Men and Anxiety

I’ve got a really great interview for all the men out there. (the
women too but especially the men!)

For most men it’s really hard to admit that you suffer from an anxiety
problem. In my own case, when I was dealing with anxiety, I kept it
like a dirty secret that no one should know about. I felt I had to
battle through it all on my own (not recommended).

It is really not easy for men to open up about this problem because
men place so much importance on being perceived as strong and
not showing any weakness or vulnerability.

Anthony Amos Panicaway Webinar

Anthony Amos

When anxiety comes along it shatters a mans confidence like nothing
else. That is why it is so important to discuss it openly and seek
solutions together.

I love talking to men that are open and willing to discuss their
journey through anxiety. Anthony Amos is one such man.

He got great results using Panic Away and when he told me about
himself and his story, I really wanted to do an interview with him
and let him share his thoughts on anxiety and panic attacks with
all of you.

Anthony is a former rugby player and today a very successful
businessman who builds large franchise businesses right around
the world.

When panic attacks became a real problem for him it threatened his
business and his personal life. He eventually found Panic Away and
translated the teachings into a very personal ‘warrior challenge‘ he
set for himself. Listen to him explain all that for you in the short
interview below.

explicit lyrics

Warning Explicit Content! This is an uncensored male conversation so if bad language offends you, please skip over this one.

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Men and Anxiety

Barry McDonagh talks about panic attacks with Anthony Amos

Barry: Thanks everyone for joining us. I’ve got an interesting interview here today. Anthony Amos. He contacted me after using Panic Away and spoke about the need to address men and anxiety. It’s something — actually when he mentioned it, it’s something that is very close to my heart because I’m really interested in talking to men about mental health. I don’t even like that word ‘mental health’. I prefer ‘mental fitness’ and this idea of just looking after yourself. Anthony is a really interesting guy. He’s got a really interesting background. Anthony, thanks for coming today. Thanks for coming to Dublin. Anthony was actually on business in Ireland and made some time so he could be here and we could have a chat.

Anthony: Thanks Barry. Thanks for having me. It’s nice to be here in sunny Dublin. So if I just give myself a little bit of a background to give the guys out there an understanding that I’m not just somebody off the street that wants to throw out the way that I’ve dealt with these so-called panic attacks. I would just like to address once so I can get going on my feelings behind all that and give the guys out there just a good understanding.

My background is in franchising. I create franchise systems, build them up and then sell them to companies that are interested in purchasing the end product. We’ve had a very successful business called Hydrodog. I founded it with my brother back in ’94 and took it to the largest franchise of its kind in the world. To this day, there’s over a couple hundred in Australia. I brought it to America. It’s a worldwide brand. That’s pretty much the platform that injected me into the stratosphere if you like, into other marketing, other franchising products. Also some fantastic business partners I’ve got in the U.S. right now.

When I started to get these panic attacks about three years ago, like all guys out there, I had no idea what it was. I thought I was dying. I was actually rushed to the hospital and it was a very frightening experience.

Barry: Well, let’s actually talk about that because you’ve mentioned that earlier. Let’s talk about that episode in particular.

Anthony: Well, the thing for me was it actually happened after a big weekend. I played professional football when I started my career then I played local football right up until I was 30. I was a man’s man, knocking around with some tough guys and having a really good time obviously when we would win and celebrate. I woke up the next morning after a big night and nearly fainted but had the heart just motoring on me, just like I was dying because I’ve never had this experience before.

I called out to my wife and I actually said, “I think I’m having a heart attack.” She called the ambulance. The ambulance came and I get to the hospital. I do all the tests, -nothing showed up but nobody said that I had an anxiety attack or panic attack or anything like that. I still didn’t really know, I didn’t really want to tell anybody about it this episode, that I had that problem. I didn’t research it back then. I just didn’t want to know about it.

A year or so went by. I hadn’t really had another one again but then when I went overseas, it happened again to me after a big night, the drinking but this time I knew what it was because I had researched and found out it was a panic attack.

The word panic to me and this is something that Barry and I have been talking about when you think about it, when you think about the men out there go, “Well, I don’t suffer from a panic attack” because it’s the word itself. Once you’ve been through one, I think those types of people that have had them are really strong mindset people that can actually get through them. They are the toughest things to nail out. When you don’t know what they are and you’re able to get through them. Man, I respect anyone that’s been through that process because it’s tough.

When people understand what it is, -it’s the fight or flight rule
If the lion or tiger– jumps through the window right now we are either or going to run away or we’re going to stay there and defend our lives. That’s pretty much what happens to us. That’s what causes these things but they’re coming out at the wrong time. Our mind is not in the right balance like it used to be once you start to get them. I just know that feeling. I feel like that I’m a warrior in my mind state that’s taking this on so when it ever happens from now on, I picture myself as being in a warrior state.

So I’m now in a warrior state. I’m dealing with fight or flight, just like thousands of years ago, getting through that period of time to survive. It is survival. It is absolute survival and there’s no sugarcoating this because it’s a very, very difficult thing to come out of.

Barry: What bodily sensations were the worst for you, what were the triggers?

Anthony: You know when you take a deep breath in and you can’t cut it like when you go [breathes] and it cuts off. I mean, you take that for granted when you’re having one of these. Because when you can’t cut that off, you actually feel like that you are taking your last breath. It’s probably the breathing part for me but then when the heart starts to kick in, it starts to give you that feeling that shit , “Hold on, I know this is a panic attack. I should say I’m in warrior state

now. Is it a heart attack this time?” You still have that doubt but then you go through your steps and you calm yourself down.

Taking this on full-on and getting angry as my friend/business partner who’s with me today suggests you turn into the Incredible Hulk and you make it disappear. You’re getting there and you just take it on and get angry. It slowly starts to dissipate. Because once it peaks, the only time it can happen again - because that one is gone but another one is on its way because the fear of the fear will bring it back and it starts agian. So that’s probably the scariest part is when you trip into that circle that just doesn’t stop.

