The Dark Side of Christmas

The Dark Side of Christmas

At this time of year, we tend to get caught up in our own bubble. While Christmas is a time of joy and happiness for many, it is also a struggle in countless ways for too many others.

In recent weeks, I have seen a lot of posts on social media promoting things like “Sleep in the Park” and “Social Bite” to support rough sleepers and those without a permanent address. It is great that so many are supporting others. Where is the government?

Social Bite
Social Bite
Rough Sleepers

However, I have also seen some appalling & callous comments on Facebook from people who have no sympathy for rough sleepers: “I have no sympathy”, “give them a shovel” and “it is their choice”.

Rough Sleeping

What a crock of shit. I urge these reprobates to walk a mile in these people’s shoes before making comments like that. How do they know what their circumstances are? They have no idea how they ended up where they are presently. Do they really think these people would be where they are now through “choice”? Have they seen the weather?

There may very well be an extremely small number of people that live their lives in a certain way through choice. The majority would surely prefer to have a warm bed, a hot meal and a job giving them a steady income so they can support themselves and their family.

It Could be you…

There are a myriad of reasons why someone may find themselves in these circumstances. Indeed many of us are only a couple of month’s income away from being unable to meet our own commitments and the hardships that may result.

Some of us are lucky and have family and friends who could/would help. But what if you have no-one? What if the problem is your family and friends? What “choices” do you have? Addiction and mental health problems can send some down a road that they find it hard to come back from. What if your mental health problems stop you from asking for or getting the help you need?

It is hard to put yourself in someone’s shoes if you haven’t been there yourself. Don’t judge.

Christmas can be an impossible time of year if people don’t have the means, support or coping mechanisms that will help them through. That could be money worries or a lack of roof over their heads. It might be that this time of year exacerbates addiction problems. Or Christmas (or should I say everything that surrounds Christmas that makes it difficult) brings on poor mental health through stress, anxiety or depression.

Fortunately, I have never been in the position of having no permanent address or had to sleep rough and I haven’t had to rely on food banks or the charity of others to feed my family. I am all too conscious though that it could happen to anyone. I would urge anyone to do whatever is in their capacity to support by doing what you can, but not just at Christmas, to support your fellow human beings.

Christmas and Mental Health

I can, however, relate to people who may be suffering from poor mental health. I can also see how that may be magnified at this time of year. Some of my past issues with anxiety and depression could easily be exacerbated by Christmas. I have a fantastic family and friends round me & I have been in the fortunate position of getting support through employee’s schemes at work. These have enabled me to gain the knowledge and skills to be able to recognise when my self-belief, thoughts, actions and behaviours are taking me down the wrong route and this helps me to take the right action to turn around. Unfortunately, the same levels of support aren’t accessible to everyone

I love Christmas and don’t find it to be a problem, but I could see how someone who does struggle with anxiety and depression could hate this time of year.

What do I mean?

Take social anxiety for starters. If you are someone who suffers from social anxiety, I can totally understand how Christmas party season could be hell. Be it a works Christmas nights out and parties having to constantly be around people, talking, joining in, laughing, joking, generally having a good time. Sounds like hell doesn’t it?

For someone who has never suffered from this, it will be difficult to understand, but yes this could be like hell. Being in the middle of a crowd of 100 strangers is sometimes easier, and preferable, to being with 20 people you know. You can hide, and you don’t need to talk to anyone!

I you are suffering from anxiety, and faced with a social situation you will start questioning everything. What will I say to them? I’ll look like an idiot if I say the wrong thing? What if they have more to say than me? What if they disagree with my opinion? I am inferior to them all, and if I say the wrong thing that will confirm it. You then open your mouth and speak. Oh no what did I say that? They must think I’m a dick? What can I say to make it better? How can I excuse myself and leave?

Add that over-thinking and over-analysing to the mix and you have dug not a hole, but a pit for yourself that you can’t climb out of.

These thoughts may not be logical but can either make these events unbearable or result in bizarre or inappropriate behaviour. Perhaps drinking heavily to cope or to build up the courage to join in, which of course can end up in acting the fool and the next day, week, month become an excruciating exercise in over-analysing and thinking the worst.

