Stories it’s a privilege to share.

Many of you will know that I’m working on a documentary project about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. It follows on from the Art in Mind project I worked on before Christmas which focussed on Mental Health.

Neither of these projects could happen without people choosing to take part. Kind, generous people giving not only their time, but their honest, heartfelt experiences and opinions of sometimes devastating things that have happened in their lives.

I’ve heard stories of rejection, isolation, even suicide but also of inspiration, celebration and joy. Some say a journalist should not become emotionally involved, I believe the opposite. Good journalism, excellent journalism, is all about telling a story. But these are not my stories to tell. My job is only to help these stories be told by those who do own them.

Genuine human empathy means that I have cried, laughed, and jumped for joy – often all on the same day and with the same person. As one adult with ADHD said to me recently: “If life is like a rollercoaster, then life with ADHD is like riding the Pepsi Max at 1000mph.”

I’m just another guy from Wigan. It’s a long time since I was the best at anything, and I’m certainly not the best at being a journalist or a filmmaker, but it’s a genuine privilege that people choose to share their lives with us just to make a documentary.

It amazes me that so many people have come forward to do that, in the hope of helping others who, right now, might be going through the same experiences that they have already had.

However long I work in this business for, I just hope that this privilege is one that I never, ever take for granted.

The Worry Tree, a free Anxiety and Mental Health resource

One of my little bugbears is how so many of the great mental health resources that are our there (there are some there, honest… you just have to spend days of your life hunting for them) are so badly presented. In this day and age when there are eight-year-olds producing iPhone apps and writing code, then there’s really no excuse for poorly presented resources.

Apart from anything else, if you’re presented with page after page of dreary text to wade through it’s not exactly exciting. When you’re already depressed, anxious, suicidal, whatever… imagine how it makes you feel then!

So I’m embarking on a little project to produce some self-help mental health resources that look good as well as doing good. A lot of these will be based on things that I’ve used myself through my own illness. The first one is a strategy that has served me really well in dealing with anxiety: The Worry Tree.

The Worry Tree

The idea of The Worry Tree is to provide a way of tackling anxiety.

Starting at the top of the tree, it asks a series of questions that help you to think about whether the worry you have is something that is actually a real problem, or just in your imagination (you’d be surprised for me how often that’s the case!). Then it helps you to make a plan of what you’re going to do to tackle the worry.

What I found helped me the most about The Worry Tree was the emphasis on either dealing with problems straight away – so they don’t fester – or making a plan to deal with them and then not worrying about them in the meantime. It really, really helped me to get on with the rest of my life without letting my anxiety get the better of me.

Worry Tree

Anyway, here is a poster in .jpeg and .pdf form of The Worry Tree, I hope you like it:

  • To download the JPEG version right click on the image of The Worry Tree and choose “Save As”. You will then be able to choose where to save the image on your device.
  • Download the PDF version of The Worry Tree by clicking here.

A note about Copyright and Licensing

You are free to download and use a single copy The Worry Tree for your own personal use, or for a member of your immediate family (ie. someone you live with). If you want to use it professionally, or make more than one copy – or if you would like to order printed copies from me – then please Get in Touch or email [email protected] (my business email address) and we’ll get it sorted for you.