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Snippet of Better Mental Health: Panic Attacks & Anxiety

From Audio: Episode 18- Panic Attacks & Anxiety

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Duration: 06:52
Amy Wilson describes her anxiety disorder, how she manages it, and what it's like to have a panic attack.
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Amy Wilson describes her anxiety disorder, how she manages it, and what it's like to have a panic attack. Her honesty and willingness to share her struggle is inspiring and could be helpful for somebody going through similar symptoms so they know that they're not alone in their mental illness.
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I want to welcome Amy Wilson on today's show. We're exploring anxiety and the sudden but intense feeling of a panic attack. You've been living with an anxiety disorder since you were a child, which can impact both your home and work life in very different ways. Just tell us a little bit about and that and when all this started, I have only recently, um, kind of just got to know what anxiety is because of the combination of events in the last three or four years. Um, and I've done a lot of work on, you know, myself. We're talking therapies and all sorts to try and understand it, but for me, anxiety and what I've. But I found out in myself as I've had it for such a long time because I was bullied. So I think it's a direct result of being bullied every single day. But when I was a child, from the moment I started primary school or free primary school almost every day in all three senior school, and I think that's created sort of, um what, like post traumatic stress disorder in me to some extent, from what I've been reading, what I've been learning and talking with my my doctor about. And how does it impact your home and work life in in very so in very significant ways. It's like it's invasive. It's like almost like having a monster on your shoulder, Um, and or voice like some people describe it as a voice in your head. There is you, but isn't you? Um, And so for me, it's with work. It makes me very good at my job because it's a driving force is a motivating force to be, um, good everything and be, you know, almost be perfect. Everything that's my personal experience of it, which makes me, you know, drives me to do my job as well as I possibly can. But the negative side of that is my well being, because don't stop and I can't let things go. And I really, really struggle with criticism. So more aware now of that stuff, and I can do more about it and putting strategies in place to support myself around that and with home. I mean, it's it's worrying literally about everything, so we'll work as well, worrying about everything and anything that could go wrong and assuming it would go or will go wrong until it doesn't. So you know, and that can drive the way. I parent, um and how I how how I make decisions in my life and, like, important decisions around raising my child. Um, so yeah, has has had some significant impacts, and it's it's every day all day long. It doesn't stop what happens to you physically and emotionally when you start sort of obsessing about things and and feeling really anxious, Um, I can feel it so sensing it right into my luck in my chest and in my body, and it makes my whole body feel hot to warm like my cheeks feel warm. Um, I physically shake so my my hands will shake if I stand up in a meeting and maybe hold a market engagement event in front of lots of suppliers in a work situation. I know my stuff inside out, and I can talk the talk, but my body will. It'll feel like my body is giving away my fear because I'll be shaking and I can't hold pieces of paper because they'll be sort of shaking so violently. Um, and with home as Well, it's It's a again. It's tier. Sort of shaking and tearful, feeling hot all over feeling my pulse racing. Um, and it will be almost instantaneous, like I might get an email that will set it off. And that will be it until I put in place some kind of strategy to reduce that and relax a little bit. So what kind of strategies have you been using? Because, I mean, I know that you like fitness that you exercise that you walk your dog that you like cooking, reading. I mean, how do you sort of use coping strategies to distract you or, you know, to sort of change your perspective? Okay, um, it's for me. It's a very, very self, or it's about self discipline. Basically. So, um, I have to make sure that I don't, um that I turn off my laptop and I don't work over the hours due to work unless I absolutely have to. Um and even then I'll have a conversation with my line manager around that so that we or an agreement, what's going to be done. And when I take that time somewhere else, so it's much more controlled rather than working over over the top all the time. Um, I So, after the events around having a panic attack a few years ago, I started, um, sort of reading about anxiety, reading about panic, panic attacks and reading about strategies that people can put in place. And one of the key things I start to do is talk to people and get like networks of people that were willing to, um, listen to me. So it sounds odd having, like, empathy calls with people that were willing to be there and listen to, um, what was going through. And it's pure bliss and like reflective listening and, um, not speaking about themselves not telling their own story, just listening to what I've got going on and hearing me. And then it might be that it's reciprocal, and we swap over halfway through, and I do the same for them. And so that's one thing that's been really helpful because it's a bit like talking therapy, having someone there to here, here, you and does it to validate what you're going through, not tell you you're wrong, or that you need to change in any way, um and then have a really, really beneficial thing that I've, um I started to do as a as a concept called focusing, which feel like meditation, I guess, in a sense, but it's about allowing the feelings in your body. So really sensing in being grounded being, um, somewhere quiet listening what's going on around you and then sort of bringing that internally and listening to what your body is telling you and sensing what's the sensation is going on in your body and that it can arise of I mean, I've had it before where I felt like someone strengthen me. Um, and it was just pure anxiety feeding off of, you know, me giving it attention. But then it just disappears because you've paid attention and you validated it. Um, it's like saying hello to a part of you. So and then sometimes I do actually say hello. Hi, Lo. Yeah, I can feel you they uh oh, yeah. And then it moves and then something else will come up. So it's a bit of a practice. Um, it's a guy called Jean Jinling. I believe that came up with it. Um, And I learned about that and was from, uh a man called Syndicate who taught me how to do it, and I find that really, really helpful. There's just a few of the way as I do. I used to manage it a long term guests.
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