Barry: Yeah. It’s that loop of anxiety which is — it’s the fear of fear and it’s really, really difficult to snap out of that once you get caught up in it. It’s a very scary place to be as well, isn’t it? I think for men, it’s a really hard place to admit to be in because for us, it’s all about - the funny thing with men is that it’s not the fear of what other men think. I think it’s more of the fear of what your family thinks and your partner thinks because you’ve got to be the strong person for them.

You know that expression where you think that they would rather you die on your horse than fall on the ground vulnerable so that you are the warrior. You’ve got to be that for your children. You’ve got to be that for your wife. When you’re not playing that role, it shatters your confidence and it’s very hard to admit you have a problem.

Anthony: You know Barry, that’s probably the strongest message — what can I say? Probably the strongest message that I can share with the guys out there is that when you are that warrior in your family and you’re having one around your kids, man, that is — it’s demoralizing. You get back up. You brush it off but they’ve seen it. They’ve seen you go through it. My daughter would say, “Daddy, you’re having trouble breathing again?” Because she knows I’ve been to the hospital. That’s not something that you really want to share because they need to feel safe around you all the time.

Barry: Exactly.

Anthony: I think it’s about education. The guys that I’ve been talking to and just to sort of let the listeners out there know, I’ll go into a group of guys. I never embarrass them around their girls but I’ll get over to a group guys. I’ll say, “Does anybody here had one of those things where you feel like you’re dying and you’ve had a heart attack, that and you’ve got to go to a hospital and you’ve been to the hospital?” One would say, “Yeah, I think I’ve had one of those.”

“You know they’re panic attacks?” “No, No, I’ve never had a panic attack, no.”

People don’t know what it is. Once they’re educated and they know that it is this panic attack and as I said, it’s really in the name. If we could sort of work it a bit, it’s a warrior state of mind, guys would be different about it. They’d share more examples and more times that they’ve had it with each other. But then the other ones are going, “Oh yeah, I had one of those when I was younger. Actually I had one of those last week.” They start to talk about it. Everybody’s now engaged with it all. We laugh about our examples on when we were on the floor of the kitchen and we couldn’t move. Things like that start to get really funny.

Barry: It’s ridiculous, yeah, the states that you get into, the thoughts that you have when you’re having a panic attack. You feel like you’re a totally different person when you’re in that zone. It’s amazing. I’m always surprised on how it catches you. The intensity of it — now, you talked about anger, was anger a key for you? What was the thing that transformed it for you?

Anthony: What transformed it for me? I think taking it on head-on was the key. I think it becomes habitual after a time because the guys stopped doing what they love to do because they know the next day that they’re going to get one especially if it’s drink-related. Since I’ve used your little technique of having a drink of water in between every drink until I forget at the end, it’s still enough for me to wake up tomorrow and feel a little bit better.

But the secret to getting guys back on the horse again and getting out with their mates again is they’ve got to understand what they have first so they can enter the program to get rid of what’s wrong with them. It’s just such a mindset because habitually, if you get into that process and say, “Right, here it comes. All right, bring it on, give me a heart attack. Make me stop breathing.” Then it just slowly starts to dissipate after it peaks and then it goes. But if you do that all the time, they eventually go. You don’t actually have to do it anymore because your body seems to lock it back into where it originally was.

Barry: Yeah. Then you enter the state of acceptance where regardless of what the sensation is, you accept it for what it is. You don’t get upset by it. You can have those hangovers and you can deal with the sensations and not get worried by it. You don’t even have to use that anger anymore because it doesn’t peak. You’re aware of what it is. You know what it is and you look after yourself as well a bit better I think after panic attacks.

You become more aware of not to overdrink if you know the next day you’re going to really suffer, looking after your hydration. Exercise is so important. Taking time out, you know, all the key things that we know are important for mental health. I think you’d become more aware of them. You watch your life and if business is getting stressful or home life is getting stressful, you kind of say, “Okay, I need to step back a bit here. I need to take some time for myself, maybe read stuff that’s been working for me again, go over the materials.” It’s more about just being aware more than anything else. It makes such a difference.

Anthony: Yeah, you know, you’re right, Barry. Adding all of this together of eating clean, drinking stacks of water — I drink a gallon of water a day now and that helps so much because you’re hydrating your body, you’re eating clean, you’re exercising. Then that on top of learning the Panic Away Program, it then just keeps it a nice, easy consistency. You can still have your drink. If you’re really good throughout the week and your culture is to drink -

Barry: Yeah, I mean Irish people.

Anthony: And Australians, we love to have a drink. If you behave yourself right up until that one drinking day or that one occasion, it’s nice to reward yourself in having some nice things. There’s probably some people out there are saying, you shouldn’t drink. But it’s hard when you’ve got cultures like ours. That’s the way.

But the other thing too. This is my thing with business is you can initially make people have a great time and work it all out. But if you have a little drink with him, it might only be a few, you start to sort of relax a little bit more and then there’s a lot more things to talk about you probably wouldn’t do normally. To me, it’s important to do that.

Barry: Yeah, of course. I totally understand that. I don’t think people should have to cut alcohol out. I don’t even think that people should have to cut coffee out of their lives completely. For the initial phase, they often have to just to get through that really difficult spot but then bring it back in slowly, bring in a bit of coffee again, bring in a few drinks again and just see how you are.

I even tell people sometimes really go for it. If you really use the program well and you’re feeling brave, go out in the piss and see how you do the next day. Challenge yourself that way. Push yourself into the situations where you’ve been - because if you have this idea in your head that I can do everything but that, then you’re still suffering from anxiety. If you’ve still got areas where you’re uncomfortable, you’ve got to go in to those areas.

Plan it out, whatever it is, it could be a plane flight, it could be sitting in a meeting room, business, public speaking, finding the opportunity to challenge yourself. Because I think we all, after having experienced panic attacks are a bit reserved by certain things. Sometimes we don’t even admit to it but we kind of - we don’t even admit to ourselves that we’re avoiding situations. It’s so important to banish it from every area of your life. So you go back the guy that you always were, -fearless.

