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77: How to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off! with James Withey

by | Feb 9, 2022

Unbroken: Healing Through Storytelling
Unbroken: Healing Through Storytelling
77: How to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off! with James Withey

James is an author and trained counsellor who lives with anxiety, PTSD and depression

His books include; The Recovery Letters, What I Do to Get Through, How to Tell Depression to Piss Off, How to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off and How to Get to Grips with Grief (released in July 2022).

He is the founder of the internationally renowned The Recovery Letters project. 

I read “How to Tell Depression to Piss Off” before I interviewed James and was pleasantly surprised to find it was such a funny and light book to read.  I asked myself if I could really love a book about depression!  

It made me so intrigued to meet James and find out how he could treat such a serious topic so light heartedly

And only after a few minutes of speaking to him I understood that his dark humour is just one of the many tools he has in his depression tool kit.

Both of us have seen the darker side of life and both of us have used to see us through those times too.

I really enjoyed my conversation with James and think you will too as he describes living with his depression and anxiety and the many ways, he has found to support him on his journey.

We know that there has been an increase of mental health during lockdown and Covid. And it can present in many ways such as a panic attack, major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, social anxiety, depression and pain.

Some people might use CBT, psychotherapy or a light therapy lamp to help, but there are many different types of approaches.  It’s just about finding out what works best for you

Here’s what the comedian, Robin Ince, says about his latest book:

A book to play anxiety bingo with and one that will help you realise you are not alone in experiencing absurd mental terrors that feel horribly real. James makes it very funny too, because the ludicrousness of where our anxiety imagination can take us can be as funny on the page as it is horrifying when it is playing out in our mind. You will laugh and come away from this tooled up for the next battle in your mind's darker corners


Some key points from our interview:

·         How looking back now he realises that losing his father at five and being abused at seven, shaped his life and had an impact of his mental health

·         How he has learnt to find meaning in his life and moments of absolute joy

·         How he had to learn to celebrate the small wins on his darker days and to take it second by second rather than day by day

·         How he became aware that his illness lied to him and not to believe his negative chatter 

·         How he still gets anxiety when writing his books but knows that when we share our pain and connect with others something beautiful happens

·         How he looks at the many approaches he has tried as his homework with depression and anxiety and writes down what works for him

·         How he’s learnt to hold on to the fact that things can change and get better, despite what his illness may be telling him and is passionate about mental health awareness

Website: http://www.jameswithey.com

Watch edited highlights on YouTube:

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