Shoot The Moon (And Aim For Happy)

Moon Pie by JD Hancock, on Flickr

An artist’s impression of what revenge may look like against humanity’s ancient enemy.

Original Photo © JD Hancock, JD Hancock on Flickr.
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

In the addictive card game, Hearts, the play that scores the most points is known as ‘Shooting the Moon’.

I’m greatly in favour of this.

The moon has sat there for long enough, arrogantly watching over us. For aeons it has floated judgementally over the Earth, thinking it’s better than us, all ‘romantically’ flying around in the sky, like a slow plane that doesn’t even FLASH, supposing itself to be safe from our revenge against its alleged ‘superiority’ just because it’s millions of miles away.

WELL… YOUR TIME HAS COME, MOON. WE’RE COMING FOR YOU. YOUR ARROGANT REIGN OF TEDIOUS ‘ROMANTIC’ JUDGEMENT IS OVER. SCREW YOU, YOU POINTLESS FLOATING LUMP OF DISAPPOINTING DUSTY ROCK.

IT’S TIME TO SHOOT THE MOON FOR REAL

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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.

Blog for Mental Health 2015

Blog for Mental Health

Blog for Mental Health 2015
A Canvas of the Minds

I would like to announce that I am joining Blog for Mental Health 2015.

This is a global project for raising awareness of mental health issues.

Inner critic: Thanks, Mr. Obvious. I think we all figured that out just from the name. No need to assume everybody is stupid just because you are.

Not now, please, inner critic, we’re doing an Official Thing today. In a minute I have to write the actual Blog for Mental Health pledge so I can officially join.

Inner critic: Try not to screw it up, idiot.

Okay, and –

Inner critic: Especially don’t try to ‘hilariously’ screw it up on purpose so you can write a “funny” story about it later!

How very cynical. Thanks, inner critic.

Anyway, as you may know if you’ve visited this site before, I’ve always been anxious, with occasional dips into more extreme and crippling anxiety.

While this is obviously preferable to constantly living in extreme anxiety, for many years I still spent time fearing those extreme moments even when I felt otherwise okay.

I could never truly relax, even when I felt better.

This is the really pernicious aspect of anxiety I’d love to help others with: the way it intrudes on everything else, so you become anxious even when you’re not feeling that anxious!

I feel good! That makes me… suspicious…
… and now I feel anxious again. Great.

I plan to keep blogging here, so this site can be a helpful resource for the anxious (and a hopefully entertaining read for all), so joining a campaign like Blog for Mental Health feels like an obvious move.

So, without further ado, I shall now make the Official Blog for Mental Health pledge, in accordance with Ancient Prophecy:
(or the requirements of the project, anyway)

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

And there we go.

Stick around as we continue to unpick anxiety, and eventually – hopefully – discover together what it means to be not only ‘not-anxious’, but happy too.

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!

Guest Post: “98% of Fears”

Welcome by WaywardShinobi, on Flickr

Guests are welcome!

Photo © Nathan, WaywardShinobi on Flickr.
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

To my genuine surprise, today I’m posting a guest blog post!

It had never occurred to me that anybody else would want to write something for this blog, so I was absolutely delighted yesterday to find this post in my email inbox.

Apparently Ian Denny had an idea and felt sufficiently motivated to write it up and send it in.

So, over to Ian…

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7 days to launch!!

Excitement…

Only 7 days until Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life is released!

“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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