During my initial assessment for CBT, which was a 45 minute telephone interview. I identified that I consumed a lot of caffeine. My therapist pointed out that caffeine was considered to exacerbate my anxiety problems. Whilst I knew I was drinking quite a lot of tea with the occasional coffee, I did not appreciate how many cups of caffeinated tea and coffee I was drinking and had not taken into account the amount of caffeine there was in the Pepsi Max I was drinking each evening.
I have therefore made a concerted effort to reduce my caffeine intake. I was aware that there can be issues with caffeine withdrawal, particularly I found in terms of headaches. I therefore reduced my daily caffeine intake over a period of 4 to 6 weeks. I did experience some periods of headaches, however they have now passed.
Having gone from probably eight caffeinated mugs of tea, three mugs of caffeinated coffee and up to 2 L of caffeinated Pepsi Max; i have now reduced my intake to 2 caffeinated tea is first thing in the morning and then the occasional caffeinated tea in the afternoon. I have replaced my coffee is with decaffeinated coffee and found that Kenco decaf is my favourite but I also am happy with co-op decaf. I also drink decaffeinated Yorkshire tea , Red bush tea and I drink orange squash in the afternoon and evenings instead of Pepsi Max.
I also recognise that stopping drinking the Pepsi Max means that I’m no longer drinking as many carbonated drinks which inevitably aggravated my stomach and I’m no longer consuming the chemicals that are used in such fizzy drinks.
I have now been limiting my caffeine intake for at least six months and to be honest don’t really notice that I’m not having it and neither do I miss it. Very occasionally I have a caffeinated coffee when we’re out and I can tell I have drunk caffeine. The only downside is I have found the cafés I visit do not offer decaffeinated coffee or if they do it’s a poor quality instant type.
In terms of the impact on my anxiety of reducing my caffeine significantly, it is difficult to directly measure the benefits, that said I feel confident that reducing my caffeine intake is good for my health generally and can obviously do no harm in terms of my anxiety.
It has been sometime since my last blog post. I still struggle with and have been working on my anxiety and depression.
About 12 months ago I went to my GP as I had a significant family event approaching in six months time; namely my daughter’s wedding. During my consultation with the GP it was agreed to a change in my medication and so I now take Sertraline in addition to the Pregabalin, medication. I started on a dose of 50 mg per day and after three weeks this was increased to 100 mg per day. I didn’t feel any particular side-effects from the medication and to be truthful it is difficult for me to know whether it’s making any significant difference. So I now take Pregabalin 300mg twice a day and Sertraline 100mg once a day in addition to my IBD medication of Pentasa Mesalazine 1g two tablets twice a day and Omeprazole 20mg once a day. I also have Pentasa Mesalazine 1g/100ml enema which I am meant to use once a week and regularly during a IBD flare up.
In addition to the medication change is it was agreed that I would itself refer myself to the local NHS Changing Minds Service to access CBT therapy, through primary care. I will blog speratley about my CBT Therapy [link to follow]
As usual time has passed – back in July I went and visited my GP for the first time in a long time. Since then I have been back to see him a couple of times. After my first appointment, we agreed that I would try out an additional medication, so I started on Sertraline at 50mg once a day for two weeks, then increased it to 100mg once a day. I have been on this dose now for 3 months. Here is a useful explanation of the medication Sertraline on Mind’s website. Continue reading “New Anxiety Medication Sertraline”
I have decided to go to see my GP about my anxiety and depression, so thought it best I pull together a history of medication I have been prescribed over the past 9 years. Here is the medication I have been prescribed for anxiety and a link to a description on the Mind website:
I have a lot of time for Martin Lewis of Money Savings Expert, for his advice on consumer finance and his annual debt advice booklet for people suffering with mental health illness.
He is also the face of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, based in London UK. I am proud to contribute to their research by being a member of the research community. This involves completing online questionnaires and surveys from time to time. There is no obligation to complete all surveys and there is also an opportunity to partake in online discussion groups. Continue reading “Mental Health and Money Research”
I had been receiving DLA and then PIP for the past 5 years or so, because of my mental health and Ulcerative Colitis. Following a mid award review which started in August 2017 and a medical assessment by Capita in November 2017, my PIP award ended on the 11th December 2017.
I have been reflecting on this a lot over the past 6 months. Financially the impact was significant, as it meant I also lost my Tax Credits award from the 11th December, and any day I expect a bill for £500 over payment following the year end tax credit review.
I have been lucky and been able to earn a little more money through the work I do and been helped by family.
I attended a DWP Medical Assessment with Capita in Northampton following a review for being submitted in August.
During the Assessment the assessor said that she was not there to advise but she thought I should go back and see my GP.
Having talked about my illness with the assessor I have realised that my anxiety has got worse. I can separate my mental health illness into three areas Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) , Social Anxiety and Depression. Continue reading “Reflection on my mental health”
In honour of World Mental Health Day on Tuesday the 10th October 2017, which this year focuses on workplace well-being, our friends at MyTherapy have put together an info-graphic to share some pretty surprising facts about mental illness in the workplace.
I have in the past pondered whether my anxiety in the form of Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety was a disability. As I also have Ulcerative Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and receive Personal Independence Payment, now, if I am asked in a questionnaire etc whether I consider myself disabled, I do usually end up ticking yes. Continue reading “Is Anxiety a Disability?”