The Hurry of Waterloo Station

The Hurry of Waterloo Station by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

A lot has been written about entrepreneurs, psychosis and psychopaths especially more recently in the context of corporate and national leadership and success.

What traits differentiate someone who is a psychopath from an entrepreneur? And what about this other word we hear about – psychosis; where does that fit in? If I go into business for myself do I have to become a psychopath to be successful?

Let’s look at these three individually and then have a look at the links or similarities, where and why.



An entrepreneur by definition is a person who starts a business (sees an opportunity or potential), invests their time taking on financial risk in the hope of a making a return. In the entertainment industry an entrepreneur sees talent (opportunity and potential), invests time and money (the risk) in hope of a reward – financial and making the talent into a “star”. As another example in the third or charity sector a person sees a need (the opportunity), invests time and effort raising awareness (and support funding) and reaps the reward of resolving /meeting the need and the satisfaction of having done so.

Characteristic Traits of Entrepreneurs

According to Ruchira Agrawal, CEO of Inner Veda Communications, the characteristics of an entrepreneur can be summarised as follows (I have shortened her article published in Monster):

  1. Motivated: Enthusiastic, optimistic, future-oriented, believe they’ll be successful; risk their resources in pursuit of profit, high energy levels, sometimes impatient, always think about their business and how to increase market share.
  2. Creative and Persuasive: Have the creative capacity to recognize and pursue opportunities; possess strong selling skills, persuasive and persistent.
  3. Versatile:  Will wear several different hats, including sales man, telephonist, secretary, book-keeper and so on.
  4. Superb Business Skills: Able to set up the internal systems, procedures and processes to operate the business. Focus on cash flow, sales and revenue; rely on their business skills, know-how and contacts.
  5. Risk Tolerant
  6. Drive: Proactive to everything, a doer, willing to take the reins.
  7. Vision: To decide where your business should go.
  8. Flexible and Open-Minded: Facing a lot of unknowns, ready to tweak any initial plans and strategies.
  9. Decisive: No room for procrastination or indecision.



Psychosis is a mental disorder where the affected person perceives and/or interprets events differently, their thought processes and emotional wellbeing are impaired and they lose contact with reality. A notable point about psychosis is that our main source of information about it tends to be the media. We hear and read stories of the behaviour of people having a psychotic episode who have injured or killed other people. Then there are the films based around mentally ill people like Psycho and Silence of the Lambs. The truth is that people having a psychotic episode are more likely to be the victim of violent crime than the perpetrator.

Looking at statistics the charity Mind refers to a report that suggests that only 0.7% of the population were affected by a psychotic disorder in the last year and 7.7% of people may be affected by bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder in their life time – of these 25% recover completely after the first episode. It is important to remember that early treatment enhances the chance of a full recovery but affected people usually have no idea they are actually very ill.

Someone suffering a psychotic episode may show some of the following symptoms:

Hallucinations Sight, hear, feel, smell or taste
Delusions – an unshakeable belief in something that is not true Muddled thoughts; confused, disturbed thoughts, strong beliefs not shared with others or based on reality (such as being watched, or a conspiracy to harm them), paranoia
Changes in behaviour Hyper-focus, social withdrawal, lack of functioning in everyday tasks, lack of personal hygiene, not eating regularly, altered sleep patterns, not going to work. Emotionless, flat. Short fuse, get angry. Anxious
Lack of insight and self-awareness Jumbled or rapid speech making conversation difficult. Not in touch with reality

 Types of Psychosis

  • Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depressive disorder) – Bipolar 1 Disorder, Bipolar 2 Disorder, Cyclothymia
  • Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, schizoaffective Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Mixed Affective Disorder
  • Delusional Disorder
  • Post-natal Psychosis – extreme post-natal depression


The word psychopath is not one usually used in psychology. It is certainly used in the judicial system and in the media. It is a mental disorder, more specifically an antisocial personality disorder (hence the term sociopath). It may be sub-clinical (as in un-diagnosed) or clinical (diagnosed). It is a chronic (persisting for a long time or constantly recurring) mental disorder showing abnormal and/or violent social behaviour. Psychopaths seek opportunities for personal satisfaction (the end justifies the means and the fall out is irrelevant).

