Josh Roberts, Author of Anxious Man: Notes on a Life Lived Nervously shares his experiences of anxiety and depression and how talking really helped
Josh Roberts is in recovery from a breakdown and has shared his mental health experiences and routes to recovery in Anxious Man: Notes on a Life Lived Nervously, his debut book.
His breakdown, Josh explains, happened around four years ago, after a night out. “I woke up to discover that my mind had collapsed. I had this savage panic attack that kind of never went away.
“It was really bad for about a year and then I turned a corner by changing various elements of my life, and I've been in recovery ever since.”
Writing Anxious Man has been a good experience but not one that Josh saw as therapeutic or detrimental. “I loved every moment of writing and it was gratifying which definitely helped counter anxiety, but I don’t see writing and sharing as being a 'cure' in itself.”
Talking, rather than writing, has played a major part in Josh’s recovery. “At the start it wasn’t an option for me not to talk. I was lucky in a way, my mental health was so bad that I had to talk about it, I couldn’t hide it from my boss, my family or my girlfriend.”
CBT has been, without a doubt, one of the things that saved my life
Talking with a professional therapist in particular had huge impact. “CBT has been without a doubt, one of the things that saved my life.”
Josh is now managing his mental health, and says that he can spot when a depressive episode is inbound and keeps notes on his phone to remind him of times when he has been able to recover from one. He's also mindful of his alcohol consumption, exercises regularly and uses the tools he's learnt through CBT.
Championing therapy is important to Josh, as is speaking about mental health with “humanity, humility and a degree of normalcy,” and bypassing the mental health/'snowflake' debates that some television presenters tend to peddle.
“We've tried for the last goodness knows how many hundred years, ignoring mental health, saying 'stiff upper lip' and 'man up' and it's led us to a situation where the biggest killer of blokes under 45 is themselves. The thing thats most likely to kill me, is me - that's madness!
“My argument would be, why don't we at least for a hundred years or so, try something else?"