Cumbernauld mum launches blog to raise awareness of anxiety

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 22:32 on 1 May 2014.
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Angela with her husband. Picture: submitted.

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A MOTHER and wife from Cumbernauld has taken her story of living with mental health illnesses to the Googlers and Yahoo-ers of the internet, in a mission to raise the profile of panic attacks and generalised anxiety disorder. 

Angela Hamilton has spoken to Cumbernauld Media of her experience in living with the conditions of generalised anxiety disorder and panic attacks.

Panic attacks are sudden experiences of intense anxiety which can cause sufferers to experience shaking, feelings of confusion or disorientation, rapid heartbeats, dry mouth, sweating, dizziness and chest pain. In most cases, sufferers experience such attacks between 5 to 30 minutes.

Generalised anxiety disorder meanwhile is a long-term mental health condition where sufferers feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. Often, generalised anxiety disorder results from one or various factors, such as an over activity in the areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour; an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline; inherited genes, a history of stressful or traumatic experiences; a painful long-term health condition; or a history of drug or alcohol misuse.

Now, in a mission to spread awareness of the conditions, Cumbernauld mother of two and wife, Angela Hamilton has launched a blog to detail her personal experiences and raise the profile of the often misunderstood illnesses. 

Talking to Cumbernauld Media’s Scott Campbell, Mrs Hamilton said: “I started my blog February 2014. So far it is going well. 

“My first post was my story. I spoke about being diagnosed, what caused it at the time, how I fought back and how I am now.” 

Angela went on to say: “I am trying to educate, offer support and give hope to those with anxiety and other disorders. There are posts about how I am continuing to battle against anxiety, guest posts from others, coping techniques and even a letter to my future self.”

Asked what it’s like to suffer from panic attacks and to live with generalised anxiety disorder, Mrs Hamilton described it as, “Hard and very tiring.”

She went on: “I can wake up in the morning feeling great, looking forward to the day ahead and from nowhere a panic attack takes hold. That's the thing you can't predict if you will actually have an attack as such but you continually worry about having one so that heightens the feeling of anxiousness and usually ends up with an attack. I try to think positive that it won't happen. You tell yourself you are fine, do all the breathing techniques but your subconscious has other ideas.” 

Angela Hamilton. Picture: submitted.

Describing the feeling of having an attack, Angela painted a vivid picture; “When I have an attack I feel like I can't breathe, my eyesight seems sharper than normal, my hand and feet tingle, heart rate increases and that's when the dizziness kicks in,” she told me. “I try and continue as normal but sometimes it's that severe I run home and hide away.”

Angela added: “Having two young children (aged 4 and 2) I have to try and keep it at bay for their sake which is not easy. I have had quite severe panic attacks when taking my son to nursery. There are a few reasons for this, mainly confidence issues. I am working my way through them one by one.”

‘Obviously you've felt the need to tell the public of 'your story' - why is this; you say it's because such mental health issues are 'hidden'?’, I asked Angela. She told me: “I have always been open about having anxiety. People can choose to accept it or not but I am still me.”

“Too many people are scared to talk about mental health as they feel they will be seen as crazy and as it's not a physical illness and can't actually be seen, some people think we over exaggerate how we are feeling or that we are attention seeking,” Angela added.

Talking again of her personal experiences, Angela said: “There is a stigma attached to mental health issues. I have experienced this when I lost my job in 2006 after 6 months off due to anxiety and depression. I was never treated the same, put on simple tasks such as filing and photocopying after being told I was not capable to carry out my old position anymore; I just wanted to be treated normally. Education is key here. Employers need to be educated in how to deal with mental health in the work place. We are all capable of being normal because we are normal.” 

Angela wants to spread awareness. Picture: submitted.

When I asked Angela about her family situation and how her husband and children view, deal and help her with her conditions, she told me: “My family are brilliant. They understand the condition; know when I am anxious and if I am having a panic attack when with them they talk to me normally knowing it will help me come out the attack. 

She added: “They are so supportive I couldn't ask for anymore. When I met my now husband I told him from the start I had an anxiety disorder. I am happy he was not bothered by it and we are still together today.”

Remarking upon the support she has received from her family, Angela today (May 1st) posted a letter to her husband on her blog.

In her letter, Angela writes: “I am writing this to make things easier for you to understand. I know how hard all of this has been on you even though it seems like I am being selfish and only thinking about me,  That is not the case trust me.”

She adds: “I want to thank you for everything you have done so far, even for not walking away when I scream at you. I know you feel I am blaming you but I am not.  This is no-ones fault it just is.” And, before signing of the letter “I love you Angela xxxxx”, Mrs Hamilton remarks: “Please give it time it will get better honestly it will and I will be the girl you feel in love with 5 years ago not the mess I am today.”

Angela’s blog can be viewed at 

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