Symptoms of psychopathic behaviour revolve around three key behaviours – boldness, disinhibition and meanness. Examples of each of these are included in the following table.

Motivated Flexible Driven
Decisive Vision Risk tolerant
Persuasive High risk taking Paranoia
High Energy Not in touch with reality Social withdrawal
Delusions Hyper-focussed Emotionless, flat
Egotistical Lack of insight and self-awareness Lack empathy
Low anxiety Have issues with “truth” Aggressive
Disregard for the rights of others Above the law No guilt or remorse

  Key: Entrepreneur Psychotic


 This table is where the behaviours get interesting due to their overlap into the behaviours of both entrepreneurs (blue) and those suffering a psychotic episode (red).

Stress is usually found at the route of psychosis. So it is important for an entrepreneur to remain grounded and remember to take enough time off for rest and recuperation.


BOOK REVIEW: ACHIEVING SELF COMPASSION – Giving yourself the gifts of happiness and inner peace

BOOK REVIEW: ACHIEVING SELF COMPASSION – Giving yourself the gifts of happiness and inner peace

By Nate Terrell 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5049-4901-9(sc)

ISBN: 978-1-5049-4904-0 (e)

In his introduction Nate Terrell writes “Our ability to meet the needs of others is largely contingent on our ability to treat ourselves with compassion. Our subsequent sense of happiness, inner peace and wholeness frees us to give to other people without depleting ourselves.”  (Author’s emphasis.) This is THE key to a happy and fulfilled life. So often we grow up or raise our children to give to others first believing that is right and then cannot understand why they suffer “donor fatigue,” burn out or worse.

By denying ourselves self-care we drain our tank. So it should not be a surprise that burnout happens and we suffer a variety of symptoms: dissatisfaction with our life, stress, depression, sadness, anger, emotional avoidance, misery, relationship issues, insecurity, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence and stagnation in our personal development.

Looking after ourselves is not selfish. It is vital to our wellbeing. How can we care for others if we do not care for ourselves? Giving to others, the needy, does not replenish us, it drains us. The emphasis we are encouraged to reflect is the reverse of what we actually need. But why, what does self-compassion do for us? Why do we need it? Self-compassion validates who we are, giving us positive energy for life (not just mere existence); it is an emotional boost that enables us to weather life’s storms and be resilient (bouncing forwards after a challenge or crisis). Self-compassion empowers us to change ourselves, to grow and personally develop as individuals. It also enables us to let go of what we cannot change, to accept it and release it. Now who doesn’t want this or need this in their life?

In “Achieving Self Compassion” Nate details in short chapters how we can achieve self-compassion for ourselves. How we can continually top up our tank to have enough to share. He does not use complicated, difficult or academic language; he uses the language we use daily. You do not always need help to achieve self-compassion. The beauty of this book is #changeonething and do it for yourself! Across ten chapters the author gives us different routes to achieving self-compassion, different routes to re-filling our tanks. We can do this for ourselves. It is not selfish, it is imminently sensible.

Whilst reading the book (most of it twice) I found some pointers resonated more loudly than others. The ones that resonate are the ones I need to work on. For example I have developed a pretty good sense of self over the years, what I am good at or not, so tuning into my authentic self and listening to the still small voice within is fairly easy for me (Chapter 8). On the other hand I do have to work on accepting/believing I have intrinsic worth and am inherently worthy; so chapter 3 is one I shall re-read. It reminds me of other work I have done which I may benefit by re-revisiting using the recommended strategies at the end of that chapter.

