I’ve recently reviewed the book, “Pulling the Trigger” by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan. What brought my attention to this book? Anxiety. After the birth of my son, I suffered a bit from anxiety issues, triggered by the fact that he had many health problems when he was born and as a new mom I felt extremely overwhelmed. Thankfully, my son’s health has gotten much better (I thank God for this everyday!) and I am also doing better but still very interested in topics related to anxiety. When I read the book “Pulling the Trigger” by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan, I felt that Shaw really understood what mental illness is and how to deal with these issues. He was very open about his own struggles, how he went through life trying to deal with OCD, anxiety and depression and how he attempted to get the help he needed. He ultimately found this help through Clinical Psychologist Lauren Callaghan.
I thought it would be a good idea to talk to him about this topic.
In a phone interview from the countryside of the United Kingdom, Shaw spoke about “Pulling the Trigger” saying it focuses on a compassionate, straightforward and unique approach to support sufferers recovery from mental health issues and he talks about his struggles with OCD, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Shaw says that when he wrote the book with Lauren Callaghan, he thought about his own mental health issues and what he would want from a self help book. “They need to have help, they need to see that somebody else is going through it,” he says.
Shaw suffered mental health problems since childhood. He had thoughts he was going to harm people, he had obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and severe depression. “I thought I was crazy,” he says.
“During the time we were taught how to eat healthy and exercise but there was no curriculum for mental health. You would just hear the negative things on the news about crazy people doing crazy things. I thought I was going to be taken away – end up locked up,” adds Shaw. He says that having worry and anxiety played a pivotal role in adding fear to his thoughts and adding even more anxiety. His thoughts became more sinister and turned his life upside down – then he was officially diagnosed with OCD but was being treated in the wrong way. Shaw says he went to a point where he was going to end it all – anxiety and panic left him contemplating suicide.
“That’s when I ended up on the ledge of a bridge. Ironically, I found this to be the first time I didn’t feel anxious and the only reason was because I knew I was going to end it and it couldn’t get me anymore – for the first time in my life I was relaxed.” Fortunately, that is also when he realized that he could possibly get better so he sought the help of Clinical Psychologist Lauren Callaghan.
“Lauren told me, “Why don’t you have the courage to face your fears and walk towards it, if you allow the bad thoughts in, you also allow the good thoughts in. Your thoughts will be desensitized when you face them, don’t add meaning to them.”
Shaw believes that the majority of mental health problems especially anxiety based ones like depression and OCD affect a lot of people and go untreated. “A lot of this can be resolved just by educating people,” says Shaw.
“Pulling the Trigger” is a book with a philanthropist element says Shaw. “We want to educate people on why they have the mental health issue. We can help people feel better. This book is about improving lives and helping others because our proceeds go to our charity where we help people who are in socially deprived areas that don’t have the medical care they need for survival,” he says. These books are not a commercial venture says Shaw. He made his money and sold his company a few years ago which employed about 1,000 people. “The idea was to launch a global charity where we could help children and parents with mental health – create and sell books with a philanthropic purpose. It goes to helping vulnerable people in dire and desperate situations. A lot of people are suffering needlessly,” he says.
Shaw says, “Life’s a journey – I’m very healthy now. It’s the first time in my life I feel right. I am doing something I really enjoy and am looking forward to helping as many people as possible.”