Anthony: I think the best advice you gave me was - because I was happy enough just to take a small pill to get me back on track again but I don’t want to have to be dependent on that, take them with me, make sure that I would always have it just in case. Then when it’s all done naturally, it’s just such an easy thing. You don’t have to worry about making sure you’ve always got it on you.

But going through that and doing the experiment and yeah, why don’t you go, get on piss and get shitfaced and deal with it, like through the program and that’s exactly what I did. That moment, that was the whole thing of, I can do this now and I can still have a drink and not really have a problem with it at the end of the day.

That was great for me to get back on the horse because I didn’t even want to stop doing that. That was the truth. It’s nice to sort of celebrate your wins that you have in life and to do that sort of thing is really good. But I look at it like this, people that are going through the panic attack or the warrior state, is, it’s -

Barry: I really like that, the warrior state.

Anthony: I think it’s great for men. I think men need to know that they are tough fuckers going through this. It’s not that they’re pussies. They are tough in their mind to get through. You’re being a warrior. I mean, we’re dealing with fight or flight. We’re not dealing with some mental illness. We’re dealing with a mechanism that’s been in our DNA since God knows when but it’s all about dealing with this on a really high level.

Barry: It’s being triggered at the wrong moment.

Anthony: That’s it. That’s exactly right.

Barry: We’re just trying to figure out what’s going on, why is it happening now and getting through it..

Anthony: Yeah. I got a little story. I don’t know how relevant it can be for some people but to me, I believe that having this little condition that people are getting with the panic attacks is happening for a reason. It’s making people stronger down the track for them at some level, whether it’s business or whether it’s relationship. It gives them the courage to know that if I can get through a panic attack, man, they can get through anything. Then once you’ve learned not to have them anymore, you’ve built like a resistance of strength within your mind to be able to cope with much larger things that are coming.

There’s a little bit of a story. I shared this with my business partner today is that back in the early ’50s, there were Japanese that came out into Australia and they got a hobs of coral fish. I’m not really sure what sort of fish it was but it’s just a bit of a story to give a really good ending. They said, “We love this fish that much. We want you to send it to Japan. We’ll buy stacks of it.” It made everybody very, very wealthy.

They sent all the fish over. They froze the fish. When the fish arrived, it tasted terrible because it was frozen, it wasn’t fresh. They went back and regrouped and they then organized the ship to go over in tanks so the coral fish were in all these tanks. They went over live. They turned up and they were all gangly and straggly. They didn’t look healthy. They were terrible to eat. So again, it was ruined.

Then, I did some research and found out that these coral fish had a black catfish that was its predator. They split the tanks in half and put like a see-through piece of glass. The catfish was on one side, coral fish was on the other side. While it was traveling, it had its whole nervous system consistently worrying about getting eaten by the black catfish. When the coral fish arrived in Japan, they were brand new, fresh and the business was done, still done to this day.

I feel that these warrior moments that you will go through, that’s our catfish. That’s what is giving us the strength in ourselves to know that this is happening for a reason. There’s something bigger on the other side that can invest in us to become a better person, to become more tolerant. Anyone that’s got kids out there needs something to understand patience and to look at them. When you go through this, your appreciation of the smaller things goes through the roof. You only need to have one to understand that.

I believe they come into people’s lives to give them more strength to down the track. Then once you’ve got that lesson, go through the program and get rid of it for good, then that extra appreciation that you’ve got that some

people don’t get these particular things will never understand.

Barry: Yeah, I totally agree. I think you become a bigger person because of this. You’re more aware of yourself. It’s a tool as well. You can go on and teach other people because so many people suffer from the problem. But it definitely, definitely makes you grow as a person without a doubt because you’re challenged in a way that most people are never challenged. You’re challenged on an inner level. Your foundations are completely rocked by this thing. Then you’re building yourself up again, you’re building stronger foundations. It’s such an important skill to have. I think a lot of people never even get that experience. There’s such a gift in anxiety. When people get the meaning of the anxiety, that’s when they really rocket ahead with their life and move on to even bigger and better things.

Anthony: Because it’s funny, you go from such an incredible, lonely, scary place that even the people around you can’t help you. Your loved ones cannot help you in that mind space. It’s really, really bad.

Barry: They don’t understand it because they’re not there.

Anthony: That’s exactly right. To get from that then to the other side of have a healthy, normal life, you’ve got to ask yourself, how many people can actually do that and have that final feeling of achievement that you’ve been through hell and back. “Oh, it’s just a panic attack.” Well, tell them to come and see me with that question because that’s obviously someone that’s never had one because once you’ve had it, then you’re in a very higher level group of people that -

Barry: An elite club.

Anthony: An elite club, that’s it, yeah. You’re an elitist.

Barry: We have Anthony’s partner, Declan here.

Declan: Business partner !


It’s interesting because I didn’t know Declan was coming but we were chatting there having some food before the interview. Declan was talking about - he potentially experienced anxiety at different occasions or would we call them panic attacks as well. Declan, what’s your experience?

Declan: I have no problem calling it panic attacks because again -

Anthony: You might’ve in the beginning there.

Declan: No – what it’s been called, whatever, I have no problem. My biggest fear was I didn’t know how to work. Again, it was usually after a big weekend as Anthony earlier said so your body is in a really in a low state, health-wise I think. Then, if I was put in a situation like for me, I’ve had them on an aeroplane. I’ve had them in cars but I just call them “extreme hangovers” where you’re obviously somewhere where you don’t want to be. You start thinking, “What if I get sick and I make a spectacle of myself in front of everyone.” That was I think what set it off, me making a fool of myself in public. While you’re you thinking of that, this thing creeps up on you and you have a fully blown extreme hangover. Now I know it was an anxiety attack.

Barry: Let me just paint the picture here for listeners. Both Anthony and Declan are rugby players or former rugby players?