An addition I think would be useful is an associated work book associated that connects to the “Try These Strategies for Size” at the end of each chapter. Yes, Nate is really practical with his suggestions here. Okay, create your own – grab a note book, write down the strategies, think about and record what you should do and can change to be more self-compassionate. I still think a guided workbook would be useful, it creates accountability and a permanent record of our growth, our change, our development in self—compassion; a record we can refer back to (and is less likely to be tossed out than a notebook). It will be a reminder of the self- development we have done and of what we have achieved. Nate – there’s another book here!

Achieving Self Compassion can be purchased here.



Book Review: Book Marketing Made Simple

Book Review: Book Marketing Made Simple

By Karen Williams, 2017

ISBN: 978-09957390-2-4 (print)

ISBN: 978-0-9957390-3-1 (e-book)

So you are probably wondering what am I up to now? Well, I have met so many people with incredible stories about overcoming diversity and being resilient around their mental health issues that it makes a lot of sense to encourage them to write their story down and share it. Help me make a difference in the world, one person at a time. Once written it aught to be published and a lot of people wonder how do I do that? Don’t I need an agent and a publisher? Well, maybe BUT one of the options is to self publish and it is not as expensive or as difficult as you may think.

If you have ever wondered what to do with your manuscript once you think it is perfect, wonder no more. They say, whoever “they” are, that there’s a book in all of us. Reading Karen Williams’ “Book Marketing Made Simple” has made me seriously consider mine! It is aimed at the business owner with a view to using the book to grow the business. That said, there is a LOT of information on book marketing that applies directly to your autobiography, your fantasy or dramatic fiction and even a children’s book.

I started with the lovely feel of the book, mine is a softback. It is well bound with a great cover image that is not overly busy. Your light bulb moment is there on the cover where some of the subjects to be found inside are listed. It is written in an easy to read font which enhances a very practical layout. The book is packed full of information and covers an enormous variety of marketing tips and tricks to get your book in front of your chosen audience. When I say packed, I do mean packed, extensive. What it also really good though is that the layout enables you to find the bit you want very easily. The chapters are in a logical order with pre-launch, launch and post launch strategies.

It may seem logical but as Karen writes in her opening “The biggest mistake authors make is failing to promote their book at all stages of its creation.” To realise the significance of that point and how to do it you really do need to read the book, I couldn’t make the point better, or clearer than she has. So if you have the idea, I recommend you read the book, make your plans and only then start writing. I am convinced your success rate will be far greater and faster than without it.

Okay, so you already have a manuscript, you view yourself as an author (not a marketing person) and have just read my last paragraph and want to give up right now and bin it. PLEASE DON’T. The beauty of Karen’s book is that even if you have leapt in where angels fear to tread and have a manuscript in hand the situation can be redeemed. It does mean that you have an advantage instead of writing and marketing together you get to spend more time on dedicated marketing (which I should warn you might in turn lead to a bit of re-writing as you define your market of readers and what they want/need better – but hey, you do want to sell more copies, don’t you?).

The writing style is that of a work book. Read a bit, think a bit, do a bit and this is helped by the Things to Think About – the space Karen creates for you to make your notes directly into your copy of the book. If writing in a book is sacrilege to you then get a notebook and follow her prompts. These notes become your action plan – what to do, when and where will help to hold you accountable and follow the marketing process through. Another point that is made clearly – if you find something doesn’t work, there are other opportunities for you to explore that may work better or simply be more comfortable for you to do. So you do have options and choices – everything from traditional printed media (flyers, brochures and newspaper adverts) through to social media (and which ones to use and how/why/when), vlogs and webinars. In so doing “Book Marketing Made Simple” does that and enables you to create your own step by step guide.

Karen adds a dash of reality by spicing her book with case studies from her clients and personal experience. These really do add a sense of “can do” and “it is possible”, especially as the case studies follow several authors through the various stages of their book journey detailing their experiences along the way. These are real live authors doing what you want to do – making a success of their book and their business.

