I was invited on to daytime TV recently, ITV This Morning, to talk about my anxiety and panic attacks, in light of footage of me being released by Channel Mum from my Vlog experiencing an Anxiety Attack.

My vlog had been shared online alongside the results of the parenting website Channel Mum’s research.

Shocking research on Maternal Mental Health Shows:

  • 85 per cent of mums say they suffered from anxiety or a mental health issue while pregnant or since becoming a mum.
  • Three in ten mums have suffered at least one panic attack and more than a quarter of these have had multiple stress-related episodes.
  •  23 per cent of mums have had a panic attack when their child was present.
  • The ChannelMum.com research reveals half of mums hide their attacks and have never told anyone they suffer.
  • Two in five worry they will be judged for having panic attacks while a quarter fear their children could be taken away if they admit to suffering.
  • The most common trigger for panic attacks is feeling ‘I can’t cope’, suffered by 48 per cent of mums reporting attacks, alongside 37 per cent who fear ‘I’m not a good enough mum’.
  • The most experienced symptoms include being unable to breathe, suffered by seven in ten and 63 per cent who broke down crying uncontrollably.

Getting the call to appear on TV

Ironically it’s been a year since I last appeared on ITV’s This Morning but that time I was talking about breastfeeding.

When my video (at the top) was re-released alongside Channel Mum’s research – it got picked up by local, national and international press. I expected a backlash as I know it’s “not normal” to vlog through mental illness and use it as a form of therapy but instead of lots of trolling, I received hundreds of messages of support as well as people sharing their own mental health stories with me.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I cried as a result of this story but, this time, it was happy tears! My life’s goal or “calling” is to use my negative experiences to try and do something positive and make a change in the world and this ripple brought me one step closer to my ambition.
I was also surprised to hear how many people hadn’t realised they were struggling with their mental health and had hidden their anxiety or panic attacks (which have similar symptoms to a heart attack so should be treated seriously).

Anyway, I got the call from ITV This Morning following the news coverage and I was invited on to the show alongside TV Psychologist and Channel Mum’s resident Psychologist Emma Kenny to chat to Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. The last time I had spoken to them was following my appearance on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent (my bellydancing got me through to the live semi-finals).
Anyway I digress, I was given a day that week to head down to the Studios to sit on the sofa and chat live on air.

The weird reason I was so anxious about appearing on TV

For many, the thought of going on live TV would feel far too much for them. I totally can understand why. But for me, I couldn’t even think or worry properly about the TV interview because the biggest challenge for me was travelling by train and having to walk through Kings Cross Train Station. The thought of travel sent my anxiety levels through the roof. I really struggle with trains and train stations whereas I feel more comfortable having a camera in front of me rather than lots of real people surrounding me in a public place.

Even as I write this I can feel my heart racing fast and my breath going shallower. But unlike normal, where I would push myself just to suck it up and do it, I decided to be assertive about my needs because after all mental illness is a disability. So I asked to go early on the morning of the show rather than stop over over night as I get anxious being away from the kids and it doesn’t feel as mammoth a task if I am just going to London for half a day.

I also asked that if I use my railcard that I would like to travel First Class and have a seat on my own. I felt a bit of a diva doing this but I knew that it was particularly important to avoid as many triggers as possible so that I was relatively calm once I had arrived at the TV studios.

 