Declan: I’m actually still playing. I have no dramas. As Anthony said, we’re man’s man. We play rugby in Australia together to a very high level. Physical pain doesn’t bother me. Confrontation doesn’t bother me. But the biggest thing about this was I didn’t know what it was. It’s like there’s no — you don’t feel like you going to vomit so you’re going, “What’s wrong with me? I don’t feel like I’m going to vomit.” You’re profusely sweating. Your heart rate goes through the roof. Your breathing becomes irregular. You’ve no explanation and that makes it worse. For me, it’s making it worse because its — what’s happening? I just have to literally — I’ve been on a toilet floor on my hands and knees.

It sounds bad. <He’s laughing>. But I mean, when in your life in a public toilet, you have to go into a cubicle and there’s piss in the floor and everything but you don’t care. You have to get - you have to —

Barry: That’s the power of it. It just knocks you down.

Declan: I would lie down in the middle of the street, in a puddle just — curled up. Because see, I didn’t know what it was. I just curled up. I didn’t know what it was. What happened was Anthony, through your program and through his own experiences became aware. I was in America visiting. We were doing business and stuff. Like they say, we had a couple of big nights. It’s fine. We were going in a friend’s Jeep. I was actually in the front seat which is — I know it doesn’t make a massive difference, believe it or not, backseat, but it would have happened a lot sooner I think.

All of a sudden, in mid-conversation, very rudely, I just met this guy, Scott he’s telling his story and we’re in the fast lane of a three-lane highway , mate “you have to pull in”. He was like, “What?” “Pull over now.” “You’re going to get sick?” I couldn’t answer because I could not talk. He was talking to me and he was looking at me.

Barry: But you were in a different place.

Declan: I couldn’t hear a single word he says for like an entire five minutes. It was just white – no disrespect to him. He was telling an interesting story. He thought - it was a kind of a gory story about a Jet Ski accident. He thought that I was squeamish but suddenly when I got out of the van at the side of the motorway, I would have actually — what I usually do is I’ll walk away on my own. I’ll hide because I don’t want to have this in front of other people. That was the biggest thing for me is embarrassment because I’m a proud person. As Anthony said earlier, I don’t want people to see me weak, this feels like weakness even though now I know it’s not.

When Anthony saw — my hand was basically locked up and people can’t see. It’s like halfway between an open palm and a fist but you can’t open them.

Barry: We were talking about that from hyperventilating.

Declan: I just showed Anthony my hands and said, “What the fuck is happening to me?” He went, “It’s a panic attack.” He talked me down. In a minute, he told me — he talked me down, calmed me down and spoke to me really nicely. I was waiting for him to take the piss. I snapped out of it. I got through it. It has happened before and unbeknownst to myself again, I didn’t know what it was but anger got me through because someone said, “He’s faking or he’s putting it up.”

Basically, I went, boom! Like there is my fight. There is someone to fight. Now, I don’t mean physically ready but we had a good verbal confrontation. It was a pay off - it was there for a reason so it went away because there was a payback -if you could understand that?

Barry: Yeah.

Declan: Whereas if you have one and there’s no end game, you don’t have to fight anyone, it’s so mind-blowingly confusing and you don’t want -

Barry: You have all this adrenaline, all of this energy, where do you go with it?

Declan: It’s massive, yeah, exactly. It’s like taking massive quantities of adrenaline shots. You think you can go to bed and go to sleep.

Barry: Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it.

Declan: It doesn’t work that way. Since I became aware of it, now — I just basically — totally gone massive on a massive health kick like I used to go out was every weekend, I’m not a big drinker but I’d have one big night at bars. At the time I thought I was suffering from depression – because it has different forms. There are low-level ones where you just want to shut the door, shut the world out. You can’t face anything.

Barry: But that makes you depressed as well.

Declan: Yes. The reason I stopped coming calling it depression is because someone close to a friend of mine, his uncle had full-blown depression and that was the result of it eventually. I thought I was being disrespectful to someone suffering from a genuine thing, so I stopped calling it that. Again, I went back to calling it ‘extreme hangovers’. It took basically meeting someone who understood it that said to me and changed me and then told me to drink loads of water, training all the time – exercise. It’s very easy to overcome them but unless you’ve had one, you’d never, ever understand what it’s like.

As I said to you earlier at lunch, it sounds really bad. I apologize to anyone who’s been down this road but if someone would have gone in front of me and had one, I’d seriously consider when it was happening full blown, I’d seriously consider…

Barry: It was that horrible.

Declan: It was that horrible. I’d probably rather break a limb playing a match. It sounds terrible but if I got a horrific injury playing a match…

Barry: Oh yeah. People say they wish they had some kind of disease compared to this so that they could say, “This is what it is. Now, I’ll treat it.”

Declan: A hundred percent. Since I was aware of it through Anthony… I tell my mates. Since I’ve said it… now one of them will text me usually on a Monday or a Tuesday and say I’m in the horrors.

Barry: Or the fear.

Declan: I’m in the horrors, blah, blah, blah. Now he says, “Yeah, the anxiety is creeping up on me now.” He’s — you’re not in your own, 100%, I guarantee it’s far more people suffer but like me, they don’t want anyone to see it happening…

Barry: That’s why we’re having this conversation, to talk about it.

Declan: Exactly. But I have no dramas. We have no dramas with confrontation, or things like that.

Barry: That’s an interesting point because a lot of firemen, a lot of policemen are using Panic Away program and they can run into burning buildings, they can run into very dangerous situations and never feel a bit of anxiety because they’re in control and they know what to do. But they can’t sit and get their hair cut because they don’t know what this thing is. They don’t know what this inner threat is. That’s the difference. It’s nothing to do with bravery or courage. It’s really just about understanding what’s going on and knowing what to do with this adrenaline that’s coming out of nowhere, knowing where to put that energy, -knowing how to channel it.

Declan: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s just knowledge, knowledge is power and especially with this. Biggest fear of the whole thing again, is I couldn’t put a label on it. I didn’t know what it was. As Anthony said, he thought he was having a heart attack. That thought never crossed my mind, mind you because, geez, I started getting it in the mid-20s or whatever.

