This week’s episode is a story about what it takes to wake up to anxiety and overcome outdated ideas that men should hide their vulnerability.
I talked to all-round awesome guy and truth-teller Graham Connelly. He’s an engineer, a pro at fixing machines. Except when his mental health began to crumble.
At 35, he suffered a breakdown and the wheels flew off his machine. He’d taken on big things at work and willingly sacrificed relationships and relaxation. He couldn’t sit still. He expected great things of himself and others in his life, continually. With anxiety disorder and self-imposed work pressures he stopped sleeping well, which slammed his body chemistry and gradually anger crept into his every day. By the end he was in a constant state of rage. He lived up to the stereotype of being a man by keeping quiet and internalising his anxious thoughts, manning up on the outside as things fell apart on the inside.
Graham tells us stories from this time in his life, and how he began to wake up to his reality for the first time, and take ownership for his reactions and behaviour. We hear about his role in the mega Pyllon Endeavour 2, the unique 540-mile run masterminded by Paul Giblin, spanning the length of Scotland on the Scottish National Trail.
I got a lot out of talking to Graham and spent a while reflecting on the idea that much of the time the answer to our problems is within. But to tune into the clear inner voice of instinct we need to work to calm the chemistry of anxiety, then take accountability for our actions and reactions and accept our past and present with as much compassion as we can muster. Only by staying present and keeping the ego in check can we be the best humans we can be.
Our conversation also dug into:
The cognitive dissonance Graham faced up to
What his breakdown looked and felt like
Actionable steps that helped him fix and maintain the machine of his brain
How he learnt to recognise and witness his thoughts and feelings
Tools and strategies for relaxing in the everyday
The why of running long
How Pyllon Endeavour 2 unfolded
A few votes of thanks…to Graham for saying yes to this. To the amazing Rockstar Sport, my Spotlight Patron and purveyor of beautiful performance clothing. Finally, far from least, to all my patrons who are collectively one huge vote of confidence and support towards essential recording costs (35% at the moment).
Do you listen every week? Can you afford $5 a month? If so, I’d love for you to join the Patreon community, you can check out all the benefits and bonus content right here.
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Check out the episode from Friday at 8am UK in the usual places: