Thursday evening. I am ready. I am at my table. Sixty illustrators came to showcase their work to people from all around who wish to discover new talents, new inspirations and meet new people. I am nervous.
My life seems to be dictated by those two little words. Whether it's looking into the future or peering into the past, that question creeps out of the woodwork as a gentle reminder that I'm not content.
Anxiety latched onto me in 2009 when I was going through a time that I want to forget. She started as a tight feeling; those butterflies that are not from excitement but from fear. I didn't want to leave home; I only felt secure and safe when I was in my own nest.
I believe that opening up about our painful experiences can help everyone. It's helpful to us, because we get to share our troubles with others... The more of us there are that understand how anxiety feels, the better we can all handle it in ourselves and others.
Many of us are thwarted by our inner voices, our anxieties and a fundamental lack of belief in ourselves. Our inner critic tells us that we are less accomplished or capable than others. We dismiss our achievements and confine ourselves to a false belief in our mediocrity. But somewhere inside, we know that our disappearing act no longer serves the world.
This is the very essence of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Often a sufferer knows their own obsessions and compulsions are illogical, absurd, but cannot break free of their checking behaviours. What OCD sufferers need the most in these circumstances is support.
I was seventeen when my brother and best friend, Simon threw himself from the top of the local multi-storey car park. He was nineteen and happily, he survived on that occasion. It would be another thirteen years before he finally succeeded and took his own life at thirty two.
I have been writing or discussing depression for a few years rather than brushing the experience under the carpet. Whilst moving on to a happier and more hopeful phase, I realised I have a duty of care to share.
We are taught to criticise women no end for their real or presumed sexual activity, but what they don't tell you is that slut-shaming doesn't come without potential side effects, such as depression, anxiety, self-hate and suicide, and in Kehlani's case the latter was the main talking point, when she uploaded a picture onto Instagram after her failed attempt.
Your heart is beating, your palms are sweaty and you feel like you might just be sick. You might be about to give a big presentation, take your driving test or walk down the aisle. Or you may be on your commute to work, going into a busy place or simply crossing the road.
I know it will pass - well, it always has in the past. A couple of weeks and my old mate "anxiety" will have retreated again, the filter will shift from my view of the world and I shall be back on the bandwagon of life, throwing myself into everyday activities with my usual gusto.
This time I want to talk about Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a diagnosed mental illness which affects your perception of the way you look, and how you think others perceive you. It makes sufferers excessively self conscious perceiving their appearance to be in some way flawed compared to others.
A new American study, by researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has now found that two sessions combining meditation and aerobic exercise per week for two months can reduce the symptoms of depression by 40 per cent.
Work related stress is a leading cause of absenteeism in workplaces in the UK and the U.S. On average we spend at least 35% of our waking hours at work, and if we are not happy in our job then it tends to have a far reaching impact on other aspects of our lives, affecting our relationships, sleep, physical health and ability to relax.
I personally think that the answer lies in young people speaking about this themselves, outside of any government-funded, adult-run initiative. But what I do know is that they want empowering, relevant, honest and practical conversations, which according to them they are not able to have anywhere other than with certain friends at the moment.
Sometimes coming from a working class background can making opening up quite tough. My mother and father are excellent, but I do feel like in a household that has a focus on the basic amenities in life, mental health may, unfortunately, get swept under the carpet.