A little teaser from my upcoming book on panic (just in case it wasn’t clear in the title) as I see it, from my own twisted mind, in my own twisted words.
Nicky Cullen is the founder of the men’s style blog, SirEdward.co (don't worry, Ed's dead for now). This may come as a shock, but he’s also responsible for NickyCullen.com. Slightly more controversial, but a cracker none the less.
He loves when people follow his social media accounts because, as much as he likes not to give a fuck, he also likes to feel popular and more importantly, wants this message to spread. A massive contradiction but regardless, he would request that once you finish reading this masterpiece, you carry out your due diligence and get connected. In return, he will do his utmost to ensure you don't regret it.
Fuck it; he's writing his own foreword. Having dealt with panic attacks and periods of associated depression for approximately 12 years, he is now committed to helping others where possible and inspiring all to live a life they love, instead of putting up with all the bullshit society expects of us while eagerly awaiting retirement before checking out for good.
Oh, and just incase you haven’t noticed, this book is rated R, and he couldn’t give a fuck!
A LIFE WITH ANXIETY LOOMS
I can trace mild anxiety back to my youth. For a loud rebellious little bastard, I was ironically quite shy and didn’t like attention. But, we might as well dive straight into the good stuff.
I’ll never forget the day my life changed forever…
It was 2nd year in college, and I'd eaten Special K for breakfast. My relationship was very much on the rocks which I’m not going to lie, had me a little distraught with no backbone to deal with it. I was also repeating 1st year in college having decided not to repeat a project after being called out for plagiarism - apparently; I missed the lecture explaining that one! Instead, I opted to jump on a plane back to the States where I had been enjoying a summer of endless parties, beer, weed, and pizza. That or a law assignment awaited me? Possibly not a great decision but it wasn't exactly a difficult one.
Back to the story. This was all made worse by the fact that my then girlfriend and I shared all of the same friends, as we were a product of the same school. This one evening was a typical one, school friends now in college hanging out, getting stoned and laughing a lot. However, on this particular evening, myself and one of my dear friends (the prick) got more stoned than most (a couple hits on a two-litre bong will do that to one). My laughter was out of control and shithead wouldn’t give me a second to catch my breath. He actually chased me around the house for about 20 mins as I desperately tried to gasp for air through my high pitched laughter. Eventually, I got my air, the laughter subsided and paranoia began to kick in, in a major way!
Let’s call the X Ruth, because well, that’s her name, and you can be sure she's read this before you. Well, she wasn’t impressed. In fact, nobody was (in my mind anyway), but I was so messed up I had the lead in my own Fear & Loathing movie - college edition.
‘Sh*t, this is no fun at all! I’ll go to the bathroom, take a piss, splash a little water on the noggin and order will be restored. Sweet divine Jesus I’m gone numb.’ I couldn’t even feel my Mickey let alone get it to work, but at the same time, I was convinced I’d piss my pants if I put it away! ‘Sweet Jesus, is it too late to repent for my sins?’
This was all too real, and now I was beginning to freak the fuck out! I should point out that at this point in my life I had never indulged in any type A's, or B's for that matter, but in about 20 seconds, the sweet Mary Jane on top of the shit that was going wrong in my personal life was about to unleash a disaster of epic proportions, and redirect the plane that is my life at a rate of knots crashing firmly towards the ground.
I was now completely freaked out and stuck in the bathroom contemplating my escape (Alcatraz style, but there was no window, and I was in no state to dig a hole, typical). It was simple; I figured I had about 10 seconds to make it from the bathroom to the front door before I died! Fight or flight baby (panic 101) - on this occasion, my only option was to fucking flee! The mission was simple, and I had no choice but to accept it, time to execute…. ‘Game time Nicky!’
The plan was simple. Cool as ice I would just walk out, look at the ceiling (eye contact was not an option), tell it that I’m not feeling well and I’m going home. I would then immediately run out the front door and never return. Ever!
