Once we are more readily in touch with or conscious of the thoughts and feelings that trigger an anxious response, it may be that we are in a better position to start voicing them to someone we can trust. Often even just the verbal acknowledgement that we are feeling a negative emotion can have a hugely healing effect.
I can't remember a time in which I wasn't obsessed with my appearance. There is a harsh, vindictive little critic who sits on my shoulder and breathes his bile into my ear incessantly... He tells me I'm grossly overweight, unattractive, and undesirable. He turns my head towards every reflective surface and excoriates every lump, bump, crease and curve, imagined or otherwise... I no longer feel I have any concept of what I actually look like.
His daughter had to leave social media after abuse from trolls, who may have even possibly sent her images of her father's autopsy (and then threatened to print it out to use as toilet paper). His wife has been subjected to whispers and speculation as to why she may not have spent the night in the same room as her husband...
Approximately 450 million people worldwide have some kind of 'mental health problem' right now. And they have really, honestly tried very hard to pull their socks all the way up, and Get Over It.
I have been wanting to write this article for an extremely long time. I have stumbled and tormented myself so many times with this piece as to how I could even begin to voice my boulders of darkness. I wanted to translate to you, the reader, the horrific pain mental illness can bring, and to put the raw emotions into words which you will understand
Robin Williams' death is everywhere this week. It's been on my mind as to whether or not I would post something about it, as I have really mixed feelings about the general furore that follows the death of a celebrity, whether accidental or in this case, probably not so much.
Yesterday was a sad, strange day. Sometimes unhappy news can serve as a sombre reminder that we must all try hard to be kind and compassionate to one another.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with it being characterised by sustained sadness and loss of interest in life... Robin Williams' death, as tragic as it is, will serve some good. It has forced the world to sit up and take notice of the fact that depression is not something that just happens to melancholy, lonely people who can easily be ignored.
It's difficult to explain an illness that can't be physically seen and one that initially swooped down on me and then held me prisoner without any notice period or early warning call.
It's such a shame that it takes the death of a hugely famous actor/comedian to get the conversation happening to such a level. However, if we must find a positive from this tragic tale, the exposure of his struggles may leave some people with a greater understanding of the illness, and those who are masking their troubles may be encouraged to talk.
Experiencing a deep breath into the abdomen is not only relaxing; it's been scientifically proven to positively affect the heart, brain, digestive and immune system. Once the breath is moving in the abdomen, the upper lungs can be activated so eventually the breath is full, connected and active.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS as it is more commonly known, is not a glamorous condition. I know that sounds like quite a negative statement to open with, but it is the truth as I see it. It is something that affects a large number of women in the UK, yet only receives very limited and stereotypical media coverage.
Having weathered several episodes of depression with an incredibly strong man by my side, I've seen first hand the impact it can have on a partner, and consequently on the relationship.
What you wear affects you psychologically. It can profoundly alter your mood. It also influences how others respond to you. And the visual illusion created by cut and fabric dramatically changes the appearance of your body. Your clothes can affect your job prospects, your love life and even your self-image.
One in four people - so on average, someone in the typical two parent, two children family - will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Yet even though so many people are affected, mental illness carries a devastating stigma, which can harm sufferers in every aspect of their life.
Like most of you reading, this I am on the professional treadmill of getting around four hours real sleep a night whilst juggling your iphone, kids and personal lives with any of the proverbial plates crashing at any possible moment.