The Bright Side of Getting Distracted

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] As a child I was confused by a story about a kid torturing himself by trying not to think about orange penguins. The intended moral was that it’s impossible to not think about something. But I never understood why you wouldn’t want to think about orange penguins. They […]

Scared of Public Speaking? Tips from an Anxious Comedian

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] The first time I ever spoke in front of a large audience, I was terrified. Even the (ironic) comfort that the topic was “my fear of public speaking” didn’t help. My legs trembled so hard that I worried I might fall over. I could barely concentrate on what […]

One Life in Lockdown

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] They’re building something over the road. For months, piles of earth have appeared and disappeared, punctuating my days with clanking and drilling and the beeping of huge machines reversing. It might sound like I’m about to complain, but I’m delighted. At the time of writing, it has been […]

Feeling Scared as Lockdown Ends? An Anxious Human Explores Some Feelings

It’s June, 2020, and here in the UK the coronavirus lockdown is relaxing. (Actually, it’s not at all relaxing, it’s extremely stress-inducing, but you know what I mean.) Like most people, I’ve struggled with isolation and stress during these early stages of the pandemic but now that some aspects of daily life are returning to […]

Nostalgia, Regret and the Coronavirus Lockdown

As I write, it’s day fifty-one of not seeing any other humans. And, just in case you’re reading from the future, I should stress that that’s not purely by choice. We’re in lockdown to avoid spreading a deadly disease. During lockdown, I’ve experienced many feelings. I’ve been through the ups and downs, the spurts of […]

What Your Low Mood May Be Telling You

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Have you ever entered the doldrums? Not the literal doldrums—the tedious places at sea where winds are few and sailors struggled to escape. I mean those times in life when nothing at all feels interesting.  During these times, I listlessly ignore that stack of books waiting to be […]

Death Anxiety & Change in Life

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] During my regular comedy talk about anxiety there’s an important moment: the first time I mention my experience of suicidality. A hush usually falls on the room, in sharp contrast to the earlier laughter. After a few seconds, I puncture the tension with a simple acknowledgement: “Cheery, this […]

Making Good Choices

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Making good choices is hard. In fact, there’s only one thing I hate more than not having any choice, and that’s having to make one at all. I feel trapped when I have too few options, and overwhelmed when I have too many. Why are choices so difficult?