‘Pheeeew, I made it, and I haven’t even pissed myself, result! Fuuuuuccck, I forgot my phone. With my very existence and future on this planet at stake, I knew that NOKIA 3310 greatly increased my chances of survival, and I had to survive. Fleeing was no longer an option; it was time to fight. I tried to compose myself with a quick Hail Mary in a desperate attempt to make amends with the big man.
A message received from the God: Fat chance you bollox! Damn it; I still needed that phone, and being the fighter that I am, I went back up to the door like a hero and rang that bastard of a bell…….I clearly forgot to eat my spinach (Special K for breakfast - what was I thinking?) that day as I immediately proceeded to run for my life.
Assuming now that I was away from any immediate danger. In theory, things should start to ease off? In no time at all I should be panned out on the couch watching Road Trip, snacking on hard pizza crust thinking to myself, it actually tastes amazing, while at the same time thinking…… ‘shit that was a close call, I should possibly consider smoking less, but I survived so I might as well celebrate and light one up.’
Unfortunately, there was no Cinderella ending to this story. As I kept patting my pants to make sure I hadn't pissed myself, all of a sudden pissing myself was the last of my worries. Blood was now coming from my ears. That’s correct, BLOOD, from my FUCKING EARS! If anyone saw me walking down the street, they would have probably filmed it, stuck it on YouTube and got a million plus hits. This was train spotting shit; it was most definitely a panic attack, but there was almost certainly something else in the water (a very large quantity of THC one would imagine).
What's one to do? After the longest walk of my life, continuously patting myself down and inspecting my ears while trying to keep a brain contained within my skull, I’m happy to report that I finally made it home. Upon my return, I inspected everything in the mirror - there was no blood, no urine either. Just one seriously freaked out kid looking back at me.
Unfortunately, I never got around to eating the pizza crust, watching Road Trip, laughing it off and smoking another joint.
That Ladies and Gentlemen was my first panic attack, and those fuckers had no intention of going anywhere. Instead, the little pricks decided to set up camp for the long haul.
I think most of you would agree, a trip to Disneyland sounds more appealing?
It left me messed up for years, five before I saw some light and another seven building my confidence back up, with several relapses.
Life is short; and that’s a long fucking time. I don’t want others to be consumed by such terror, so I hope my little bit of wisdom will help ensure that doesn’t have to be the case.
While I like to joke around and swear a lot. The message in this book is a very serious one, which is precisely why I'm writing it. That and the fact that I find it therapeutic. I wish I were never in a position to write this, but I am, so screw it. As fucked up as it is, my biggest nightmare has apparently turned into one of my greatest passions.
What's my objective?
Besides the free therapy (I'll probably need more than therapy after this) and the fact that I love to write? It may be wishful thinking, but it’s quite simple - to inspire change. The words 'change' and 'simple' don’t exactly go hand in hand, as it seems everything's overly complicated these days.
So, I was discussing my objectives or some shit;
To inspire those living with a panic disorder to break the bastard down.
To educate those fortunate enough to have avoided them to date to not think we’re all a bunch of lunatics (yours truly excluded), and how better to deal with loved ones or anybody who may be experiencing such anguish in their life.
To equip those who have never experienced panic with enough ammunition that God forbid, if one day the shit does hit the fan, they’ll be fucking bulletproof (or, at least, be equipped with a vest so they can bounce back after being hit).
Here’s where I get really optimistic. I want governments to change, I want education systems to change, I want the media to change, I want *The Kardashians (which I used to watch) cancelled and I want to do my bit in making the world a better, more compassionate place. I’m actually laughing writing this, but at the same time, I’m serious.
If I’m lucky enough to one day become a dad, I want to do my bit in creating a better world for the little fucker (assuming he is, in fact, a he) to grow up in. Yup, I think it would be pretty cool if the world was just a little less fucked up.
*I'm not trying to bash The Kardashians, I'm certainly not a fan of the show. I just think there's something seriously the matter that as a society, we are so bored and uninspired with our own lives that we resort to becoming obsessed with others.
BUT WAIT - THERE’S MORE!
