2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: anxiety

Speak up when it is not right

I started the CBT sessions a few weeks ago now however, it hasn’t quite happened the way it should have. The therapist cancelled the second appointment with very little notice then disappeared off the radar for days. This meant my anxiety went up because that is what it does. It may sound like nothing but it is a big thing to me. Not knowing what is going to happen and when means my brain goes into overdrive with questions and I struggle to get it to stop.

Putting a stop to it

Although my anxiety increased over this, which is quite ironic as the main aim of the CBT is to get help to reduce it, I did not feel that I could do anything about the situation. I would have just waited for her to get in contact with a new appointment and that would have been it. Having Helen in my life means I have someone always fighting my corner, so she stepped in as she thought it was very poorly handled by the therapist, and wanted to send her a well worded email. My initial thought was that of course we can’t do that, we can’t rock the boat, who am I to question what is happening. As you can see speaking up for myself is something I struggle with.

The email

Helen typed a well worded email, polite and to the point, which was sent to the therapist and the clinic. As a result of this, I now have a new therapist who I actually prefer. The clinic handled this very well too and were appreciative of my (Helen’s) feedback.
As an added bonus, I will also get a voucher for a very nice food store as a compensation for how this was handled.

The point

Sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone, as uncomfortable as it may be. In this case, by telling someone that their actions were actually not acceptable, meant that I’m now in a much better place. Although it made me anxious at the time, I’m really glad now that I did just that.

And if I can do it, so can you. Don’t spend life being told what to do. If it doesn’t sit right with you, then you must say so.



NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming is something that 2 Spuds did over the weekend with Bodycore Training. We were aware we were doing the course on Saturday but what we were unaware of was how much it can help someone, how much it can benefit us and how deep it actually goes.


The course instructor opened the course with, “the tissues are on the table, water on the side and hugs are also available”. We suddenly thought what had we let ourselves in for. Over the next 8 hours we were about to find out the full ins and outs of NLP. We are still finding out today what it is about and I am sure we still have a lot to learn going forwards too.

What is it?

A very good question I would say. According to our notes and that multi-coloured search engine NLP stands for neuro which has to do with neurology, linguistic refers to language and programming is to do with neural language functions. It is about changes in perception and developing positive choices in a given situation. NLP can be used for personal development as well as phobias and anxiety.

What did we learn?

We learnt a lot. We learnt that our brain has a MAP and no I don’t mean Google. I mean it has a record of our past, our feelings, our thoughts, our learnings and so on. We get this information from our parents, teachers, television, social media and much, much more. NLP takes us from our comfort zone to our uncomfortable zone then flourishes. My favourite metaphor from the course is: there are 10,000 films playing in our brains at any one time but consciously we are only aware and concentrating on 1. Just the 1 from 10,000 films. We have 1! Wow! Now that is a bit mind-boggling at the best of times. Around 95% of us is working on a subconscious level or in other words, auto-pilot. Again, wow!

Life style questions

There are series of life style questions which you answer to determine what area of NLP will be good for you to experience. We were then introduced to the NLP technologies. These are the “trances” for want of a better word. Someone will speak to my subconscious and my conscious beings to determine where I need help and what behaviours need changing to help me too.

The trance

Now this was interesting. We were put into a trance like state and then asked questions. It is very weird when you are moving part of the body, the brain is controlling it but you cannot figure out when you open your eyes how it did that. If that makes any sense whatsoever! That is the kind of weird that it is. Helen didn’t go too deep on the first try but has over the last day or so been saying that one of her bad memories has a block on it. The memory is hazy. It is something that she will continue to work on. Rosie is also feeling calmer over a bad memory and now has a more positive frame of mind.

We tidied the house

We are not sure if this has anything to do with NLP but on Sunday we did all of those jobs which have been on our “to do” list since May. The garden has been put away for the winter, we tidied the shed, we took the stuff we had been saving for a rainy day to the tip. At some point we had lunch before we tackled the kitchen. The cupboards were emptied, checked what we actually wanted to keep, what we hadn’t used since we had moved in, cleaned from top to toe and all sugary snacks given to the neighbours kid. By the end of Sunday we had 10 bags to go to charity.

