Mental Healthmotorsport

Aniexty & The Track

This article has taken me some time originally planned during last year however for various reasons and total lack of confidence in myself it never happened however since I have started to create articles for another organisation and close friends I have on both on Facebook and Twitter who have provided me with support and guidance I have started to rebuild my confidence.

So anxiety and the track not exactly things you would put together well its actually not that unusual a lot of my favourite race drivers have admitted they suffer from this dreadful mental health condition. And I am a motor sport fan and freelance photographer so this is how I cope with the unexpected and changes that would normally cause me to stress out start to get worried and potentially at the worst cause panic attacks.

Before The Event…


To help me minimise unnecessary worry 2 or 3 days before the event I am going to make sure I have everything but I am human and occasionally my checks still miss something but I try really hard not to as it causes me to worry exactly what I am trying to avoid.

The second thing I do before the event to reduce unnecessary worry is check my camera as its hybrid mirrorless DSLR it has not got a mirror and it’s at higher risk to dirt and dust when the lens is swapped over than a normal mirror driven setup and to clean the sensor at the shop I use is £30 a time (yes a little expensive but they do a great job) and I cannot always get it into the shop. The third and final thing I do before the event is check my lenses like my camera while easier and I have the tools on hand in most cases is making sure they are clean.

Arriving at the track & the day ahead

This is a hard thing for me to be honest I hate unfamiliar environments which is not unusual however some with anxiety dont suffer with this but those that do it takes sometime to adapt however at an event I am there for a short time so I havent got time to properly adapt so I need to use a fast alternative well my solution here is my photography not only do I love photography it also requires full attention and being able to think very fast a fraction of second difference out and the shot you really want is likely already gone especially in motorsport the advantage of this is its acting as a distraction so I am not thinking about my unfamiliar surroundings and therefore I am able to reduce my worrying.

But does It completely stop my risk of panic or anxiety attacks occurring? No I am always aware there is still a risk.

While my photography helps me a huge amount its not the only tool I use to help me when in unfamiliar surroundings the other is google maps with this being able to work pretty much anywhere with a mobile signal Its invaluable as I can check out where things are while I could do this with signposts there often is very few or you cannot see them due to tents etc at events so I can pin things down easier with google satellite images.

Going Track Side

This Is probably one of the easier aspects of the of the day for me usually to be honest as most circuits paddocks where its pretty compact and become crowded pretty quickly I can easily move around trackside in allowed areas if I am not happy but again with my photography I am usually concentrating on taking photos and focusing on ambient sounds etc so that I can time my photography so really I am not worrying too much if at all

The end of the day.

This is a hard part of the day for me because I am happy in the sense I have had a great time but also because I start worrying about how busy public transport is going to be and coping with a ongoing back issue and this heightens my anxiety and also my panic attack risk. I cope with both problems in 2 separate ways;

For my back I have pain killers these help to reduce the discomfort alongside my monopod for additional support it can support me putting a huge amount of downward pressure on it.

And for the anxiety side I focus on positives and as I have suffered anxiety and panic attacks before should one occur I can detect the symptoms very quickly and I start to react to it the breathing techniques I have learnt and continued to develop and adapt for myself once I am on public transport I am usually ok as I have developed other techniques to cope with that.

Go out there and have fun guys


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