Jekyll & Hyde -The Dangers of Suppressing the True You.

Every so often you come across a story that really resonates; recently this has been ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I have had the book for ages, and only decided to read it because it is on a school reading list for a friend’s son.  Like most people, I know the basics of the story and so I thought it might be relevant to my current situation.

Stevenson wrote Jekyll and Hyde at the end of 1885, and at the time it was viewed simply as a ‘horror story’, including by Stevenson himself.  The idea for the story came to him in a dream, and he described it as a ‘fine bogey tale’.  His wife did not like the first draft, she thought that the story had more potential, that it might have something significant to say about human nature, rather than being a mere horror story.  How right she was. Read more

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

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 9: Useful Examples of Amygdala-based Anxiety.

The book I have been referencing for the Anxiety and the Brain series (Rewire Your Anxious Brain) has some examples of how anxiety can affect someone, and why amygdala-based anxiety does not always make logical sense.

The Anxious Teddy Bear:

A lady was presenting a teddy bear to her grandson, who was running happily toward her.  Then he suddenly fell and split his lip open on the driveway.

Now he experiences amygdala-based anxiety whenever he sees a teddy bear.  Because the perfectly harmless teddy bear was associated with the pain of the injury, the teddy bear became a trigger, leading to a fear of teddy bears. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 6: Circuitry

Circuitry is the connection between neurons, the basic building blocks of the brain, that we explored previously.

“Neurons that fire together wire together” – Carla Shatz

We learnt that neurons FIRE, which is where a positive charge travels from the receiving dendrites of the neuron, through the cell body, all the way to the axon at the other end.  In order for the neurons to build connections between themselves, one neuron must be firing at the same time as another.

When firing together the connection between the neurons is strengthened, and eventually a pattern of circuitry develops in which the activation of one neuron causes the other to activate. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 2: Introducing the Cortex and the Amygdala

Trying to get your head around anxiety is really difficult; in some cases it can be a complete mystery to both those suffering, and to those seeing someone suffer.

As I have mentioned in previous articles anxiety does not always make sense, but after reading the next few articles on Anxiety and the Brain, things will hopefully become a bit clearer.

In these articles I will be referencing a brilliant book called ‘Rewire Your Anxious Brain’ which has been a life saver in helping me to get clarity on what goes on up there.

To start with, it is important to differentiate between Anxiety and Fear because it can be easy to confuse the two: Read more