2 Spuds and NLP

2 Spuds is currently practising a lot of the NLP techniques so we can be ready for a launch next year. Due to the nature of NLP, how deep into your past it can go and the fact it needs to be handled with the utmost care and respect it will take some time for us to get this ready. We will of course keep you updated on this site.


Time for reflection

The last couple of years have been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I have had help from various people and professionals around me, all with their specific purpose at the time. As you might have seen in a previous post, I decided I needed to reach out again and ask for help (read this blog here).


I have now started counselling and CBT, and I am excited about both. This is very personal to me, but I also feel that I want to share some parts of it as I believe that is important. I had a long chat with the CBT therapist about all events leading up to the juice-incident (read about this here) and this caused me again to put in to words how I felt. I believe (in my non-professional opinion) that my anxiety took over a long time ago, leading to a downward spiral of negative thinking which then literally made me depressed. When I initially made contact with the CBT clinic there was an assessment with lots of questions about how I felt. The therapist gave me feedback on this, and the score for anxiety was by far greater than depression. To me that makes a lot of sense, and also confirms how I feel. The aim is that she will provide me with tools for dealing with my anxiety, and this is very exciting.


The counselling is a talking therapy, and it is different from the one I had previously. As the counsellor pointed out, and that I had not thought of, it was more looking at tools to help me get through the day. What we are hoping to do now is getting to the bottom of why I feel the way I do. He is a nice guy and I feel comfortable speaking to him. It is difficult too at times. I realise I’ve spent the last few years not really thinking about things, or reflecting. I have simply just existed if that makes sense. One reason for this is that it is the easiest thing to do. But it does not mean that it is healthy. I’m very good at not talking and bottling things up, however that is all changing now.

Stand up for myself

There are a few things I really want to work with for myself. The one thing that stands out right now is that I always feel that I have to go along with what other people say and do, that I find it so difficult to stand up for myself and say “you know, that does not actually suit me right now”, or “I don’t agree with with that”. I feel that doing or saying anything that rocks the boat is just so difficult, so difficult that I just agree with what people say. That in itself is clearly not healthy. I feel it is certainly a huge factor contributing to me feeling the way I do. When you constantly do and say what others do or say, or expect you to do, then it’s easy to understand that I feel that I’ve lost myself along with all confidence and self-esteem. Again, this is something which is difficult to talk about, but then I feel that I should. This feeling is not based on what others expect of me, which is a nice little learning example. I also feel that by writing this down, I become more committed.

So there we are. If I was to give you one piece of advice, it would be to speak up for yourself and do what is good for you. Do not bottle it up.

Keep moving

I am looking forward to continuing my journey towards a happier self. That is what it is, a journey. I feel I was stationary for quite a while and I am now moving again. And speaking of moving, it is time to put my trainers out and head out for an outdoor gym session with the other spud this morning. It is raining but that’s fine too.

I hope you all have a good week. Please feel free to get in contact if anything here has bothered you, or if you feel that it has been good to read about my experiences. This journey is not a book with precise directions on how to get better, we can all learn from each other!


Routine, habits and self-care

I’m back at work now following the operation on my hand. Needless to say, any routines I may have had before have now long gone, and I need to pick them up again. It is easy to forget how good it is to have good routines, to be efficient but more so for your own self-care.

Do what you love!

To me this is becoming more and more important. I spent a few years in a previous job where I was working all sort of hours and days, and was not able to do the things I wanted and needed to, at a time that suited me. Just think of it, working a 24 hour shift then going back to work following 8 hours break (including travelling to and from work, eating and sleeping) really messes you around. You end up in this vicious circle of only work, and not enough down time. And we all know where that got me, right? But I’ve learnt from this, and I’m still learning. The purpose of these blogs is to share my/our experiences so that perhaps some of you can make some healthy changes to avoid getting to this bad place.