Barry: Yeah, I’ve been worried about your heart.

Declan: No, I have no worries about my heart. I just thought again it was motion sickness or extreme hangovers or actually it was motion sickness was what I was blaming it on because they happened in cars and planes and stuff, but they weren’t

Barry: Anthony, if someone walked into the room here and said that they suffer from panic attacks or when you meet people like that, what are the key things that you just say to them? What do you want to get across?

Anthony: They’re suffering from them or they’re actually having one?

Barry: Let’s say they’re just dealing with them on an ongoing basis. They’re having them in different situations like at work or maybe when they’re driving. They come to you and say, “Look, I hear you’ve dealt with this similar issue.” What advice would you give them? What would you say to them?

Anthony: Do they know what it is yet? Are they still searching to find out what it is?

Barry: Let’s say they know what it is but they just don’t know where to go from here in terms of dealing with it.

Anthony: I think the best thing is that you’ve got to be a little bit more loud and proud about it. I think you’ve got to accept that it’s a part of you. It’s not going to be there, if you do it properly and use your program to get rid of it, you’re not going to have it anymore but you first have to face the fact that they’re there.

Once you acknowledge that, “Yep, I’m suffering from this warrior state that I’ve got myself into. I’ve got to work at how to put fight and flight back into the basket where it needs to get into, then I’m right.”

Once you know, you go through the program and then you’ve got the experience of being through them, that then gives you the power to move forward to be a stronger person. It’s definitely when you know to work through the program. Your forms and the way that you can connect people together to speak, it’s unbelievable. It’s not like they’re on their own. There’s a wonderful saying that they’re on their own but they’re not alone.

That’s what this program does. It keeps you within a little community that you can actually talk to other people about it. If you want to go that far, some people are into that sort of thing, but they’ve got to acknowledge the fact that they can do something straight away with it and that’s probably what my advice would be. The people that don’t know what they’ve got out there, we’re in such a technology explosion, you just Google what’s wrong with you. “I’m having heart palpitations and can’t breathe properly.” Bang! You’re having a panic attack.

Once you find out then you can solve it but it’s all about education. People need to understand that there’s nothing wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with having these attacks. It’s just a process of growth.

Barry: Yeah. It’s also about getting the right information. There’s lot of good sources not just Panic Away but there’s lots of good sources of right information. But oftentimes, you’ll find people getting the wrong information. They’re told to control this, manage it, calm down, breathing exercises, distraction, all this kind of stuff which is really not the way to go. They’ve got to, in my opinion and what I’ve taught all the thousands of people who use Panic Away is they’ve got to go through the anxiety and through the panic and come out at the other side because that’s the only way to end the fear of fear.

Declan: I’m so glad you brought that up because when you do Google that and you find out that you are having an anxiety attack or panic attack, whatever it’s labeled at the time, you cannot afford to go down the prehistoric process that’s out there that’s been happening for years. This is how it used to be done. I don’t know whether it’s another level of anxiety that sort of morphed into these monster compared to what it used to be years ago. But the models out there that tell you to do that, -the calming down and get the paper bag and all that bullshit, it’s almost worse because it doesn’t solve the problem and it then creates another anxiety attack on top of that or a panic attack on top of that.

Barry: You’re left with this thing to manage the rest of your life which is ridiculous.

Declan: That’s exactly right. It doesn’t go away. It stays with you but you learn to manage it. You don’t need to manage this, you can actually destroy it, you can get rid of it and learn from having it as a good thing rather than thinking, “Oh no, here comes one. Okay, what am I going to do? I’ll go through these steps” or whatever the case maybe. But this way, you go through the program and they’re gone. That’s the difference.

Barry: Yeah, it’s becoming powerful again. It’s turning that panic into power. This other approach seems to just create more weakness or more vulnerability so you’re dependent on this ‘managing it’. Maybe you’re dependent on medications still, you know, you feel you need those crutches. You end up having all these kind of crutches and safety blankets that you carry around with you and that doesn’t end. That continues for years and years. Many people that I meet have all of these safety blankets that they’ve brought along because they’ve been managing it all the time, just managing, managing , trying to get through.

Anthony: It becomes a self-hypnosis process. You basically keep telling yourself that you’ve got them, you’ve got them, you’ve got them but you’ve got a solution to -

Barry: I have a disorder.

Anthony: That’s exactly right. Then you self-hypnotize yourself. You’re now labeled. You just make it a part of what you normally do. That really causes people not to be happy. Everybody should wake up every morning and go, “I just love my life so much” rather than thinking, “If only I could get rid of this thing.” Imagine waking up everyday like that, everyday, everyday, everyday. People do. It’s a simple process of just getting into this program and making that go away.

Barry: Well, I think it’s been really, really helpful talking to both of you. I think –there’s a lot of people that are going to listen to this and get a lot out of it and particularly today, we’re talking to men and it’s that message of deal with this. If you’re not sure, find out exactly what it is. Go to the doctor as well. Get the check-ups done. Make sure — there can be physical things causing these sensations. Go to the doctor. Once you discover that it is definitely just anxiety you’re dealing with, then tackle it, get the right information and work through it.

Anthony: Don’t forget guys, you’re a warrior and you’re dealing with fight or flight. That’s the key.

Barry: Brilliant. Thanks guys. Thanks for coming in.

Anthony: Thank you, Barry.

