Category: Walking On Custard

How I Accidentally Had an Endoscopy, Or: Anxiety & Me

This post contains excerpts from the early chapters of Walking on Custard. This version was originally published online over at Mindtank, an awesome blog for sharing mental health and anxiety stories. Do check them out and give them plenty of support!


/doh by striatic, on Flickr

Mistakes were made.

Original Photo © d26b73, striatic on Flickr.
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Worrying has always been my primary way of dealing with the world.

For most of my life, I thought this was normal. (When I wasn’t worrying about worrying so much, anyway…)

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My Day at TED X Leamington Spa

Update: The talk is out! Check it out here after reading the story below.

Saturday was a huge day for me!

I’ve finally made the switch to almond milk, and reduced my dairy intake. It’ll be interesting to see what effect this has on my morning digestion.

Also, I gave a TED talk at TED X Leamington Spa!

Me, somewhat awkwardly standing with balloons.

Me, somewhat awkwardly standing with balloons.

My talk was all about anxiety. And custard, naturally.

I had ambitious plans for it. I wanted to get across the importance of openness about our struggles, both for our own benefit and for others.

I wanted to paint an overall picture of the journey from anxiety to less-anxiety, while sharing some mind management strategies.

And I wanted it to be as funny as possible, while not detracting from the seriousness of what I was talking about. Easy, right?

So, how did it go?

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Win a free personalised copy of Walking on Custard!

As an experiment, I’m running a book giveaway over on Goodreads.

For the next 24 hours you can enter for a chance to win a free, signed copy of Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life. Enter below!

And please – share this post and tell your friends!

All the usual Goodreads giveaway rules apply so check those out if you’re not already aware. (And the personalisation will be a handwritten message to the name supplied via the winning goodreads account.)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life by Neil Hughes

Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life

by Neil Hughes

Giveaway ends July 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

The Book Launch Party

Book Launch Prosecco Reception

The Fizzy Reception at the Book Launch Party, courtesy of Otto Lounge

About ten months ago I was writing a book.

(If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already heard of it, but if not… In short, it’s a comedy book about anxiety. Click here to learn more.)

At the time, I had no idea if I could write a book.

Or if I did somehow manage to write one, I was deeply unsure that it would be any good.

As you’ve probably noticed, my inner critic is fairly active. And even though he got featured in the book, he often popped up while I was writing to undermine my morale and make me feel like the situation was hopeless.

Inner critic: “Featured” in your stupid book?! I was the best bit!

And so my search began for helpful distractions…

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Book Release: Immediate Aftermath

Tired lemur by Tambako the Jaguar, on Flickr

Releasing a book is hard work.

Original Photo © Tambako The Jaguar, Tambako The Jaguar on Flickr.
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License

The book is out!

Honestly, it was actually out two days ago. But somehow, amidst the madness, I never actually posted anything on the actual site.

Inner critic: You know it said “Pre-order” on here for two days after it was out? Good god, this is embarrassing.

Well, maybe. I’m not sure the consequences are quite as bad as I imagine them to be.

Reaction has been positive so far – I’ve had some lovely enthusiastic comments from a few keen early readers. I’m looking forward to more people getting through it and letting me know what they think.

Anyway, I’m all tired out so will continue the online series on anxiety soon after recharging my batteries a bit.

In the meantime, I will reshare any news (like the awesome podcast I did with Anxiety United) as it comes up, and after a brief rest I’ll be back with more explorations of anxiety for the site.

Meanwhile, do consider sharing the book around, encouraging people to check it out, and – of course – have a read of it yourself!

I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it.

Inner critic: Oh good. Well, I have a LOT of opinions, actually…

Not you, inner critic. Everyone else.

Talk to you all soon, and thanks so much for all the support and kind words you’ve sent on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else. You’re lovely.

Interview with Anxiety United

Anxiety United have posted their latest podcast episode, centred around an interview with me about the upcoming release of Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life!

It was a really fun chat, and we got into discussion of mental health issues in general, as well as swapping some stories about our own experiences with anxiety.

