Wilbur Smith – Tips on Writing

I was hugely excited and proud to have a blog published on the Mind website this week; it was all about how writing helps my mental health.

Writing My Way Through Anxiety and Depression

Creative writing is great fun and I really enjoy letting my mind go wild, and that is what I did with my novel ‘Rotten Apples’ and it’s hero Jimmy, I just had fun with it.

I haven’t written creatively for a long time now and it is something I will go back too; I have drafts of Jimmy’s further adventures; tackling smugglers in Cornwall and coming face to face with blood diamond dealers in South Africa.  I have lots of other ideas for novels, but they will just have to wait for now.

Some of you may want to write creatively, and like me at the start, not really know how to go about it, so I thought I would share some tips from a master of adventure; best selling author Wilbur Smith. Read more

Video Diary: Getting Off Sertraline – 7th & 12th June.

There are a lot of question marks about medication used in the treatment of mental health conditions.  I am currently on Sertraline which is an anti depressant and part of the SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) group of medications.  What does it mean, and how does it work?  I’ll go into that in later blogs.

Like all medications Sertraline comes with a long list of side-effects, some worse than others, and it is this part which raises the question; are they really worth taking?

There is no doubt that the Sertraline has helped me, especially in the early stages, but now I feel that it is actually hindering my recovery.  One of the side-effects I have is night terrors, dreams in which I am really anxious to the point where I am paralysed in the dream.  I often have massive fights in my dreams; it is where a lot of my rage and anger seems to come out. Read more

Stress at Work: The Overloaded Inbox

Modern technology is meant to make life easier, and while in part it does, it is also the cause of a lot of stress, especially at work.

E-mail is just one of those technological achievements.  While it is great to be able to contact someone quickly and is environmentally friendly, it also adds a lot of pressure and expectation which can mean that our minds are never ‘off-line’.

As a recipient, you can get overwhelmed with the volume of e-mails, and as the sender, you can get angry quickly because you expect a fast response, and don’t always get it.

“All those e-mails you don’t have time to deal with could be making you ill” says an article on the BBC website today.  Research has been carried out at the University of Manchester to prove this, which is great because we can’t do anything these days without scientific proof. Read more

Alastair Campbell: Depression & Me. Another Great Mental Health Documentary.

This was another great documentary by the BBC for Mental Health Awareness Week; and again, it was great to see a public figure being so open in sharing their struggle with a mental health issue.

Like most words related to mental health issues, depression is wildly misused.  As we saw with Alastair Campbell, depression is not just feeling sad or unhappy for a short while; it is a long term, daily struggle and it can make your mood change in split seconds.

The main question raised by the documentary was the use of medication as a treatment.  It was plain to see that the medication Alastair was taking only helped to reduce the feelings of depression; his family were shocked that he could switch from feeling fine to being in a depressed state in just a matter of seconds whilst being on medication. Read more