Who can help?

I am sat here writing this post, whilst listening to a prolific British soap actress explains on national television how poor her experience with a consultant on depression was. Granted not all consultants will be poor, but I can feel where she is coming from. I’m going to explain where I feel I was not dealt with correctly when it comes to my anxiety. The points I am about to make cannot be pinned down to one person and they are more just about the way the system works.

On diagnosis with panic disorder, I was referred to CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services). In some areas this would mean being seen in a couple of weeks, but in my area the waiting list was 6 months long. An initial assessment would have taken 3 months, in which time I don’t want to think what state I would have been in. I was fortunate my mum had private health cover with work, but this only covers 3 years of treatment, so at the end of this year we will have to pay for my appointments with the physiologist.

Another problem was the inconsistent advice I was given. A few years ago, I had a panic attack over the Christmas period and was advised to go to A&E and ask for the Crisis Team. The Crisis Team deal with suicide cases, so when I was there I did not get seen by one of the team, but a doctor who was not a specialist in mental health, so it was difficult for him to advise me.

My final problem has been, when I hit a rough patch, I have to wait to see someone. I don’t think the NHS offer emergency appointments with psychologists for anxiety and if they do I have never been made aware of this. A lot of things can change in a day and it would be nice to know someone is there when you need them.

These are just a few of my experiences, but feel free to leave a comment if you have had a different (or similar!) experience…


How I’m feeling now

In a previous post, I wrote about how I was struggling with my anxiety and feeling down. Unfortunately, I’m putting a brave face on it, but I’m struggling to feel much better.

I don’t know what is making me feel this way and it is frustrating. I would love to sail through the next 2 years of uni with ease, but the truth is, I don’t know if I can do that. There are many reasons for this, but I’ve been left wondering what is right for me. I finish first year in a few weeks which will give me some time to think about this, but I just feel like there’s so much going on in my head that I don’t know what I want to do.

Hopefully I can sort this out and I will keep you updated on my choices, but for now I just need to finish the year…

Thank yous

I’ve been thinking about whether I’ve made the right choices for me a lot recently and that got me on to thinking, have I thanked everyone in my life enough? Some of the people I am about to thank will probably never see this, but I just want it out there somewhere just in case they do.

First of all, I want to thank my long time friends. I have some brilliant friends I’ve known for years and whether I don’t see them for 2 weeks or 2 months, they are always there when I need them.

Thank you to all the girls at dancing. Although I’m not there anymore I could always go and have a great time.

Thank you to Guides for sticking by me whilst I completed my Baden Powell Award and helping me realise that, I don’t want to do what’s ‘cool’ if that means I have to stop doing what I love. I never got to send a card to tell you this, but thank you none the less.

Thank you to my sixth form friends. You guys are always up for a laugh and helped make upper sixth one of the best years of my life. We may all be spread around the country (the only way we could have been more spread out is if someone went to Falmouth) but you’re all always there for a chat when I need it.

Thank you to my uni friends, on my course and in societies. Living at home whilst at uni is quite difficult, but you have all made it so much easier.

Thank you to my 2 closest friends. You 2 know when I’m not feeling great and how to cheer me up. We have had so many great times and I hope we have so many more- especially girly sleepovers, because they seem to produce so many hilarious moments.

Thank you to anyone in my classes in Year 11 and at sixth form. Never once did anyone pressure me into telling them what was wrong when I used to run out of class in floods of tears and I’m grateful for that

Thank you to all the teachers who had faith in my abilities even when I was not in class consistently.

The next thank you is a bit different, but a thank you all the same. In geography class at sixth form, me and my friend were explaining that if all went wrong in our A-levels we were going to be part-time chocolate/wine tasters and part-time Disney princesses. This thank you is to the girl I didn’t know very well, but who laughed with us and said that I could be Snow White because that’s the princess I look the most like. I said thank you at the time, but I think I may have sounded a bit sarcastic. So this is a proper thank you and in the moment I was gob-smacked and never got to say, you would make a brilliant Belle.

On a lighter note, thank you to Nottingham Forest for the cheap season tickets for under 21s. As a student, the words cheap and discount really appeal. Thank you to our ex-manager, for signing a petition calling for improved mental health services, whilst he was still at the club. In an upcoming post I’ll explain why I think we need improved mental health services. Unfortunately, given our current position in the table, I don’t really have anything else much to thank you for…

Thank you to my family for sticking by me. My mum, dad, Grandmas, little brother and everyone else-you are the best family I could have asked for. Thank you to my little brother for being a cheeky monkey and making me laugh, but also behaving when I’m looking after you!

Lastly, thank you to my mum. Now that it’s just us 2 at home we could have just co-existed, but I think we have come closer together. I can talk to you about anything and we have become so close. You have supported me throughout these last few years, when things have been tough, and I’m grateful for it.

That is all I can think of for now, but I just wanted to say a big thank you to all these people for everything they have done…

The tough two weeks

Going to keep this brief because I’m writing from my phone and my usual punctuation-less texting style means my phone won’t correct my grammar or spelling errors.