Starting your day

For a long time, when I got up in the morning I only had enough time to shower, get ready and eat before heading to work. I always stayed in bed for as long as I possible could. Working long days means that there is no time in the evening for the good stuff, including spending time with Helen who is not a morning person but she is around in the evenings. This leaves me with one option: having good quality me time in the morning. After all, this is what the high flying, important, successful people do, right? I never thought I would also be advocating this. I fully appreciate that sleep is very important, but so is everything else.

Getting off to a good start

My alarm now rings 0530. This gives me a couple of hours before I have to leave for work. I make a very large cup of coffee then go through to the living room and sit down. This time of years is great in that I can light candles all around, and the smell and light is very calming. I normally take some time just there in the moment. Nothing fancy, just me sitting there in the glowing light. I try to empty my brain and fill it with positive thoughts. I find that if I set myself up this way, my mood is so much better, and I feel a lot more positive about the day ahead.

Write it down

If I have a lot to do, I make mental notes of what this is. For anything else, in particular the important stuff, I have both a notebook and a diary. I spend a couple of minutes looking through the diary. For most of last year I had to write absolutely everything down or it would have been forgotten about. I’m now in a place where I still write things down but I often don’t have to read it to remember.
Another advantage of writing things down is that I am accountable to myself. If it is written down it’s not as easy to get out of.

Get moving

Whilst sitting there I try to feel how the body feels. I often have niggles in various places, at the moment it is my lower back. So having finished the coffee it’s time to move. I spend the next few minutes (how ever long is necessary) on the floor, stretching and mobilizing the whole body. This sets me up physically as well as mentally.

Eat a good breakfast

A bowl of porridge and home made apple sauce sets me up nicely for the day. If I have time I will have some more coffee.

No social media

I used to spend maybe 30 minutes every morning just mindlessly scrolling through the usual social media accounts every morning. This accomplished the great total of absolutely nothing! I never gained anything from it, on the contrary I felt there were far too many cool things out there and places to go and I’d never get there. If anything, I felt more depressed and anxious because of it.
I have gradually reduced the time I spend on social media. I now spend just a couple of minutes in the mornings checking the news.


A few minutes are spent looking at useful stuff, such as books I like to read, training I would like to do, a show I want to see and suggestions for days out for me and Helen. I also spend time reading books. At the moment I am reading computer books as well as life coach/mindset books. I only read a little at the time, and this keeps my brain happy too. The other day there was some maths to be done in the computer book and I loved it! So note to self: read/do more to stimulate the brain too.

Ready to take on the day

Having spent the morning this way I feel ready to get on with the day. We all know what we need to do in order to keep ourselves physically and mentally happy, but it is often not easy to do just that. If you implement just one little tiny change tomorrow morning, try it just for tomorrow and see how you feel. It may well be a game changer.

Setting up good routines, good habits and looking after yourself is so important. We sometimes forget this, or we simply don’t have the time. I urge you though to make a few little changes here and there, it can change a lot!

I hope you have a great Sunday wherever you are. I will be at work, having had some quality me-time in the morning.


Find your routine

Following an operation on my hand, I’m currently on sick leave. With the kind of work I do I need two hands to be fully functioning as it is very physical. Now that I am off work, all my routines have gone out the window, and I need to get them back.


Work is so much more than just a source of income. Having been in a bad place, getting my new job last year was a life saver. Both my mind and body are very grateful as they are kept busy. I often don’t have time to think too much (yes I do overthink a lot) and I find it easier to make a quick decision and get on with it.
I was able to settle into a good enough routine, although there were still room for some improvement. But on the whole I felt ok with it all.

Benefits of working

Apart from the obvious, working gives me so much more. It gives me a chance to meet a lot of new and different people every day, each visit means a new challenge (this is due to the work itself, and not the people!). I get to have interesting conversations with people from all walks of lives, and leaving a job with a satisfied customer gives me a great buzz.
My work also takes me around some parts of Scotland, which means I get to visit new places. I love the scenery and get great satisfaction from looking at a loch or a hill or some animals in a field as I drive past or stop for a quick lunch.

