“How NABS helped me when stress made me break out in hives”: an Ambassador’s story” - NABS
Advice Line: 0800 707 6607

“How NABS helped me when stress made me break out in hives”: an Ambassador’s story”

It’s International Stress Awareness Week. To mark the occasion, one of our NABS Ambassadors has shared her story of stress and how we supported her to manage her difficult feelings.

One of my family members is an alcoholic. The disease has had a huge effect on my whole family, especially as they have never sought help and continue to deny they have a problem.

As a grown adult, away from the family home, it’s been easy during busy times to forget the pain and dysfunction. But it was everyday life for me growing up, and it took a long time to realise how abnormal, but unfortunately, very common, my situation is.

Christmas is always a very difficult time. I didn’t realise how truly tough it had been until I broke out in hives in January this year. I’d just started in a new position and the stress of new responsibilities coupled with the trauma of being home for two weeks came together in an overwhelming way.

During Christmas I’d shut off my increasingly low feelings. I had pushed through uncomfortable situations and ignored the fact that by the end of the year I could barely hold back tears. I just carried on as normal and blamed it on being overtired.

The hives were an excellent reminder, as they’d been in the past that I just wasn’t coping and needed to ask for help.

A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to have long-term psychotherapy that, for the first time, helped me to gain perspective on my life and recover from traumatic childhood experiences. My therapist was excellent and helped me find a joy in living that I hadn’t had for the first 20 years of my life.

The catalyst for getting help that first time had been getting hives and realising my body was trying to tell me something that my mind wasn’t able to process. When it happened again, I realised I had been ignoring how I really felt.

Calling the NABS Advice Line was the first step in understanding what was wrong and helping me to do something about it.

The moment someone answered the phone I knew I’d made the right decision to call. A comforting, kind and empathetic voice was on the end of the line, reassuring me and instantly making me feel a little calmer.

I was aware that NABS were able to refer adlanders for free cognitive behavioural therapy sessions. I knew how much counselling had helped in the past and was sure that it could help again. NABS explained the process and though I had to go on a waiting list, just knowing that help was coming lifted a weight from my shoulders.

With age I’ve been able to recognise that different stages and pressures in my life bring different challenges and this probably won’t be the last time I need to get help from a professional.

I’m lucky enough to have plenty of friends and family members I can be honest with about undergoing therapy.  I try to tell as many people as possible about it because I know there’s still a stigma out there, especially in professional environments.

The most immediate effect of therapy is knowing another human cares deeply for your wellbeing, even though they seemingly have no reason to. Depending on what you’re going through that can be a huge source of comfort.  Depression and other mental illnesses often manifest themselves in a lack of self-worth and an inability to recognise your inherent value.

Though I’m still on my journey I would recommend the services NABS offers to anyone in the industry who feels unable to cope. The problems might still be there but I’m back to feeling like I can cope with what life throws at me.


NABS is here to help improve and champion the wellbeing of everyone in advertising and media. We run a Resilience Programme specifically created to help combat the pressures of everyday life, manage stress and live life feeling you are the best version of yourself. Contact us to talk through any issues you’re experiencing, ask about our CBT referral service or attend one of our practical workshops on building resilience, mental toughness or utilising the methods of mindfulness.

Our Advice Line (0800 707 6607) team are on hand to talk you through any pressures you may be experiencing, at work or at home, and can offer emotional support or refer you to our cognitive behavioural therapy and stress coaching services. Our coaches can work with you in one-to-one sessions to help you find solutions for tackling stress and approaching life in a more positive, solutions-focused way. Visit our website or call us on 0800 707 6607 to see how we can help.

This article was originally published for Mental Health Awareness Day 2018.

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