On Tuesday I appeared in New magazine, (page 75 if you’re interested.) No sadly I’m not naked.. maybe next time.
An editor contacted me a few months ago, just after The Guardian feature was published. She explained that New wanted to write an article about panic attacks and was hoping that I’d like to be involved. Initially I was nervous, but the topic is really close to my heart and I was ultimately happy to oblige. She pitched it as an ‘informative piece’ in which sufferers and experts would share coping techniques and experience.
In reality, the article is quite a depressing read. My section is around 50% factually inaccurate and portrays me as a victim, at least in my opinion. I felt that the whole thing was poorly organised and badly done, (but that’s gossip magazines I suppose.)
Just to clarify a few things:
– I’m quite an introverted person and found school stressful. False – I actually said that my anxiety probably began at school, but it didn’t start to affect me until I was fifteen. I didn’t say anything about finding school stressful.
– When I moved to London last year. False – I moved nearly three years ago.
– I had another attack in a meeting after which I was forced to take a month off work. False – I have nothing else to say to this except WTF? Not true and wasn’t said.
To be honest, none of the above mistakes would’ve bothered me that much if the article was actually well written and informative.
There was a real opportunity to write a positive and educational piece, instead I found it to be sub standared and lacking. (Or complete shite if you will.)
Now I’m not usually one to argue with an expert, but on this occasion I bloody will because he’s wrong. The main section of the article focuses on a Dr Drayton. In fairness to the man he may have been misquoted in the same way that I was, so I won’t exercise the full extent of my wrath… YET.
Try tactical breathing. Breath in as slowly and as deeply as you can and hold your breath for 5 seconds.
Excellent suggestion in theory, but he’s missed out a few crucial details.
- Exhale first, as this will relax your muscles and prevent them from seizing up.
- Breath using your stomach rather than your chest. You get twice as much oxygen this way and it prevents hyperventilation. For visual guidance please visit; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRIV2R3jzaQ – David Carbonell knows his stuff!
If the cure for panic attacks was simply ‘taking a few deep breaths’ then EUREKA we’d all be experts! The truth is, it’s not what you do but how you do it. Breathing is the key, but it’s important to understand why it’s so effective and how to do it correctly. Otherwise you’ll become more and more distressed if it doesn’t ease the symptoms, which can lead to disillusion.
The article also mentions celebrities who supposedly suffer from panic attacks. This puzzled me… How is that helpful really? I’m not an impressionable child who gets excited by reading that Britney Spears uses the same toilet roll as me, (actually I adore Britney, so this would excite me.) Adele was mentioned because she often gets attacks before performing. Then again, Adele is worth millions and can probably pay a psychiatrist to hold her hand 24/7 if needed. Thus not a comfort to the common man. I have to hold my own hand!
Perhaps I’m being too critical/a complete bitch? Maybe the article is a positive step towards losing the stigma often associated with mental disorders. Am I blowing this out of proportion? Possibly. I can be very protective when something is important to me.
Anxiety seems to be trending in the media at the moment which on the one hand is great, but on the other could be potentially quite damaging. Mental health isn’t a fad like; yoga, Robert Pattinson or The Great British Bake off (I’m sorry Mary, I do love you.) It needs to be approached with solid research, patience and understanding. Ultimately a few hundred words isn’t nearly enough to investigate. If you’re going to do it then do it right. (No, I’m not quoting George Michael!)
Apologies if anyone was offended by my wrath this week…