What I miss from not working – 3 main things

  1. social interaction with a lot of different people.
    This surprises me, but I realise I miss this aspect of work a lot.
  2. the physical side of things as it often gives me little workouts.
    Apart from missing out on the nice feeling of having a tired body through work, I have unfortunately put on a little weight too. I’m not worried about this, it is just somewhat annoying.
  3. having a routine!
    I can now do what I want and when I want. As nice as it is, I feel a little lost.

Having a good routine works wonders for your mental health

I like to take things as they come, but I’ve also realised that there are certain things I need to have in my life on a regular basis. All my routines, with all the good stuff that really helped me, went out the window the last few years which was a great contributor to me ending up where I did. We were able to rectify a lot of this and I got in to a pretty good routine. For me, this means there is a structure to my days and they are filled with good stuff outside of the things I must do.
Being off work with all the time in the world (and not able to do as much due to the surgery on my right hand) has thrown me a bit. I feel more anxious, perhaps because I have more time to dwell on things, or simply due to lack of interactions. Neither my body or my mind is as tired as it is normally.

Do what is right for you

My advice would be to do as much as you can of what keeps you happy on a daily basis. It is so important to still exercise, eat good and healthy food, go outside for fresh air and sun. Also keep in touch with friends and family. Do not just sit in front of the tv all day. Get out there! Move that body, and keep the mind occupied.


2 Spuds did a presentation

And we were terrified!

I was at work one Wednesday morning preparing to go and teach the early morning spin class. I had texted a friend of mine about tickets for a fitness event at the weekend. His response was something along the lines of “we have had a speaker drop out and the topic is mental health, would you like to do it?”. I was grateful I had a spin class to take my mind off of responding. My immediate thought was it was would be a fantastic platform for 2 Spuds. My next thought was how to pull it off with 3 days notice.


I am really lucky that for 11 years (before turning to personal training) my job was to organise international conferences and events. Thankfully my rusty skills knew how to put a presentation together. Over the Wednesday evening I started to put the mental health content into a presentation. About halfway through the evening I went too quiet. Rosie always worries when this happens. The reality of what was in front of us was getting to me. A quick trip to the supermarket for chocolate made the evening pass better. As 2 Spuds often says you need an outlet. That particular evening for me it was chocolate. I finished around midnight but the content was in.

Over to Rosie

Thankfully with Rosie being at home recovering from surgery she could help with the graphics, slide alignment and slide transitions. Rosie spent most of Thursday doing this. Her university background is in computer graphics and the like. She did a really good job with the presentation.

Notes, notes, notes

Our slides had the important facts and figures on them. It was over to me to put my notes together on what I was going to say. This took up most of the Friday. We had also sent the presentation to the event organiser to make sure we were in line with what they were thinking. We had an anxious wait before the organiser got back to us. Luckily all was good and we carried on with our preparations.

Next we ran through it

The next step was to run through what we had with power-point and notes. The first couple of times we did this it was a bit ropy but with practice it improved (thankfully). This took up the majority of Saturday evening.

The funny thing

Here is the funny thing about this presentation and public speaking. I can stand in front of a class of people and take them through a circuit, a indoor cycling or weights class. When it comes to a different event I was terrified. I had a similar feeling before I did my parents 40th wedding anniversary speech. Why is it I can stand in front of a class but then doing a presentation (which is still standing in front of people) can be a terrifying experience?!

Then it was Sunday

Sunday came around fast and we were suddenly in the car going to the event. The first thing we did when we arrived was check out the stage and see where I would be. I tried to be calm through the morning and waited patiently for my slot in the afternoon. Rosie and I had a look at the event, bought some brownies made with sweet potato, had a go at some glute exercises and tried everything to keep my mind off of the presentation. Then it was my turn.

The presentation

We had a few people turn up for the presentation. Not a whole lot which was a shame but a few. I was very nervous. All the other speakers we had watched during the day had completed their presentations without notes. I wasn’t letting go of mine for love nor money. The problem was I had a hand held mic, a slide clicker, my notes, 2 hands and no lectern to balance on. It was multi-tasking at another level. The presentation lasted for around 45 minutes which was excellent.