Declan: Thanks mate

38 replies on “Men and Anxiety

  • anu joshi

    I just heard & read the entire interview and I must say its such a booster for people to identify their fears and to be able to share and discuss in detail. specially when something like this happens to us time after time and we only have a million unanswered questions to add to the baggage !!! I have suffered Panic Attacks for years and have finally overcome the fear of fear . . . its been a long ride getting here, and I hope this program is helping many many many of us. . . stay tuned and stay calm . . . All the answers are here – just listen – and follow carefully !! Great help listening to this . . . please share some women interviews too !! anu joshi / india

  • Nicole

    Good interview but it isn’t just about getting rid of/taking the fear out of the symptoms that gets rid of anxiety long term. There is no mention of why they started in the first place. Alcohol does ramp up the nervous system and produce anxiety like symptoms but it is not the cause of an anxiety disorder. Why do we live more anxiously and fearfully than someone else who doesn’t and therefore does not have panic attacks no matter how much they drink? Because we have learnt fearful beliefs and behaviours and live stressfully (even if we don’t realise it as it feels the norm to us,) and don’t take care of ourselves and eventually this causes us to become symptomatic. For long term recovery these behavoiurs/beliefs/thoughts need to be recognised, challenged and changed. If we then manage our lives and stressful circumstances in a healthier way, there is no reason for the symptoms to come back. If we don’t do this, these symptoms will!

  • Tom

    Brilliant interview. It’s always so interesting to hear how completely different people with completely different experiences deal with the same thing. I also liked the bit at the beginning on anxiety and hangovers- as I’m a drinker and know exactly where they are coming from.

    Panic Away is the best, and needs to open up a debate with the NHS and public bodies on how to deal with anxiety. I even think that the PA approach and techniques can be extended to other areas, possibly depression, eating disorders etc. Just a thought, but the psychological exercises really clear the mind.

  • Noah

    the idea of taking on the male point of view of panic attacks is great – however the stereo-typed talking is too much for me.. I think – as a man – if you have problems with the word ‘panic’ itself because you think that it makes you less of a man, I think the real problem lies much deeper within.. however I liked some things that were said.
    I had my problems with understanding the aussie accent, to be honest..

  • Mike

    Really good, thanks for making the interview available. Just read it for the second time. I was in a what would be considered a very dangerous job, but never had anxiety when things were going tits up but as you mentioned about firemem and police men, sitting still to get my hair cut was a nightmare. At one stage I used to shave my head so I did’t have to face. Keep on goin it does get better

  • Lance

    Hi there my name is lance I’m 27 years old and I have a few questions if I could get some input to help me figure things out.. So I have had maybe 1 2 panic attacks I can deal with those but my biggest problem is anxiety.. Like for example if my gf and I Go out for supper I have a massive problem staying and eating. I feel like I’m gonna pass out or something so I lose my Apitite and just wanna leave. And another example is I in talkin with someone and it’s taking to Lin I start to feel dizzy or that I need to stop the convo cause I’m gonna pass out again or something so my head starts feelin weird. Those are my biggest problems and I was hoping someone would have some insight, maybe have had this before and know what works..thanks for ur time ..

  • Colin

    I really enjoyed this interview, I think because it was very down to earth, but also Anthony and Declan’s descriptions were very simple and straightforward, and when they described the fear of not knowing what it was that was happening to them, it rung a huge bell in my mind. Not knowing what was happening plagued me for years, because I didn’t know how to describe what was happening to anyone, and didn’t think anyone else would know what to do because no-one had ever mentioned to me anything like this, so I felt very alone but the attacks weren’t constant, so it was hard to work out what was happening.

    It really helped knowing that it wasn’t a weird rare condition, and being able to label it as a panic attack gave me comfort knowing that it was something that people had worked through and beaten. Now I am doing a lot better, they still happen from time to time, but I am able to distract myself from them in a way I never could before. They used to happen in lectures and I was so petrified of the attack but also petrified of people making a scene that I would sit there going through these hellish feelings.

    I think that the descriptions in this interview make a lot of sense, and hopefully it helps more people to talk or understand, because the most “macho” thing you can do when facing the tiger of panic is turn and face it to deal with it.

  • Ron

    Excellent perspective. After having a particularly hard few days with family and holiday stress this was a great thing to hear and reinforce that we all can beat this and become stronger from the experience.

  • Paul byrne

    Thanks a million Barry, I really enjoyed the interview,very candid indeed.Similar story to my own.A heavy night on the drink.I thought i just went home and went to bed, but it turned out my Dad found me passed out on the sitting room floor.That was 25 years ago.It’s been a long hard process but i’m a hell of a lot better than i was.Packed out churches seem to give me big problems but i’m fighting and will continue to fight the good fight.I really appreciate all your e-mails and the fact that someone like you cares enough to help someone like me.So once again Barry,Thank You so much and please keep up your fantastic work.Wishing you all the very best.


  • Criss

    Yeh really enjoyed reading this article,hit home , every now & then maybe once per year ,I break out in hives a little or really bad , where I have a itch over my entire body , very taxing & extremely painful as I get lots of sores , from scratching a lot, I try & to. Contain it by telecast a allergy tablet etc, at the moment it’s been 3 weeks of no energy , inflamed body, sores, etc, at times , I feel I lose breathe . Have been to doctors many years ago @ say I should be in a bubble ,allergic to this & that , but just guessing, a needle in a hay stack per say. Any way I started to look for solutions, in many forms , as a Christian I prayed many time to numb us to count, believing it was an attack of the enemy / devil/ stan etc, which I believe is very real ,regardless , so I believe God gave me scripture in Phillapines 4 v 6-9 , Be anxious for nothing but in pray & pertain make your requests known unto me & I will give you peace that transcends all understanding etc & read on if you want. So I understood he was sharing this with me, but I could get the whole picture , anyway cut a very long story short , reading this differently makes sense & putting fight to flight is what just witnessed to my spirit which is true & I will pass onto my mates , thank all for your testimonies , Criss

