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…

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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…

Read more…

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)

Read more…

It’s Helpful to Seek Fresh Perspectives

shelf by YellowDog, on Flickr

Assorted invisible strange items.

Photo © YellowDog, YellowDog on Flickr
CC Attribution-SA 2.0 Generic License

Let’s summarise The Story So Far of this initial exploration of anxiety.

And because I’m dangerously over-organised, let’s do it as a list:

These three points don’t sound like a lot of insight for three whole blogposts. I don’t even need my inner critic to tell me that.

Inner critic: That’s no problem, I have plenty of other criticisms. For example, do you remember that time you called your teacher “Mum” in primary school?! You’re a genuine one-man cringe industry.

Not now, inner critic, thanks.

Read more…

Walking on Custard Release Date Announced and Kindle Pre-Order Available!

Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life

The day of Walking on Custard release has nearly arrived! The Kindle version has landed!

Huge news everybody!

I can announce that the release date for the paperback edition of Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life will be the 31st March. Sign up to the mailing list for the latest developments.

MORE huge news everybody!

The Kindle version is available for pre-order RIGHT NOW. Go to this page to get your copy, which will be delivered on release day: also 31 March.

Do share the news… let your friends, family, neighbours, and random people on the street know. It’s nearly time to solve the mystery of the link between custard, anxiety and happiness.

Yours excitedly,
Neil

Untangling Anxiety: The First Step

Tangled wires, Freegeek, Portland, Orego by gruntzooki, on Flickr

Untangle THIS!

Photo © Cory Doctorow, gruntzooki on Flickr
CC Attribution-SA 2.0 Generic License

The first thing I had to do after admitting that I had anxiety was to decide to actually do something towards being less anxious.

Well, I say the “first” thing. But this decision actually took me several years.

In fairness, I was busy! You can’t just drop everything and go ‘deal with anxiety’, can you?

Plus, if I left it alone maybe it would just get better? Maybe if I started messing with it, it would only get worse… Not to mention that it sounds difficult and unpleasant. Let’s just forget it and watch a film, or something. Please?

These – plus many other excuses – kept me from action for a long, long time. It wasn’t until everything became completely intolerable that I finally chose to do whatever it took to stop being anxious.

But to make that decision I had to believe I could be less anxious.

Read more…

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