Gemma Pywell From the age of eleven Gemma Pywell felt anxious and shy in social settings. This led to Gemma experiencing low mood, anxiety and loneliness during her teenage years. Now 20 years of age and a confident dental nurse, Gemma benefited from enrolling on a stresspac course available through the MyWellbeing College, leading to a boost in self-confidence and a positive impact on her life.

Gemma said: “I’ve felt low before and got some help and everything was ok for a while then I started to feel a little low again… it was almost a feeling of emptiness and I felt very lonely.  It was good because I was able to identify it and that’s what made me think, wait a second, I do need some help.   I needed an extra push to help me through it so I went to my doctors and they recommended the MyWellbeing College.

Gemma was offered a variety of options including phone advice, one-to-one or group courses.  “I chose to go for the group option because I’d had one-to-one counselling before and thought this time, why not be a bit more daring so I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little bit.”

Elaborating further Gemma explained: “I’ve always been quite a shy and anxious person, especially when it came to going to places and big groups, that’s always been my big thing, social settings and it’s developed through my teens to low mood and feeling lonely.  In my late teens I managed to get a better grasp on it and started to control it.   Now I’m in my early twenties I’m able to manage it more effectively.

“The course helped me because it went through a number of methods and ways to deal with stress and anxiety.  I think it’s really important to understand that not all methods can help you, so it was really helpful to identify the ones that specifically helped me. The course tutors were really helpful and went through everything… they helped me a lot and all the information was given to me in a pack as well, so I had something to take home and follow.

“You expect group counselling to be really intimidating but it’s not; if you want to speak you can speak and if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I think that was the nice thing about it as well.  I surprised myself a lot by speaking out in front of the group, which was good.  I definitely feel the experience and the course helped me build my confidence.  Everyone was really welcoming and it was a good way to learn new methods to manage anxiety and stress and learn some background knowledge on why we get stressed, which was really helpful.

“I feel that the course has really benefited me as it’s made me a lot more confident and I’ve found ways to relax through the methods they showed us on the course.  You don’t realise how important it is to take some time for yourself to relax when you are so consumed with feeling low and empty, you lose a bit of looking after yourself. Now I know when I’m getting stressed, I can identify it and help myself, especially when I’m feeling low, I can stop myself from letting it go any further.”

Gemma credits the course with improving her emotional wellbeing and is encouraging others who are considering getting help, to go for it.  Gemma said “It can’t do you any harm; you’re not going to lose anything, if anything you will gain a lot from it – it’s benefited me in a positive way, boosting my confidence and my general wellbeing.”