THE FEAR OF ANXIETY – YOU ARE NOT ALONE

THE FEAR OF ANXIETY – YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

Performers are always having the conversation about the fear of first nights, their nerves when singing or dancing for the first time in a show, or the fear of forgetting their lines.  Their hearts pounding, mouths hellishly dry and beads of perspiration breaking out on their forehead.  Then all is all resolved when they walk on stage, the symptoms miraculously disappearing, allowing them to perform perfectly without a glitch.

In the majority of cases performers are at home on stage or in front of a camera, but what happens if the nerves really do take over, and start wreaking havoc in a performer’s life.

Actor Denise Welch recently admitted to an overwhelming bout of anxiety whilst on tour, and explained how she suffered from bouts of depression.  This brave lady has told the world how she has been suffering over the years, and how it creeps up on us without warning and sets out to wreak our lives.

Anxiety does not discriminate and can affect any one of us, and I am sure the majority of you will have suffered from this devastating condition at some time in your life.  Thankfully it is no longer a stigma or considered a weakness to own up to mental health issues, and it is now being encouraged by public figures, actors and even members of our Royal family, to speak out about it, because when we share problems they are far more easily overcome.

I have suffered personally from acute anxiety and it began at school when I was asked to read in assembly when I was 14.  I was incredibly excited as I had begun to be interested in a local amateur dramatic group for under 20s, and this was my opportunity to shine.  To my horror, as I began to read my hands started to shake, my voice began to tremble and I had to walk offstage not finishing the piece of prose I had been asked to perform.  I felt humiliated and desperate, which was not helped by the words of sympathy from my classmates, which only added to my grief.  In those days anxiety and depression were swept under the carpet, and yet I had managed to give a highly visible display of acute anxiety in front of 200 people.  I was devastated.

Fortunately, I had a wonderful teacher called Mrs Frears who taught literature and drama, who supported me throughout and encouraged me to get back on the stage and perform.  I owe so much to her as she not only helped me turn it round, she also was a big part of why I went to performing arts school and worked in theatre and television.

The best advice that was ever given to me when I was tackling the ongoing problem of acute anxiety was from a brilliant psychotherapist who told me to embrace the anxiety, and not try to push it away.  He said that I should give it a name as it was a living entity, and respect it and nurture it – I called it Martha.

I now live with the concept of ‘Martha’ and speak to her as a friend when she turns up unexpectedly.  She can be high maintenance sometimes, in terms of time, but is well worth it as I can then get to grips with my own agenda and learn to live with my own fears and anxieties.  It has certainly worked for me.

I now mentor and train speakers in Presentation and Public Speaking skills and a big part of that is managing anxiety.  Why am I such an expert, is it because I have performed on stage for decades as an actor and singer?  Of course that is a big part of it.  But the most important aspect of my training is my ability to recognise fear of speaking in public because I have suffered badly from anxiety.

The condition is also not just reserved for performers and can infiltrate any area of your life, affecting your social interactions your relationships and even your everyday working life.  It has no boundaries and there is no pattern of how or where it can manifest.

I have a friend who seems to have everything, a wonderful husband, beautiful kids, fabulous country house, great circle of friends, successful career – on the surface everything seems to be perfect, and yet she is the most anxious person I know.

There are so many ways of dealing with fear and anxiety, and these can be personal to you. You can begin by reaching out and knowing that you are not completely alone, which is a brilliant way to start.

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THE FLOWER POWER OF HEALING – SASKIA HOLDS ITS SECRET

THE FLOWER POWER OF HEALING – SASKIA HOLDS ITS SECRET

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

As I give another major shout out for the “Hub at no3” recently opened by the wonderful Lynne Franks in Somerset, I must to introduce you to Saskia Marjoram, another force of nature, who administers Flower Remedies.

Up until then I only knew about Rescue Remedy – that I took in abundance when under stress or in hiding from mankind.

But after a rather apprehensive start, I was persuaded by Lynne to book a session in Flower Remedy Healing and I was soon won over by Saskia’s utter belief in the power of her flower essences and knowledge of how to administer them.

Saskia arrived with all of her essences in a box, a bit like Mary Poppins, and as she brought them out, they seemed to hold a magic of their own, and as she described, their very own personality.

Saskia evokes your own choice of flowers by a method she has developed over years, and told me that whatever my choice, it will be relevant to my lifestyle.