To ensure she gives the reader the best information possible for this time, Karen quotes from experts in their fields such as Ellen Watts for Crowdfunding, Samantha Pearce the book designer for information on Nielsen Books (and ISBN related stuff), Naomi Johnson for LinkedIn, DiElle Hannah for voice over tips (for recording your CD version and podcasts), Mark Edmunds on making videos and Steve Bimpson on search engine optimisation.

Karen brings her personal experience to bear. She knows book publishing from the inside, this is her 5th book and she has directly marketed them all. She is sharing her personal knowledge to enable you to create your book, grow your company and enjoy the ride. It will be a lot smoother following the path Karen lays out for us in Book Marketing Made Simple.

Now then, where is my paper and pen, time to start writing that plan and re-reading from Page 1! What about you? Your story is worth sharing too!


Copies of Book Marketing Made Simple can be found here.


Acute Stress Disorder & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Following recent events it is pertinent to discuss the subjects of Acute Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  These two conditions fit under the banner of anxiety disorders.

What is ANXIETY?

*       A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome

*       A nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.

*       People may say “She suffered from anxiety attacks” or “He felt a surge of anxiety”

*       Rhyming slang – Joe Blakes

*       There are 5 groupings of anxiety disorders:

  • Panic disorder/attacks
  • Phobias – agoraphobia, social phobia, specific
  • GAD – generalised anxiety disorder
  • OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Acute stress disorder and PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder

Common Symptoms of ASD and PTSD

*       Both can develop after a distressing, traumatic or catastrophic event

*       Event may involve actual or threatened or serious abuse (sexual or physical or emotional)

*       It may involve witnessing such an event

*       Learning that such an event has happened to a family member or close friend may also be a trigger event

*       Re-experience the trauma – recurrent dreams, flashbacks and intrusive memories

*       Anxiety in situations that bring back memories of the trauma

*       Avoidance behaviour (of anything associated with the event)

*       Emotional numbing (for months or years)

*       Reduced interest in others and the outside world

*       Persistent increased arousal (watchfulness, irritability, jumpiness/easily startled, outbursts of rage, insomnia

In particular to ASD:

*       The anxiety symptoms/reaction begin to fade

*       The person resumes their normal activities within about a month

In particular to PTSD

*       Symptoms continue longer and impact daily life

*       Diagnosis possible 2 months after the event

*       1 in 10 men and 1 in 5 women develop PTSD after a traumatic event

 What to do to help yourself

*       If symptoms persist go to your GP

*       If it helps to talk, then talk about it (to anyone and everyone). If no one is listening you can also try writing it all down – what happened and how you feel about it. Some people find enormous relief in burning what they have written, when they feel ready to let it go.

*       In Hampshire, UK we have a free self-referral psychological therapy service called i-talk – http://www.italk.org.uk/ or phone 02380383892

*       If you can afford it get counselling privately

*       If your company has an EAP (employee assistance program) – contact them for help and support

*       Do something, anything to help yourself #changeonething How about checking out the websites in the links below?

What to do to help others including children

*       Let them talk if they want to. Do not force the affected person to talk, if they do not want to – that could re-traumatise them

*       Remember that what they are experiencing is very real to them (even if to you it sounds absurd or even ridiculous). Never brush off or belittle their experiences.

*       Encourage them to get help – offer to take them to their GP

*       Reassure them that they are okay and safe and that what they are experiencing is natural under the circumstances of the trauma

*       There are a lot more suggestions in this article from an American site but the information is really useful:


Trauma is devastating at the time, but there is life after trauma, after acute stress disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time and effort to work through or overcome the impact of trauma, but there is always hope and life does return to “normal” in time.


For more information on mental health awareness and training please do contact me.



