Fearne Cotton talks to incredible people about life, love, loss, and everything in-between as she reveals what happiness means to them.
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Mon, 13 Mar 2023 02:00
PTSD, social anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, and imposter syndrome are just some of the things Ian Redpath and Jeremy Chopra have experienced between them. Known collectively as All On The Board, Ian and Jeremy are the TFL customer service assistants who write the supportive, fun, moving words on tube station boards and post them on social media.
In this chat with Fearne, Ian and Jeremy discuss the importance of being kind to one another, and the power of feeling less alone when you’re going through a rough time. They also talk through some of the overwhelming experiences of working on the Underground that have particularly stuck with them over the years – for better or for worse.
All On The Board: Your Daily Companion is out now:
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Before we start, this episode contains some chat you might find difficult to hear, so do check the show notes for more details. Hello and welcome to Happy Place, the show that encourages gorgeous human connection. Today I'm chatting to Ian Redpath and Jeremy Chopra. They're the men that you might know better as TFLs all on the board. One of the things that we notice with those boards, this board's all over the network, but people tend to ignore them. But then they don't ignore the things that we put in them, and I think it's because they realise that one, it's handwritten, so it's by a person. It's a person there. And then when they take note of that, then they read it, and then they read the words that we're putting on there, which is about connecting. It's about connecting with themselves and what they're going through, what we go through, and so on, and then they realise, oh, there's someone here who's written that, and they go with it, and that whole connection thing happens. In 2017, Poems and Little Messages of Hope and Support started appearing on whiteboards at London's underground tube stations. They got posted on social media, and the words resonated with so many people that their Instagram account, all on the board, now has over a million followers. A couple of years ago, Ian and Jeremy, two customer service assistants for TFL, revealed themselves as the amazing creatives behind the writing, and it was the biggest privilege to get to chat with them about their own mental health when they came round to mine at the end of last year. They've been through a lot, between them, PTSD, social anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, in post-acindrome, and I do think that's why their poems have touched so many people, because you can just tell they're coming from a place of real understanding and empathy. ACAST powers the world's best podcast. Here's the show that we recommend. Hi, I'm Doree Shafreer, and along with Kate Spencer, I host Forever 35, a podcast about the things we do to take care of ourselves. Join us every Wednesday with guests like author Phoebe Robinson, Chefs to me, NoSrat, actress Busy Phillips, and even former Secretary of State Madeline Allbright. On Mondays and Fridays, we have many episodes where we answer listeners' questions on everyday problems like how useful a but mask really is, how to deal with a petty friend, or how to relax after a long day. So join us Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Forever 35, where we're not experts, but we are two friends who like to talk a lot about serums. All on the board! Hi, thank you for having us. Thanks for having us. Ian and Jeremy, it's so lovely to have you here, and you know how chaffed I am that you've worn your actual uniforms. We've done it just for you. Yeah. I'm so grateful. We're going to take an award winning photo a bit later on. Oh, amazing. I'm so glad to have you here. Obviously, we met early on in the year at the Happy Place Festival, although we've been sort of messaging each other for quite a long time now, actually, but you've spread so much joy and happiness at the Happy Place Festival. So thank you for being there, first of all. Oh, well, thank you. That means the world to hear that, honestly. You're kind words mean. Everything that thanks for inviting us to the Happy Place Festival, we genuinely felt happy. Yeah. Now, I mean, we were nervous when we arrived. We had that little poet tree to read poems at and we were like, we've never done this before. And the whole social anxiety things started to go and we're like, we've got no time now because we're going up now. And then we went up and then you said something to the crowd. You told them about my social anxiety. I did do. I don't want to be a loveliest people. Yeah. I don't know, you know, I don't know if they just like that all the time, which they probably are, but also I think the vibe of that festival just made everyone's just be really supportive and they were clapping us and they were, you know, whooping us as well. Yeah. And I've never wanted to hug anyone so badly literally every person that we came across across just wanted to hug them, you know. And like we say, and Jeremy's got social anxiety and then suddenly we find ourselves reading poetry out loud. First time that we've ever done it, the biotry, just all these lovely people around. That's such a brilliant idea, by the way. Yeah, poetry. I can't take credit for that with someone on my team. You know, who came up with that? I'm sorry. You know, that's such a good idea. And it's a beautiful tree. It is. It's a graphic park. But you're so right. I think the lovely community that come to the festival really want to sort of learn and try new things. But also there are many people that turn up with social anxiety and we're quite mindful of that at the festival that we don't over sell tickets. So it's super crowded. We want there to be room and space for people to walk around and for there to be little areas corners where people can take themselves away from the larger crowds and go, oh, I just need a minute on my own. So I think it must have felt I'm sure because I deal with the same thing quite often, quite relieving saying that out loud to a crowd. And it being met with, yeah, I hate it. Like I see you. I get it. Yeah, it blew my mind instantly. I was like, oh, wow, they're with this. They're cool about it. That's brilliant. Let's go on. And we kept on reading, reading. And then you know what, I think we went into the next guy's time a little bit when he was standing in and he was enjoying it. He was like, no, no, you guys keep going. You're like, we're never coming off. We're going to stay. Yeah, yeah, you got that point. You know what, you felt a bit like karaoke towards you. You know, when you've got that particular singer that doesn't want to get off and they've put their name down for everything, but it was just wonderful thing. Thank you so much. Yeah, that was really that was really kind of your two invites and we had a blast. Well, I'm so glad to have you here as well for the podcast because you've got your new book, your daily companion, which not only looks gorgeous and beautiful, colorful pages, but it's full of all of these wonderful poems and boards, but new exclusive writing that you've done for the book as well and some more of your own personal stories that you've written about, which is so helpful. But before we get into that, let's just go right back to the start for people that don't know about your beautiful work. So you're two customer service assistance working in Transport for London