I’m thinking about starting some kind of social style support group. Although, I’m not sure who would actually turn up beside me and my friend Kate, (she doesn’t have an anxious disorder but I’d drag her there anyway via a successful guilt trip campaign to avoid being alone!)
This all started because I was hoping to do some volunteer work with a mental health charity. My God, I didn’t realise that it’d be so blooming difficult! So far I’ve contacted three charities, one has yet to get back to me, one offered me work in Kent (I live in central London) and the other have; ‘filled the volunteer quota for 2013, please try again in January 2014’ – NHS charity… figures huh?
Meow but we all know it’s true.
I’m interested in doing some mentoring or just chatting to people who perhaps don’t have anyone else to talk to. I’m not a psychiatrist and I certainly don’t claim to be, but I’d say that I know enough about anxiety and panic attacks now to provide support to others who are struggling.
In my opinion, talking and being honest about anxiety is very important to recovery. Let everything out of your head and into the open so that it can’t continue to torture you in secret. Ultimately it’s always going to be your battle to fight but lets face it, two swords are better than one! If you can get a little extra support then it’ll help to ease the burden. So much of the time people (including me) try to hide mental health issues because they’re afraid of how it will appear to others. Will they think I’m crazy? Will they think I’m weak? What if I lose my job? The truth is you can’t control what people think of you (as much as I’d like to.) No matter what, somebody is always going to have an opinion, it’s about learning to accept that and realise that it really doesn’t matter. Here’s something I’ve learned over the years; There is nothing wrong with having an illness. Would you judge yourself for having a headache? No of course not, so why is anxiety any different? Just because you can’t see or hear it doesn’t mean that it isn’t hurting you. So lets talk about it!
Fyi – you can’t lose your job for having Anxiety Disorder, there are laws in place to protect us now and realistically what would they sack you for anyway? She’s always stressed/she blushes when I speak to her/her heart beats too fast! Unless you run around the office screaming with your knickers on your head (unlikely) then I’d say you’re ok.
You’d be surprised how liberating being honest about your illness can be. If you have a good relationship with your boss then great, use that bond to explain the situation. If you don’t, that’s fine too. He/she may not understand your condition, but they have to take it seriously (it’s a health issue after all.) Just make sure that you know what you’re going to say in advance and bullet point the ways it might affect your current working situation. Unless you’re literally unable to do your job anymore your employer should work around your requirements, e.g.; Some days I might need to take an extra 15 minute break to do some CBT techniques, but I’ll stay late to make up the time.
Anyway, back to my original point. I’m thinking of starting a support group tailored to people who suffer with anxiety disorders and panic attacks. The idea being that we can meet up maybe once a fortnight, drink some tea/coffee/wine and talk about the issues we face in safe and non-judgemental environment, (sounds a bit cheesy but you know what I mean!) Nothing too formal or therapy based, although it’d be great to share tips and tricks we’ve picked up. I would just like to organise a group of people who are there to support each other, people who you don’t have to educate about your illness, because they already know exactly how you feel. I think it could be a very solid and powerful tool. On a personal note, humour is very important to me, so I’d like to end each meeting with a bit of laughter! I’ll have to think about how to tailor it and how to even start.