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Mental Health Week – Man in the Middle – Part 2


This is Part 2 of my semi-autobiographical story I wrote 6 years ago about a guy called Brad. He’s struggling with anxiety and depression, and I’m sharing this to raise awareness as part of Mental Health Week. I’ve split the story in to 4 readable chunks so here, goes with part 2 and if you missed part 1 please follow this link;


Man In The Middle – Part 2

To those around him, Brad looked and acted normal, perhaps a bit pre-occupied at times, ‘day-dreamy’ and as his close friend Anne recently said ‘Brad, sometimes when I’m talking with you, it’s like the lights are on, but no-one’s home!!’ Little did they realise that this was the sign that Brad was grappling with personal demons that threatened his very existence and he was the proverbial elegant swan floating on a picturesque, serene pond – to the outside world all seemed well, but underneath the water there was frantic activity as he paddled like crazy to keep on course!

Brad had slowly been withdrawing from social events, but was finding it increasingly difficult to come up with plausible excuses as to why he couldn’t socialise. He knew his wife was starting to worry and his family and friends were thinking him a bit strange, anti-social and some even found his continual non-attendance at events as downright rude! But depression was beginning to take hold and whilst he was becoming increasingly isolated it was far easier to live with that disapproval than live with the unbearable mental consequences of being with people you love and care for, but feeling increasingly like you didn’t fit in.

Brad was not being true to himself and this carried with it a great weight which went to the very core of his being. This was a self-perpetuating treadmill of anxiety that Brad could not get off of and his life was more focused on hiding the truth from them and himself! At least this way he wouldn’t need to face the reality of who he really was and have to live with what he perceived would be other people’s judgement and disapproval – hell, he had shed loads of self-loathing for himself, why add to the pot!

Suddenly, a dog barked from across the road and broke Brad’s trance. He realised that small beads of perspiration covered his body and he felt clammy and uncomfortable. Brad’s thoughts immediately turned to his impending group meeting that evening and he was suddenly unsure how long he had been lying there. He jerked uncomfortably as he shuffled his body on the bed to get sight of the bedside alarm clock and 5.00pm beamed at him. Brad let out a muffled scream! ‘Bugger, I’m going to be late!’ He leapt off the bed and headed to the ensuite for a much needed shower.

Brad turned the cold water tap on and then stepped in to the cubicle, gasping as the freezing water hit his warmed body. He took deep breaths as he hopped from foot to foot and he soon found relief in the cold water cascading down his cooled torso. His body quickly adjusted to the temperature and he stood there with a creeping feeling of apprehension melting over him at the thought of the first group session. He had hit what could only be described as the Armageddon of anxiety attacks two weeks earlier and, in the aftermath of what he would later acknowledge as a life changing decision, he had contacted a Brisbane self-help support group based in Tenerife, which he had found whilst surfing on the internet. Following a very nervous and, at times, challenging telephone conversation, he agreed to attend a group session for tonight.

… the third installment will follow tomorrow!

Enjoy your journey!



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