And, listening back, I don’t even hate the sound of my own voice too much!

Inner critic: Shame everything you said was terrible, though.

Ignore my inner critic. I had fun making the episode, which is the main thing!

You can listen to it all here, as well as checking out all the other excellent content Anxiety United have going.

Occasionally Asked Questions #1

A confused human

A confused human, possibly wondering what happened to their leg.

Is this site just excerpts from the book?

The short answer is “no”.

The long answer is also no. But it has more detail:

Currently the site has zero excerpts from the book, and I intend to keep it that way.

I want to make the book and the site complementary to one another by producing all-new content for the site.

This also allows me to go beyond the scope of the book. Sometime after release I plan to start posting ideas that go further than the discovery of the Meaning of Life at the end of the book*.

* Sorry for spoilers, but it IS in the title…

Eventually, this site should provide both a gentle introduction to the initial steps of tackling anxiety, and also explore more advanced topics.

In the long term, I expect to solve the problems of World Peace and create a happy utopia for all humans.*

* (though this might take a while, and probably won’t realistically happen.)

I hope that clears everything up, and thanks for your questions, nameless readers!

“We Have Everything We Need”

stopped in traffic 2.0 by ** RCB **, on Flickr

A typical relaxing drive home…

Photo © Robert Couse-Baker, ** RCB ** on Flickr.
CC Attribution 2.0

I love driving.

I counted down the days to my seventeenth birthday, when I could finally get my licence. I would no longer need to rely on the goodwill of others to go to parties and on adventures.*

* These ‘adventures’ often consisted of me and my friends all putting on Hawaiian shirts (no, there was no reason, before you ask) and flipping a coin at each junction to decide which way to go. Wild and crazy youth, right?

On one particular day, about ten years ago, I was driving along in an excellent mood.

The weather was beautiful, it was nearly my birthday, and a girl I liked had just agreed to go out later in the week for a drink.

I expect I was singing loudly and embarrassingly to some terrible song when I hit a traffic jam.

At first, I didn’t think anything of it.

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The Little Virus Who Fell In Love

influenza virus by kat m research, on Flickr

“I got a fever for you, beautiful.”

Original Photo © Kat Masback, kat m on Flickr. Edited and re-shared under:
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

There once was a virus who fell in love with its host.

It drifted around in their bloodstream, dreamily content with its lot in life. Every moment was a joy. It was physically joined with its true love, and it had never wanted anything more.

One day, after a spate of joyous multiplying, the virus noticed with alarm that their host appeared to have fallen ill.

“Oh dear,” said the virus (for it inexplicably had the ability to speak as well as to experience abstract emotions like love and joy). “I’d better do something.”

And so the virus did the only thing it knew how: it began to multiply at a faster rate than ever before. It hoped that if it became strong enough it would be able to help its love.

But the more the virus multiplied, the sicker their host seemed to get. This only made the virus more determined to help before time ran out.

Spurred by love, it multiplied faster and faster and faster. Until, suddenly…

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Exploding Cats & Panic Attacks

Cat on Beach walking away from Explosion by ifindkarma, on Flickr

The situation was getting a little out of hand.

Photo © Adam Rifkin, ifindkarma on Flickr
CC Attribution 2.0

“But the Society of Esteemed & Honorable Vicars can’t possibly go in there! That room has already been booked by…”

(both look at one another, sharing the horrific realisation)

“Oh no…”

(in unison) “THE INTERNATIONAL STRIPPERS CHAMPIONSHIPS”

(Little Billy enters)

“Bad news sirs… there was a mixup with the zookeeper and I’m afraid there’s a SECOND tiger on the loose…”

(In the background, Old Mrs Adams faints)

Everyone rushes to leave at once, accidentally knocking Little Billy into the fireplace.

He runs around wildly, in the process setting fire to the cat, who explodes due to all the gunpowder ingested during the earlier mishap (see p17).

(Zoom to Little Billy) “Sir! I’ve spotted another problem…”

(Roll credits)

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