I’m guessing almost everyone will have seen an episode of a talent show when a contestant comes on with a story that makes you hope that they do well. Either they are extremely shy and nervous, endured years of bullying or have had a really rough time with depression, anxiety or another illness. They come onto the stage and they start to sing (or do whatever their act is but its normally singing!) and it turns out they are amazing! The whole audience is behind them, the judges say how brave and inspirational they are. Then, this is always the bit that gets me, they say something along the lines of, “Your life changes now!” and the contestant cries and says that they know that everything is going to change for them now. The audience are on their feet and inspirational music plays as they leave the stage and run into the arms of their family or friends, who say they are so proud of them. These kind of stories make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, they are turning a corner, moving on and changing their lives for the better, forever! This is where my issue starts. I do hope that its not just me…
Does having a great audition on one of these shows really change your life from that day forward? In my opinion, yes and no. Yes if you are a great singer/dancer/magician etc, having that great audition can open many doors and provide you with amazing opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. But can taking part in the talent show remove your past or cure your anxiety, depression or other illness? No. If anything, being exposed to the press could lead to your past being splashed all over the papers! Sure the TV programs may make you believe that as soon as these people leave the stage a magic wand is waved and all of their problems disappear but that is hardly the reality. They will still need to work hard behind the scenes to forget the past or to keep their fears in check. They may be taking a huge step by going on one of these shows but that will not be the end of the story! They will have plenty more steps to take which won’t be televised and good luck to them!
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Well here it goes… I feel guilty that my anxiety led to me quitting my job. There I said it. I had a great job, my employers were two of the nicest people you could ever meet and I looked after their children, who I loved to bits. I was happy and had never felt anxious at work, actually my work distracted me from that. But then it happened… I started feeling dizzy, sick and shaky. It could strike at any time, at home, at work or in public. . . I started shaking and went really dizzy, I nearly hit the floor! A first-aider was called over, I had to call the child’s mother to come and get him and my mam to come and get me. It was horrific, I was so embarrassed but the worst thing was the way the child looked at me while all of this was going on. He looked scared and unsure of what was happening. I had scared him, it was my fault.
I went to the doctors. . . and was put on sick leave for two weeks. At then end of that the doctor told me to take another six weeks off. Through all of this my employers were fantastic, they were really understanding and sent me a Get Well card and present. This made me feel guiltier about letting them down. They didn’t know that it was anxiety that I was suffering from, I didn’t know how to tell them, so they thought it was still undiagnosed dizziness. During my time off I kept thinking that I wasn’t capable of looking after young children anymore, I kept thinking of how scared the boy I was looking after had been. What if I had another panic attack and something happened to one of the children while I was wrapped up in myself? So when my employer emailed me to see when I was coming back to work, I resigned and explained that I didn’t want to let them down anymore and that I had to focus on my health. They were very kind and wished me well. My parents were horrified, they thought that I had thrown away the best job I would ever have.
Read the rest of the story! Visit Let it be | Calm Kitchen.
This blog is still a baby and I’m sure one day I will write more openly about how my anxiety effects me. I find it difficult to talk about as I spent years hiding my anxiety from everyone. I was only 14 when it all started and with the stigma of mental health and my own naivety, I thought that if I spoke out about what was happening with me, I would be alienated by friends and family or worse, taken to some kind of mental hospital. Now I know that none of that would have happened, unless I posed a danger to myself or others. Plus if anyone did turn their back on me because of my condition, they wouldn’t have been real friends!
The stigma that I mentioned earlier is the reason that I decided to sign up to BFMH 2014. I feel that everyone should do what they can to reduce the stigma, 1 in 4 people will suffer from some kind of mental health problem at some point of their life so why do whose who are suffering feel like such a minority?
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