Broadcaster Helen Blaby talks about the ways she has confronted anxiety…
As I write this, it’s just gone 3 in the morning and I just can’t shut my brain off.
You probably have similar times, times when you just can’t silence your inner voices.
It doesn’t matter how tired you are, how much you think you need to sleep, your mind just won’t let you.
One of my regular guests is Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Tim Millward, and the last time he was in we had a really interesting discussion about anxiety and how it can make you feel.
I’ve always been a whittler; apparently I take after my paternal Grandmother who was always worried about something or other….but I seem to take it to higher heights.
A few years ago, it got so bad I decided I had to go and see the doctor about it, and had a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
When I feel anxious about something, and it can be something that really isn’t worth getting worked up about it, I run through all kinds of scenarios in my head as to what could happen.
Invariably it’s always the worst case outcome that wins the battle, and I then start practically climbing the walls with how I’m feeling.
I liken it to a washing line of anxious thoughts, they’re always there, the feeling is never far away, and I’m always trying to find something to hang on the line.
There are various things that can trigger those thoughts; it used to be worries about Mum, now it seems to all be connected with driving.
Anyway, Tim Millward was very reassuring to both me and the number of people who called the programme the last time he was in.
Anxiety, and problems with it, is very common indeed and there are a few options available to help.
The first is medication. I’m not keen on taking any more tablets that I already do so I have turned this down in the past. It works for some people, but not for others.
The second option is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT which is available from the Wellbeing Team in Northamptonshire. I had some sessions of this, and found quite a lot of things that helped me out of the awful place I kept finding myself in.
Even something as simple as slowing down your breathing (breathe in for a count of 7, and out for a count of 11 works for me) can help with the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Probably the very best thing he recommended though, was simply talking to someone.
When Mum was alive I talked to her all the time about the worst case scenarios I’d dreamed up.
It took me a little while to find someone else I trusted enough to tell my inner thoughts to, but I’m lucky enough to have a very good friend, Carole, who is happy to just listen and then give me a hug.
Like she always says to me when I’m having a bit of a meltdown “You’re currently at the top of this massive mountain, how can you turn it back in to the mole hill it really is….?”
Mental health conditions affect 1 in 4 of us at some point in our lives. They can be difficult to deal with, and sadly I think we still have some way to go in how we react to people telling us they have problems.
Things are turning round, though; help is available to you if you need it.
Just take a deep breath and tell someone how you’re feeling…..