Janine’s Story: Mindfulness
I can’t exactly pinpoint what the benefits were, I just know that I started to feel better and that was the incentive to keep coming each week.
I was having really bad symptoms with the menopause and I was anxious and worried about everything. I was having the hot flushes, but what I suffered from more than anything else, was how the mind felt. On top of that, I had a car accident in September 2017. It was a head on collision and my car was written off. This affected me badly afterwards. My anxiety was just off the scale. I had physio for my body and I was waiting for counselling, but there’s a long waiting list. I just didn’t feel I was getting any better, and then someone asked if I’d thought about trying meditation, so that’s when I got in touch with Manchester Mind. I wanted something that was more holistic and long-term, that wasn’t going to be a quick fix, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’d read a bit about mindfulness before, which I’d found helpful, but I hadn’t really meditated before. I’d heard about it, was interested in it, but never acted on it.
I came into the course with an open mind, but didn’t really know what to expect. I thought, you can only gain from it, and if it helps, you can use it long-term. I wasn’t sure at first. But then with each session, it was more and more helpful. Every time I came away from a session, I felt really light. I can’t exactly pinpoint what the benefits were, I just know that I started to feel better and that was the incentive to keep coming each week.
I don’t think I realised that I suffered from anxiety before I came on the course. I knew there was something not quite right but I don’t know if I labelled it. I’d probably have called it worry back then. But it’s not worry, it’s anxiety and the course helped me recognise that. And it’s helped me to manage it better. I still have it, but I’m more aware when it’s happening. I can’t always do something about it, but at least I know what’s going on. The course has brought that awareness and I’m able to bring it down more.
And although my menopause symptoms haven’t changed, I feel I understand it better. I’m a bit more in touch with my body – not a lot, but a little. Whereas before, if I had a flush, I was very self-conscious, now I still worry a bit, but I think I embrace it more and accept that this is what I’m going through and it’ll pass.
I concentrate on my breathing and that helps me a lot. When my mind drifts, I’m able to bring my focus back to my breathing and I feel better for it. I just don’t think I’d be this well, had I not come on the course.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a job interview. I really really wanted the job. On the day of the interview, I had an argument on the phone with a friend. I came off the phone and the anxiety was just sky high but then I thought “I want this job, and I have to focus on the interview”. So, once I got into the interview I knew what I was there for and was able to switch off everything else that had happened. I can’t normally do that, this time it was different. I was just able to be more present even after the argument and I got the job!
Meditations are MY space, my time and that’s been a really big help. And that’s what the course was like. It was MY time. And being in a group was good. We were all there for the same purpose. We were able to share what was going on, how the meditation was helping and that was also really helpful for me.
If you’re thinking of doing a course, I’ve got two words for you – do it! You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain from it. I still feel as though I’ve got a long way to go on my journey, but this experience has really helped.
Our next Mindfulness course starts in February. Find out more here