  • Brian

    Hi, I am a “Man” not a “mans man. Just a man! I have not played rugby, or played a sport where machoism is at its core. When I have played sport, tennis, soccer etc I have wanted to win, but these have not been physical games in the sense of a “Mans” game like rugby.
    So Anxiety? Working a senior role in a company, 1000’s of km weekly, a marriage breakdown, redundancy, selling the family home etc etc. So Why? Am I going nuts? In the grip of it, this is how you feel. You lose your sense of perspective. You don’t need to be any category to have anxiety. Man’s man, just a man, gay, father, mother, lady, etc etc. I think the criteria is to be human. Being a “thinker” is one common trait, going from thought and survival into “over thinking everything” loosing perspective!. My best description of an Anxiety attack is….. Some will tell you its like having a heart attack, the pain, the symptom’s, the fear, can’t breath, being choked etc etc. Anxiety is like having the heart attack but not dying, not passing out and waking up in hospital, but staying in that state of fear, struggling through it and then waiting for your next one to happen that robs you of your LIFE.
    Having Anxiety is not a weakness…… I have learnt this…………Sometimes the worlds greatest leaders, strongest citizens…….the people who will jump in…..people who will lead people…..who do stay strong for others etc…. they are the ones that can be struck by this. Its about learning about yourself, and working towards a healthy life towards managing anxiety. Find friends who understand, use their strength, not everyone will understand, thats ok. Now I can see anxiety in others, its stands out like flashing sign. Anyone can have it happen. Have any of you had someone who looked at you struggling with anxiety, with disbelief or lack of real understanding, then their life changes and suddenly they are in the grip of it, then they understand. I can be there for those people and help them as others helped me. Barry your site was a catalyst to me getting that help from other and your amazing tools. THANKS

  • Paul Ryan

    Found your program & I can honestly say WOW ,Thank you! I didn’t think anything at that point in my life would work. I am still working out the bugs with some very minor PA’s still occurring (very seldom now) but I have my life back. It’s surprising how many people you run into with this problem & I steer them toward the panic away program. I am a work in progress but now a much more contented one, thanks again!

  • Juanita Hurst

    I have ben told by Dr, that I have night time anxiety attacks…. What ever it is It is every night, around 3 am and 6 am. heart pounding, get really hot and sweaty and jittery. this has been going on now for 3 years.When I get up and move around they go away.The episode at 6 am is always the worst. Do you think there is such a thing as night time anxiety attacks that happen every night>>

  • Wally

    Thanks for the re-frame of thinking. I must admit I haven’t been diligent in my reading of the book. Strange? I have the answer and I act like I don’t want it.Will finish and report back soon

  • Gene

    Hello all,
    Great interview can totally relate. Always had these demonized panic attacks from young age. I’m sure growing up in a family with alcoholics and abused physically and mentally didn’t help my condition, but I’m over the blaming of others process. Finding out recently runs in our family. The physiatrist told me there hereditary and I finally believe him after reaching the young age of 46. Love the part where as men we are in denial about these attacks and thinking there a sign of weakness, but actually there a sign of strength. I am very spiritual person and live a very clean life now. My younger years from 20 to around 38 I self medicated with liquor, but when I quit that’s when the real panic attacks hit me the hardest. like I was in a snake pit of fears and anxiety’s. I was a all state wrestler, heavy into to martial arts and all types of fighting systems. Still very active till today. Looking back, everytime I competed one on one with another opponent, I was scared shitless with panic. The funny thing about it., it actually made me better at my challenges usually winning my bouts. I still have pecks and valleys with these panic attacks and still constrict me at times. I’ve learned to submit at times and when to push through them, by letting the feeling of panic pass through me and not fight them. I try not to give them any power if you no what I mean by this. In fact this past month been battling these attacks. I know they’ll pass just need to be patient until the panic loop is broken. This is most definitely a process to overcome, but like Anthony says and agree, we will come out of this with a greater amount of wisdom and insight in life’s learning lessons and endure much more then the average person. Nobody can possibly understand these horrific feelings of panic unless they have walked in our shoe’s.. ” In our weakness we are at our strongest” A biblical verse I live by.. God bless to all and thanks for letting me share humbly.. Gene

  • Elsa

    A Warrior State! What a brilliant term! I’ve known of Panic Away for two months now. I just turned 30 and I had my first panic attack last June 2012. I could not be more thankful for having discovered this program this early through Google. I’ve read that some people had it for 20 years or so and I just could not imagine how they were able to deal with it for that long. I’ve been doing some experiments now on how to respond when a panic attack strikes using the program as my guide of course. And so far, all I have are praises for this program. A week ago, I joined with my college friends on a trip to a theme park (yes I’m 30 and still enjoy theme parks!). A perfect place for a panic attack to strike plus the anticipation of getting on those scary theme park rides! I could feel the beginning of a panic attack right before our first ride while waiting in line with my friends. The temptation to back out and to tell my friends that I don’t feel ok was there. But I braved it and put to use the techniques that the program suggest. So I went on with it and survived the first ride and found myself still struggling with the sensations while in line for the next rides. I survived all! And I felt like a champion! And I discovered that my heart is in a great condition for having go through all that scary and adrenaline-rushing rides! I would not have known otherwise (for one of my worries during panic attacks is that I am actually having a heart attack). My panic attacks are really a blessing from God. Because of them I am getting stronger on an inner level and learning to deal with my issues one at a time. I am welcoming it now in my life. I am a warrior! On a different level now… Thanks Barry! And I had additional info through this interview. Truly, knowledge is power! God bless us all! 🙂

  • stanley

    very insightful interview and wonderfully candid from the participants. however, if i’m honest, it didn’t really help me because i’m at a stage where i understand exactly what the panic attack is. i don’t really have attacks any more because i completely understand them and i have been through far too many. i don’t even really fear the fear any more, because i have been through it, and come out the other side safely.

    my problem is that i can’t seem to rid the thoughts in my head that randomly appear every day. thoughts such as ‘your heart might explode’, ‘you’re losing your mind’, ‘you might faint’, ‘your chest will rip open and your heart will fall out beating on the floor’……..just ridiculous thoughts that have no basis.

    i will be having a perfectly normal day and a perfectly normal lunch with friends or my girlfriend, with not a care in the world or a thought out of place. then suddenly, for no seemingly identifiable reason, i’ll think ‘you haven’t had any bad thoughts today’. and from that moment, i’ll envisage my head exploding over the wall or some ridiculous schlock horror scene where something gory happens to me. i kind of step outside myself but the thoughts just always seem to be there.

    even when they’re not there, i recognise that they’re not there, and then they come again and i regress. does anyone have anything similar to this, or any idea how to overcome the nagging, persistent thoughts of impending doom that can subtly permeate thought patterns at random, inexplicable moments?

    would love to hear your thoughts.

