Speaking About Mental Health.

The path to achieving my goals is constantly moving, and it’s a journey fraught with challenges, barriers and frustrations.  I constantly feel like I am not getting anywhere, and that I’m drowning in an endless storm.

Having said this, there may be some calmer waters ahead….. or at least a boat to help ride the waves.

Last year I did a talk about the basics of anxiety at a local school, and I really enjoyed it; I hoped that I could do more, but nothing seemed to materialise, and to be honest, I didn’t really know how to move forward with it; so it ended up being added to the pile of  what I class as ‘failures’. Read more

Why Now May be a Good Time to Start Meditating.

Being in a prolonged period of stress and fear is exhausting, and it will be having a massive impact on your mental and physical well-being.

An 8 year study of 68,222 adults (published in the British Medical Journal) found that even mild anxiety produces a 20% greater risk of death.

Research also shows that negative emotions such as fear, pessimism and resentment depress our immune system.

That’s the bad news; the good news is that there is something we can do to help ourselves; to aid in boosting our immune system and our general well-being, and that is ‘meditation’. 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

Nadiya, Anxiety & Me – A Great Insight to Anxiety.

I really admire the courage it took for Nadiya Hussain to make the documentary about her struggles with anxiety, and I applaud the way it was presented because it showed very clearly that anxiety is complex and not always logical.

Understanding the complexities of anxiety is hard enough as it is, especially for those who have never experienced severe levels of panic, and I think this was handled beautifully, especially when Nadiya met up with her sisters.  These are the people who have been closest to her, and they had no idea how bad her anxiety was; they saw her behaviour, such as counting off the names of her family members on her fingers each night so that none of them would die, but they had no idea why she was doing it.  Their reactions were of genuine surprise; what does a voice in your head sound like? 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