Hi...my name's Zowie; I am a full-time mother and wife, a Financial Crime Analyst during my Monday-Friday working week, a daughter, a sister, a good friend (if I do say so myself) – I am also occasionally a mental health sufferer!

I have anxiety you see, but only recently have I accepted that it’s classed as a mental health issue. 

MENTAL health is a scary word, no one wants to think they have anything wrong associated to such a word.

Turns out periodically since my early 20’s I have had bouts of this that come and go depending on how life is going at any given time.

I have suffered more with it this year and that’s through a combination of going through my mum’s cancer journey and the preparation in being about to choose a high school for my autistic son which marks the next step in our lives. 

Life pressures and events can be challenging and start to have a negative impact on emotional health. 

What might seem like not such a big deal for one person could seem to another that their world is ending.

When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, your body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. 

It is these that cause the physical symptoms; for me it’s the feeling that I can’t breathe, that I can’t quite catch that big breath with accompanying racing heart. 

The more I think about it the worse the feeling gets.

Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling worried or uneasy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of concentration
  • Being irritable
  • Feeling on edge
  • Needing frequent reassurance
  • Feeling tearful

The above list is some of the milder symptoms that could easily be ignored; especially for women, as these symptoms come to us at a certain time of the month frequently. 

It is this that I want to highlight that in fact, many of us could be suffering and having tell-tale signs that we just brush under the carpet.

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) in any given week – SKY News reported on this only recently that doctors are seeing an increase in people reporting these common issues.

It is understood that the actual number of people with mental health problems has NOT changed significantly in recent years; rather worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.

It is a fact through that it appears how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people self-harming or who have suicidal thoughts is increasing.

I’m very fortunate that the organisation I work for have a hands-on approach to health and wellbeing.  They have a proactive service in work that is run by professional healthcare specialists. 

They believe and fully understand that by giving their employees the support and reassurance that mental health issues are understood and accepted – that they will be more likely to have the difficult conversations and get the support.

Not everyone is fortunate to have this facility.  I have a friend who went to the doctor and his advice was to download a self-help app on their smart phone.

The NHS is stretched and I understand that people have to be assessed and advised accordingly.

If you have support networks – use them.

Take some time out to speak to friends and colleagues, remember 1 in 4 people suffer so it’s likely that there are people close to you who have the same worry and concerns and would be more than willing to lend and ear or a tissue.

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