A CARLISLE woman has spoken out in a bid to help others after suffering anxiety for a number of years.

Judith Cook, 56, from Highwood Crescent, Carlisle has been a singer for over 20 years and never expected anxiety would be something she would suffer from.

Since getting her life back on track Mrs Cook has teamed up with NHS North Cumbria CCG to produce a video that will hopefully help others in a similar situation.

Her career in singing first took off when she was offered a job as a Bluecoat in London at the age of 24.

She explained: "They thought me everything I know.

"It really gave me that notch up the ladder.

"I was lucky really throughout my whole life I never suffered from anything, just a cold here and there."

When Mrs Cook hit the menopause this is when her problems really began.

This is when the anxiety really started and it was also when Judith was diagnosed with a rapid heartbeat - something that had never bothered her in the past.

"I never thought the menopause would cause that much damage," continued Mrs Cook.

"This is how I found out about the rapid heartbeat, while going through the menopause.

"It could have gone on for years without me knowing about it."

Mrs Cook was put on a number of medications to try and help with the rapid heartbeat and anxiety issues she was having, she'd had anxiety most of her life but being a performer it was something she was able to live with.

Mrs Cook added: "Everyone has anxiety but its about what brings it out.

"I was given a procedure to help with the rapid heartbeat because it had started to take over my life.

"I was on stage at Shap Wells Hotel, where I sing and I just couldn't do it.

"I decided enough was enough."

After the procedure things weren't getting any better for Mrs Cook, in fact they were getting worse.

Her marriage was starting to breakdown - something she has since sorted out -, she was unable to leave the house, and unable to complete most of her daily routine.

The singer explained: "My whole life just stopped.

"I couldn't understand what was happening and why it wasn't getting better."

Mrs Cook was then referred to Familiar Faces and Gateway for Women, this was the turning point for her.

Familiar Faces is a pilot service in North Cumbria supporting patients with complex psychological, physical and social needs.

Mrs Cook added: "The turning point is you have to believe you are going to get better.

"Familiar Faces taught me a lot about dealing with the situation.

"Both them and Gateway for Women has given me a new zest for life.

"A new part of me has come out."

The singer has since been able to return to work at Shap Wells Hotel entertaining guests and hopes her journey will help show others there is hope and you will get better.