I was starving!

I hadn’t been able to eat very much from the Wednesday as I was worried about the preparation and outcome of the day. As soon as I was finished I was starving. We had taken snacks with us which was good news and we went for dinner shortly after that. It’s funny how the body show stress. As my presentation said what I had done over the last few days was a short-term stress.


Rosie and I both thought we had done very well with the time we had, the presentation and the actual public speaking. We now of course have a presentation in the 2 Spud filing cabinet which can be tweaked and ready to go whenever it is needed. We also found out post event that it was not very well publicised which would explain why the numbers were low. It has also spurred us on to set up the 2 Spud wellness days for everyone. So in some ways we had both good and bad points from the day and that is good.


A video about breaking down

Please be aware that this blog is covering mental health in its rawest form. There may be some words in the blog that may make you stop and think. They are not there to frighten you but are there to make you aware and ask for help if you need it. How to contact the Samaritans is at the end of the blog if you feel you need to speak to someone straight away.

We wanted to give it a featured slot

2 Spuds was approached recently by the wife (Jenny) of comedian Rory Jones. Jenny was asking if we could put a video up on our website and social media platforms. The video was of her husband, Rory, a few days after he had a breakdown while at work. 2 Spuds decided against “just putting the video up” and instead have created more of a feature of it, we felt this was a better way forward. The video highlights several elements to us. The first being that Rory is obviously male. Men tend to have a harder time coming forward with their mental health and statistically speaking they are the ones who suffer more. 2 Spuds along with Jenny and Rory Jones are trying to break the stigma around this and say to anyone (whether male or female) go to your GP and ask for help. The other element it takes into account is the fact Rory is a comedian.

Being a comedian

As Rory states in the video he is a comedian and his job is to be happy and make people laugh. This is true for a lot of comedians. Their main goal is to make the general public laugh. We just need to look at the late (and brilliant) Robin Williams. That was a man who could make anyone laugh with accents, funny stories and jokes. However, behind the funny exterior was a man who had many mental and physical health issues. He would end up taking his own life in August 2014.  

As we say Rory is there to make us laugh so when he was faced with a day from work that ended up with a break down, the funniness suddenly turned serious.

Comedy videos

The comedy videos are below. Please be aware that some of the subject material Rory uses is of a rude nature and 2 Spuds would give a word of caution. If it helps if the material was a film, it would be rated 15.

The video

2 Spuds has watched the mental health video from Rory, and we have found the account to be very honest and brave. It details his workday which started as normal as it could before turning a very interesting corner. Rory goes into a lot of detail about what happened that day. The video highlights how quickly a break down can come about and to what extremes it may take you to with your thoughts. Rory has done the correct thing by talking to both his wife and his GP. He was given a few weeks off work and is now in contact with a counsellor who will help him navigate these tricky mental health waters. He is hoping to make a fully recovery.

Thank you

2 Spuds would like to thank both Jenny and Rory Jones for coming forwards and giving us an insight into such a delicate time. We would also wish Rory well on his road to recovery.

If you have been affected

If you are affected by this video and are finding yourself in crisis please contact Samaritans, talk to a friend or family member or make an appointment to talk to your GP as soon as possible.

– Helen & Rosie

Traveling with anxiety

London bound!

Had you told me five or ten years ago that I would be anxious about returning to London I would have laughed in your face, wondering what planet you were on. This is London we’re talking about, the amazing city full of culture and history, iconic red buses and black cabs, where you can do and get anything you want. I spent 19 years there, and to start off with it was absolutely brilliant. As time went on and life happened, I slowly got stuck in a downward spiral with depression and anxiety. Only I did not know about it at the time. There were a lot of things that triggered the way I felt, and at this point I do not want to talk about it. Now is a very happy time and I intend to keep it that way, at least with the things I can control, then hope I have enough resilience to deal with the curved balls when they hit.