I chose the flowers relating to fun and enjoyment, both of which I had shied away from in recent months for a variety of reasons, so this did not surprise me.  She then made me my very own mixture of the essences I had selected.

It was a joy to be given my very own potion made for me by Saskia in hub@no3 – and I have just finished my first bottle after several weeks.

Did it work, have I had more fun?  I don’t really have to stop and think, as when you participate in magic – amazing things happen – and they are all full of fun fun fun.

I would recommend a visit to “hub at no3” if you have a free weekend or few days, but if not Saskia can do Flower Remedy healing on Skype or Facetime.

Saskia has been working with flowers her entire life. As a professional gardener for more than 30 years, and florist to HRH Prince of Wales, she started making flower essences in 2003 with her friend and business partner Christine Felce.

She goes on to say that she is ‘continually fascinated by how plants and humans interact.  My deep love, friendship and knowledge of the flowers has continued to grow as I discover just how powerfully their energy affects, and interacts, with us.

Flower essences contain the vibrational energy of the plant they came from, this energy is held as a memory in water. Taking this vibration into yourself reminds your own personal energy how to be, helping unlearn held patterns, bringing awareness to problems (and solutions) and rebalancing your whole being.

My essences are made in the same way as the Bach Flower Remedies and are usually taken as drops under the tongue. They do not smell.

Flower essences work deeply bringing positive and effective change to our lives. They act as catalysts, bringing awareness and shifting patterns so that you can take responsibility for your own healing in a safe, natural and simple way.

https://www.saskiasfloweressences.com/

https://www.hubatno3.com/

 

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IS MEGHAN MARKLE PULLING THE STRINGS

IS MEGHAN MARKLE PULLING THE STRINGS

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

As someone from a family who made their name from turning puppets into people, I feel I am somewhat qualified to comment on the accusations that are flying about the recent member of our Royal Family, Meghan Markle, who is being accused of turning her husband Prince Harry into a puppet.

I have just watched yet another damming comment on the Duchess from an aging presenter on breakfast television who in my book is hacked off because Meghan won’t play the media game with him, and yet accuses her of adopting a Kardashian type lifestyle – isn’t that a bit of a contradiction?

Don’t know about you, but I am horrified with the way this woman is attacked on every level and seemingly can’t get anything right!

Meghan’s heritage is certainly part of the problem with the older generation of traditionalists, as someone who has met employees from the Palace, know that they are more conscious of class and race than the Royals themselves.

I recently met another opponent who had been a strong contender for a high profile role similar to Meghan’s, and who will remain unnamed, but who criticised Meghan mercilessly for her influence on Prince Harry.  But as with all of her enemies, I feel that they all have their own agenda and just wish they were in her shoes.  It does seem significant that Meghan is now the same age as Princess Diana when she died, and so seems to be picking up the mantle and that includes the public reproach.

I was relieved to see Dame Helen Mirren had Meghan’s back in a recent interview and stated that the Duchess was playing out her difficult role with great dignity.  A statement I would wholeheartedly support, as she is on an impossible assignment, and one she is carrying out with enormous strength, despite constant criticism and attack from her opposition.

The fact that she is well into her pregnancy, she has had vile attack from her own family members, especially her invidious half-sister who looks more like an evil character from an aesop fable than a loving sibling, Meghan is still standing and persists in her quest to make a difference in the World.

If Prince Harry has matured and is now in love with a woman who shares the same values as he.  After all he has also been on the firing line in Afghanistan in a similar way to his wife, and understands how that feels when being attacked on all sides in an endeavour to wipe him out.

So it must be a joy for them both to share the same agenda and fight their oppressors together.  So whether it be climate change, the homeless or for the good of the Planet, it is true that the millennia generation are far more engaged and on a mission, and thankfully have Harry and Meghan as leaders to fight their cause.

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – WHY WE SHOULD ALL STAND UP

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – WHY WE SHOULD ALL STAND UP

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

I consider myself to be a ‘feminist’ – I have always loved being a woman, embraced the Goddess and unashamedly used every feminine wile in the book.  So why have do some of us have a problem with International Women’s Day?

As many of you know from documented accounts of my family’s legacy, my Grandfather was one of the first registered bare knuckle fighters at The Ring in London’s Blackfriars in the 1920s, and yet I regard him as one of the biggest ‘feminists’ at a time when females were constrained to the Kitchen.

Sid ‘Tiger’ Thomas was one generation apart from me, but taught his offspring how to box, how to stand up for ourselves in a male dominated environment and that there were no limits to what we could achieve.

