Sam Jones: I waited far too long to speak about my anxiety
The response to the interview I gave on my history with anxiety attacks has been a bit overwhelming, if I’m honest.
A lot of people have got in touch and shared their stories with me. Mental health awareness is a major issue and I’ve been surprised by the number of people out there who are suffering.
Everyone has been really kind – it’s nice that it’s all been positive. There has been no negative reaction to myself or Tunafish: it seems that people are a bit more open in terms of how they perceive mental health these days.
I’ve been surprised by the response. Talking about my problems has been daunting, and I expected that people would not want to speak about the subject – but the polar opposite is true.
I’ve also been surprised at the type of people who have contacted me to say they’ve had similar problems. But that’s the thing: everyone has their own issues and you can never know what someone is thinking. There have been some really inspiring stories this week from loads of professions.
The team at BusinessCloud told me that the story which featured in last week's newsletter had four times more readers than the previous record. That shows the size of the problem with mental health.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW OR LISTEN TO IT AS A PODCAST
I think mental health awareness week in general has been a success: the taboos around the area are coming down. There has been some negative stuff this week too, though: I read the Piers Morgan piece in which he described his thoughts – that was just ridiculous.
Prince Harry is spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end stigma around mental health, while England cricket legend Freddie Flintoff has talked publicly about his depression.
I think it’s important that people with high profiles speak out, but also that they are not forced into it or feel obliged to. The timing was right for me and I felt comfortable about doing so – but that may not be the same for everyone.
I was nervous before I did the interview, but I’m glad that I did. I do feel more confident in speaking about my anxiety now.
My advice to others suffering in the way I have is to not be afraid of speaking to someone about it or seeking help. I probably waited far too long to do both.