Wales

Anxiety: Panic disorder caused woman to quit job

Nadiya Hussain talking with Laura Bartley
Image caption Laura Bartley shared how she copes with a panic disorder with Nadiya Hussain

A woman whose panic disorder led her to quit her job said caring for farm animals has given her "another reason to keep going".

Going to the supermarket, a gig, or any busy place had to be "meticulously planned" for 29-year-old Laura Bartley, who has agoraphobia.

Agoraphobics may fear being alone or in a situation where they feel trapped.

Ms Bartley of Welshpool, Powys, joined Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain in a documentary about anxiety.

Telling people outside her family about her condition came with "shame", she said.

She was diagnosed with anxiety in 2012, which developed into agoraphobia and panic attacks three years later.

"It caused me to lose my independence and my world got smaller and smaller," she said.

"I think about what if I get stuck in aisles? Or it can make me worried about having a panic attack."

Image copyright Laura Bartley
Image caption Laura said her mental health caused her to quit her job in 2015

After Ms Bartley quit her job as a secretary for a tree surgeon in 2015, she spent more time at home with her family's farm animals.

She said the cows, sheep and chickens brought back "a sense of responsibility" to her life.

"You have to show something your care and attention, and it helps you to get out of bed in the morning," she added.

She has now returned to work part-time as a trainer at Citizens Advice and continues to blog about what living with a panic disorder is like.

"People say to me I seem so calm - but that is the last thing I would describe myself as. There is pressure to prove it.

"Understanding how someone can worry - literally all the time- can be quite difficult for people to grasp," she said.

Image copyright Laura Bartley
Image caption Laura said her family's animals gave her "another reason to keep going"

Ms Hussain said being honest and transparent about her own mental health "will help others to realise that they are not alone on this journey".

Glenn Page of Mind Cymru said: "It is important to seek help when you have a problem with anxiety - although this can feel difficult as nearly nine in 10 people who experience mental health problems say they face stigma and discrimination as a result."

If you have, or someone you know has, been affected by mental health issues, these organisations may be able to help.

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