We all have mental health and there is no health without mental health. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 I have presented a series of articles covering a variety of mental health subjects to increase our knowledge.  These have so far covered:

  1. What is Mental Health?”
  2. The Impact of Mental Ill-Health
  3. When is a mental health problem a problem
  4. Balancing the Risks around Mental Ill Health
  5. Stress
  6. Anxiety

The final article in the series, this one, looks at depression.  We may all have a down day, but what is depression and how do I gauge that this is a down day (or few days) and that is depression? Do remember the third article in the series about “When is a problem a problem? (Answer: When it’s a problem).

Thoughts and reading around depression have led me to a formula:

S + A + T = D

In this formula S is stress, A = anxiety, T = time and D = depression. If we live with stress we can develop anxiety and over a period of time these can turn into depression. As a rule of thumb depression is identified when we have suffered the symptoms for at least two weeks. The symptoms to look for include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Numbness, a lack of feeling
  • Mood swings, anger to complacency
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Affects ability to study, concentrate and enjoy relationships/socialising
  • Global thinking, for example: everything is always against me or I am always wrong
  • Anxiety and guilt
  • Loss of libido
  • Self-criticism, pessimism
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Fatigue and sleep issues (insomnia, poor quality of sleep or sleeping too much)
  • Appetite issues (either undereating or overeating)

Depression affects up to 10% of people in England in their lifetime. It can re-occur, if you have been depressed once you can go back there (but as you are more aware of it should be able to get help sooner). Depression can co-occur with other health and mental health issues. As an example, it is probably not a surprise to realise that someone diagnosed with a long term chronic medical condition (let’s say fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome or cystic fibrosis) may also become depressed. Or a person diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder may go on to develop depression also.

Depression in the Workplace

 Depression in the work place may be challenging to recognise but the cost to the individual, the company and the economy is significant. 1 in 6 employees may have enough symptoms to be diagnosed with a mental health condition at any one time. Stress, anxiety and depression are the most commonly recognised mental health issues at work. The HR specialists tell me that a middle manager being signed off due to a mental health issue may cost the company in excess of £30 000.

Depression in the workplace may present as a combination of all or some of the following:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Morale problems
  • Lack of co-operation
  • Safety problems (risk taking behaviour including driving at speed and not using PPE)
  • Time keeping issues
  • Absenteeism – call in sick when not
  • Presenteeism – going to work when ill, or being there but not actually doing work
  • Frequent complaints of being tired all the time
  • Alcohol and/or other drug use

It goes without being said, but I’ll say it anyway, that if the symptoms described affect you perhaps it is time to write them down and go for a chat with your GP.



We all have mental health and there is no health without mental health. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 I am presenting a series of articles covering a variety of issues on mental health subjects to increase our knowledge.  These have so far covered:

  1. What is Mental Health?”
  2. The Impact of Mental Ill-Health
  3. When is a mental health problem a problem
  4. Balancing the Risks around Mental Ill Health
  5. Stress

Continuing with the illnesses coming under the banner of “mental ill health”, let’s now take a look at anxiety.

There have been times when understanding anxiety has been challenging. The thought that something we are “merely” anxious about can be to the extreme and become a disorder – as in an Anxiety Disorder and have a debilitating impact on a life may seem extreme. But, when we look at the types of anxiety disorder, it suddenly makes a lot of sense.

Anxiety Disorders include:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – different types include locking and checking of windows and doors, hand wringing, hand washing (to the point of rawness), counting windows or lines or light fittings, never stepping on a crack in the pavement, hoarding, etc
  • Phobias – I have a list of 100 different phobias from arachnophobia (a fear of spiders) to zoophobia (a fear of animals)
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder – anxiety about anything and everything
  • Panic Disorder – also called panic attacks
  • Acute Stress Disorder – the result of a traumatic event, usually fades or dissipates over a few weeks
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – the trauma from an event is still being experienced more than two months after an event and often includes flash-backs
  • Social Anxiety Disorder – also called social phobia, affects our ability to meet and talk to people, eat and drink in public, etc
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder – all or part of our visual appearance to the affected person is very stressful, others may not notice but the affected person dwells on it. For example people may say we have a “normal” nose but we view it as utterly hideous and stress over it.