In more extreme circumstances, it can also mean isolating yourself and avoiding these social circumstances altogether, coming up with various excuses why you can’t attend events. This only makes things worse, especially if your anxiety means that you need the acceptance of others, you have created a lose-lose situation for yourself.

ingrained self-beliefs

Many anxieties are brought on by ingrained self-beliefs – such as a feeling of worthlessness or failure and trying to over-compensate by being a perfectionist and setting unreal goals. This could be in any situation work or otherwise. I used to do it constantly in work, set myself unrealistic goals that would ensure EVERYTHING would be perfect. Of course, nothing is ever perfect, but that didn’t stop me dwelling on it, beating myself up and either working harder to make it happen, which often a waste of time and energy and only had the result in driving my mood lower, or almost giving up – that feeling of “what is the point, I’ve failed – I can’t do this”.

I could see how Christmas could easily have a similar impact on someone who has low self-esteem. Christmas movies all ultimately have a happy ending where everything turns out perfectly. Unreal expectations. If those outcomes aren’t replicated for someone with anxiety – they can feel they have failed. TV adverts show perfect Christmas dinners with smiling family and friends. Another potential unreal expectation – nothing ever goes that smoothly. You can plan your perfect Christmas as much as you like, but would you not be better just taking things as they come and enjoying it as much as possible? Think about why you are doing something, why are you having that thought, what has brought it on? What would be the result if you didn’t do something?

Add to that equation the money worries. TV ads again encourage people to spend what they don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. That may not have an immediate effect on mental health. I’ve experienced something similar, just not at Christmas. Spending money you don’t necessarily have on “stuff” in a vain attempt to lift your “mood”. It works momentarily, but come the month of January when the bills hit…

That’s just scratching the surface. Once you add fatigue into the mix too – managing your normal daily life and making lists of other things you “must” do to make it the perfect Christmas – get the decorations up, write cards to all and sundry, shop excessively, tidying the house for visitors. Physical exhaustion can have a bearing on how someone manages their mental, spiritual (in a non-religious sense) and bodily health. Lack of sleep, over-tiredness and lack of the right exercise can impact your ability to think the right way, make the right decisions and ultimately take you down “that” path, which for many people is one way journey.

Loneliness

Loneliness has also been in the news. I’m sure people aren’t just lonely at Christmas though. Why are we only supposed to care about them for a couple of days a year? Another thought though, lonely people aren’t just people who live on their own. You may know someone you work with or live with who is constantly surrounded by people but still feels dreadfully lonely. They feel they can’t relate, they feel worthless and although they may be in company they cut themselves off. They stop communicating, their mood changes, maybe their behaviour is not normal? It can come on over time and is sometimes not easy to spot in yourself, but perhaps sometimes others can see a change.

I can see how, without the support network of family, friends, employers, colleagues around them, someone could easily spiral. The impact of that could be serious – relationship breakdowns, inability to work, loss of income. It is easy to see how someone could end up on the streets or worse. Is that a “choice”? I don’t think so.

Does the government even care?

I do believe that those in authority do very little to support a lot of these groups of people. How low does the temperature have to go before they do anything? How many people will have to freeze to death?

How many empty homes and office buildings do you see around your area that could be opened up even as temporary refuge to people who are rough sleeping? How much is being spent on social housing? I see plenty of luxury homes being built. What about housing for those for whom that type of property is and will only ever be a dream?

That isn’t enough in itself. There needs to be a whole programme of support to put a roof over people’s heads, temporarily to get them out of the cold, but ultimately permanently but this needs to go hand in hand with money & work advice and support for other issues such as mental health and addiction problems. Without this, many will end up back where they are.

However, what are the authorities interested in? To me it seems they are more interested in spending billions on pointless tram systems, superfast trains (part of the issues of the modern world – everything needs to be instantaneous – maybe if we slowed down and chilled out it might help?), fancy bridges, fixing big clocks and archaic buildings, automating everything to save time and money and buying new nuclear weapons. Oh and there is the self-promotion interests form pro- and anti- MPs, focussing their all on Brexit and forgetting the basics about looking after their citizens NOW.

No amount of lobbying seems to make a difference. Just watch an MP in full flow – every excuse under the sun will be thrown out as to why it is not a simple solution. If they had the desire to do anything, they would. They all have an excuse, no matter their political persuasion and so it comes down to people power.

Care for each other

We can only what we can, but make sure it is not just at Christmas. Be a caring human who cares for their fellow human all year round. Don’t be like the unfeeling morons on Facebook who make blasé and frankly disgraceful comments about people they don’t know and have no idea about how they have got to where they are. Ditch these fools.

