I was on the jury...

I have been questioning whether to share this with you all, but as I have been sharing the majority of my mental health journey, I thought it was only appropriate and I hope it helps others. 

Back in July I got contacted to take part in jury service at my local crown court. I have to admit it is something that I have been dreading for a long time and it just happened to present itself. It's a legal requirement to attend, unless you fit under the exceptions which mental health was one, but I believe it was only if you were under the mental health act, which I am not. Nevertheless, I took up what I saw as my challenge! I had been dreading it since the day I got the letter, but the day came and I went through all the security checks and informative talks and waited in a room with about 30 other people to hear whether we would be needed to be on the jury. No one really spoke to each other and we weren't allowed to leave the room at any point, so not only was it very boring but very anxiety provoking because I couldn't escape. Hours later, we got let go for the day because the cases that were meant to be in court, were cancelled. Nevertheless, we were asked back the next day and luckily this time, we didn't have to wait very long. 

I was called onto the jury.

We all walked into the court room and our names were picked at random and mine was one of them, and so I sat in the jury box. I have to admit it was one of the scariest things! However, I recognised someone in the room and so I had to speak the clerk and the judge, who then said it was appropriate that I stepped down. I was then let go until the week after. However, the morning after this was said, I got a phone call from an unknown number and so I didn't pick it up. But I did have a voicemail saying that I was needed as there was a case. But, I went into complete meltdown when I had this voicemail. I had a severe panic attack which lasted for the best of thirty minutes to the point where my hands went blue and tingly, I couldn't breathe, I felt faint and I knew I had to get out. I couldn't deal with going back in. My anxiety just wouldn't let me. My mother luckily phoned for me and explained the situation, about my history mental illness, that I'm on medication and so forth and they had to talk to the judge. After an intense wait I had phone call back saying that the judge had released from jury service because of mental health and they didn't want me to become anymore distressed.

Although I felt this was a grace, I was extremely disappointed in myself, not only because it relates to what I want to do in a few years, but because it was a challenge and I felt that  was capable but it turns I just couldn't cope with it. I don't know why really, I reacted in the way I did. All I know is that I pretty much lost control and some parts of memory are patchy. I know I may have the opportunity to take in part in the future, but I feel sad that I thought I had the strength to cope with it and I didn't. But in reality, I did undertake something that some people never get the chance to do, and something which was totally out of my comfort zone and that itself is an achievement. Just because I didn't get the full experience, doesn't mean that I've gone all the way back to the beginning because I know I wouldn't have done this years ago. 

I hope that for those of you reading, that you take the positives. That you can do things you didn't think you can and you bounce back.

Best wishes,
Amy Xx