Mental Health Awareness Week runs from the 15th – 21st May, and this year’s theme is anxiety. We want to raise awareness of anxiety, in all of its shapes and sizes – because we know it’s different for everyone. Anxiety can have a significant impact on someone’s life and can show up in a whole bunch of ways. However anxiety shows up for you, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone in what you’re going through.
Before we get into anything, let’s talk about anxiety. What is it?
Anxiety is a feeling we all experience at some point in our lives, and it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit uneasy or worried. These feelings can sometimes happen due to life events such as taking your driving test or having a job interview.
Sometimes, people can become overwhelmed with their worries and often don’t worry about just one thing, but many things. When anxiety becomes a long-term problem that affects your day-to-day life, this is when you may be experiencing Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is very common and often affects you physically and mentally.
To read more about what GAD can look and feel like, and where to find support, click here.
Why is it important to talk about mental health?
We know that talking about your mental health can be difficult as it’s an experience personal to you. But we know that by talking, we can help normalise the conversations around mental health, and we can raise awareness on what anxiety can look like – helping more people get the support they need sooner.
Visit our Advice Hub to find our brand new podcast, Talks at Everyturn! Our newest podcast episode is all about anxiety. Emily, Chief Commercial Officer at Everyturn, and Martha, Community Engagement Team Manager, speak candidly about Martha’s own lived experience with anxiety.
“Anxiety has been a massive part of my life, and like for a lot of people it jumped into my life really. It just appeared.”
We recently published an anonymous survey across our social media platforms. This survey allowed us to gather anonymous responses from many people describing their own experiences with anxiety. We wanted to help open up the conversation in a way that felt comfortable to people, and the responses we received were incredibly insightful.
Many of the responses we received were strikingly similar – but also very unique to each person and their life experiences.
“I couldnt relax, I couldnt sleep so was mentally and physically exhausted, and I couldn’t eat so lost weight. I just wanted to run away and end it all.”
“I genuinely thought I was going to die! I’ve never had such a feeling of loosing control – simply awful.”
“Sometimes I feel as though I’m the only person in the world who thinks and worries about things the way I do.”
It’s important to remember that there are many people who experience anxiety, and you are never alone in what you’re going through.
Among the many responses we received of people talking about their experiences of living with anxiety, we felt it was important to ask people what they would say to a loved one if they were struggling with anxiety.
“I may not have the answers, but I do want to listen.”
“You must show yourself compassion, and be your biggest supporter. And you are definitely not alone.”
“Talk to someone, talk to your doctor, refer yourself to NHS Talking Therapies. Life on the other side of anxiety is beautiful and liberating. Get help and get help now.”
It’s important to reflect on how you would speak to someone you care about if they were struggling with anxiety, as you can then apply that to yourself going forward. Compassion is important, especially with yourself!
We also had a chance to speak to Michelle. Michelle works at our Together in a Crisis service, and she wanted to share her lived experience with anxiety and how it affects her on a daily basis.
“Anxiety can take over my life at times that deteriorates my mental health, making everything more difficult to deal with. It’s a constant pain of fear and not been able to relax, heart racing with pins and needles in my legs, sweating which makes the situation worse.”
Michelle also kindly shared with us how important it is to talk openly about mental health, and anxiety in particular.
“I think we should talk more on anxiety and mental health to give that awareness as people really dont understand. Mental Health and Anxiety should be talked about openingly. I think if more awareness is made with explanation not only will people think more openingly I think people will engage with services for help and support.“
Michelle very kindly wanted to share her lived experience with anxiety to raise awareness of how it can impact everyday life, and with the hope that by sharing – people may resonate with her experience and feel less alone in what they’re going through.
Later in the week, we will be releasing another episode on our podcast with Emily and Mona. Mona is the Principal Clinical Lead at Everyturn, and she will be speaking with Emily about what exactly anxiety is, how it can show up, and what support and resources are available. Keep an eye out for the next episode!
We hope this article has been useful, and insightful, and we hope we’ve helped at least one person feel less alone.
Keep an eye on our social media over the week, as we’ll be talking all about anxiety for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023! You can find the links to all of our social media channels here.