Anxiety and #dontpanicbutton

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This is a pretty heavy topic for this here little blog isn't it but I feel like it is such an important issue that it can't be ignored.

Until I moved away from home out of my little sheltered bubble I admit I was hugely unaware of the prevalence of mental health issues amongst young people. Within my first year in halls I had come across a number of people experiencing issues such as eating disorders, depression and sadly even one of my classmates tragically committed suicide. This was a huge shock to me and the rest of his friends and classmates but it definitely opened my eyes to the reality of these issues and how they can affect everyone and anyone.

On World Mental Health Day on the 10th October 2014, MIND the mental health charity launched a campaign called #dontpanicbutton. If you are an avid tweeter - you'll probably have seen this hashtag popping up over the last few days! This initiative is aimed at raising vital awareness of anxiety and panic attacks in young people I imagine that most of you will have heard about this through the wonderful Zoe of Zoella! I have watched her YouTube videos and read her blogs for years so it has been great to see her achieve everything she has despite her struggles with anxiety. As a result of her struggles Zoe has now been appointed as the brand sparkly new Digital Ambassador for MIND. Zoe herself has openly suffered with anxiety and panic attacks for a number of years and has used the help of the charity herself. It is hoped that her message and hashtag will reach a wide number of young people through the wonders of the internet and social media. So this is why I am writing this post (and an article on Her Campus Aberdeen) so that I can do my bit to spread the word.

The #dontpanicbutton campaign aims to shift the concept of a ‘panic button’ to making the red button a symbol of solidarity, support and understanding of anxiety. Many people expressed their support for the campaign on World Mental Health Day by proudly donning their red buttons and posting them on social media with #dontpanicbutton. Zoe, stylish as ever, even matched her ruby red lipstick to her button in her snap!
Photo credit: @zozeebo on Twitter
I think it is important to point out how big a spectrum the word anxiety encompasses. Anybody can suffer from a form of anxiety even if you wouldn’t perhaps class yourself as having a mental illness as such. A couple of years ago I began to suffer from panic attacks myself. I didn’t always find this easy to admit as there is such a stigma surrounding the labels of ‘anxiety’ and ‘mental health’. I had just put it down to the fact that I have always been a worrier! Panic attacks are incredibly scary and confusing experiences for the sufferer and I often cannot pinpoint the exact reason why the panic attack has happened. During the attack sufferer’s heads are often racing at a thousand miles per hour and I often start to think the most ridiculous of things because the anxiety has taken over. I often have felt like I am a huge burden to anyone who is trying to look after me. This is why the #dontpanicbutton campaign is so important. It is not promoting some miraculous cure, but simply a level of understanding between those who suffer anxiety and their loved ones and those around them.

I personally hugely respect Zoe's openness around her struggle as I have even found it difficult to publish this post. The fact that Zoe still suffers from these attacks years down the line is exactly what will make her a perfect ambassador for MIND. She is someone who doesn’t claim to have cracked the code and found the solution so is therefore hugely relatable.

So I just want to say a little well done to Zoe for all the amazing things she's achieved (this is just one to add to her ever-growing pile!) and also extend a hand (or a red button) out there to anyone else who may have, or may right now think they are suffering with anxiety. You most definitely aren't alone!

Do you have any experiences of anxiety? What have you found helps - I would love to hear from you!
If you would like to watch Zoe’s videos on her experiences follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjuk3WMZByo

If you would like to talk to someone about mental illness or anxiety and panic attacks please visit www.mind.org.uk or you can contact Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.


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I read, love and reply every single one of your comments! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave one - Laura x

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