'Can I help?' - Guest post

Today we wanted to share this story from a woman working in the construction industry, who has chosen to remain anonymous. Her partner works as an architectural technologist, which is how she knew about our campaign. In this story, the writer shares her experience of how anxiety affected her; feelings which we know many people can relate to. The advice that she shares is a reminder of what is - and should be - important.

"Sometimes your head is so full of thoughts, irrational thoughts, going round and round, sparking off into nonsensical imaginings, it feels like your head is going to burst, it feels as if your ears are buzzing and you’re underwater. Sometimes these feelings can manifest themselves and become a panic attack as if you’re fighting for every breath.

Every day pressures such as work or study can build up to such an extent that they can become overwhelming and if not recognised can lead to feelings of anxiety and other related mental health issues.

We often sit silently whilst all these thought are swirling about in our heads and to anyone looking at us from the outside, all seems to be well. But, look deeper, and if you think that someone may be struggling just ask ‘Can I help’, this is the first step towards helping someone. It may be that they are not able to have a good work or study/life balance, they may be putting too much pressure on themselves and they may not know how they can be helped and are asking themselves ‘why am I not coping with this, I usually can’.

I experienced this whilst I was at work as the pressure and stress of my workplace had build up to such an extent that I had the feeling of being so overwhelmed that things had bubbled over and I had ended up having to go to the doctor & subsequently the hospital with pains down my arms which was diagnosed as a panic attack due to anxiety.

I sought help and practised some self help techniques but was very disappointed at the time (this was some years ago) that there had been no help or advice provided by my workplace for this issue.

Hopefully things are changing as mental health issues are becoming addressed by employers and educational institutions.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your issues, especially if you’re finding it difficult to cope and things are getting on top of you. More people than you think will understand. There is support out there to seek professional help.

Don’t forget to take time to look after yourself. Relaxing breathing exercises and meditation techniques can be beneficial in this very busy world.

Exercise is very beneficial to our mental health, even going for a walk or a cycle can clear our mind and make us feel a lot better.

Everyone has a responsibility to look after their staff or students, just be aware."

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