James Acaster health: Comedian recalls his past anxiety battle – symptoms
Babylon Health: Tips for coping with anxiety and mental health
James Acaster seemingly pops up everywhere on the comedy circuit at the moment. He routinely appears on hit panel shows, including Mock the Week, Taskmaster, 8 out of 10 Cats, and Would I Lie to You?. He also won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award for Most Outstanding Show in 2019 with Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999.
James’s comedic talents may be bearing fruits but he has been through periods of intense anguish up until this point.
At the beginning of 2017, James Acaster split with his girlfriend and a period of mental distress followed, which culminated in thoughts of suicide.
The comedian first revealed how he initially didn’t understand the warning signs and the toll it was taking on his life.
“I didn’t label things properly. I didn’t think [my] anxiety was anxiety, or depression was depression,” he explained in an interview with the BBC.
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“I knew people who had severe versions of those things and I didn’t see it as a spectrum…I didn’t see that almost everyone experiences these things to some degree.”
He recalled how he experienced bouts of “extreme anxiety” throughout his relationship in 2013.
“It was unbearable. But because the relationship was going badly, I thought, ‘Well, the relationship’s bad and that’s why I feel like this. It’s not a puzzle. I haven’t got anxiety or depression'”, he said.
At the end of another relationship in 2017, suicidal thoughts started creeping in, he revealed.
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Anxiety and depression – how do they differ?
A key difference between the two definitions is that one refers to a single illness, and the other to a group of conditions.
As Bupa explains, depression is essentially one illness. Although it has lots of different symptoms and may feel very different to different people, the term refers to a single condition.
“Anxiety, on the other hand, is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of more specific conditions,” says the health body.
It adds: “The most prevalent of these is generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which may affect between four and five in every 100 people in the UK.”
According to Bupa, generalised anxiety disorder and depression are similar in that their main defining symptoms relate to someone’s mood and feelings, but they also have physical manifestations.
How to treat mental health issues
Talking therapies are psychological treatments for mental and emotional problems like stress, anxiety and depression.
According to the NHS, there are lots of different types of talking therapy, but they all involve working with a trained therapist.
“This may be one-to-one, in a group, online, over the phone, with your family, or with your partner,” explains the health body.
You can get talking therapies like counselling for depression and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the NHS.
According to the NHS, you can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.
“If you prefer, see your GP and they can refer you and share relevant information about you,” advises the health body.
If you’re having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to tell someone.
You can reach the Samaritans on 116 123 or [email protected]
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