Q&A with Anxiety Canada Champion, John Bateman
An Anxiety Canada Champion is an individual who is passionate about mental health, shares the organization’s vision and is interested in ‘championing’ our mission. We are pleased to announce that John Bateman is Anxiety Canada's newest Champion!
How did you get involved with Anxiety Canada?
I met Judith (Anxiety Canada Executive Director) through the Robert Bateman Foundation which I’m Chair. My enthusiasm for mental health and your organization resonated with Judith, so she immediately asked me to be a Champion.
How has anxiety impacted your life?
I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life - it started at a young age. At the time, there wasn’t a system in place for anyone – let alone children, but, my mom recognized it and helped me a lot. I started having panic attacks that were brought on by stressful events. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in high school, and I also battled depression. There's a lot that I blocked out about this time, but I do recall three major episodes that were brought on by my anxiety. I did eventually learn techniques to deal with my anxiety, and I found that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT was the most effective and best thing for it.
What have you learned through this process?
I learned that anxiety is normal and a part of me. Just like happiness, anxiety is a normal emotion. It can be very uncomfortable and it can be easy to shut down and extract yourself; however, I've learned to understand anxiety and the methods of dealing with it - basically, keep it in check. I want people to know that it’s a normal part of being, so it’s important to get to know more about anxiety and talk about it with others.
How can you help others?
In the past, I shied away from the public, but five years ago, I decided to take on a public figure and started to be more open and direct and share with others what I’ve been through. The response, I found, was that it was almost an antidote for others. People started opening up to me and talking to me about what they were going through, and through that, they found the courage in themselves to admit that they need to take action and seek help. I found that once they accepted it, they are able to proceed with the strategies to empower and take action. I guess it helped when others saw me come out and talk about it, this gave them the courage to come out and talk about it too.
What are some things people may not know about you?
I’m a gregarious individual who has a wicked sense of humour. So when I’ve hit my low points, people aren’t sure how to deal with that. I want people to know although my sense of humour helps me, it often takes a lot of energy to be that person. And I’m a huge hockey fan!
To learn more about John Bateman, visit steffichfineart.com/artists/john-bateman/