Dr. Mark Cross is the author of Anxiety. Expert advice from a neurotic shrink who has lived with it his whole life.
He is also a consultant psychiatrist with 30 years’ experience, and a senior university lecturer. Dr. Cross came to the attention of the public through the landmark ABC TV series Changing Minds. He also suffers from anxiety.
This interview opens with Mark talking about his own battle with anxiety. He shares vulnerably and in doing so models how others with anxiety might begin to relate to this very challenging and often painful orientation of mind.
I then ask Mark if we should not be thinking of Anxiety as a weakness, how should be thinking about it? In response, Mark makes the important distinction between short term stress and chronic anxiety. He then explains how he encourages his patients to be kind with themselves, and acknowledge that anxiety is just a part of them, but not the whole of them.
I raised the issue of anxiety in a business or corporate environment. Mark shared his experience of working in corporate contexts, and how very often the senior executives are absent from those discussions. Mark insists that effective mental health solutions must come from the top down.
We then discussed the “filter” over many senior team discussions that is created by the anxious mind. This filter accentuates the errors, mishaps, delays and disappointments of whatever situation the Executives are focussing on. The bigger problem is however that this filter is unacknowledged.
Mark finishes the interview with plea for those who suffer from anxiety to take the bold and courageous step of talking to someone. In particular someone who is not emotionally involved in your life.