To meet the very beautiful and outgoing Nicole you wouldn’t think that a terrible, life-debilitating illness still tries its best to haunt her and creep into her everyday life today.

After relocating from Amsterdam to Germany 5 years ago, Nicole starting to notice triggers that began her illness; such as work pressure, not eating well, drinking too much, missing her friends and being in an unfamiliar city. After a weekend back in Amsterdam the anxiety peaked leading to her taking several months off work and moving back to Glasgow, her hometown and back in with her parents.

“They’ve been my rock. My Mum, being a nurse, helped me with symptoms and my Dad totally understood the feeling of dread and fear that comes with panic attacks and anxiety. They were so supportive. You can’t see anxiety so it’s hard for people to understand how powerful and debilitating it can be. It can take over every aspect of your life including your physical health. I believed the doctors were missing something because I felt physically awful. I had a private MRI as I wanted to be sure. After suffering with it for too long I decided to see a therapist in weekly sessions who was also on hand via txt message for additional support. This really helped me. It gave me someone to talk to that knew I wasn’t going mad. It taught me that it’s not only a mental but physical illness and that it’s ok to tell people and talk about it.

I’ve learnt that I wasn’t taking care of my body and mind. Nowadays my health is my number one priority. I eat well, I practice yoga and mindfulness, rest and sleep are also so important. I’m more aware of the triggers, such as taking on too many social commitments, drinking too much and over working. I listen to my body and evaluate what I can and cannot do.

If people can take away one thing from this exhibition I hope it’s that anxiety is an illness that we can’t see, that can be life debilitating and many suffer with in silence. Let’s talk more about how we are feeling about our mental state and reach out for help without prejudice.”
Photographer: Dawn Brwon