The first time I had a panic attack, I thought I was dying.
It started as a general sense of unease but quickly became impending doom. My heart raced, air stolen from my lungs, and in my frantic search for help, I stumbled upon the kindness of my housemate, who, thankfully, recognised the signs of a panic attack.
I would experience many more of these over the years. Triggered occasionally by wild nights of partying and often for reasons unknown. Alcohol was a quick fix to my social anxiety but would wreak havoc on my mental health in the blurry, hungover aftermath. I bottled up my feelings and found it difficult to talk. I felt guilty, ashamed, and desperately alone. It wasn’t until my late 20s - when I started counselling - that I started to get to grips with it all. I practised mindfulness and became more aware of my triggers, learning to regain control before they spiralled. I stopped relying on booze to open up and got comfortable talking about my feelings sober. I’ve managed to relegate anxiety to a background hum, though it still occasionally threatens to take centre stage. I suspect it will stay with me in some form my entire life.
Music has always been an anchor in my otherwise chaotic existence. Ever since my Dad started teaching me guitar when I was 11, it's been a constant source of inspiration, helping me navigate a world I often couldn't make sense of. The catharsis of playing live kept me sane throughout my tumultuous twenties and led me to co-found Small Pond Studios with my best mates. Eventually, it led me here, to Cambridge Audio.
Men are not very good at the whole “talking” thing. The truth is, a lot of us weren’t given the language or tools to express our feelings when we were younger. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember any “Talking About Your Feelings 101” in school. It’s no wonder that so many of us struggle as adults. I’ve watched countless male friends battle with their mental health, and we all know someone who couldn’t bear the weight, contributing to the sad fact that men account for almost three-quarters of all suicides in the UK. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
That’s why I’ve decided to fundraise for Movember this year. If growing a sub-par moustache can encourage even a fraction of men to open up or seek help, it’s a cause worth supporting. Your support, whether through sharing my journey or contributing to the cause, can make a difference. You can find a link to my fundraiser here.
I'm also proud to share that Cambridge Audio is supporting Movember this year - keep your eyes peeled for some prize draw goodies for Giving Tuesday. There's an Alva ST turntable at Movember HQ already; here's to elevating their already epic events space and fostering the perfect atmosphere for crucial discussions on men's well-being.
Liam McMillan, Social Media Marketing Manager
Ever laughed at one of our social posts? That'll be Liam's doing.
But it's more than just memes. As well as crafting killer social content, Liam sits at the centre of the Cambridge community. Every time you slide into our DMs or comment on our posts, Liam is there, helping you with your questions, queries and problems. Or finding the right person who can if he can't do it himself!
But his favourite thing is finding and sharing your hi-fi setups with the world. He loves seeing you enjoy Cambridge gear in your homes and living spaces. If you'd like him to see yours, use #MyCambridgeAudio when sharing your setups on socials. You might even win a special monthly prize, chosen by our Founder, James Johnson-Flint.
He's always keen to meet new listeners, so head to our Cambridge Audio Facebook Group to say hello. That's where you'll find the real experts, and where we'll announce exclusive events and offers first.