From panic to pregnant!

21 Jun 2013


Hi Robin

How are you? not spoken for a while, just wondered where you’re up to with developing any new programmes etc? Hows the health anxiety one coming on?

My progress is up and down. I’ve had a month off work which isn’t good, but its mostly to do with being terrified about starting on labour ward. So it’s really muddying the waters about whether Im anxious in general or work – Im thinking work.

I’m pretty good at warding off actual panic attacks now, it’s more the constant symptoms that bother me. The main thing is breathlessness and talking. Sometimes I struggle to say a sentence.

The good news is that I’ve met someone new and he’s brilliant which always helps 🙂 He makes me very happy.

Anyway hope you’re well, hope you don’t mind my messaging you, Im sure you’re very busy   



yes I AM very busy – so stop bothering me!

just kidding 🙂

Always good to hear from you

ah – a new man – my wife says that anyone who is unhappy should find a life partner – typical Indian logic

but – sounds like its working

dont forget to let him read the wee booklet

I think you are doing ok and I am guessing that you could probably do more structured practice etc etc

you know what I mean..

still no progress with a Health Anxiety programme – I have to many irons in too many fires – its always been a problem of mine

but one of these years I promise..

I think it’s time you took mindfulness seriously – it will make a HUGE difference

try to find an 8 week course

at least start studying it and meditating – it will help u through this last phase

keep in touch



02 Oct 2013


Hi Robin

Sorry to email again but I’m just a bit upset with myself and don’t really know who to talk to about it. I had every intention of going to work this morning, but woke up about 4am and struggled to go back to sleep. So I convinced myself to just go in tomorrow instead.

Of course now I’m properly awake, feel like an idiot and really ashamed I keep letting work down like this. I’ve also got to face a phone call with my manager to explain my absence, I was only off 2 weeks ago as well (for 1 day) so she isn’t going to be impressed with me

I just seem to have no sense when I wake up in the morning, I convince myself ‘just one more day won’t hurt’

I hide it from my family and boyfriend so they’ve no idea how much time I’ve had off, I either make holidays up or go out somewhere

Don’t know what I expect you to say, I suppose I just need to be a lot stricter with myself but its hard and I feel so silly!

Hi Nat

sorry for the late reply

First things first – the past is gone – never to be here again – so not a lot of point worrying about it

second – if you lost your job or were publicly flogged for being absent from work too much – then that would just be another experience which would eventually pass and you would worry about something new after some time

all of these things we give way too much importance too


yes I know – its your job – its money – its paying bills – its your whole entire life


it’s not ‘DANGEROUS’ – so there is no need for your body and mind to go into fight or flight

you are not under attack – you are not dying (honestly)

so – actually nothing ‘traumatic’ is happening

except you thinking that this situation is traumatic – it’s not

I understand – I do this too – but it always passes – doesnt it – you were worried about ten thousand other ‘very very very serious situations’ in the last year

where are they now – were they REALLY so serious – or is todays or yesterdays the most serious – because they are new

these will become old too

and so it goes round and round and round

until we practice CATCHING the reaction

not just ‘slightly’ – telling oursleves ‘maybe’ its not so bad blah blah

I mean REALLY DEEP DOWN catching

deep breath

‘nothing serious is happening’

even if the world came to an end right now – then thats just what would happen

why am i spending my entire life worrying over what is happening or what im doing wrong all the time

let go

just BE with it all AS IT IS – even if that means you couldn’t go to work and people will think badly of you and you will hate yourself

This too shall pass





Hi Robin

Thanks for your reply a couple of weeks ago – you’re very right, it’s not life or death… but yeah it does feel like it!

I just wanted to rant a bit because I know you understand…. Im still struggling with attending work, to be honest I think it’s because mentally Im throwing in the towel and am overall unhappy with my job – I want a different one etc – so Im not really putting in the effort if Im honest

Im kicking myself though because Ive been off the past 2 weeks, and I got a letter from my line manager today to say that because I havent provided them with a medical cert etc it might be taken under disciplinary procedures

Ive just been waking up each day and thinking ahh feck it I’ll deal with it tomorrow

Now im in this mess

Hopefully theyll let me go back and change my placement area to community (which i enjoy) then that buys me more time to look for a new job

Sorry I’m just rambling really. Im basically saying, I’ve got myself into a bit of deep water. Ultimately it’s all about money! 