It could be as simple as speaking to someone. Find out how they are and if there is anything you can do. Buy a coffee and hot meal for someone rough sleeping. Even stopping for 5 minutes to say hello. Make a donation to a local food bank.

No matter how simple it seems it makes a difference to someone.

Find out what is happening locally that you can support – food banks, restaurants serving Christmas dinner to people who aren’t able to provide their own, charities or individuals providing sleeping bags & warm clothes to rough sleepers.

But don’t forget those close to you.  Has their behaviour changed, do they need support from you but they just don’t know how to ask?

Remember, Christmas isn’t a competition. It should be spending quality time with family/friends, not about who spends the most on presents, has the biggest turkey or the flashiest tree.

And no matter how much I enjoy Christmas, it is only a day. There are 364 more in the year. Don’t put yourself under financial or emotional strain for a day. Enjoy your time with family and friends.

Merry Christmas.

Mental Health Hotline 0800116123 (Samaritans).

“What have you got to be worried about?” and other unhelpful comments….

Depression isn’t real!

Just recently this Twitter account has been brought to my attention.

I say Twitter account rather than using the associated name, you can see it for yourself, as I don’t want to humanise this entity in any way. The idiot appears to be devoid of any humanity whatsoever. This is just one of many tweets they have made on the subject.

Thankfully, I have never come across this nonentity before. I have no idea who they are or indeed any desire to find out any more about them. It appears though that they are a kick boxer – I think they have had one kick too many to their head.

The tweets I did read have no bearing on reality whatsoever and are among the most hateful & unhelpful comments I have ever seen relating to depression and anxiety. I hope they get help for their delusions at some point.

ignorance isn’t an excuse

Unfortunately though, and judging by some of the responses on Twitter, this attitude is still too common. I am not going to let this idiot or others like them get to me, you need to rise above. There is something lacking in their life that they have to spend so much time talking about other people and their issues. Enough about that – I’ve already spent too much time talking about them….I don’t want this to be a platform for promoting bullying and intolerance.

This type of thing really puts the cause of mental health awareness back. If people who are thinking about speaking to someone about how they are feeling read something like this, it could be the thing that stops them from speaking up.

It also made me reflect on the prevalence of people like this and comments like “What do you have to worry about?” and the simplistic “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” often spoken by people that have a lack of understanding about how mental health impacts different people.

“What Do You Have to Worry About?”

Let’s take “What do you have to worry about?” for starters.

I’m willing to bet that loads of people who have suffered from anxiety or depression or similar have had this (or something similar) said to them or asked of them at some point. What the people asking don’t realise is that it’s a question that the individual has probably asked themselves time and time again, over-analysing and trying to work out what the hell is wrong with them!

Take myself for example, I’ve got a good job, a lovely wife, 2 great kids, friends, extended family, a home, money, I go on holidays, I have “stuff”……..but it didn’t stop me being affected with anxiety and depression.

The thing is it isn’t necessarily worrying about any one thing in particular. Where the anxiety/depression often comes from is much more complex, and is entirely dependent on the individual concerned. Some of the things that got me to that place were:

  • Perfectionism/unreal expectations – setting yourself unrealistic goals, that ultimately may be unachievable, and then beating yourself up as you haven’t achieved. Ultimately the results may be way in excess of what others have expected, but you haven’t met your OWN expectations. Continue in this manner for some time and you convince yourself you’ve failed.
  • Over-planning – a bit like the above in setting expectations. Thinking that you need to constantly be achieving something. Writing loads of lists of what you need to do and then re-writing and feeling like you’ve failed if you haven’t done EVERYTHING on the list when you set yourself the time to do it.
  • Over-analysing – every decision I made, every conversation I had, every meeting I was at, every conference call I was on. Where did I go wrong? What could I/should I have said differently? I wish I’d said/done this/that. Never what went well – always what went wrong….

These are just a few and I’m sure others can relate to these and many more.

The anxiety/depression comes from trying too hard to do too much for too long and something has to give.

Being asked the question or having the comment directed to you is one of the least helpful things that anyone can say. It just exacerbates everything you already think yourself.

