Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills talks about his anxiety
The BBC Radio 1 presenter Scott Mills, who suffers from anxiety, panic attacks and depression, hosted the twentieth Mind Media Awards at the British Film Institute this week.
The Awards celebrate the best ways in which the media has worked with the topic of mental health, through documentaries, storylines or journalism, whether in print, onscreen or online. Media is an incredibly powerful vehicle through which topical issues can be addressed, stereotypes challenged and awareness and understanding increased. Media can reach out to people who would otherwise feel isolated, and many people who experience mental health problems find comfort in hearing the stories of others – whether based in fact or fiction – and learning that they are not alone.
“The media has amazing power to inform and inspire. It has a duty to tell the truth about mental health problems and in doing so, challenge the painfully outdated opinions that many people still hold,” the dj told Mind. “This is why I’m so proud to host this year’s Mind Media Awards…to celebrate those in the industry who have stepped up to the plate, recognised the stand they can take to crush stereotypes, and told the real story of mental health.”
Mills, 40, has been dealing with his own mental health issues since he was young, once having to take time out of school because he was feeling so low, according to The Mirror. Like many people who are dealing with depression and anxiety, for years he didn’t understand what was happening to him and felt isolated in his struggle: “When I had my anxiety I didn’t know anyone else who had had a similar experience so I thought I was going mad,” he told the tabloid paper. “At my worst I felt so ill I called an ambulance once. A panic attack came on without warning and I genuinely thought I was going to die…I was tingling all over from the lack of oxygen.” Scott received support for his anxiety, and was given medication and a course of counselling to help him manage it. He now feels he is able to work with his anxiety and depression, although this was a different story in the past: “I used to spend weeks at home and even simple things like leaving the house felt like a chore,” he said. “There was no obvious trigger but now, what used to be bad nerves when I felt as though I couldn’t breathe are now positive nerves.”
Anxiety is a very real reaction to threatening stimuli, and at its basic level is a primitive response which can be life-saving: if we didn’t react to stepping out in front of a car travelling at 60 mph we would be in trouble, and it would be unusual to not feel nervous about speaking out to a room of 500 people. However, at The Grove we understand that feelings of anxiety can get out of control and become all-consuming, and can make everyday life feel frightening and difficult. Anxiety can paralyse, as we feel unable to live our lives and at times perform even the simplest jobs and chores. It can be distressing when we don’t know where these feelings have come from, and why they over-power us and leave us unable to cope with and enjoy life.
A course of therapy can support the development of techniques for dealing with anxiety, while also helping to identify the roots of the feelings and why they get triggered at certain points in your daily life. At The Grove our counsellors and therapists have experience of working with anxiety, and understand the confusion and frustration that arises when this state takes a hold on your life. Although it may feel tempting to isolate yourself and hide away let’s talk first, and see what we can do to help you manage your feelings and feel less overwhelmed. This way when the anxiety does hit you can work with it, like Scott Mills, so that you can regain control and autonomy over your life rather than continue to be ruled by anxiety, nervousness and panic.