A healthy mind in a healthy body
Saturday 15th, 2014
A Manchester man who became so anxious at the thought of leaving the house that he barely went out for two years, is now enjoying a healthy social life just six weeks after meeting with a health trainer.
Although Andrew sought help from healthcare professionals, it was a chance remark from a family member that prompted him to get in touch with Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s Health Trainer Team and arrange a meeting with Steve Hoy.Andrew Jones*, 26, from Harpurhey had travelled the world fitting swimming pools when he was, two years ago, diagnosed with panic disorder and overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety making it impossible for him to travel any distance and cutting him off from family and friends. He also found himself sleeping for most of the day and unmotivated to do anything.
That initial meeting with Steve in a relaxed environment in Harpurhey library helped to address Andrew’s problems and a way to a better life.
“In my head, I gave Steve just two minutes, that’s how low I was feeling. But he just listened and didn’t judge me; he let me talk at my own pace. I thought he was going to tell me to eat brown bread and eat more veg, but he didn’t. I hadn’t spoken for more than a few minutes to anyone before but I talked to Steve for an hour and he just kept chipping in. He set me some simple tasks – like eating breakfast (I didn’t) and going for a walk. I don’t know how he did it but he made me feel relaxed and motivated at that initial meeting.”
Andrew had previously felt fear and anxiety at the thought of walking through a park where a close friend had died, but motivated by his conversation with Steve, he went for an hour’s walk and came back wanting to do more. He took his children to a play area at Steve’s suggestion and then travelled from north to south Manchester to pay his brother, whom he had not seen for two years, a surprise visit.
Andrew’s mother was so surprised to see him walking in the street that she hugged him in an emotional moment. Andrew is now determined to continue with his healthier lifestyle, spend time with his family and is currently looking for a full-time job.
“When you go to see a counsellor or a psychologist, things don’t happen straight away so that’s why I think some people lose heart, thinking I’ve not seen any changes. I now feel like my old self, I’m not perfect but I would say 90% myself and that’s after six weeks of seeing Steve.”
Steve was pleased to hear of Andrew’s new lease of life and how it affected the rest of his family: “It’s always positive when we can develop an individual’s fitness or wellbeing and even better when they can overcome a fear. I haven’t waved a magic wand and this self-belief and confidence has always been in Andrew – I just helped him to find it again. It’s also great to know that Andrew’s situation has had a poignant effect on his whole family; they’re absolutely delighted to have a son, brother and father back.”
People can be referred by an agency to the Health Trainer Service or can make a self-referral by texting the word CHANGE to 81025, by calling 0161 882 2583 or speaking to their GP. Health Trainers can offer advice on all aspects of lifestyle choice.
*Andrew’s surname has been changed at his request
** Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust : News & Events