To help, what you really need to understand are the deep-rooted reasons for the way you behave and react. Personally I found that, until I went that deep, I couldn’t start to put in place the strategies to overcome and cope with the unhelpful behaviours that led to the anxiety and /or depression in the first place. That isn’t an easy journey as you can end up feeling worse before you feel better, but for me the destination meant the journey was worth it as I know I am now mentally strong enough to deal with my brain and the way it works.

Don’t Worry – Be Happy!

That brings me to seemingly throwaway comments like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” If only it were that simple!

A lot of people I have spoken to who have been in a similar position, have experienced these sort of comments, maybe worded differently but with the same intent. They have heard this to such an extent they feel they need to have a mask to hide how they really feel.

Maybe they try to be the life and soul of the party and smile even though inside that is the last thing they feel like doing. They try to help others and take on extra tasks so they feel “useful”. However, no matter how much they do to keep active and busy, the one most tiring thing is trying not to let the mask slip.

It doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is or where you’ve come from it can hit any of us at any time. Given the right (or should that be wrong) circumstances coming together at the same time, just like with physical heath, your mental health can suffer.

I’ve said this numerous times before and I’m not going to apologise for it so here I go again……

Depression and anxiety doesn’t discriminate.

I also blog about music as it is something I love so let’s take some of these as examples.

Chester Bennington from Linkin Park recently took his own life. He was the singer in a successful band, had money and apparently everything to live for including a lovely family. Look at the picture his wife recently posted on Twitter taken shortly before he died.

 

He looks happy doesn’t he? But what was really going on? We’ll never know. He looked as if he was “Being Happy” but look what happened to him.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of this in the music industry – Billy McKenzie from The Associates, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, Stuart Adamson from Big Country/Skids – all seemingly successful in their careers but all took their own lives. “What have they got to be worried about?”!

I love the music of all of these bands and saw Big Country live several times. One of the bands “party pieces” was playing Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” live. Given what I said earlier about wearing a smile when it is sometimes the last thing you want to do and with what ultimately happened with Stuart Adamson, it adds even more poignancy to the song and is hard to listen to now.

“People say I’m the life of the party,

‘Cause I tell a joke or two.

Although I might be laughing, loud and hearty

Deep inside I’m blue.

So take a good look at my face.

You’ll see my smile looks out of place.

If you look closer, it’s easy to trace

The tracks of my tears.”

Recently Ginger Wildheart and Sinead O’Connor have both gone through very public episodes where their mental health was suffering. When you are in the public eye and this happens, there seems to be an equal amount of support and criticism. A lot of the criticism comes about due to assumptions that because these are successful people they should “have nothing to worry about”.

That’s the danger of the modern world and instant reporting and commenting via social media. I am just glad they are both receiving the help they need and will continue to do so. I don’t want to wake up to the news one day that one of them has succumbed to the same fate as the others.

Can You Be Happy?

Of course you can! It may take a lot of work and effort but you can be happy – it is just not as easy as flicking a switch.

Maybe it is something you need to keep on top of constantly so that you don’t feel yourself sliding backwards.

Maybe for some people, prescribed drugs will help, for others therapy or CBT. Maybe it is a combination of both.

Maybe you need to accept that you won’t always be happy, but you raise your own awareness of this and have strategies to cope.

Maybe you need to talk about it.

The important thing to remember is, you don’t need to wear that mask, it is OK to not feel great sometimes.

Do talk about it though, don’t hide it, don’t just smile and say everything is great if it is not. It is hard to open up and talk, but it is worth it in the end.

Sometimes a bit of irreverence is good too. I’d recommend the book “F**k It”, also with this in mind, I’m going to leave you with the thoughts of Ginger Wildheart and Ryan Hamilton who wrote and recorded a song together based on their personal experiences of mental health issues……….. Sometimes you just have to say “Fuck You Brain!”

Music is My Escape – using music as a coping strategy

Music is my Escape……..I posted this image on Facebook some time ago. However, I only recently took some time to really think about what this means to me. Mainly in terms of music being one of my “strategies” to deal with anxiety/depression.

I know there are many people who have different ways of dealing with their own mental health. Music isn’t something that helps everyone, but for me it is important.

I’m in a good place thanks to strategies I have in place. That includes using this blog as kind of a therapy. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for some time. Music has been a constant as a crutch/fall-back option for me. Music soundtracks my life.