I want to inspire those consumed by the fear society has instilled in us to challenge it and chase a life they’ll love instead of living one they secretly loath, all the while being a prisoner of their mind while generating a shit load of regret and anger towards the past.
NOW, PAY ATTENTION!
I shouldn’t actually have to tell you to pay attention. However, I want to make it extremely clear that nobody but myself is to blame; all my fuck ups are my own. Society as a whole is going to take a few blows. I’ll swing for you; I'll swing for me. Hopefully, this one-two combination delivers, at least, one knockout blow.
This is just my story, a little boy in the big bad world. I’m not really into science and statistics. I prefer when writing on this subject to rely on my experience, gut, and intuition. There are literally thousands of books out there loaded with science and statistics if that’s what you’re looking for? It’s just not my style as I usually need a dictionary to get through them.
I’m sure I’ll drop some facts sporadically just to keep the peace so here goes - anxiety / depression affects about one in four people. Meaning, there could be more than a billion of these books. I’m one of the fortunate ones as I’ve been blessed with an incredibly supportive family, both emotionally and financially who could afford to keep me afloat when shit got really horrific. (When I use the word blessed, I'm not talking Jesus blessed. My apartment looks out into a church, so myself and the big man are essentially neighbours, and let me tell you - he expects us to obey his commandments but fails himself to deliver on one of the big ones - Love Thy Neighbour - not one fucking prayer have I had answered).
Ding f'n dong:
If you suffer from a debilitating anxiety disorder? The first step to recovery is acceptance. Sucks I know, but it's got to be done. While getting messed up on drink and drugs is fun, it's definitely not the answer (you'd make a better case in an MIT classroom that 1 + 1 is actually 3). The hangovers suck, and they only get worse with age (believe me, if it was the answer - my 20's would have been awesome). Help is certainly encouraged, but you and only you can take the action required to beat the bastard.
I'm that beautiful bastard on the left. A serious catch I think you'll agree!
Most have no clue what it’s actually like, so how can they offer you the support you need? If they haven’t gone through it and pretend otherwise, they’re full of shit. The world still has a long way to go; the stigma is still very real. Non-sufferers don’t know how to talk about it, or they just think we’re all crazy. It’s great when celebrities use their position of influence for good and help to break the stigma down. Unfortunately, due to a celebrity obsessed culture, Kim Kardashian's ass will receive far more attention. This is precisely why all the celebrities I admire the most have fuck all respect for the paparazzi. Those with actual talent the world can appreciate, you know the ones before the curse of reality TV braced our screens where it seems the more one is willing to make a tit out of themselves, the more successful they will be.
Another harsh reality. Those who use their celebrity for the greater good could literally tweet they have a bad case of hemorrhoids and receive thousands of get well soon / I’m thinking of you / I feel your pain, etc. tweets back and in no time at all - #hemorrhoids would be trending worldwide. This is partly because so many of us out there are living a conceptual life. Unfortunately, it’s a much harsher reality for us mere mortals when bracing the subject of mental health. Yes, as a society we've come a long way, and yes, due credit should be given to those celebrities that have stuck their neck out and paved the way (in fact, there's a lot more at stake for them) for a better future. But, we still have a very long way to go. My stance on the stigma is a simple one: Fuck It!
If you suffer from panic attacks? I hope this book will have a positive impact on your life. Once you learn to accept them (and you will, not because of this book, because of the action you, yourself will take), they will slowly begin to dissipate. Acceptance is one of the greatest challenges, but it’s also one of the most powerful. You will literally drop kick those fuckers right out of the stadium. Not forever, I don’t want to give you false hope, maybe forever depending on your makeup and how deeply rooted your beliefs are within your consciousness, but you can always give them the boot once more. In the interim, there's always wine!
In time, you will have a whole new appreciation for life. One that many never get to experience because the lucky bastards have managed to sidestep this curse, while others, unfortunately, never make it out the other side.
Yes, this is serious, and I can tell you now with my head held high that I have fuck all respect for those who brand suicide a selfish act. It’s a bi-product of these horrific diseases and a messed up society, extremely heartbreaking of course. If this has upset anybody that has been affected by suicide, my sincere apologies as this is never my intention.
