It REALLY couldn’t happen to a nicer…actor

For my latest piece for Standard Issue, I interviewed my other half, or, as our editor put it ‘I took my work home with me’.


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Chris (right) in Wet House at Live Theatre with Riley Jones. Even loud, menacing actors can experience anxiety. (Don’t worry – he’s not this angry in real life).

When I saw Chris Connel on stage in his underpants it was love at first sight. Covered in fake marinade and lipstick, he had audiences in stitches every night as Stuart the hapless baker in Lee Hall’s dark comedy, Cooking with Elvis.

Don’t worry, that’s as Mills and Boon as I’m going to get. Put simply, I fancied the arse off him, fell for his terrible chatup line at the theatre Christmas party and the rest is history.

So it’s fair to say I got to know him pretty well over the years. And we have lots in common. Our obsession with Homeland and Gary Sparkles bingo; our love of Cat Stevens, big dinners and garden centres – and a shared experience of debilitating panic attacks. See, the thing is, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, anxiety doesn’t just strike the wallflowers. Proud, loud, blokey actors get it too.

When I went to seek help because I thought my throat was going to close up and kill me aged 19, it was explained to me that I was suffering from anxiety, and I was offered a combination of medication and talking therapy. I took the talking therapy. It kept things pretty manageable for many years.

When Chris went to seek help because he thought his heart and lungs were going to kill him aged 19 (spooky eh?), he was told it was anxiety and sent away with nothing but propranolol (beta blockers). No explanation, no conversation, just drugs that didn’t even touch the sides.

Read the full article here on Standard Issue

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