Mental health recovery

"Voted the UK's No 1 innovative self-help book to support mental health recovery"

An awe-inspiring and groundbreaking approach to mental health recovery, designed to give sufferers and their families compassionate, practical, and life-changing advice.

By uniquely bringing the two entities together from the debilitated sufferer’s story, along with the commentary, wisdom and experience of a world leading psychologist,this delivers an innovative self help book where it’s whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, delivering sufferers hope and aiding them towards recovery.

Definitive and user-friendly recovery and support books with a compassionate, straightforward and innovative approach, helping sufferers to recover from mental health issues.

Pullingthetrigger: We believe that recovery from mental health issues is achieved through talking, being open and having the courage to face both the illness and the fears which come along with it. Fear plays a huge and negative role in ongoing mental illness; sufferers fear others’ perception of them, isolation, that nobody – not even themselves – will ever understand what’s happening to them and fear that they might never feel better. Meanwhile fears caused by misconceptions, myths about ‘madness’ and the prospect of having to participate in an ‘awkward’ conversation are still rife in society as a whole. Pullingthetrigger believe there is only one way to conquer these fears; to face them head on.

Within this recovery approach, Lauren and I want to give you the very best of our experience in dealing with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, panic attacks and related depression while we encourage, help and support you as you lay your torment to rest. And be assured that’s exactly what you will do if you follow our journey. Our approach is a simple yet highly effective treatment for mild to severe anxiety-based mental health issues.

Anxiety itself is a primal response to threat, better known as ‘fight, flight or freeze’. It’s a defence mechanism and we all need a little anxiety in our lives to keep us functioning actively. However, anxiety becomes debilitating and dangerous when we attach importance to it that inflates its position in our lives. This includes panic attacks – a heightened manifestation of anxiety symptoms. Attempting to control thoughts, push them aside, invent safety behaviours to suppress them or avoid anxiety, and avoiding situations in which the thoughts and feelings of anxiety may occur, actually make problems with OCD and anxiety much worse.

We know that OCD is an obsessional disorder sitting on a background of anxiety in which sufferers attach meanings to unwanted thoughts, then employ a range of mental and physical behavioural strategies in an attempt to rid themselves of the thoughts and the anxious feelings. If, for example, you know the only way of getting rid of the thought and to feel less anxious is by counting in multiples of seven, or repeating a certain phrase to yourself, or replacing the thought with a ‘neutral’ or ‘safe’ thought, then the logical next step is to do that thing. The intrusive thought goes away and you’re safe – until the next time it pops into your head and causes you distress. That is OCD.

Our Pullingthetrigger approach has, at its core, three principal concepts: Accept, Embrace and Control.

Accepting that you have an anxiety problem or obsessional problem is key, as is accepting that this is your current state of mind. And within this, accepting that you’re having unwanted or uncomfortable thoughts and uncomfortable feelings (both emotional and physiological) is the first step towards recovery. This stops the fight and although this is still uncomfortable for you, it feeds the anxiety, OCD and panic attacks no further: you have culled the growth.

Embracing those thoughts involves going towards them and welcoming them in, no matter how fearful you might feel. Initially, this is hard work and requires courage. Remember – don’t get ‘fight’ mixed up with ‘courage’. You are not offering this illness a fight; you are having the courage to call its bluff and see it for what it is – a fake! Embracing means doing what the anxiety is telling you not to do or avoid. Embracing will get easier over time. Soon enough the process will feel more natural and you will habituate to the feared situation, and this will become less and less scary.

Controlling those thoughts and fears occurs, ironically, by not ‘controlling’ them in the conventional sense of suppressing them and trying to rid yourself of the thoughts, urges and anxiety sensations, but by allowing them in, noticing them, but not judging them. As a consequence you also take further control in this sense of you now deciding when you are going to interact with them and not the other way around, where they try to control and dictate to you. Control is also understanding and accepting that it’s OK not to be in control of your thoughts, urges and sensations.

The aim of recovering from anxiety-based mental illness is not to rid yourself of the thoughts, urges or feelings you get from the illness, but the very opposite in allowing yourself to be exposed to them and embracing them. Try and look at it like recovering from a broken arm, or a torn muscle or even a cut. Can you heal your broken arm, muscle or cut by analysing it, worrying about it, fighting it or by willing yourself for it to be better? Of course not, you have to accept it first, and then engage in an evidenced based treatment approach in order to heal. The exact same principle applies to anxiety. Have courage and take the journey – you will never look back.