How's Your Mental Health This Week?

It's Mental Health Week here in Australia, and I'm very pleased to see many organisations and individuals talking about the topic of mental health in order to provide hope for healing and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in our community. I'm also a little anxious because the issue is close to my heart. There are many people who suffer from mental illness in my extended family and I know we still have a long way to go as a community in tackling the problems underlying the recent rapid increase in mental illness. Having suffered from debilitating panic attacks, social phobia, generalised anxiety, depression and chronic fatigue myself, I know that these are real biological conditions which you can't just “snap yourself out of” or simply wish away with positive thinking or well-intentioned affirmations alone. [caption id="attachment_2025" align="alignright" width="448"]Make A Move Towards Better Mental Health Make A Move Towards Better Mental Health[/caption] Especially for men. Destigmatising mental illness is certainly a step in the right direction, but if we want to help people living with mental illness to free themselves from their suffering, we need to go a step deeper and destigmatise the emotions behind it too. Let's face it: Men have feelings, and it's time we stopped holding them in. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago

How To Handle A Panic Attack

I have to admit to leading something of a double life: on the one hand I write about confidence, but I also suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. Having a panic attack is one of the most unpleasant experiences I've ever had, and even just mild anxiety can make life pretty painful. It's not something I'd wish on my worst enemy. Well, maybe just on the really bad ones.

So here's how to handle a panic or anxiety attack:

Recognize The Symptoms

Most people I know who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks didn't recognize what was happening to them when they first had a panic attack. They were just going about their daily lives when suddenly: BAM! Their heart started racing, they were overwhelmed with fear, their bodies started shaking, they couldn't concentrate, they became exhausted and just had to stop everything they were doing. Some thought they were dying, or were having a heart attack.

I was overseas traveling alone in France when I had my first full-blown panic attack, and the word “frightening” just doesn't cut it. It was fucking terrifying, and I found myself throwing up out of sheer terror. Fortunately I had a sympathetic friend back home I could call, and recognized what was really going on.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago