ANNA’S ANXIETY-BUSTING APPROACH
In 2006, children’s TV presenter Anna Williamson found herself in the grip of a crippling anxiety disorder. As she writes in her new book Breaking Mad: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety (€18.20): ‘I imploded big time – a concoction of stress that had built up due to a tricky relationship, a pressured job that required a smile to be plastered on my face at all times and a general inability to talk about my feelings to anyone.’
On what she calls ‘meltdown day’, she was frazzled with insomnia, anxiety, stabbing chest pains and ‘a foggy mush of a brain’. A concerned colleague asked, ‘Anna, are you OK?’ and the dam burst, unleashing months of pent-up feelings.
That first simple enquiry led to Anna getting help – initially time off work, talking therapy and short-term medication to help her sleep. She set about a mission of self-discovery and now has counselling, life coaching and neuro-linguistic programming in her anxiety-busting toolkit. Her book, which also contains advice from clinical psychologist Dr Reetta Newell, offers ways of coping and practical solutions for times when you need a helping hand.
The most important first step, emphasises Anna, is to talk to someone – whether that’s a family member, friend or health professional. ‘It never fails to amaze me how much lighter someone is after they have offloaded their worries, stresses and anxious thoughts.’