“I never believed I’d ever do anything like this.” It’s true. When you get set a task, generally the first thing you can think of is, “There is no way I’m going to do that,” “I’m going to fail, everyone is going to look at me and laugh.” Like other posts in my blog, you may see a pattern of me feeling like I’m going to fail. Many people may experience this, many may not, but either way these have always haunted me. I’ve gone to the point where I convince myself I AM pathetic. I’ve given up on most outings, or events because I never saw any reason with trying. Whether you view as right or wrong, these are my personal feelings.
I don’t know how things changed for me. Granted, I’m still the girl who constantly thinks she pathetic, but hopefully by the end of this post I can try and come up with something positive. I want to tell you about a challenge I faced but always thought I’d mess up on; and that’s appearing on radio and TV (TV will be written in part 2)
If you asked me even a year ago, “Would you ever go on TV and radio?” I probably would have just laughed and again convinced you I was never going to do it, or be any good at it. So when back in January 2017 I asked if I could be a Mind Cymru media volunteer, it became a big shock to me. It’s hard to write this and explain exactly how I felt around that time. At first, I probably volunteered as a “spare of the moment” thing. Perhaps I was having a good day and was feeling invincible. What I do know though is I would have constantly questioned myself saying, “What on earth are you doing Laura? Why on earth would you do anything like this? You find it difficult to speak to someone face to face let alone speak on radio and TV!” Again, I could never understand why I did decided to become a volunteer, but in my head I felt if I could just speak to one person, I could potentially help that person.
“Fat chance!” I remember my self-conscious and voices say. Still I tried to prove them wrong, even though I felt deep down that they were right. There was no way I was going to make a difference.
I think it was less than a week after I became a Mind Cymru media volunteer, I had a email asking me to speak on BBC Radio 4 about CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The first thing to come to mind was excitement, but it suddenly changed to a dark, and terrifying fear. BBC Radio 4; I mean it was a big thing. It wasn’t just a local radio station, the whole of the UK could hear this! As I mentioned before, I could barely speak to someone in front of me, or over the phone, how on earth was I going to do a 5 minute radio interview?
I remember the night before my interview, I kept tossing and turning. I made a bad decision. I needed to stop this now. Unfortunately, by the time I had that opportunity to stop my interview, I realised it would have been too late. I got up at 6am, got ready and waited for the taxi to arrive to take my Mum and I to the BBC studios…
I was anxious, which suddenly became a bit more of a panic attack and stress and suddenly my head was exploding. I felt sick; I wanted to go back to bed and forget about everything.
It surprising to say all of this happened within a minute. I remember
my Mum having to calm me down. In the taxi to Cardiff, my Mum had to keep ensuring me that everything would be okay. I remember her saying, “If you feel too unwell, then cancel, but if you try this today and don’t like it, then you don’t ever have to do it again. You are still brave in my eyes either way.”
I finally got to the studio, an hour later, my breathing was out of control and I was severely stressed, but I was somehow still standing! I went into the studio, sat at the mic, and waited… just waited and continued to be stressed… then suddenly, I heard the BBC Radio 4 show presenter speak. She then introduced me saying, “I’m now here with Laura Moulding from South Wales, Hello Laura.”
I took a deep breath and took a shaky, “Hello…” I don’t remember what happened then. All the sudden I was thanked for talking and that was it. I had done it. It literally felt like I had said “Hello,” and immediately said “goodbye.”
“I messed up.” I thought. I look up at my Mum, and my boyfriend who joined in to help support me, and suddenly they were applauding me. My boyfriend rushed over and told me I was superb. My Mum then hugged me and congratulated me. Unknown to me I had actually spoken on the radio for 5-10 minutes! Live radio, on a UK wide station, and I spoke on it for 5-10 minutes!!!
When we left the studio, I felt shaky, I still felt I failed, but I felt pleased. I accomplished something which I never told myself I would ever do. I don’t know how I did it, but I did!
On the way home, I looked at my phone, 3 unread inbox messages, 10 plus comments on Facebook, 4 messages on Facebook’s messenger (all approx numbers). I was scared to read them. I was afraid to see everyone’s remarks telling me how I messed up. However, I was wrong to think negatively; once again, my own self thoughts tricked me. I read the messages: “Well Done Laura, that was amazing.” “OMGOSH LAURA, you just went live on radio!! OMGOSH! Congrats!” “The new superstar” “You spoke so well and answered the questions on point, you didn’t even sound nervous.”
“That was superb, when is your next radio appearance? When are you going to be on TV?”
Some even wrote about just how much I’ve changed in the time in just under a year, and how I inspired them, and helped them.
I helped someone? It feels hard to believe I actually helped someone, but I never disbelieve what my friends say. Suddenly it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulder, and I was just excited! I just wanted to do the same thing again. When have I ever thought I’d say anything like that?
I think the idea of helping someone is what kept me staying at the volunteering position today. Through Time to Change Wales and Mind Cymru, I have done 3-4 radio interviews, and 3 TV appearances (which I’ll talk about more in another blog post, I hope!).
Have I lost the fear or anxiety of going on radio?
No. I still feel afraid, I still feel nervous, but in the end of the day, I like at the idea of who it could be helping. On the 16th of August 2017, I spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live about hearing voices. I was terrified, but I hoped that sharing my experiences would help young people, their parents and/or friends understand more and seek the help they need. And I was right, partly because of me, there was a massive response to the children hearing voices report. I am so lucky to say I was part of that. Part of a reason now that there are people seeking help today, because of a 10 minute conversation I had on the radio. There are people out there who probably don’t feel as alone now because they know they have someone out there who understand. They understand now it is normal to feel like this and to have these experiences. I’ve partly helped them, and this makes me happy. For someone who also has severe depression, it can be hard to actually be happy at times, but for once I am smiling. I’m making a difference even if it’s in a very small way.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am proud of myself of doing this, and I’m willing to do anything I can to help make a difference to someone.