Laura Mvula is a singer songwriter who has been nominated for two Brit Awards this week: and yet she has suffered from crippling anxiety. She talks in some depth to the Independent on Sunday about this, and about her experience of doing the Lightning Process.
"....For many years now, Mvula has suffered with an asphyxiating anxiety.
"It's been difficult," she says quietly. As with most sufferers, she did
her best to ignore it, and plough on. But it was in becoming a pop star
that she felt she must at last confront it. She came across something
called the Lightning Process, a three-day training programme created by a
British osteopath called Phil Parker. The process claims to help people
retrain "negative brain patterns" by breaking the "adrenaline loop"
that keeps the nervous system's stress responses unhealthily high.
Though it is not without its critics, the treatment has been
successfully used by sufferers of stress, depression and other
auto-immune conditions. Esther Rantzen, whose daughter suffered with
chronic fatigue, has publicly praised it, as have several athletes.
it helped me enormously," Mvula says. "It encouraged me to access a
part of my brain that had been very flustered for a long time. I got
into the habit of filtering out all the good in my life, focusing on
only the negative. I'm not sure why I did it, but it's a pretty
Her anxiety led to a condition called monophobia, a fear of being alone. Solitude would only exacerbate her anxiety.
be honest with you, I've been pretty secretive about all this," she
says hesitantly. "I don't know why. Perhaps I'm embarrassed? But then,
no. I've been giving this a lot of thought recently, and I don't think
being embarrassed helps. What I learnt with Phil Parker was that my
anxiety was my body's way of trying to protect me, to look after me. So
the impulse was coming from a good place, but overall it wasn't being
Until recently, she refused to watch herself on TV or
read back any interviews, for fear, she says, "I might find something
out about myself that could destroy me." But, mindful of her Lightning
Process instruction, she is now challenging this. After singing on The
Jonathan Ross Show recently, she forced herself to watch it. And her
reaction? "Um, I was pleasantly surprised."
This gradual easing of
her anxiety means that she is beginning to enjoy life as a pop star,
and perhaps even embrace it. ..... eyes luminous, she says: "The opportunities that have been coming my way are just amazing." "
The full article was published in the Independent on Sunday on 16th February 2014.