Comedian Tom Davis quit stand-up for six years after struggles with anxiety
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Murder in Successville star Tom Davis has explained why he stepped back from doing what he loved over struggles with his mental health.
The British actor and comedian, who also appeared in the sitcom King Gary, had long performed stand-up comedy while juggling his acting career, but over time the pressure started to get to him.
He acknowledged there's 'a reason for stage fright' as you 'might be about to step out in front of 5,000 people', but it wasn't just stage fright he was dealing with; it was anxiety.
Speaking to The Mirror, Davis explained he's struggled with anxiety since before he became a stand-up comedian, and at times it's 'a little bit more illogical' than stage fright.
“It’s held me back from going for jobs and following my dreams and ambitions - it’s had a knock-on effect on everything I do," Davis said.
The comedian has made excuses not to go to events like birthdays and weddings, or even just to see his friends at the pub due to his social anxiety.
His mental health eventually began to impact his career, as he explained: “I stopped doing stand-up for about five or six years, questioning whether I was good enough, which wasn’t just an hour or so before the show, it would take over the whole day."
Davis continued: “From the moment I woke up I’d be really anxious. Over the years I’d dip my toe in but I found the anxiety so crippling I’d end up making an excuse to pull out.”
Davis was able to recognise that his mental health was preventing him from living his life, and said that when it gets to that point you 'have to start thinking about solutions'.
Davis is now collaborating with the NHS campaign Every Mind Matters to encourage people to make the first move for their mental health.
He features in a new short film with TV GP Dr Ranj Singh, who helps explain the impacts anxiety can have on day-to-day life.
“Dr Raj Sing was incredible to talk to, we had some really frank conversations about anxiety and he gave me some really sound advice about different ways to deal with it,” Davis said.
“Once I understood what anxiety was, I realised that actually I’ve suffered with it my whole life."
The actor still suffers with anxiety, but he has come up with coping mechanisms like trying to do 'something physical' every morning.
Dr Singh noted that feeling anxious is a normal part of everyday life, but said it's important to take steps if it starts to get out of hand.
“One of the simplest things to help alleviate those feelings is physical activity,” he explained. “You don’t need to do a full body workout to reap those mental health benefits.”
Davis has decided to open up about his struggles to encourage more conversations about mental health, saying: "The more we can talk about mental health and come together as a collective, the more we can help anyone who is struggling.”
If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phone.