“Helping you gain control over the things you want to change”

Fiona Nicolson

Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussain shows anyone can suffer from anxiety

Posted on 05 July 2019

For those of you who follow my Facebook page and my Twitter feed, you will know that I keep a close eye on what people in the public eye are saying about mental health. As my cognitive hypnotherapy for anxiety clinic is in Harley Street, I see quite a number of people in the public eye and I know from my own clinical experience that anyone can suffer from anxiety disorders.

I believe it helps us all when people whose lives look so perfect say they have problems too.

One lovely person who does this, and who I have featured quite a lot, is TV’s Bake-Off star Nadiya Hussain. I admire her honesty and her down to earth attitude to her own mental challenges. I always sense that we are going in the right direction when I read her refreshing and common-sense views.

Nadiya has featured frequently in Stylist magazine. I was looking through some of the articles recently and had some thoughts which I would like to share with you here.

Anxiety and looking after ourselves

There are a couple of things in particular I want to talk about.

First is how Nadiya seems to understand, at a very deep level, that keeping good mental health is a journey rather than a destination. Looking after ourselves is a lifelong, rewarding and enriching project and I enjoy reading Nadiya’s take on this. This is a good example about sleeping


I also notice that she is crystal clear that being as famous and successful as she is now does not make you immune from mental health challenges. I think this resonates with me a lot because, in my hypnotherapy for anxiety clinic in Harley Street, many of the clients I see are outwardly very successful. Some are successful and utterly confused! They genuinely cannot understand why, with their money, their glittering career, their big house and fast car, they are not happy. I often reference people such as Nadiya when I speak with these clients. Anxiety disorders are no respecters of persons. They can happen to anyone.

So, what can we learn from Nadiya? She suffers from a long-standing panic disorder and gets a panic attack every couple of months. Helen Bownass interviewed her about this some time ago and Nadiya explained in detail how she lives a real life, with her husband her family and her demanding career while managing this disorder.

I won’t go into the details of how she does this as you can read them here –

https://www.stylist.co.uk/long-reads/nadiya-hussain-panic-attacks-disorder-anxiety-mental-health-symptoms-diagnosis-tips-self-care-bake-off-reality/215594) as everyone will find their own ways of managing. But there are some headline points which I think anyone who suffers from anxiety can take. Here they are:

• Exercise,
• Being kind to yourself,
• Being honest with your family.
• Being open with the wider world.
• Sticking to a schedule
• Celebrating achievements

Looking after yourself is an easy phrase to say. I like how Nadiya puts the stress on the you. Here is what she told Helen:

“I’ve spent my whole life not trusting myself. But when you give yourself the right tools you realise you’re the only person you can trust to look after yourself. I’m my own worst enemy, but I’m my own treatment too. . . My biggest step was realising panic is a part of me and I have to accept it. It wasn’t easy: I had a panic attack last week – I was stressed thinking about everything I had going on – but that’s life. Now I deal with it a lot better.”

That is why I Iike Nadiya so much and why I think she is one of the most useful of the celebrities who have spoken out about the problems they have.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy can get rid of panic disorder

But there is one area that I do not agree with her. Learning to manage a mental problem and still having a great life is a huge achievement and I am so pleased she has manged that. But I think it should be only a step on the road. I would like to see Nadiya and everyone like her overcoming her panic attacks once and for all. And with the right help this can be done.

I want to put a caveat in here, before I go on to say what I think she could do. For some people the situation is different. For them, what outsiders might call a mental health issue is something which they feel is precious and valuable to their identity. They do not want to be ‘fixed’. They value their ‘problems’ as a difference and as a driver of their unique creativity and personality. For these people managing is where they want to be.

And that is fine and can be a great way of living.

But reading Nadiya’s words, I do not think that this is her. I read that she finds her panic attacks debilitating and lives in fear of the next one. I would guess that she would prefer to live without them. And I suspect that if she came to see a cognitive hypnotherapist who specialises in anxiety, such as myself, we could have a good chance of getting rid of those panic attacks once and for all.

I’m going to give a couple of examples of the sort of thing it might be worth exploring. Of course, I do not know the intimate details of Nadiya’s panic disorder, I am just using what she has said in the public domain. But I think talking about this can illustrate what can be done and can get us all thinking.

Dealing with our childhood experiences can help with anxiety disorder symptoms

Nadiya mentions in the interview with Hannah Bowness that two of her siblings were very ill when they were all children. Because of this, she felt she could not raise her ‘lesser problem’ of having to live with anxiety with her parents. She carried the burden alone.

This not speaking out, feeling isolated and playing down the problem of anxiety is common. The good news is cognitive hypnotherapy for anxiety disorder can help a lot.

Taking Nadiya’s case: we could use targeted therapeutic techniques to speak to that isolated young girl, put her at the centre of her world and give her the power to understand what is happening, using all the adult wisdom she now has.

This can be an incredibly powerful technique and can change the subconscious beliefs which we have carried around since childhood. Once we change those beliefs, changes in behaviour can quickly follow.

Fear factor: an emotion we can change

Nadiya also mentions how she fears her next panic attack. I would like to put that fear in its place. This takes us into the realm of our emotions and how we create them. Because we create them, we can change them, and replace a negative emotion with something more useful.

Someone like Nadiya is in a good position to work on this. She already owns her feelings and how she interacts with the world. She is prepared to spend time on looking after her own mental wellbeing. She could be further supported by using modern cognitive techniques such as emotional freedom techniques and eye movement integration techniques to work on that fear. It can be changed in her mental landscape so it is not so upfront and out there. Then she can get on with her life between panic attacks much more easily.

I hope Nadiya does not mind me using her as an example. She is an excellent role model and brave lady. If she reads this I would say: ‘Give me a call. Let’s see if you can do even better.’ If Nadiya’s stories resonate with you then I hope it sets you on a path to taking action.

Give me a call or drop me an email. Cognitive hypnotherapy for anxiety really does work. Time to give it a go.

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