After experiencing her first panic attack at the age of 13, Paula Duffy wants other young people with anxiety issues to know there is help at hand.
The 25-year-old from Newcastle, who says she would often stay in her room for days at a time, is now sharing her story to reassure those in similar positions that they’re not alone.
‘It happened during class one day. My palms began to sweat and I thought I was going to stop breathing,’ explains Paula.
'It was an awful feeling. At the time, I didn’t know I was having a panic attack. It was so confusing to me.
‘Some days I’d want to stay at home and sleep my life away because I thought it was better than facing the world.
‘I have since learnt how to control my emotions a lot better, but still have my good and bad days.
‘My mission is to support others going through similar ordeals so they know that it’s always better to talk.’
With Fixers, Paula and her team have helped to produce a leaflet.
Offering personal stories and tips on how to manage panic attacks, it’s designed to help young people cope with anxiety disorders.
Read Paula’s Fixers leaflet by clicking on the image below.
‘I really like it,’ says Paula, speaking about the resource.
‘Having a mental health condition can often be a lonely experience, so hopefully this will help others like myself to feel less isolated and know they have somewhere to turn.
‘If there was something like this when I was growing up, I probably would have understood things a lot better and got the help I needed sooner.’
Paula’s plan is to make the leaflets available in schools, colleges and doctors' surgeries around Newcastle.
She adds: ‘It’s crucial that young people know there is support out there for them.
‘I hope my painful past can help to brighten someone’s future.’
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Jake Land wants people to take anxiety disorders seriously.
Watch his Fixers film.