Matthew's story

When Matthew felt a snowballing of negative feelings taking a grip on him, he was recommended to ABS by a friend. He wanted to anonymously share his mental health journey and how the ABS helped him, and could help you, if you are struggling.

Green ribbon

"I started having problems 5-6 years ago. It was challenging and I didn’t know what it was. It started as a strange feeling that built up slowly over time. You don’t feel great, you don’t notice but it gets worse. As the negativity took over it started to affect my personal life.
To mediate the way I was feeling, I had cut down my hours to working part-time - 4 days a week. I felt my company were being supportive, but it didn’t seem right for me to keep burdening them.  Then, while I was on holiday with my wife, I stopped still in the street, unable to move. I broke down.

My wife told me to take time to look after myself. My relationship with my young son wasn’t great. I was getting home tired and I didn’t have the energy for him. I was getting angry which was destroying my relationship with my wife. If I had carried on, I don’t know where it would have ended but it would have turned sour.
I left work. I thought that when I left work it would be great, but the feelings didn’t stop. Then I was talking to a friend of mine and they recommended that ABS could offer support.

So I called ABS. I probably spent an hour or so on the phone talking through things and I almost instantly felt a little bit better. I could feel we were taking the first step on what I knew would be a very long road.

This first contact was therapy in its own right and I can’t believe how quickly we went from there. Next, Anxiety UK called me – at this point I had run through my story a few times and each time I had started to feel a little lighter and a little better. They listened to how I was feeling, what I was going through and they talked with me to assess what type of therapy would suit me. We arranged counselling sessions through skype, which removed the trouble of me trying to travel somewhere.

I attended eleven counselling sessions with Anxiety UK over four months during which we looked at my background and at the underlining issues that were causing my feelings. I’m a perfectionist so we looked at the history of it all to understand where my negative thinking processes stemmed from.

The councilor helped me get on top of my mental health – focusing on how I am feeling at one time and what the causes are for my anxiety and stress at that point. I needed that counselling to strip away the negativity and reflect positively on my life. I left feeling more positive and in control, and most importantly having a good relationship with my wife and son.

Now I am in a position where we are having another child. I never would have thought we would be here 18 months ago. Before, if something went wrong, I would stew on it for weeks but now that feeling disappears in a day or two. Before, I thought I would never go back to architecture but now I’ve thought about returning and have picked up freelance work. I’m taking small child-like steps back into the industry.

In counselling we talked about celebrating achievements, in architecture you are onto the next job before you’ve even thought about finishing the last job. The counsellor helped me to open up and be less robotic. If all you do is work and not celebrate the positives you end up dwelling on the negatives.

I wouldn’t be in this position without the help of ABS. It returned some of my confidence and self-belief."

Emergency Covid-19 Appeal


Share this:

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Redundancy Support

    If in the current climate you are facing redundancy please see here for more information, including how the ABS can help you.
  • Here when you need us

    Click here for housing advice, financial assistance, mental health support or legal guidance. Architects Benevolent Society are here to help!
  • ABS Covid-19 Response

    Architects Benevolent Society would like to assure those in the wider architectural community that we are here to help and continue to offer our support services.