THE BIG BANG
I can still remember the moment. It should have been a perfect day. Bright spring morning. Sun streaming in through the window. Birds singing in the park opposite (you get the picture) … except it was the darkest moment of my life.
It was the moment where I had to admit that I was totally screwed. No way I could continue trying to deny this … hoping it might go away … no point in pretending I had any resources against the bomb I now carry around in my head.
This thing is alien. It forced itself into my life and now holds it hostage, threatening to explode at any point. Now everything I do is subservient to it and I have to life my life by its demands. I know it’s warped (and getting worse), but there’s nothing I can do to stop it … “Oh no, you can’t do that any more … If you try do that, and it goes wrong I’ll go BANG! and then where will you be”
So I carry on trying to live some kind of life. Incidents happen, my world shrinks a little more, anxiety increases its grip on me, and life gets a little more distorted. This cycle continues until a weekend break to the Channel Islands where I finally catch how bad things have become. My anxiety/panic around banks has become so bad that I’m now walking around with £50 notes stuffed in my shoes! … “ENOUGH THIS HAS TO STOP”
MY (FALTERING) ROAD TO RECOVERY
So how the hell do I get fixed? Self-help seemed a good place start … then healing … then the web … (the list goes on). For a while it seemed as if recovery was assured “Yes …. I’m fixed … cured …. life is great … I can go do anything. Then … BANG! “Hello Giles … I’m back … Did you miss me?”
That was the most damaging of setbacks, but I eventually realised that misapplied, even the best help can be ineffective or even damaging. Moreover, the kind of help we need can change over time, and it needs to be able to handle failure and setback not just “pump” us for success.
Finally, after being introduced to a specialist dealing with anxiety and panic, I realised that there is no substitute for proven expertise. I can still remember her saying (with a slight twinkle in her eye that proved she was human as well as expert) “I love working with anxiety … Because when you do it right its so easy to fix”. For the first time in three years I felt a slight flicker of hope start to burn.
On 27th Jan 2000, I confronted my anxiety and won. It was the first in many rounds. But it marked the start of the end of that voice. By chance I showed friends some of the software tools that I developed to help me get to that point, they commented that others might find benefit in using them too. And so the next chapter of my life started.
There have been many iterations of many ideas between then and now. Some providing clear value for many people, others failing to see the light of day. While long, this journey leaves me with a very clear sense of how the combination of wellbeing & technology can create understanding, that can bring about change, that can bring about long term benefit for many people who would otherwise be outside the loop.
I was lucky. I was able to persevere to a point where I learnt how to make things better. I know of many instances where others have not been so lucky. I see no reason, when we have as many resources as we have, why this should continue to happen.
In software Hello World is a programme “simple enough so that people who have no experience with computer programming can easily understand it”. I think it stands as a perfect example of our principles … this can be simple … it can be straightforward … you can feel better and then stay that way. Where would you like to begin?