I am going to London next week for one day only as I have to renew my passport. Being Swedish in the UK and living in Scotland means I can only do that in London at the Swedish Embassy. Unless I were to do so in Sweden during a visit but I decided long ago against that as…. you guessed it, I worry about it too much! Because that is what I do.


I am clearly a worrier, which goes hand in hand with anxiety. I worry about the smallest things, for instance if someone sends me a text message without a happy face then my brain goes mad. What does that mean? Are they not happy? Do I have to find out if they are struggling so I need to help them? Are they not happy with me? What did I do, is this because I did not laugh at their joke? Oh no, I can’t believe I did not do that, why on earth didn’t I? What can I say to them to make up for it? These thoughts go on and on and on. I spend so much time and energy on this and it also stops me from doing all the things I need to do.
I have not been back to London on my own for a long time now. Thinking about getting it all done and being in the right place at the right time gets the brain working overtime.


There are a few things that brings this on. Knowing that I will be at a busy airport, having to fight through the crowds to get onto the train and continuing on the tube in late rush hour. I find it really stressful with all the people, the crowds, the stress and rushing around, making sure I’m standing in the right place at the right time. On top of this, what I find the worst by far, is the noise. Last year I was really struggling with loud noises, the background noises in crowds and so on. During a conversation with my counsellor she suggested using good head phones when leaving the house, to keep the noise out. I have since brought a great pair of head phones!

Game changer

Getting the head phones was a game changer. I used them so much, in particular in big crowds such as train stations and shopping centres. It took a little while but I also realised that as long as you turn them on, they don’t need to be connected to a music player and play music as they can still block the noise out. When I put them on I stepped in to my little bubble where I felt safe, and the world was quiet. I found this helped me enormously as it allowed me to go out and do things, as sitting at home doing nothing is never good for anyone.

Check list

I know that the trip will be stressful, but there are a few things I will do to try and keep the anxiety and stress levels down:
– Use the above mentioned head phones
– Have all locations and times added to my Google calendar, to always see where to be and at what time
– Bring an empty water bottle, book and phone charger
– Bring pen and paper to write things down on. When I get too stressed I can’t retain much information and need to write things down.
– Only bring the bare essentials, and certainly no liquids, so I don’t have to worry about going through the security at the airport

We all react differently to things, and there is not one solution to our problems. You have to try different things then stick to what works for you.

I will let you know how it goes.


Anxiety and me

I believe we are all anxious about some things at certain times in life. It is when the anxiety takes over and stops you from doing even the simple things that it becomes a problem. Looking back over the last few years, I can see that the main trigger for this was work.

Work ethics

I have always been a very hard-working person, I pride myself with being professional at all times, I am compassionate and always try my hardest to help people, and I want to get things done quickly and to a high standard. When I became a police officer all those years ago, I was so happy and I felt it was absolutely the best thing I could have done. I was really chuffed, here was little me, from Sweden, working as a police officer in London! I got to work with some amazing people, had great experiences and unfortunately some not so great. That comes with this line of work, when police get involved it’s usually because something bad has happened to someone else.

My police work

For the majority of my time in the police, I worked in roles where I was supporting the victims of crime. Now this was initially great, I felt I had found my place and that I was able to really make a difference. This also meant that I was a middle person between the investigation and the victim. There were so many times that I knew I had done a great job, the best that could be done in the circumstances, only for this to be questioned by the investigative team. This was generally due to the fact that life is not always black and white, sometimes you will not get the answers that you want. It might be that that crucial bit of information which will make or break the investigation simply cannot be obtained. It did not matter how many times I was asked to clarify this with the victim, or in how many different ways, sometimes it could simply not be established. This started grating with me, and I started questioning my role and the work I was doing. I started taking it to heart, feeling that I was not doing a good enough job. From there I started questioning every little thing I did, until it got to a point where I really felt I could not make any decisions myself. And if I could not make any decisions, I could certainly not go out and do all the things I needed to do to progress the investigations.

