Mental Health Awareness Week 2017: Betty’s journey with anxiety
It’s #mentalhealthawareness week and although I wish we didn’t have a ‘week’ to encourage us to talk about mental health, it’s a great place to start.
I’m no stranger to mental health, my mother has bipolar disorder. I was bullied in school for having a ‘weird’ family and didn’t really understand it at the time, but now as an adult and parent, I realise she simply was not functioning which must have been very difficult for her.
You won’t be surprised to hear I’ve had anxiety struggles on and off throughout my life with my last ‘wobbly’ happening 10 months ago when I had a panic attack on the London Underground. It was a busy time – we were just starting the launch of Miss Dreambox and with redundancy from my job of 13 years looming, it was a very uncertain and unsettling period.
I ignored all the signs from my body to ‘slow down’ until my body put the emergency brake on and I could no longer function. I felt paralysed, I had childhood flashbacks and I quickly realised, something had to give. So I told myself I had to get back in control, be strong and positive for myself and my family and so I started TALKING and began CBT.
Ten months on and I feel great but my experience made me realise how important it is for me to raise my children to talk about their feelings and mental health openly – it’s no different to physical health after all!
So I leave you with my personal vows which have helped and continue to help me stay on track:
- Think positive thoughts, this leads to positive actions which puts YOU in control.
- Be mindful, even for 5 minutes a day. Life is too short to miss all the beautiful things around you.
- Use simple breathing exercises when you start to stress.
- Listen to your body and take time when you need it – a panic attack is just your body having a tantrum because you’re not listening!
- Talk. Tell your story. You’ll be surprised how many people tell you theirs.
Thanks for listening,
Anxiety Helplines & Resources
Helpline: 0800 1111
ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine in these ways: You can phone on 0800 1111, send us an email, have a 1-2-1 chat with us, send a message to Ask Sam and you can post messages to the ChildLine message boards. You can contact ChildLine about anything – no problem is too big or too small.If you are feeling scared or out of control or just want to talk to someone you can contact ChildLine.
Helpline: 0808 802 5544
Parents’ Information Service gives advice to parents or carers who may be concerned about the mental health or emotional well being of a child or young person.
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