It doesn’t matter what class system we belong to; it’s all fucked! As a compassionate race (deep down, that’s how I believe we all start out before external influences mess with our mindsets and perceptions shift), we need to stand up and say enough is enough, and stop being such self-obsessed c*nts! If not for ourselves, for future generations.
Would I have preferred a life without panic?
You know when you play that game with friends where you have two horrific scenarios, and you have to choose one? I have some sick friends so I won’t actually repeat the scenarios but in keeping with the tone of the book - I’d rather be gang fucked in prison then go through that shit again. Crystal? I haven’t branded it the ‘Mother of all Fuckers’ for no reason! Sure, there’s plenty other 'Mother Fuckers' out there, but I’ve never known one like this. I may have a follow-up one day. The Mother Fucker Series! I hope not, but if so, J.K Rowling better watch out.
Panic lit the biggest fire imaginable up under my ass, more like an atomic bomb exploding with shit spraying everywhere (proud of that analogy I must say - there's little hope for me, but you can save yourself). As you will learn throughout the course of this book, I didn’t exactly handle it very well. There’s no sugar coating here; it’s a fucking nightmare. On the plus side, one can flip it and use it to their advantage.
This is an aside. I’ve never had any lessons in writing, nor did I pay attention in English class. So if you’re reading some parts and they don’t make sense - all that is, is your mind not being able to make sense of mine. Seems like a pretty legit excuse if you ask me but I fear an editor may be called upon at a later date.
If you are reading this and can relate, great....it's pretty shit actually, but you know! If you can’t, allow me to hammer it home a little more for shits and giggles. Now, I want to live - this fucked up little world we live in is amazing, and I plan on getting the most out of it. But, deliver me an ultimatum where I was put back in the thick of it for ten more years when it consumed my every waking sober thought, on top of all the physical and emotional pain I had to endure. Not to say that lying in bed holding my head because the pain was so intense while at the same time crying convinced I was having a heart attack wasn’t great fun. It just wasn’t my idea of fun, and I’m supposed to have fun. I’m supposed to be a free spirit god dammit; I want to laugh and say inappropriate shit all day long!
I digress, back to the ultimatum - another ten years or end it all? I’d choose death every time. You may think that’s extreme? It’s very extreme; I’m just making the point. There are millions out there experiencing this shit as I type, and what the fuck are we really doing to help? Not a whole lot. Prevention is the best cure, but the only real progress I see is resuscitation services as we fall off cliffs like fucking lemmings.
Thankfully, I’ve far too much wisdom and tools at my disposal to ever let that happen. That’s one of the many purposes of this book - HOPE! Hope for me, hope for you, hope for the future and hope this fucker sells. A blueprint of the baby steps one can take to create a better life. One of freedom, not entrapment.
As I mentioned, acceptance is the first step to breaking this bitch down. You’ve got to learn to love your anxiety, love yourself, and love this world again irrespective of how messed up it is. Yes, you - you’re a star in your own fucked up little way and don’t let anybody ever tell you differently. If they do, don’t bother holding a grudge, they don't pay rent to live in your head so why would you let them squat for free? Just deem them irrelevant. They can make it up to you if they so wish, if not - screw 'em!
Over the course of this book, I’ll open up my past, attempt to add a bit of humour, provide some tips that worked for me which will hopefully inspire and provide you with the courage to change the course of your life for the better. I’ll also discuss the changes I believe are paramount to achieving a happier, more productive, less anxious and depressed society. All from my twisted little mind. And of course, all the shit that doesn't help.
So, what I'm asking of you is to share, share, share. Whether you think I’m a complete cock or not? It might not be relevant to you right now, but you’re still reading instead of watching The Bachelor or some shit. This is real reality, and It might just be what one of your friends is looking for.
This post is essentially market research; it helps me gauge how well this might be received and if it has the potential to make a positive impact on people's lives.
It also has the potential to make me feel popular, but who gives a fuck about that right!?
Thanks for reading!