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Blog: Blog2

Ali (25)

Updated: Sep 7, 2023



Ali is 25-years-old & lives with her partner in their rental unit. Ali works full-time as a medical admin assistant at a local GP surgery.


Ali came to therapy because she was worried about some escalating problems in her life.


Ali used to love her job, but about a year ago Ali experienced a work incident where she was verbally aggressed & threatened by a patient. Since this incident, Ali has experienced high anxiety & panic attacks, often at work.


Ali was feeling jittery & unwell most days at work due to the anxiety. She had trouble sleeping & couldn't seem to relax even when she is at home & safe.


Ali had previously thought of herself as strong, but now she was feeling fragile & stupid not being able to control her anxiety. Ali’s partner had tried to be supportive, but he didn’t really know how else to help except to reassure her.


Ali had increased her alcohol consumption over the past year, & was now drinking at least a bottle of wine every night. She felt like without it she wouldn't be able to get to sleep. Ali was starting to feel like alcohol was the only thing that helped her feel relaxed, but the mornings after drinking a lot, her anxiety was even worse than usual.


Ali was feeling exhausted & ashamed. She wished she could just go back to feeling ‘normal’ & not be fighting anxiety every day.


What was important for Ali to understand was that her symptoms were not a personal 'failing'. She had experienced a trauma & her symptoms were an understandable response to this. The problem was that Ali's brain was thinking the threat was still around- it wouldn't relax just in case Ali wasn't safe. Once Ali could understand WHY she was having these symptoms, she could be kinder to herself about them.


Ali learned how & why she was getting triggered, & how to change her body chemistry quickly when needed. This allowed Ali to feel more confident going into work.


Ali also changed some things in her lifestyle, once she understood how they were affecting her anxiety. For example, replacing alcohol use with other relaxation methods like mindfulness & self soothing activities. These things helped reduce the anxiety, helped prepare Ali for a good night's sleep & didn't make things worse the next day.


Finally, Ali needed to make space to talk about & process the trauma she had experienced. This allowed her brain & nervous system to be less activated during her normal day, & she was able to feel she was finally moving on from the event.


Ali is now back to enjoying her work & able to have times of rest & relaxation. She still needs to be mindful about over-using alcohol, but she has a good routine of self soothing that helps her keep stress & anxiety low.



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