I’m Amy, I love art and crafts and culture and seeing the beautiful world. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I’ve really managed to overcome it lately and am really happy about that. About me – I live in Winsford, Cheshire, born in Leicester. Moved here about 8 years ago. My life at the moment is great – I don’t do employed work, but found I’ve started to take time for me. Its great as I have a young daughter who is four, and is like my little best friend. We get to do loads of things together, we have decided to start a little business together, so we’re painting plant-pots. It’s great because it gets her involved and helps with my anxiety. I live with my partner, who works full time, so I am often alone with my daughter. Chapter has opened many doors to keep connected to people during pandemic.
When did you first notice and how did symptoms present themselves?
I had mildly suffered with symptoms as a teen on and off. The symptoms and feelings got worse during the start of March 2020, largely due to the pandemic. But I first noticed as teen as I would get very anxious about different situations. I never understood it then, and it would resurface on and off through my life. Different things would happen that made it worse. I thought I had it under control but it would resurface now and again up until I actually spoke about it.
How do you usually manage your anxiety?
I use positive coping techniques – relaxing, trying to keep up with good basic well-being like eating, drinking. Painting is a great relaxing activity for me, I benefit from a range of different art activities, like those I do with my daughter, Rose. I go for walks and try and generally try to stay as calm as possible. I do have medication as well, antidepressant medicine that I take every day. I have been on them for about 9 months, due for a review end of the year or early spring. I can tell my resilience is becoming better; but do have days where I do need to use these coping mechanisms or things to help me control it.
Do you have a support network, if so, how does that work for you?
I reached out to Chapter, because I felt my support network was small. So the network I have is quite small, but I’ve realised the support I now get suits me, and for the support I need to seek, I know where to go now and what I need. Chapter are a massive support, getting in touch has made me realise what kind of support I need to manage my anxiety and help get better. I also have my GP, several charities I speak to and volunteer with. I have Friends and family I can talk to, my friends are quite supportive- though I’m sad most don’t live close by. The community I live in is much more supportive nowadays, staying at home more has made the community more involved with each other.
Can you tell us about a time you are proud of yourself for overcoming your anxiety?
So proud I’ve overcome a lot of my social anxiety. It was really hard, but I’m proud of overcoming the past 18 months because the anxiety comes so severely sometimes. I’ve gotten a lot better, I’ve even started writing.
I have written a short story which is(by the time this is up) published in an anthology found across Cheshire west and Liverpool libraries – Novels that Shaped the World is the name. That is my proudest achievement at the moment. I went from doing nothing due to crippling anxiety, being in a really dark place, to doing this! The anthology is around 49 short stories, with 100 novels included for inspiration for them, and there’s so many different genres. My partner did it with me, David Bailey, he’s also written one that is in there. So achieving this along with him has made it even more special.
What advice would you give to somebody currently experiencing Anxiety?
I would give them advice by saying, stay calm, don’t beat yourself up. Acceptance for me is a big thing. I know it’s hard but there are ways to accept it. Don’t be afraid, it will pass – and seek help from whoever you feel you need to. That will get you through. You will have bad days but, there is hope.