"Anxiety is something I have always unknowingly battled with". Read Hayley's story...

I'm Hayley, a travel enthusiast who spent the first half of my twenties adventuring around the world until I landed back in the UK a few years ago and started to focus more on my career and put my degree into practice. Now in my mid twenties I've moved away from my south east roots and I'm living up north as a freelancer in the TV world. I am a total book worm and I refuse to convert to a kindle. You'll see me on my morning commute buried in a book or deep in thought listening to a podcast, always trying to absorb as much information as I can.

I spent a lot of time chasing beaches on my travels and now I spend sunny weekends exploring the northern hills and putting my former machu picchu walking boots to good use.

I'm not the best at cooking but I can make a mean batch of cookies or classic vicky sponge if it's your birthday! I can totally geek out over stationary, specifically a fresh notepad to write down the endless thoughts and ideas that are always popping into my rarely resting brain. But when I do try to give my mind a break I love a good Netflix series as much as the next person.

Here is my story on Anxiety on how it's affected me and how I manage it...

I never actually knew that I suffered from anxiety until I sought help and was told that I did. It sadly took me to reach a very low point in my life to seek professional help for the first time earlier this year. I realised on that journey that Anxiety is something I have always unknowingly battled with. Through therapy I discovered what my triggers were and how to deal with them better and it was a huge relief to talk to someone about how I had been feeling and recognise it within myself as Anxiety for the first time. 

Anxiety comes in all different forms and every person’s experience of it will be entirely unique, but I definitely believe that we can all help in sharing and being open about the journey to understand our minds.

I never even knew that I’d had a panic attack until it came to light in therapy that I’ve actually had many, which was a huge break through moment for me. I always thought a panic attack was someone hysterically hyperventilating into a paper bag unable to breathe, which is absolutely can be, but what I didn't know was that they can take many different forms and there are a multitude of symptoms. I had a polarised view of what a panic attack was and subsequently what Anxiety was. I think this is largely the problem sometimes, as a society, we tend to stereotype and generalise what anxiety is and what kind of person might experience it. Whereas in reality mental health is something that affects us all and therefore anyone is capable of experiencing anxiety. 

I find my daily life a lot more manageable since I’ve had therapy and it also encouraged me to talk to friends and family in detail about what I had experienced, which I hadn’t done previously.

I’ve not spoken out online before, but I think that SHOWUP has a great goal in mind and if one person reading this can feel a little bit better than they did before then that’s great. I sought a lot of comfort from people speaking about their mental health online, in books and TV shows.

We just need to remember that any one of us can experience this and it is NORMAL. You can be a seemingly confident, extroverted individual and suffer immensely from anxiety. I am a really bubbly, outspoken and happy person but anxiety still affects me, I just now have a set of coping mechanisms to work towards managing it better and I try really hard to stay in tune with myself and talk to someone as soon as I feel it’s getting too much.

Sending my love to you all, Hayley xxx

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