Im annoyed with myself for not being ‘normal’ and having the courage to ring my line manager etc to keep them updated on my absence or w/e 🙁 But it’s just like the threat holds no weight to me until it actually happens (ie this letter I’ve received)

I sent her an email back because I was too nervous to ring, stating i have the medical cert etc 

But if she doesnt respond by tomorrow I’ll have to ring as Ive been given a set time frame to respond



(at this point there are some missing emails until 1 year later when I noticed on Facebook that Nicole had given birth to a beautiful baby girl)




hey you!!

I’ve been following some of your goings on on facebook

is this the same girl who had all that anxiety I wondered 🙂

well done!!

I’ll have to use you as the new poster girl for CBT4PANIC

“From Panic to Pregnancy”

but seriously – I take it you have pretty much recovered ?

The photo of you with the baby is really beautiful

Congratulations 🙂





It is indeed me haha, thank you very much!!! We have called the baby Heidi Mae and she’s an absolute delight 🙂 best thing ever! She was a ‘surprise’ but a very happy one.

I can’t believe I’ve accomplished pregnancy and birth in one piece haha. I ended up with an emergency csection too and lost 2.5 litres of blood from a tear – but I’ve felt more fear on a roller coaster!!! The staff were great.

The only time I lost it was in recovery as I’d had diamorphine so high as a kite, I was hissing at everyone “I’m not breathing, check the monitor it’s lying” haha!!!!  however I got through it and think it’s hilarious to look back on 

I am doing much better, I would say that it doesn’t control my life – it can make some days horrible but tbh I think that’s the same as everyone else, we all have bad days!!! It’s incredibly rare for me to have a genuine panic attack, infact I can’t remember when I last did.

It’s just my breathing that can still bother me but again it’s not something that really stops me living my life

It’s nice to hear from you anyway! What are you up to nowadays?



Hi Nat

Nice to hear back

I like her name – that was the name of aTV show when I was a kid – ‘Heidi’

before your time

glad you can laugh at your HA outburst  lol

I know you will get past the breathing thing eventually

probably just there to keep you humble

anyway – if you want any more help you know where I am

I’m heading to India again Nov 10th for 4 months

never a dull moment

hope u aren’t having too many sleepless baby nights 🙂

I will follow her growth on FB





Hi Robin

Really sorry I havent got back to you sooner, Ive been quite busy lately! Lovely to hear from you. Yeah Heidi is growing fast, shes a brilliant baby, cant believe she will be 1 in September! 

Im sure youd be proud of my progress… Im taxing myself again doing 3 x 12 hour shifts a week at Liverpool Womens neonatal unit… emergencies galore lol which you may remember terrified me as a new/student midwife. Tbh they still scare me and I still battle with my breathing but the difference is I stay in the situation. Im sure it will get better the more I learn. Ive already noticed that exposure to certain situations mean i feel that bit more confident for the next time.

I think i need to learn to eat properly – when i’m stressed i find it hard to swallow so i avoid, but then low blood sugar starts affecting my breathing. No good on a 12 hour shifts ! and u can imagine the “i’m trapped here for another x amount of hours and responsible for a tiny sick baby” the pressure that creates lol

But Im determined to get there.



After sending me all the emails with our dialogues

Hi Robin

Sorry for the delay (I have been working)

I cant believe half of the things I wrote, I was incredibly challenging, you had the patience of a Saint with me!

Its so strange I can look back at it all and feel relatively detached now – I thought I would never be free of being at the mercy of fight or flight!!

I still have moments as my job can be nerve wracking plus physically stressful (12 hour shifts) but I see now that stress can cause feelings we then misinterpret and thats how the cycle can continue.

Sorry its a rushed reply as i’m still at work (extra shifts – have a wedding to pay for next August! 🙂 )

Thank you so much again for all your help – I really do owe you a lot!

If you need anything else let me know


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