Monday, 27 March 2017
After a lifetime in the NHS and working for the Ministry of Justice as a Consultant Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist, Old Girl Dr Lynne Daly returned to Bolton School to talk to Year 11 girls about stress and depression. In a lively and interactive session held in the girls' theatre, Dr Daly explained how our bodies are built for “fight or flight” in stressful situations and with the help of the girls began to gradually unravel some of the side effects of anxiety. A wide range of symptoms was discussed, including an increased heart rate, an adrenalin rush, tension, forgetfulness, confusion, heavier breathing, losing things, feeling nauseous, visiting the toilet and worrying. For anyone suffering with breathlessness, Dr Daly offered the useful tip of breathing into a brown paper bag as this will allow you to build up the carbon dioxide in your bloodstream again. It was pointed out that a little stress can be a good thing for all of us, allowing us to perform better. However, too much and it becomes a real problem. Strategies for dealing with it ranged from sitting still and breathing, to physical exercise and indulging oneself in hobbies to playing or listening to music and talking with friends and family or with teachers and school counsellors or charities such as Young Minds or Teenage Health Freak. Dr Daly reminded the year group that we should not be too hard on ourselves and to remember that we learn by getting things wrong.
Consideration was then given to depression. Whereas occasional stress is normal, if one still feels anxious once the stressor has been removed then this can be a sign of depression. People can become very self-conscious and believe that nobody likes them or they have issues with how they look. Depression takes away our ability to enjoy things such as socialising or partying. Personal hygiene may well deteriorate and people lose interest in themselves. At the severe end of the symptoms is catastrophic thinking, occasionally auditory hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. At this point, help should be sought!
Dr Daly graduated from Cambridge with a Medicine degree before working for the NHS and Ministry of Justice where she latterly dealt with boys with psychiatric problems who had attacked or were in danger of attacking others. She currently sits on a parole board which reviews whether prisoners serving lifetime sentences should be allowed back into the community.
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