Becoming a detective

During all of this, I somehow managed to study for the exam to become a detective. Fast-forward a couple of years, I was now managing my own investigations. Unfortunately, I was still feeling the same way, well possibly a lot worse, and I must have hidden it very well. No one at work ever questioned my ability to perform my role, and I believe I got good enough results too.

It became difficult to do simple tasks

There were so many things that started to get on top of me, really bringing me down. It became very difficult to progress all the tasks I had. I can see this very clearly now, how I was struggling to get the work done. Every little thing became a mountain. If I knew I had to make a phone call, I would think about this a long time before, trying to play the conversation out in my head first, ensuring I had covered all eventualities so that I would not get caught out if I did not have an answer to all the questions the person might ask me. If I had to write an email, I would write it then re-write it several times, again trying to make sure there would be no misunderstandings from the contents. There were also numerous times when I would get my colleagues to read my emails for me before sending them.

No one asked and I didn’t say

All of this would obviously take a lot of time, as well as energy. Most of the time, I would not get the results I wanted. This was due to a variety of reasons, suffice to say that it was not down to me. It got to a point where I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall. I had gotten to a point where I felt I could not carry out the simplest of tasks, yet I obviously still hid this really well as no one ever said anything. I was worrying all the time, about everything, and I constantly felt it was just a matter of time before I would get found out and pulled up on for not doing my work properly. I have since spoken to my line manager about this, and although she had noticed it to an extent, she had not been overly concerned. It just shows how much I had made this into a big monster in my head. I was constantly anxious about all my tasks, and I felt it stopped me from doing my job to my usual high standards. And I never asked for help either. I did not know or understand what was going on.

The juice incident

Fast-forward to the juice incident, at which point I was crying most of the time yet still managed to do my work. Reflecting back on it now, I feel I was so strong and really trying to do a good job whilst falling apart and not even realising. There were other things going on too, so work was obviously not the only factor making me feel this way, but it certainly was the main contributor.

The book

At some point during this I came across a book written by a fellow police officer, John Sutherland. He wrote a book called Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces. Just about everything he wrote really hit home, it was such an eye-opener and I also realised I was not the only person feeling this way. I would highly recommend this book, both you who are maybe not feeling as good as you can be, as well as to friends and family of someone suffering with depression, anxiety and the like. It gives such a great insight into feeling this way, and it provides a lot of information for the supporters too, as the sufferer might not be able to put it all in to words. Know that it happens to the best of us.
Read about the book on his blog policecommander.wordpress.com here, order it on Amazon here.

Someone by your side helps

What helped me in all of this was having Helen by my side. She has helped me so much, I feel very fortunate having her, and she really took the stress off everything. It got to a point where I wasn’t really able to do much at all myself, so she stepped in and did it all for me.

Find someone to help you

Now I realise that not everyone has a Helen in their lives. My advice to you would be to find that one person you are completely comfortable with speaking to about absolutely everything. Just being able to talk about this really helps. If you do not feel able to speak to your friends, family or colleagues, then call one of the helplines. They are experienced and they can point you in the right direction, as well as listen.

You are not alone

The main thing to remember is that you are not alone. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It is often the strong people who end up feeling this way, when all their energy has depleted through helping everyone else.

One year later

It’s been over a year now since we’ve settled in Scotland, and I am amazed at the progress I have made. I still have a long way to go, and it will be done. If I can, so can you.

2Spuds can help

2Spuds can also help, be it through walk and rant, or simply rant. We are both great listeners and will provide information on how to move forward. Remember that we’ve both been there.


Old-style blue and white classic police car
I found this classic police car parked one night and just had to take a picture of it. As far as I am aware, it only ever comes out on special occasions.
(Photo taken using an older mobile phone, hence the quality not being the best)


I am pretty sure that this topic has touched a lot of us in one way or another. It could be that you are an anxiety sufferer. It may be that you have witnessed someone have an anxiety attack. It may be that a close friend or family member has been living with anxiety for years.