As a result of this confidence to have this freedom, my Mother Sylvia Anderson went on to become a pioneer for women in television, having created characters and storylines for iconic TV whilst surrounded by a male team.  They were indeed hungry for her contribution and talent as they lacked her vision and creativity, but less able to give her the ultimate credit at the time, as women were not always celebrated.

I have always been my own person, taking risks and pursuing my own passions in spite of gender barriers and have encouraged my daughter and now granddaughter to do the same.

So why do some of us feel triggered to dispute the rhetoric of a day which celebrate an entire gender.  Perhaps it is its own PR which can be deemed as both political and gender biased.

‘After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.’

But if we look beyond the narrative – perhaps we can deploy our own interpretation and pay homage, not just to the suffragettes, but the women who have silently fought our corner, in both in our own environment and far reaching realms of our Planet – some of whom still do not have a voice, but are an integral part of the fabric of their society, and soldier on regardless without rights or recognition for their own talents or achievements.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the United States, record numbers of women march along 5th Avenue, past a banner that reads ”Women of the World Unite!’, New York, New York, August 26, 1970. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

 

This is why I will always celebrate International Women’s Day, and would encourage us all to do the same.

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RESPECT FOR THE UNSUNG HERO – THE LIGHT SHINES ON NORMAN WISDOM

RESPECT FOR THE UNSUNG HERO – THE LIGHT SHINES ON NORMAN WISDOM

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

A late dark day in December, an email pops up in an old email inbox from an unknown address inviting me to a lunch in Margate!   Margate?  Where is that exactly, somewhere on the South Coast I believe, think I may have visited with grandparents as a child, but not really sure.

On further investigation I discover it is from someone called Richard Selwyn-Barnett.  The name rings a vague bell, but I warily reply asking who he is and how he even got my email address, as it is an email I hardly ever use these days.  He replies he has had it since the late nineties when he was based at Pinewood Studios, as was I, when he was doing a project with Norman Wisdom.

The response comes that he is an ‘Introducer’, a natural matchmaker, although not in the romantic sense, who puts groups of people together who may have a mutual synergy and share common ground.  I am curious and dig a little deeper, he sends me his mobile number and I call it.

Quentin Tarantino & Richard

I have a surprisingly interesting conversation with this man, and he confirms that he is hosting a lunch in Margate, his home town the following month and that it will be attended by film producers, media artists and other industry heavyweights who are going to be there.  He names them, and I am impressed, oh what the hell I think, nothing ventured, and even if this guy isn’t for real, the very least I will have achieved is that I have checked out Margate, which is being heralded as ‘the new Shoreditch’. because of the new creative premises popping up, so I will have achieved something on the day.

The drive to Margate was a good one, albeit a little longer than I thought, but I arrived there early to check it out, it was still Winter so the sea gulls were in full voice, but the beaches were deserted.  I opted to warm myself up with a cup of hot chocolate in one of the small cafes still open for the locals off season, and eaves dropped on some pensioners taking their morning cuppa, and quickly decided that Margate wasn’t for me as it hadn’t quite ‘arrived’ as a creative hub.  Maybe in ten years time!

Richard had organised the lunch at the most exclusive hotel in Margate ‘The Sands’ which seemed strangely out of kilter with the rest of the sleepy English seaside town, with its trendy designer interior and upbeat vibe.  I got into conversation with a young bartender who looked equally out of place, as I ordered a drink before the group arrived.  He confirmed that the area was due for a major uplift as artists like Tracey Emin were moving back in, and the drab appearance of the old town would soon be history.

As the group arrived, so did Richard Selwyn-Barnett, and he was true to his word as he introduced me to an impressive group of industry achievers, Joan Lane, who developed the award winning King’s Speech film, Bruno Tilley, the first brand creative at Island Records and others who prefer to remain anonymous.

Richard & Justin Chadwick

It was an impressive lunch and afternoon, and really the start of something great.  Since this lunch two years ago, several projects have been started, numerous events attended and we have all been introduced to a variety of other industry members who have enhanced our lives.

I have just been told that a new category of Award has recently been created for ‘Best Introducer’ – guess who won it?  I think you know – but not before time, as Richard is a rare breed, and he does it for the pure passion of putting people together.  I am extremely grateful to him for contacting me after twenty years, and as he says when I try to thank him ‘just blame it on Norman Wisdom’.

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