Most “normal” people will go through times in life where they are mentally and emotionally under pressure.

To have a mental health problem is as “normal” as having a cardiac, digestive, circulation or joint problem.

Many mental problems are associated with a trauma or a life occurance.

They can be triggered by problems in work, in a relationship, in a financial predicament etc.

This is especially true of conditions like depression and anxiety.

My first encounter with real anxiety happened when I was working in Divis Flats Belfast when I was living with two priests who were mentally torturing me 24/7.

I was sensible enough to talk to a doctor and to a psychiatrist who reassured me that my anxiety and panic attacks were the result of the intolerable situation I was living in.

I have always been one to tackle a problem head on.

I did a two week residential course in Nottingham with the famous psychiatrist, Dr Frank Lake.


I discovered that I had my first panic attack just before my birth when the birth pangs started to expel me from my mother’s womb – the only world I knew at the time – and a world from which I was being forced to leave – an annihilation experience.

Panic attacks are part of the fight or flee basic human instinct.

When I learned that for myself, I never had another panic attack.

All “animals” panic when they are threatened with attack or annihilation.

We are part of the animal kingdom too.

I also relived my birth experience with Dr Lake and was able to come home and tell my mother things about my birth that she had forgotten!

The human mind is like an iceberg with only 3% of it above water.

Our subconscious mind represents 90% + of our consciousness.

When we cannot deal with reality we hide what’s bothering us in our subconscious.

There, it has the propensity to trouble us for years or for forever.


There are some mental health conditions that are not simply “situational” but have deeper causes.

I’m thinking of things like Bi Polar Disorder or Schizophrenia etc.

These can be caused by chemical problems in the brain or by extreme forces like PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A very easy to read book for psychiatrists called DSM 5 can be read if you have £ 60.

But please, as an amateur, please do not use this book to diagnose yourself or another.

Such diagnosis is strictly for professionals.

But there is nothing wrong with suspecting that you or a friend might have a mental disorder.

Always consult a professional.

One of the big problems with mental health is that the person suffering from it might either not know – or not accept that they are ill.

This is a very challenging situation for relatives, friends and even doctors.

In the old days persons were diagnosed and institutionalised far too easily.

Now the pendulum has swung the other way and it is extremely difficult to get a patient in denial help.

Let’s use remove the stigma from mental health.

Let’s all talk about it.