The first step I took was to go to my local GP, which unfortunately wasn't too helpful. Even after the milestone of 2 million people improving their attitudes towards mental health, not all health care professionals are versed in something which affects one in four of the population. If I am correct, there is no legal requirement for GPs to educated on mental health specifically. My GP gave information to counselling services outside of the NHS, which no longer existed. We weren't even aware that there was a counselling service on the NHS, even though the leaflet holding all of the information was right outside the doctor's door.
At that stage, we searched through the internet to find counselling services on the NHS, but sadly the waiting list was very long; something which I could not wait for. Therefore, we searched for private counselling services in my area, to which we ended up paying a high price every week. It was somewhat beneficial, but not enough to help me with my severity of my anxiety. For many, the option of private counselling may not even be possible, which raises concerns for those who really need help. This needs to change.
Finally, after many months of just getting by, I managed to get counselling on the NHS to which I had two different types. Even though the waiting list is super long, the quality of counselling and CBT is outstanding and I cannot thank the people who have helped me, enough. I had two different forms in which I moved through the system, until I was well enough to be discharged. Once I finally got access to the services, my life slowly began to turn around. Alongside this, finally meeting an understanding doctor after years of struggle, meant that I got prescriptive medication which has changed my life.
Even though we are moving in the right direction towards better mental health, many healthcare professionals are still not trained in such a common illness. This is needed to save lives and I hope as time goes on, this will be possible. Without the important help that people need, it can become fatal. We need more money and more awareness to what affects so many people. Once you do get the help, it can change your life so keep going!