From time to time we will all feel a bit anxious.  We may feel anxious before a big test or exam. We could feel anxious that we must drive to a place we have never been to. It could be that you have invited your partner’s parents’ round for tea, and you want to impress them with your culinary skills. All these examples are good ones for anxiety and examples which will last for the time they are there and no longer. What I would like to talk about is someone who suffers from an anxiety mental health condition and who lives with the condition day in and day out.

Anxiety definition

According to the dictionary there are two definitions for anxiety.

One is:

“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”

And another is:

“Psychiatry, a nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.”

Taken from Oxford English Dictionary.

And there you have it, the definitions of anxiety. However, as I have said I want to speak about what it is to live with anxiety day in and day out.

Anxiety everyday

This means everyday you live with constant worry and nervousness. According to the charity Mind there are several triggers for anxiety, and they are:

Past or childhood experiences including neglect as a child, bullying or social exclusion.

Your current life situation including being out of work, working long hours and not seeing family, money issues, bullying.

Physical and mental health problems including living with a serious or life-threatening health condition.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you speak to anyone who suffers from anxiety and ask them about triggers, I can guarantee that they will all be different from each other.


The best thing you can do as an anxiety sufferer is know your triggers. This way you will be able to avoid them if needs be or be prepared for them. Obviously, this will take some time to do. It will be very hard if you are in the middle of being diagnosed with anxiety to know what a trigger could be. You may end up going through a few months where everything will be a trigger. This is nothing to worry about (I am fully aware that, that is easier said than done). It is because your anxiety is at the fore front of everything. Once you work at getting it under control it should settle down and you will hopefully be left with one or two triggers. You will hopefully be left with how to deal with an anxiety attack as well.

My main trigger would have to be bullying. I have been bullied both in school and in workplaces. It is the one thing that will rally my nerves, gets me wound up and leaves me feeling anxious. I have worked hard at keeping it under control and I now try to sort bullying out as soon as it starts rather than several weeks down the line.

BBC Anxiety and Me

There was a fantastic documentary on BBC one recently called Anxiety and Me. It was presented by Great British Bake Off’s winner Nadiya Hussain. The programme took the viewer through a journey on what it was like to live with anxiety. It also showed the viewer the realisation that you may need to speak to a professional as well as actually speaking to one. As far as I am aware it is still on BBC iPlayer. I would encourage you to watch it.

What is a panic attack?

So, as you can see anxiety can be a very debilitating condition to live with. The constant fear of what if this is to happen or what if that was to happen. Living with anxiety could also lead to a panic attack.

What is a panic attack and what does it feel like to have one? These are both great questions. Both Rosie and I have both had panic attacks at some point or other in our lives. Being individuals, we also have different symptoms.

The main symptoms according to NHS to look out for are:

Palpitations, sweating, shakiness in the hands, nausea, dizziness or hyperventilation.

For more symptoms please visit the NHS website.

Rosie’s symptoms are:
Pacing, cannot be still, struggling to talk, cannot make any decisions and crying.

My symptoms are:
Fast breathing, facial twitching, shaky legs which could then travel up the body to arms and torso, sweating.

As you can see there are a whole list of symptoms with regards to a panic attack. It will differ to each person.

How to help someone having a panic attack

Now, it can be very frightening to witness someone having a panic attack but it can also be extremely frightening if you have not had an attack before. The best way to deal with one is:

Keep calm. Either on your own or as the helper you must keep calm. There is no point in making a panic attack worse by panicking.

Move away from the situation to a quieter spot if you can. Moving away will help both yourself and the sufferer settle down.

Breathe. Take a deep breath. In through the nose and let it out slowly through the mouth. Keep doing this until you feel calmer. If you are helping someone do this then breathe with them.

Reassurance. If you are on your own then call a friend or a family member who can help you. As a helper reassure the person suffering from the attack. Do not ask them too many questions, and it may be enough for them knowing you are listening without saying anything. They may tell you afterwards what the trigger was, but your priority is to help them be calm.

Panic attacks last anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. It can be a frightening experience, but it is rare that a person will need to go to hospital with a panic attack.

– Helen

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