Our Psychological Wellbeing Team gave Stephen the confidence to perform again

August 2021 · min read

An Elvis impersonator credits Making Space with helping him back into his blue suede shoes.

CCBT Elvis

72 year old Stephen Neary, from Preston on the Hill, says his state of mind had declined so much he couldn't imagine ever again having the confidence to perform as his hero. But now, after exploring his problems during computer-based therapy sessions, offered by Making Space, Stephen once again feels like the King.

The retired businessman, who has previously trained to be a Catholic monk, said his mental health started to take a dip during a long recovery from a knee operation.

"The surgery and recuperation were much worse than I was expecting," he said, "and I wasn't able to do much for what felt like ages and inevitably spent too much time in my own head. I worked until I turned 70 and am usually very sociable and outgoing, so I found all the sitting around really hard.

"I started getting very emotional over everything, I was agitated and bad tempered and even started having crying spells. It's not an easy thing for a man to admit, but eventually, persuaded by my wife, I told the GP I couldn't cope anymore."

Stephen was expecting to be offered medication, but was surprised when his GP suggested he try cCBT, or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy.

The serial entrepreneur was offered weekly computer-based sessions, free of charge with our Psychological Wellbeing Team.

Stephen was set exercises to complete each week to start to address his anxiety and depression. He also had one-to-one talking sessions with one of our team members, Sarah Booth.

"The therapy was all about understanding what causes my anxiety and depression, learning about triggers, dealing with symptoms by practising breathing techniques, and starting to rebuild my confidence and self esteem," said Stephen.

"The computerised exercises were great," he said, "but the one-on-one time I received from Sarah was just amazing.

"At first, I couldn't find any words and I just cried. I was brought up not to show any emotion or weakness in front of other people, so it was a very strange experience for me. But Sarah wasn't phased and just waited for me to get it out of my system and start to compose myself again.

"I felt like a massive weight had been lifted before we even started to talk. Sarah kept me on track with my online sessions and helped me to regain my confidence. Just knowing she was there was like a lifeline to me."

Stephen now wants to use his experience to draw attention to mental health problems in men, which he says are too often left unspoken. He hopes to give some talks to other men about overcoming mental health issues and plans to perform again as Elvis as soon as restrictions allow, to raise funds for Making Space.

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Psychological Wellbeing Service

Psychological Wellbeing Service

Our Psychological Wellbeing Service offers support for those who are struggling with mild to moderate common mental health conditions. The support is free, is available to those living in Warrington and Wigan and waiting lists are short.

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