  • Catherine

    Wow ……….so accurate in all his words its great to know your not on your own .The feeling of panic & anxiety is disgusting,it leaves me terrified but i think im getting there .Ive accepted that i have a disorder and im doing my upmost to deal with it .xxx

  • Clint

    As another member mentioned, I have been aware of what I am suffering from now for several years, and even came across this course (PA) around 6 months ago and have still not completely finished the book.
    I quickly browsed through it for the quick fix ideas, found that they made immediate improvement and left it at that. However, as many of you know, this is one sneaky affliction. It can creep back up on you without you even knowing it. I habitually fall back into ineffective thoughts, perceiving the cause for anxiety as something outside myself, and begin attempting to “manage” the anxiety rather than go through it.
    It’s time to step it up another notch and take my life to the next level and stop settling for an “OK” life.
    See you on the other side.

  • Peter

    It seems that program is focused mainly on panic attacks. I have been dealing with generalized anxiety and am not sure if the program would help me with this. I see some information on GAD in the materials but it seems to relate to methods I’ve seen before such as accepting the anxiety and some breathing exercises. Can anyone let me know if it is effective for GAD?

  • Jorge

    Hi, if there`s anyone there getting into PAD for the first time or period, here`s someone who had gone thru that for more than 14 years, gone through the losses and pains, frustrations and all the nuts and bolts of this. The good news is I am 100% released, cured, no more PAD for me whatsoever. Just history. I for some over stressed situation in life it may try to trigger, no way, I`m armed to control it and overcome it. No more fear, anxiety? yes, like everyone, not a big deal. Trianed to deal with it in the university of life after thousands in hospitals, meds and doctors. What I`ve learn a decade later and 2 marriages, is that the story would have been way different and certainly shorter, a few months or maybe years, if I have known what I know now about it.

    Willing to help. Just drop me a line.

    One thing I should say, it`s so true that we`re built to survive it, but, you need to keep an eye on the side effects of being exposed to such a suffering and pain for so long.

    Just want to help, like I needed to be helped for so many terrible years.

  • Russell

    I very much enjoyed your interview with Anthony and his business partner. I too played football for many years here in Oz and competed in kickboxing tournaments and felt I could never discuss this with other blokes as they saw it as a female thing or just brushed it off. But I found this to be a bit of inspiration in dealing with situations were panic sets in and it is hard to get on top it before it gets some momentum and takes off. I recently visited Hong Kong and had huge anxiety issues going in the cable car, I just couldn’t get my head to accept it, that everything was going to be alright. after listening to the interview it has given me some food for thought.

  • Nicole

    I struggle with the thoughts as well and these are another symptom of an overly stressed body. Symptoms are not all physical. If you can try and look at your thoughts as another symptom of anxiety that you need to try and under-react to, dismiss and not be fearful of, these will diminish as the body continues to calm down. It takes along time for an over stimulated body to return to normal health.

    This was also the point i was trying to make in my earlier comment. We cause anxiety by our learnt thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. We have to challenge the unhealthly thoughts and fears to change them and start making the brain think differently. This is the only way to get rid of anxiety long term. This is the most difficult work though i have found. Getting rid of the fear of the symptoms is only step 1 in recovery though a very important one as if we don’t lose the fear of symptoms we keep the fear cycle going.

    Also Anxiety is not herditary. If it was in our genes we would not be able to make a full recovery and people do if they do the right work. It tends to run in the family because we have grown up around people with these behaviours and we are taught our values/beliefs/behaviors from our Family. Anxiety is not a chemical imbalance in the brain.

  • Tom

    To Russell @10:41 pm:

    Found a very helpful book that addresses GAD in a systematic way: The Worry Trap.

    Easily found through Amazon.

  • Gene

    Russell question ? Gonna sound funny. I”m 46 yr old. competed a lot of years in wrestling, boxing and marital arts. Lots of blows to the head.. Sometimes I think that could have brought on panic attacks and also along with adrenaline spiking before competition. See you’ve competed so I know you know that feeling especially one on one..

  • Gene

    Nicole, so disagree with last part as far as not being hereditary. There is definitely a genetic link to this disorder. Great arguments support this. The first part is right on, coming to the terms without denial of panic attacks. Denial only gives support to panic. The process of acceptance of panic is stage 1 for sure, so agree. Its the lack of gabba the calming effect and our abundance of adrenaline surge from our kidney’s throwing us into flight or fight responses.. These are not normal reaction to your typical person to this extreme.. Learning how to respond through submission or letting the fear run its course while being productive. “Panic is a imbalance” other wise we wouldn’t react in this manner so irrationally without warning..We need to give no power to panic disorder, this is the hardest part to apply and overcome.. Just my humble opinion

  • Anand

    Hi Jorge,

    I’m going through this anxiety from almost four years. Appreciat if you can post your email to get in touch with on how you dealt with these panic attacks.

  • Barry Joe McDonagh

    Hi Noah, -yes the key is to get this discussion going with men. The more men talk about it the more perspective we all get on it

  • Lorena

    When I first heard this interview I felt a feeling of power. I felt as if I wanted to be them strong, and tough.

  • Tim

    It was a very refreshing interview. Unfortunatley I keep letting this bastard get at me! I continue to try to be strong as I have had it for 10 years! I am in outside sales and sometimes a 25 minute drive takes me over an hour because I have to pull over time and time again. Although I have turned around and made excuses there are times I force myself to make the trip regardless of how ill it makes me feel because I must! If I don’t I will just sit on the couch and never leave the house….I’m trying, but it is extremely difficult! Four kids at home and a stay at home mom so I have to be the “manly man”! I’m tired… I used to travel more than anyone in the company, internationally, etc…now a 25-30 mile drive has me on the edge! This is the best program i’ve heard of after many trips to doctors, therapist, etc., it worked the last time out….but this beast is a beast…

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