A brief hiatus

Long time no see. But I’m back with an update. What better time to resurrect the blog than in lockdown when people are bored enough to read it ey.

Since Sept 2018 there have been some changes. Some things happened, many things, but I’ll fill you in on the big ones. They’re 1. Mum, I’m on TV!! 2. Mum, I got a job! 3. Mum, I helped raise £7,500! 4. Mum, I got a boyfriend! (She’s most pleased about this one I think ?) 5. Mum, I had my writing published!

I was approached by a Producer at the end of 2019 to take part in a BBC documentary about anxiety. She had found this blog and no one was more surprised than me! I spent a day in December filming with Nadiya Hussein for her documentary Anxiety and Me.

Me and Nadiya

She was just as lovely as you would imagine. So kind, genuine and beautiful. We chatted all day and filmed at my house, a local mental health charity, and with a Psychiatrist. It was a very surreal and brilliant experience.

Press for the documentary

The documentary aired on BBC 1 in May 2019, and it’s actually being repeated on BBC 1 this week – so if you missed it there’s another chance to see it. I’m only a very small part but felt honoured to be involved in such an honest project. I knew when I met the Producer, Ekta, and Nadiya that it would be a genuine portrayal of anxiety.

At Radio Shropshire doing lots of live and recorded interviews

I also did some press for it, like an article on BBC News, and speaking to local paper and BBC radio stations. It was very surreal and I got a small taste of 15 minutes of fame!

There was SO much positive feedback about the documentary. People said they found it very interesting and to be honest so did I! I only knew about that part I was involved in, so the rest was new to me too.

To be honest I never expected to be on prime time BBC1 talking about anxiety medication, but then life is weird. I mean look at us now!!

The week that I filmed with Nadiya I also had a job interview. The first in a very long time, after being signed off work for over 4 years. So it was a very strange week!!

In a whirlwind, I got the job. And just like that, I was employed for the first time since 2015. But if only it was that simple…

My desk at work

I have a Hufflepuff mug and keep a polaroid of my favourite sheep on my desk. Luckily I also have colleagues who accept my quirks!

I started work as a Trainee Social Welfare Adviser in Jan 2019, and celebrated a year working there in Jan this year. A milestone that I didn’t think I’d reach.

I work 2 days a week, and even after nearly 18 months I still don’t think I would manage 3 days a week. It was a slow process and the first few months were only possible because of diazepam (Valium).

It took months to adjust, and it was exhausting. I used to have to lie on my bed and not move for an hour when I got home, just to be able to function again. It really was very, very hard. I kept taking it day by day and suddenly I’d been there a month, then 6 months, now over a year.

The impossible became possible. There was SO much that I struggled with that I had to manage to be able to work. Being away from home all day, meeting so many new people, managing panic attacks at work, navigating very busy days where we saw clients non stop, and being thrown in at the deep end with a new role after just 2 months. It’s the kind of job where you never stop learning, and you never know what’s coming next. It definitely keeps me, and my anxiety, on my toes.

The same time I started this new role, I helped to organise a fund raising music event – The Big Busk. I had contacted the organiser of the event in October and asked about helping out. Volunteering and music seemed like a good combination to me. When I met Karen, the Chair of the homelessness charity that the money is raised for, I fell in love a little bit. She’s a Super Woman if ever there was one. She entrusted me with the email account and I was one of the team. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And possibly the longest day I’ve ever had too!! The atmosphere was incredible and the people I met were fantastic. We were having a break this year even before coronavirus but I cannot wait to get back to it soon.

Wear something bright they said…

It was a cold, brilliant, loud, hectic, whirlwind of a day.

Pretending to know what I was doing

The night of The Big Busk I met Jake for the first time. He was carrying part of a hoover and I said “is that the end of a dyson hoover?” And he said “yes” and then walked off. I carried on with my organising and he played his gig. Romantic.

He’s a Storyteller (yes that’s a profession) and I had heard he was a good one, though had missed his storytelling at The Busk . So I asked if he would come and do some storytelling for an event I was organising. We met up in Shrewsbury, I scraped my car in the car park and thought well I hope this isn’t a sign. The second time we met up he had a car crash. The cars didn’t fare well but we kept hanging out anyway.

I think they call it happiness?

2019 was a good one. With anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia and depression along the way. There’s lots more to tell, including turning 30, going to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time (who do I think I am, someone WITHOUT a fear of travelling / cities / crowds / being heckled?!) and rescuing a very stinky puppy. But I’m trying the WordPress app and I have no actual idea how long this post is so I’ll call it a night for now.

If you’re interested, I’ve recently written a piece for the Metro on agoraphobia and lockdown that you can see here https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/25/agoraphobia-coronavirus-12442331/

I have also very recently completed my first commission for a broadsheet, which is just surreal!! I will share that when I can!

Please get in touch with any questions / comments / if you’re feeling lockdown anxiety. Here’s a photo of me with an owl. He’s loving it.