save for an occasional donkey ride at Blackpool as a youngster!!  So, to try and deal with my anxiety, I was going to meet someone completely new, in a place I’d never been to, to work with animals I had no experience of – sounds great doesn’t it!!  Straight away I was put at ease – the process was explained and how it all worked, as we simply walked around the edge of fields with horses in – nothing too scary to begin with. I was talked through a kind of ‘mindfullness’ technique, steadying my breathing, becoming aware of my body, my surroundings – all of which I could feel start to make me feel calmer. I have since learnt to use this technique (albeit sometimes in shortened form) to help me deal with stressful situations, or when I can feel that I might start to feel overwhelmed.  It helps give me breathing space, a pause, before just reacting to whatever is happening – this has been very valuable in helping me to control the effects of anxiety.  Now, there is an interesting thought…in the past, I have tried to deal with the problem by removing the anxiety – which is almost always not possible.  Instead, with EFL’s help, I have learnt that anxiety itself is not the problem, it is the way in which we (I) react to it which is problematic.  Anxiety is a manifestation of a number of symptoms, physical reactions and responses in the body, designed to help us run away from sabre-toothed tigers, or whatever else might be chasing us looking for its dinner. What I now understand is that for various reasons, our bodies now react to all sorts of situations in this way – leaving us in an almost permanent state of readiness to flee…no wonder sometimes things get on top of us.

In my own case, for many years, personal circumstances meant I lived in this constant hyper-anxious state – always waiting for the next thing to go wrong, the next problem I was going to have to solve. By talking about some of the horses, the way they react, the effects of living in this hyper-anxious state really became clear to me.  What also became clear was that umpteen years of living like this was not going to be undone in a couple of hours in a field with a horse – this was going to take time.  Through working with EFL and these types of horses I have gained a much deeper understanding of how mind and body work together (and sometimes against each other) and how the physical can affect the emotional and vice versa.

I am not “cured” of anxiety – I still get anxious, the difference is that most of the time now I can moderate the physical effects, and buy my brain the breathing space it needs to find a sensible solution to whatever is causing the stress.

It’s not perfect, I am still learning, but I do feel much calmer, and less controlled by the anxiety.

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