I don’t remember a great deal about it all – which in itself was a reflection of how bad things had become when I first went to see Alison Fox.
Looking back, my story is probably quite common; a succession of challenging senior roles had taken their toll – and I was being systematically bullied by both my colleagues and the CEO; this had been going on for some years – effectively cutting me adrift socially and professionally, and I had become completely isolated. I wasn’t sleeping, my anxiety and stress levels were off the charts, I had lost touch with my emotions and no longer understood how I felt; It was like I was on auto-pilot and I had become a master at faking it, when in reality I was lurching from one crisis to another.
Unsurprisingly I wasn’t coping. I had become defensive to the point of being paranoid. I saw problems that didn’t exist, had lost perspective, and was making some poor decisions and choices.
At our first meeting I lied to Alison about my suicidal tendencies. I remember thinking that if Alison just told me what was wrong with me, I could google it and then fix myself and things would get back on track again.
But Alison wasn’t interested in attaching labels or medical conditions, she was very patient and kind and I sensed she saw a goodness in me when I had long since given up on myself.
Most of our sessions remain a blur. I remember talking a lot, and it not always making sense.
And gently over time, Alison helped me to talk about and understand the day-to-day problems I faced, whilst also giving me the tools to help me regain balance and perspective.
I don’t really know what Alison did or how she did it, but I felt able to trust her almost immediately – and she helped me through a very dark period.
More importantly she gave me the tools to deal with problems myself. I still have bad days – we all do – but I’m now less brash and a bit more self-assured, which feels good. I also now look after myself a lot more and manage my stress and anxiety levels proactively.