What is most notable is that the severity of the symptoms is greater and they last longer (than “normal”). I think it is worth noting that the response to the trigger issue is debilitating and impacts life. As an example a person with OCD may takes an hour and a half to leave the house to go to work in the morning because they are repeatedly checking their home security such as door locks, window locks, water taps, gas taps, electricity switches, etc, are all securely turned off, and doing it many times over before feeling secure enough to actually leave the house and go to work. This is debilitating and may affect their work, home and social lives to the point of not wanting to make the enormous effort required to leave the house in the morning (which in itself may have another impact).

Whilst on the subject of OCD, I have heard people say (business managers in particular) that they are a little bit OCD by insisting they want something done in a particular way or to their standard. This is not OCD, it is not debilitating and ruining their day (at home, at work or socially). These are people with high standards and blaming apparent OCD for having high personal standards. Their high standards are what got them to the place they are in their job and they expect the same high standards from others. People impacted by OCD are so involved with their own issues that they are not able to look much beyond that. Don’t confuse OCD with having high standards or use OCD as an excuse for your own insecurities.

What are typical symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?

  • Restlessness – physical restlessness, the “fidgets,”
  • Worried – expressing worry about
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Palpitations*
  • A feeling of doom, unease or apprehension when not in imminent danger
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension

*It must be stated that if a person has palpitations, has no idea what is happening and no previous history of heart disease that an ambulance should be called. I am sure anyone working in emergency services would rather check on someone having a panic attack for example than be called in late to attend a person having a heart attack because it was thought to be “only a panic attack.” If in doubt ask the person if they have had this before and what happened or what helped them then. If in doubt – call the emergency services.

Remember – the symptoms of an anxiety disorder last longer than normal, affect many areas of life and can be quite disabling. There is an overlap of stress into the anxiety disorders.

The next article in this series will look at depression, both in general and in the workplace.



We all have mental health and there is no health without mental health. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 I am presenting a series of articles covering a variety of issues on mental health subjects to increase our knowledge.  These have so far covered:

  1. “What is Mental Health?”
  2. “The Impact of Mental Ill-Health”
  3. “When is a mental health problem a problem”
  4. “Balancing the Risks around Mental Ill Health.”

Now turning to some of the illnesses that come under the banner of “mental ill health”, let’s start by looking at something we are all familiar with – Stress.

What is stress? It is a word bandied around readily enough. We have probably all said recently that we are stressed accompanied with a heavy sigh. But how would I know if my stress is the sort of stress that needs attention?

Let’s look at the symptoms of stress. We may have all or some of them, in various combinations and degrees of challenge.

*        Overwhelmed

*        Worried/Distressed

*        Run down/burnout

*        The body’s response to danger or stress-provoking events (flight, fright, frolic, fantasy)

*        Irritability/Anger (a short fuse)

*        Fatigue/Headache

*        Insomnia

*        Chest pain/Palpitations

*        Psychomotor agitation (the fidgets, pacing, hand wringing, etc)

*        Bruxism (teeth grinding)

*        Panic attacks

*        Anxiety/Depression

It will be obvious from the last 2 symptoms that stress may overlap with anxiety and depression. I have a formula which partially explains this overlap:


Time is an important factor in this formula. Symptoms affecting us for a short period of time may not lead to mental illness. The significance or intensity and duration of the symptoms is important.

Being stressed is like living with a high level of adrenalin in our body all the time. We all know that in a crisis adrenalin kicks in and carries us through – complete with palpitations, dry mouth, sweaty hands, upset tummy, nausea, butterflies, confused thinking, indecision, forgetfulness, wobbly legs, etc. I am sure you can understand how debilitating these symptoms can be over a longer period of time as is found in stress.

If in doubt about your own health, mental health and stress level please consult your GP.

In the next article we will look at anxiety.