From Panic Attack to Leader



Ash, Site Owner & Author

My First Panic Attack – Aged 9

I remember the day very clearly when I had my very first panic attack. I was nine years old, and I was on a short bus ride home with my Mom.

It was a journey that we had done many times before, so this journey shouldn’t have been any different to any other.

But it was different.

This day, and this journey showed me what a panic attack feels like.

Being nine years old, I had no idea that it was a panic attack. I guess my Mom also didn’t know as this was the 70’s and I am certain that the term: “panic attack”  hadn’t even been invented back then. Or if it had been, then it wasn’t a term that was very well known outside the medical world.

Red Bus

I remember feeling very nauseous, and I had a nervous feeling building up inside me rapidly. I think at the time I may have thought that I simply felt travel sick, but the feelings were so much more intense. I simply had to escape that bus!

My Mom had no idea how I was feeling and she reassured me that we didn’t have far to go. Her reassurances fell on deaf ears.

At some point she must have understood that I was really serious about my urgency to leave the bus, and a few moments later we were standing outside at a bus stop with me feeling very sick indeed, and my Mom wondering when the next bus would be arriving.

We both walked to the next stop, and we caught the next bus home. I had recovered about 90% by that time so the next bus ride was pretty normal.

After having many panic attacks in recent years I can look back on that bus ride with total understanding, but back then, however, it was a complete surprise and a total mystery.

As a Child I Broke My Toys


As I child I used to take my toys apart. Some members of my family thought of me as being destructive, but my eldest sister understood what I was doing.

She had correctly figured out that I wanted to see how they were made!

If they were mechanical toys or electrical toys, I wanted to see what made them work. I also took great pride in memorizing where all the parts came from, and which screws came out of which holes. I did this so that I could reassemble the toys correctly after my examinations were completed.

Some toys had no screws, so I resorted to a hammer. This particular method is why some people saw me as destructive, and I can understand their point of view of course.

Young Ash Ash, the little toy-destroyer.

They could only see my external actions, however, and not the processes going on inside my head. Internally I was a scientist or an engineer. They could only see a mini Terminator in action.

School Bored Me to Tears

I didn’t like school, and that may seem strange for someone who loves learning. The trouble is, I loved explorative learning but hated structured learning. I especially hated learning subjects that didn’t stimulate my imagination.

Understandably, I didn’t leave school with glowing qualifications. Although I did do better than most students regarding physics, math, and history.

Harrogate Grammar Sch - Snow The school I attended.

Photo Attribution: By P Astbury [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons


With physics and math, these subjects undoubtedly stimulated the technical side of my mind. History appealed to my imagination as I could visually imagine the scenes and characters being discussed.

Having Anxiety Doesn’t Mean a Life of Failure

success 3D illustration by Quince Media

My first occupation after leaving school was as an industrial photographer, and I couldn’t have been happier!

Photography had been my main hobby for a few years, so landing a job in this field was an absolute joy.

Ash on Kisdon Hill Ready with my camera in my early twenties.


It seemed that my rather short list of school exam passes (and anxiety issues), were not going to stand in my way of finding decent employment.

A Leader is Born

In later years I found employment at a national bank in their investments department. Then after that, I became the manager of four large sales firms. In those four roles, I had to give speeches daily to large groups of staff and do presentations to other managers. On top of that, I was responsible for managing around 500 members of staff.

During this period it was hard to believe that anxiety and panic attacks had ever existed in my life at all.

It seemed that I was doing things that defied the reasonable boundaries of anxiety and panic attacks, and I was doing rather well at it!

Just When I Thought I Was Safe…

Despite all the positive experiences that I had mastered in my occupations, my panic attacks returned, and entirely out of the blue.

Now, as a middle-aged man, this was a surprise to see all the old problems coming back to haunt me.

This time was going to be different, however. I was no longer a child, and I figured that I could tackle this beast as a logical-thinking adult.

Another weapon at my disposal was the Internet. When I was nine years old, personal computers hadn’t even been invented let alone the internet. Now I had this vast database of information at my fingertips.

Too much information can be a bad thing, however.

The Internet has a lot of useful information on every imaginable topic, but for every excellent piece of information, there are thousands of dangerous pieces of information. Trying to filter out the bad to get to the good takes a keen eye and a lot of time.

I am mastering anxiety now rather than it mastering me, however, and that is a huge leap forward.

Plus, these days I also have the adoring support of my intelligent and gorgeous wife who supports me through every stupid idea I come up with, my moments of madness and the occasional bright idea (when I have one). In addition to all her support, we are blessed with Alfie who has the habit of making sure that he is always the center of attention no matter what is happening.

Alfie Alfie – Always on a Mission


An Index to Our Own Personality


I read somewhere that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their web browser Bookmarks.

I have to agree with the above statement, because we all bookmark web pages that are specifically important to our own lives. We bookmark things that entertain us, that make us laugh, cry, teach us new things, and hundreds of other categories in between. It’s like an Index to our own personality.

Looking through my own Bookmarks, I see a lot of sites that educate me. It certainly makes sense therefore that learning new skills has always been an important factor in my life.

Self-improvement also features high on that list too.

I also notice that I have a lot of computer-related bookmarks. Some of these are related to web coding languages, some are about internet marketing, and then I have a lot covering the technicalities of writing this blog.

My own bookmarks suggest that I like learning, developing new ideas, and I also take the time to improve my life for the better.

A Hungry Mind

One thing that has never changed over the years is my desire to break things to see what makes them tick.

These days it’s not toys that I break, and I don’t literally physically break anything anymore. I do however break down complicated things to make them more understandable. I believe that we all do this to some extent.

Making the complicated; less complicated, is a very useful life skill in my opinion.

My blog is all about breaking things down, and the overall theme of my blog is about improving the mind, the body and learning different skills. These areas of learning are far more complex than my toys ever were, but knowing about them enriches our lives greatly.

After gaining my qualifications as a Certified Hypnotherapist and a Certified NLP Master Practitioner, I have truly become to appreciate how fantastic the human mind really is.

Our body is a truly fantastic machine, and our mind is an astonishing organic computer. Let’s explore these subjects, together, in my blog.


Thank you for reading my Bio and feel free to Contact Me any time.