The past couple of weeks have been tough. I think I’ve let things get on top of me. I’ve been feeling really anxious, tired and even a little depressed. This scared me because I didn’t really know why I felt this way, and still don’t really. I’m seeing the psychologist and trying to keep positive but it’s difficult when you’re tired all the time. I just wish I felt like a did even a month ago, its just so frustrating. Just got to keep pushing on until Easter, then I can have a break…

‘Weird’ Stresses and Anxities

When I think about what triggers my anxiety and anxiety attacks and things that stress me out, some seem reasonable and others are obviously totally irrational. I thought I’d make a list of things that have caused me stress and anxiety or induced an anxiety attack in the past or at present, so you can see that if you think you have anxiety attacks with weird triggers, don’t worry I do too 🙂

  • Open spaces
  • Supermarkets
  • Certain stretches of road and motorway
  • Looking at my whole face or eyes in the mirror (but I can focus on specific parts)
  • Driving
  • Upstairs in my house, especially when I’m in alone
  • The bathroom at home
  • Being away from home because I’m a fussy eater and I struggle to sleep out of my own bed
  • Drinking, because being tipsy feels like I’m having an anxiety attack
  • Specific classrooms
  • Concert venues
  • Cinemas
  • Football grounds (Huddersfield Town need to get it sorted because my anxiety attacks are always way worse when I’m there for away matches 😉 )
  • Being alone, in public or at home
  • Presentations and public speaking
  • Exams
  • Change, like from high school to sixth form to uni
  • Talking about anxiety attacks
  • Eye contact, but I more feel uncomfortable with that than it causing me stress
  • Performing on stage (which is a problem when you dance) especially when I know people watching
  • Changes in light
  • Changes in temperature
  • Sometimes if I hear my own voice or see pictures of myself when I feel off I start to feel worse
  • Trying to get to sleep
  • People sitting behind me
  • I sometimes feel better/worse if I sit in a certain place or walk on a certain side of the road
  • Going to a place I’ve had an anxiety attack before

I think some people don’t always understand why these things trigger my anxiety attacks and half the time neither do I, but eventually I have managed to eliminate some of these things from the list. We all have odd thing we stress about, so if you think you are alone, you’re 100% not…

Uni Struggles

I was always outgoing when I was younger. I loved being on stage dancing, meeting new people and talking to everyone. I think that all changed really after my anxiety diagnosis. I really worry about talking to new people and making new friends. Public speaking terrifies me and I hate eye contact.

When I was in sixth form I had a large group of friends, granted it took me a year to pluck up the courage to talk to them, but they were, and still are, my friends. I also still remain close to quite a few of my friends from high school and before. This made me think that when I got to university I would make new friends easily, but that wasn’t the case.

At university, a lot of people met people in their accommodation from their course and became close friends with them, but as I still lived at home, I couldn’t meet friends that way. I was very lucky that on the second day, I met two girls in my tutorial group and we just clicked. We got on really well and one of them still lived at home too! I thought, ‘This is great, I’ve got friends, I like the course!” A couple of weeks in and my friend that lived at home decided the course wasn’t for her and she decided to change courses and moved to a different college. This was what she wanted and I wish her all the best on her new course.

A few days later, my other friend met a another girl on our course, through societies (whilst I was ill) and since then it has been the three of us. Don’t get me wrong, I talk to other people, but I don’t know them well enough to call them friends yet. It worried me a bit when I saw other people with loads of new friends, but then I realised I would rather have two close friends than 10 acquaintances that I only know a bit about.

This week, my friend I met on the second day has decided that she wants to move universities next year, for personal reasons. I don’t resent her because if I was in her position, I would probably do the same. However, the whole situation has got me worried about what will happen next year and how will me and my one other uni friend get on. At the moment, I’m trying to concentrate on things to look forward to, like a home friend’s birthday celebrations on Friday, the football on Saturday and a 5 Seconds of Summer concert at Easter, but I can’t help worrying about what will happen in September…

me and jade
One of my bestest friends and I are going to see 5sos at Easter, which is something to look forward to

The Football Match Achievement

City Ground earlier this season

Since birth I have been a dedicated Nottingham Forest supporter. When I was younger, I did not make it to many matches because of my dancing commitments on a Saturday, but in recent years I have begun to attend more matches, both home and away. Since my anxiety attacks became a problem, I have struggled with football matches. The first problem is the journey down- I sometimes have anxiety attacks whilst on the motorway and I often feel uncomfortable travelling on them. The second is the match itself. I have been to quite a few evening matches recently and the changes in light (daylight to floodlights) during the match often can give me anxiety attacks. This is teamed alongside the fact I don’t feel comfortable in large,open spaces. So, for the past few years I have taken my medication (beta-blockers) or rescue remedy (a herbal solution with calming effects) before or at the start of a match, but all this changed yesterday.

Yesterday, Nottingham Forest hosted Watford in the FA Cup and the match was a bit of an achievement for me. I only took rescue remedy before I set off and only felt mildly anxious and for a short period of time during the game. To top the day off, I also made it back up the motorway and around the supermarket without my medication or any further rescue remedy too. To many people this may seem like no big deal, but I felt pretty proud at the end of the day!

The only bad part was that it was pretty chilly (I think that helped distract my anxiety slightly) and a defensive error from Kelvin Wilson, late in the match, meant that we lost and were knocked out of the cup. In two weeks, I’m going back to Nottingham to watch us play Huddersfield in the league, so I’ll see if I can make it through the match without my medication again, and hopefully this time it will be warmer and with a less disappointing result…