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I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and was experiencing symptoms like irritability, restlessness, insomnia, poor energy, erratic and irregular heartbeat. For a long period of time I also suffered with anxiety and panic attacks. It was not long before I found myself taking 8 tablets per day (inclusive of the contraceptive pill). I decided it was time to take some action – I was on a ‘self help’ mission. Fortunately for me, I got in touch with the The Sean Barkes Clinic [Clinic of Traditional Chinese Medicine]. It was immediately apparent that I had found that much needed help. Not only have I been treated in the form of acupuncture, I have experienced Chinese Massage and Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is without doubt that due to this treatment I feel the best I have felt in years, my thyroid is functioning normally, I am tablet free, and have gained massive amounts of knowledge about my body.
The first time I met Vimala I told him the only thing I looked forward to was sleep. Sadly, at 46 years old, this was quite true. I have suffered from anxiety all my life (have a constant dull headache) and as I got older had symptoms of depression as well. Once I hit my forties I started experiencing feelings of extreme panic (dry mouth, racing heart, pounding head, tremors, feelings of dread, weepiness, and insomnia). Sometimes, my heart would feel like it was thundering so loudly I was convinced the people in close proximity could hear it. My appetite was non-existent therefore I was underweight and my symptoms certainly dictated my life. I was forever avoiding the situations that I was able to, particularly social, and lived in dread of those I had to face (such as work). As I work for the NHS and have a certain knowledge of medicine I managed for as long as able without prescribed medication for fear of replacing one problem with another i.e. side effects of the type of drug I knew I was likely to be prescribed if I presented with the symptoms I have described. However, in my early forties I felt if I didn’t do something I would get to the stage where I was unable to get out of bed and face the day and realised that would most certainly lead to a downward spiral of time off work and probably exacerbate the problem. I was duly prescribed antidepressants and sleeping pills, plus pain relief tablets for the constant headache. I stopped the antidepressants after about six months as they didn’t seem to help as much as I had hoped and I couldn’t cope with the side effects (flushing, night sweats and a rather numb or spaced feeling) but habitually took the pain relief and the sleeping tablets. I looked forward to sleep because it was the only relief from my symptoms.
Three months later, and after a course of ten acupuncture sessions (I now have an acupuncture session every 3-4 weeks) I am a somewhat different (certainly calmer) person. My energy levels have risen considerably and continue to do so, my body feels very much lighter (although I have actually put on weight as my appetite is improved), my head and mind are clearer and my attitude is more positive and optimistic. I haven’t had a panic attack since my third or fourth session of acupuncture and rarely take pain relief tablets. My next challenge is to stop the sleeping tablets. I still have my old friend the headache, but it is ever decreasing in intensity and constancy. While I would not claim to be completely symptom free (I still suffer some occasional anxiety but nothing like the sheer panic and dread I used to experience), I would claim to be able to cope with it and understand it better and be able to alleviate it more successfully than I have ever been able to before.
I embraced acupuncture as I really wanted it to work and it has, and I’ve also made other lifestyle changes (diet, exercise and try to explore what makes me the way I am) to ensure I was working with it and giving it my optimum. I wish I had done it years ago. I enjoy the sessions immensely – I would rather have acupuncture than a massage.
When I first told Vimala all I looked forward to was sleep, he said ‘we’ll see if we can do something about that’ – and he has.
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Tinnitus, Loss of Hearing Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression, Panic/Claustrophobia.
3 Years ago I suddenly developed very severe Tinnitus and some loss of hearing. It happened in the night and was very frightening. Consequently it triggered several panic attacks and insomnia (which I had never suffered from before). Doctors and specialist both private and NHS gave me numerous tests. They informed me that there was nothing they could do and that I would probably have tinnitus for life. They warned me that my hearing could deteriorate further. They said that they didn’t know what had caused it but suspected it was either a virus (I had a persistent dry cough at the time of the attack) or a side effect of the antibiotics my doctor had given me at that time. I became very depressed as the quality of my life was severely affected. The loud relentless ringing in my ear dominated everything. I became anxious – worried that the tinnitus would get even worse and that I might lose my hearing altogether as the doctors said this was a possibility. I seemed to be in a downward spiral and it was severely affecting both my working and personal life.
The doctors had given up on me but I hadn’t given up on myself so I decided to try acupuncture as I had read that it could help tinnitus and I had found it had helped me many years ago when I suffered with dizziness. I found Sean in Yellow Pages and went to see him. I was extremely impressed. He deliberated my medical history thoroughly and after performing various tests and checking my “chi” (all painless) seemed confident he could help me – not only with the tinnitus, but the insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks and depression as well. Sean’s philosophy on life is inspiring and his cheerful, positive approach is a tonic. Even after my first visit I felt a lot better.
I found the acupuncture painless and relaxing. Sean also gave me Chinese herbal tablets. After the third treatment I began sleeping normally again much to my amazement as I had been suffering severe insomnia for almost 3 months. I continued with regular treatments and gradually the tinnitus which had been driving me mad, began to lessen. The depression lifted along with the anxiety and panic. I began to feel like my “old” self again. The tinnitus has been reduced by about 75% and it is now only a faint “hum” in the background and the excruciating high pitched ringing has gone. It no longer dominates my life – I fact most of the time I don’t even notice it.. Sean gave me my life back! I will always be grateful to him.