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Off to London for #ITV #ThisMorning with @emmakennytv – We’re chatting about #maternalmentalhealth and the results of @channelmum research and their support group for mums with #mentalhealth issues ❤️❤️❤️ I feel very blessed this morning. My anxiety is allayed as I’m sat on my own in #firstclass (you get free coffee newspaper and food 😋!!I’d brought my own lol), blogging on my laptop to ease my nerves. I’ve just had breakfast served. (I’ll have a second breakfast at the #tvstudio 😉) and most importantly, I’m receiving so much support and messages from fellow mamas who are struggling too. You are not alone. It doesn’t take away how bad you feel right now but #yana please remember that.🤗🤗🤗 Earlier in the year i was #suicidal and now I’m feeling so positive, I’m still delicate but I can see a future now. It’ll be a tough journey back and forth but we can all get through these waves even when it feels like we can’t or don’t want to. Please reach out…or if you know someone please reach out to them because some people will find it hard to express or show how they’re feeling. There are people wanting to support you all. It’s a tough climate with funding cuts etc (don’t get me started 😂😂😂) but please keep searching for the right support for you or a loved one. Channel Mum, #homestart, #CAP, My mental health nurse, family & Friends (oh and medication with exercise as well) has kept me living and making me grateful for this moment today 🤗🤗🤗 I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE. 😘😘😘 #mentalwellness #mentalhealthrecovery #mentalhealthblogger #mentalillness #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthvlogger #channelmumvillage #london #mentalillness #psychosis #anxiety #depression #mumvlogger #mumlife #mumguilt

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Anyway, I made it through Kings Cross station thanks to do an Instagram Live to distract me! And I searched for my Addison Lee taxi which drove me to the ITV studios.

I was then taken straight into hair and make-up to get me daytime TV ready.

After, sharing a Green Room with some amazing models, other guests and some cute pooing puppies… it was time to go on air!

It went really well although seeing the VT footage of myself (my vlogs were used on TV to introduce the piece) made me quite emotional as I rarely sit and watch myself back for a period of time. But I managed to keep going thanks to the support of Emma Kenny and the Presenters who were amazing with me.

Eamonn Holmes even shared the fact that he had been hospitalised for a Panic Attack after the death of his father.

After the chat (and an obligatory photo on the couch!), I then went back into the Green Room to have a much-deserved coffee and to meet Dr Ranj!

I then also did a Facebook Live chat with Emma Kenny on Channel Mum.

 

I then waited for Emma to do her live phone-in chat on TV, before catching a taxi together so I could grab her to do a vlog with me… and she offered some really useful and insightful tips.

Emma jumped out at her station and off I went back to the dreaded Kings Cross St Pancras station! Again I had my vlog for company.

But at least once on the train with a seat to myself I could reflect on the morning’s events. my social media had also been frantic with messages of support and also people sharing their own inspiring stories.

 

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WOW today feels like the start of a new era for me (And it can be for you), I’m so grateful for you all, giving me a purpose and platform to talk about mental health and my passion that we all get the right support that we deserve.🧠🧠🧠 I’ve put my vulnerable self out there. And instead of a huge backlash, all I’ve received is support & people opening up to me about their struggles. @thismorning team have been so kind & sensitive and it was lovely to be back on the sofa with @EamonnHolmes @ruthlangsford – Eamonn opened up about his own panic attacks. ❤️❤️❤️ @ChannelMum team, @emmakennytv & community have been my cheerleaders on this film and have treated me with so much dignity and respect as well as providing such a great support network for all mums. #thismorning #mentalhealth And I’m so privileged to be given a voice & honoured that it’s helped so many beautiful yet vulnerable humans who’ve reached out to me, it makes it all worthwhile🤗🤗🤗 A huge thank you all for your kind comments and digital hugs I’ve felt so warmed and fortunate that I’m still here today to share my story. @evokemediagroup @blogupnorth @allhalechris 💙💚💓 #channelmumvillage #yana #ThisMorning #channelmum #itvthismorning #tvshow #mentalwellness #mentalhealthrecovery #mentalhealthblogger #mentalhealthfirstaid #mentalhealthawareness #anxious #anxietyquotes #depression #anxietyrelief #anxietyattack #anxietyhelp #anxiety #psychosis

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Channel Mum’s hashtag “You are not Alone” #YANA never felt more true than it did on that day. I sobbed my way back to Wakefield. It was a sense of relief that this burden, this illness I live with, will not and cannot hold me back, it will help me to help others.

The whole experience really gave me a sense of belonging and a purpose. If my ugly crying face and my darkest days can be accepted then so can yours.

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