If I think back to when I was a teenager, I remember sitting in my room listening to music and getting totally caught up in it. Just as the quote in the picture states, I was escaping into another world where it was just me and the music. I know for sure that I’m not the only person to have done this. I listened, analysed lyrics and studied album sleeves for hours on end. Depending on my mood, some songs seemed to have been written especially for me. Different songs took me to different places.

Now, all those years later, music can still have the same effect on me. I can be at a crowded gig and completely lose myself. Even at a gig in a massive venue, I can forget I’m surrounded by thousands of people. I can happily go to a gig on my own and blend in to the background just enjoying the music. Feeling the bass go through my whole body. Taking in the whole experience – the lighting, what the band are up to on stage. Even closing my eyes and just listening and feeling the music. For that hour or 2 nothing else matters. There is no outside world, everything that matters is in that one time and place.

As I’m sure others can relate to, there are different songs or bands I go to in certain situations. Just listening to these particular songs or bands can take me to a specific time or place in my past. These memories can be really vivid and I can remember the intricate details.  What I remember seeing, the sounds and even smells and I’m right back there in the situation. I also have music I listen to for when I’m angry. Music for when I’m sad. Music for when I’m happy……

Yes, music is my escape.

Music is my escape – am I running away?

But are there any drawbacks to that statement too? Could there be any negative connotations of escaping into music?

Well, the point I just made above for a start. There is a potential danger in me dwelling on times past rather than the present. Yes, it is good for me to use music and memories as an anchor to bring my mood back. I do understand I need to ensure that is exactly what I do. If I was to get constantly drawn back to these memories, there is the possibility of getting fooled into thinking that the grass was greener then. That can have the impact of worsening any current situation.

Then there is the very definition of escape – running away. Escaping into music could be me running away from issues and not confronting them. The old fight or flight adage. Do I face my anxieties and deal with them or do I “run”? Do I try to block them out with music, to some extent almost wallowing in them and let the anxiety win? Fortunately, I know I have the ability to face my anxieties and deal with them. Using music is one of the tools that helps me to level the playing field. Getting me in the right mind-set to deal with them and take the right actions.

I am still confronted by my social anxiety from time to time. I mentioned earlier that I don’t mind going to see bands on my own as I can get “lost” in the music anyway. On occasion though, I can get dragged into overthinking situations. That can spoil my enjoyment of the whole gig (or other social situation).

I’ve known me to be at gigs and see someone I know, but instead of rushing over to say hello, I’ll try to avoid them. I’ll worry overly about what I’ll say to them if they come and talk to me. I convince myself that I’ve lost the ability to be spontaneous or converse. Instead of relaxing and enjoying the gig, I can almost forget that there is even a band on. I can end up analysing the situation in my head and trying to plan what any potential conversation will be like. I can also convince myself that I don’t need to talk to them as they are deep in conversation with someone else and won’t want to talk to me. In extreme circumstances, I’ll make excuses not to go to an event at all.

It is not that I don’t want to speak to people. I’m a sociable person and I love being in company and having a good night out. However, in the situations I described, I have got to the stage where I’ve told myself I’m going to open my mouth and say something stupid. Then I’d beat myself up for hours having convinced myself that whoever I’ve spoken to thinks I’m a complete arse. I can say with some confidence now, that is totally irrational and I know it comes from a perspective built from core beliefs that were developed years ago. These are often mostly dormant, but then when the right (or should I say wrong) set of circumstances arise from time to time, they can reveal themselves and shade my view of things.

Plato – Music gives soul to the universe

To end on a positive note, I know that personally I am in a good place to deal with these circumstances & anxieties. I believe over time and with the right support, I have currently built up better self-awareness and a tool box of strategies. I’m able to see the warning signs of these situations happening and use the right tools to turn things around and confront what is going on.

I may have made that sound too simple but I know from experience it isn’t. One of that the hardest things is to realise when you need help and to find the right person to talk to. To open up to about how you are feeling. I know that the people closest to you are often the hardest to talk to as you may feeling you are letting them down (you’re not). Or you don’t want to burden them with your issues (you aren’t).

I do find it easier to talk to someone who is disassociated from your own situation and you know won’t judge you. Once you have made that initial step and you allow yourself to accept that you aren’t stupid, you aren’t weak and you aren’t letting people down, you can then work on taking the next steps to help you deal with whatever the situation happens to be.

So, YES, music is a great form of escape for me. It is one of the ways I can positively change my mood to help me deal with the situations life throws at you.

