Monday 29th July and my anxiety was through the roof. I'm talking hyperventilating, pacing, no eating, feeling sick, stomach doing somersaults kind of anxiety. All because "Failed by the NHS" was airing on BBC Three for the first time.
Those who have been reading my blog would know about my experience filming this documentary, and heading on down to the Lake District, meeting some incredible people who will always have a special place in my heart. The experience as a whole did provoke a lot of anxiety for me - travelling, meeting new people, talking into a camera, staying away from home are things I just generally struggle with. There were a lot of tears, a few panic attacks and several times where I sat and wondered what I was doing to myself. Why was I putting myself through this? What will everyone think?
I'm so grateful to Nine Lives Media (visit their webpage here) for the way they did the documentary. Not once did we come across as "crazy" or "bonkers" which I think I was concerned about with the whole BBC Three mental health season. It was real, down to earth and sensitive and I couldn't have asked for it to have been any better. Whilst we might not have had the time to share our stories in detail, we got our voices heard and our stories out there.
The feedback has been phenomenal. I have personally had an overwhelming response from fellow depression and anxiety sufferers who feel they can't speak out about their experiences, and I'm glad that I and the other contributors have been able to speak out on behalf of these people. My family and friends have been incredible. I was extremely worried about what they would think of this documentary, but I shouldn't have worried so much! I received lots of texts saying how proud they were of me, and the best thing was that they said they felt they could understand just that little bit more what sort of struggles I have to go through. I don't think I stopped crying with happiness for about 24 hours!
I was sad to hear that there are so many other people who have gone through similar experiences to myself and the other contributors in the documentary. We received lots of tweets and messages on Facebook about how other people have felt unsupported by the NHS mental health service and I feel for every single one of you. I know how tough that path is when it feels like no one can hear you. I hope that by doing this programme, we have spoken out for you all.
Of course, the title did strike a few chords with some people, thinking that we were belittling the NHS as a whole, which of course isn't true, and you would be aware of this if you'd watched the programme. I know of many fantastic doctors and nurses - I've used other NHS services several times and have had good and bad experiences. But this programme featured specifically on mental health services, which for some of us just simply aren't good enough. I'm so happy for those that have had a brilliant experience, I just wish there was a consistency across the country, and that there was better help available for those who need it and aren't able to access it so easily.
If you missed "Failed by the NHS" you can catch it on BBC iPlayer until 13th August. Here's a link directly to it - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b037w0s7/Failed_by_the_NHS/
You can view mine and the other contributors' BBC Learning videos here. They feature on our individual disorders, and I urge you to watch these as they're very informative and only a couple of minutes long. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01djsr6
Thank you to everyone who watched and supported us, we're all so grateful, and it means the world. xxx