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Disability Narratives

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Audio clip: The support Paul got helped him understand his anxiety and develop some strategies help to manage it.

Where the - well. The support I did get - The only other thing was the university paid for some counselling. And more helpful than anything at all with this - and it also helped a lot with my understanding of myself, and my understanding of dyslexia and dyspraxia, was I did the mindfulness course that's run by the Oxford Learning Institute. And that made a huge difference. That - it's kind of - It was, I'd have these sort of serious issues for about a year - not serious issues, but you know, more obvious. And I went and did that six week course, and it was just - did more - it made more of a difference than anything at all. So that was the biggest help the university gave really to me. That was just a huge difference.

And actually then being able to apply those - and then being able to apply those to things like anxiety, my anxiety. I'd apply it to my anxiety a lot. And when I start - I'm a lot more aware of when things - Well, it still - It is absolutely a conscious thing, so it's being consciously aware of what I'm feeling, what I'm thinking. And being able to - when I start to feel anxiety, thinking about - Rather than 'oh god, I'm feeling anxiety, what do I do?' Or 'this is bad'. Actually being - just having the awareness of 'okay, where's the problem, what's the physical problem, what's causing it?' And it kind of gives me the - it's really a toolset, the tools to be able to stand back and say 'that's not real'. Or 'okay, I've identified what the issue is, let's resolve that issue'. Whereas previously it was 'oh god, this is horrific', throws me into a - throws me into a flat spin, and panic about everything. And being aware that where - And then thinking about - It's just that kind of tools to think about those things, and question, 'okay, you're panicking about this, sit down, think about it, what - where's that causing you problems, physical problems as well as what is the issue, is it an issue, how do we deal with it?'

Actually just - What I personally do is - well, I say - From time to time when I'm struggling with things, or having a stressful day, I will take ten minutes and sit, and go through one of the breathing exercises.

At work, it sort of two, three minutes. You sit there and to the outside world it looks like I'm staring off into space. But, yeah. It's - I can just sit at my desk, and just breathe gently, and think about what, how breathing, what I'm doing and what have you. And it's just something I, you know, put my headphones on and use - not necessarily have any music on, sometimes just put my headphones in so that people don't disturb me for two or three minutes. And yeah, just do it at my desk. Breathe. Go through one of the short exercises.