Can you think too much?

Can you think too much?

Is that a bad thing? And anyway, not thinking, how hard can it be?

Well to someone with anxiety, it can be nigh on impossible and also totally exhausting. Just not being able to switch off!

I’m not saying thinking is a bad thing, where would we be if inventors and entrepreneurs didn’t constantly come up with new ideas? What would happen if we didn’t think seriously about things and mull things over? Nothing obviously.

But what isn’t healthy is when you just can’t stop thinking, and the thoughts you have are totally unhelpful. They don’t even need to be about earth shattering events, hundreds of silly little thoughts about seemingly insignificant things can overwhelm and when unchecked can have a massive impact.

I am an overthinker, I overthink EVERYTHING!

  • I have what I should see as a successful day at work – but do I see it as a successful day at work? No! I pick apart the one line email that someone sent 5 minutes before I leave the office, or that call when someone said something that threw me off track – What did they mean by that? Have I done something wrong? What was that tone for? Do they not trust me? How should I respond? What are they saying about me to other people? Why do they not like me…… the list goes on.
  • I meet someone I haven’t met before, when I leave them, do I think “That was really nice to meet them”. Well maybe, but not before I’ve thought Why did I say that? They must think I’m an idiot! I wish I’d said that. That’ll be the least time I hear from them. What a bloody idiot I am……
  • I’ve just decorating the hall, do I get satisfaction from a job well done? Well maybe, but not until I’ve picked apart all the things I believe I’ve arsed up – there is paint on the carpet, there is a drip up there, that needs another coat, should I repaint the skirting board….. or right whats next, the bathroom, the kitchen? How much will that cost?, when will I get a chance to do it?……
  • I’m home from work – can I sit down and relax? Of course I can, I can sit on my arse and do nothing! I’ll enjoy this programme I’ve been looking forward to for ages……..or will I? I might be sitting on my backside, and I may not switch my laptop on and do work – but what is going on in my head? Rewind to all the questions about what that email was all about! Fast forward – what is happening tomorrow – What calls have I got? What will I say? How will I react if that happens? What if they say that? How will I deal with this? Maybe I should write some notes down now. I’ll just put a reminder in my diary to do that or say tis…..Wait a minute, are there dishes in the sink? I’ll do them later. Hmm, maybe I should go and do them now. What about ironing a shirt for tomorrow I better do that. While I’m at it should I check my account balance? The kids need new school uniforms – how much is that going to cost? The grass needs cut – when will I get that done? I’ve still not decorated the bathroom – when the hell am I going to do that? How much will it cost? I know, I’ll do a budget for it now! Maybe I should write a list of what we’ve got in the freezer while I’m at it……………My wife – “that was a great episode wasn’t it!” Me – “Aye – brilliant!” (to self – oh, is it finished, what the hell happened I don’t remember……)

I’m sure many will recognise this, and similarly many will think – there is nothing wrong with that, its keeping your mind active and making sure you get things done! Yes, to an extent it is. Its when those thoughts become so much they overwhelm and take over and you just can’t switch them off that it becomes a problem, because the thoughts become all consuming and nothing gets done, which exacerbates the negative thoughts further and your beliefs become your own self-fulfilling reality……..”see I have failed again”! But you haven’t though, you’ve just not switched off for too long!

I regret how it impacts my family, how I’ve shouted at my kids when they’ve done nothing wrong, how I try to hide it as I don’t want my kids to know or I don’t want to burden my wife, but knowing it has the opposite effect when she is frustrated by my sitting in silence when she wants to talk or when I can’t sit still because I have to be doing something.

It doesn’t have to be that way! However, often the hardest thing is to recognise that it is happening, to realise the impact its having on the people you love the most, and to admit it to yourself!

Anxiety sucks, but it doesn’t need to define you unless you let it.  I admit, I have nearly let it define me on too many occasions for my liking, but that doesn’t mean it is who I am and you can beat it. It is hard and it manifests itself in many ways, but with the right support and strategies you can beat it.

Fortunately, I have the support network – a great family, friends & colleagues but I know not everybody does. Lets just say, its good to talk, and I know that isn’t easy either, sometimes its easier to talk to someone who doesn’t know you or isn’t close to you.

In future posts I intend to continue to share some of my other experiences and some of the things that are working for me in dealing with my anxieties. If you want to – drop me a line, I’d like to hear from you.