and it was 2017. You started to write up these poems and it started in the context of gigs happening around London and you would write a poem about the person who was playing say the O2 or wherever it might be. Whose idea was it? How was that idea established and how was it evolved? Because it seems very natural evolution from from that place. Do you know what it wasn't natural evolution? It was like to me, self and Jeremy's, there's people coming past for the Craig David concert and we're kind of going through all the Craig David songs that we knew and then we kind of started singing them badly to one another. We're not Craig David, are we? Seven days walking away and stuff and then we composed a little poem and it was like it was a poem kind of giving directions to the O2 and you know and you know it was I mean like there was a there was a ball in the middle of the ticket all that just said keep right. I mean people don't need to be told to keep right. No. What they need is a Craig David poem, 10 a matter get to the O2. Correct. Because the song titles are correct. So we kind of wiped the keep right off the ball and we was a bit hesitant at first about putting on the poem thinking oh maybe yeah maybe we were getting trouble for it but you know I mean why why not you know. Why in a hot thank god you did because look what you've started you know this snowball effect of you know that one moment thinking shall we do this shall we not and that one decision has changed the course of your lives completely and you've helped so many people and what I love about what you do is you've made traveling on the underground a happier place you know I think a lot of people and you write about this in your book don't like traveling on the trains because they're either you know a prone to panic attacks or it's just a stressful part of the day they might be late just simple things rushing and I think also when I think about when I was a teenager when I grew up in the suburbs so I was on the tube all the time coming into town and we didn't have mobile phones then so you would say you might read but actually you might click eyes with someone and start randomly chatting and today we've all got these like we create these little cocoons of headphones maybe sunglasses I heard your phone and you that connections lost and I think what you're doing and I don't know if this is you know part of why you're doing it is to sort of reinstate that we're all human we're all you know trying to do our best and struggling on any given day but let's just all connect on a very human level and you've done that through the power of writing it's beautiful yeah and absolutely we you know one of the things that that we notice with those boards this board's all over the network but people tend to ignore them but then they don't ignore the things that we put on them and I think it's because they realize that one it's handwritten so it's by a person it's a person there and then when they take note of that then they read it and then you read the words that we're putting on there which is about connecting it's about connecting with themselves and what they're going through and what we go through and so on and then they realize oh there's someone here who's written that and and they go go with it and that whole connection thing happens we got to this one point where we were doing magic tricks on the board we were right down a magic trick and then say go to a member of staff and tell them the answer and then they will tell you something about you and and we started doing things just to get people to kind of come over and speak with staff in a different way and we might do that again actually yeah so we had some good magic tricks we run out of magic tricks yeah but we had some good ones we had to we need to call Stephen Mulherne and get a few more obviously yeah we'll get some more tricks I think that is lovely and it I think especially when you work in any sort of customer service job not everybody but certain people completely dehumanise you and we'll let off all of their anger and aggression to you and talk to you in a very curt blunt way and again you've changed that you're like I'm a human here's what I'm going through and I'm going to connect with you through words which will resonate with what you're going through and it just again it just totally it's like a ripple effect of everyone just going oh yeah we're all human rule trying our best it's not this person's fault that that turns styles not working or I don't know why that trains not on or whatever it's just bringing like the very human level to like a very hectic part of the day I think yeah I mean again with the happy place festival because it's like a community and bringing people together and we kind of like you know anyone that uses a tube like you said everyone's in their own cocoons on the phone like you know just in their own little worlds and it was kind of like you know it's it's the busiest place you know it's one of the busiest places in the world and it feels like the loniest place at times yeah I mean you're all on your separate journeys and that and we kind of like the idea of people shying up at station they've all come on their separate journeys and then they kind of gather around a ball and no critique it or laugh at it or take selfies with it and then they ask one another to take photos of one another it's kind of like bringing people together at the end of the journey and kind of making them smile and I mean we can't lie we get buzz from that just seeing people sort of just smiling being happy and kind of like fuels us on to do more you know and your words have resonated because you have channeled everything that you've been through personally into these poems or pieces that you're putting on the boards it's not just about gigs these days you do talk about all manner of things and mental health and physical health did you initially bond as friends over that did you sort of connect on a personal level of sharing your own stories you know what our manager originally put us together she she saw that we had this kind of like creativity about each of us we hadn't worked with each other yet and then she kind of said you guys you work together and do stuff together and so she put us on shifts together and we started talking about things we were originally we were at that time actually we were we were trying to write a sitcom we were coming out of society no way we come up with I think that 20 episodes what was it what was the sitcom we need to reinstate this we'll definitely get there but it's definitely unique yeah we can tell you afterwards right we'll do it but we were just being creative in all these kind of ways and of course like in the middle of that conversation came up with the Craig David poem and I think we were just connecting with each other creatively I think the in terms of mental health and visual illnesses and we didn't know any of that about each other at all really yeah and it was um it must be about three or three or six months someone on out after we started doing those boards of the the events that that we took the step to kind of write something more personal I can't remember what the first one was it was it possibly about anxiety attacks or panic attacks but might have been the cranes correct I can't remember where it was but it's generally we kind of talk about our own conditions you know what I mean we don't want anyone to feel embarrassed to talk about mental health or you know you shouldn't have to be like be brave to come out you know I mean it should be just like you know we're all in it together yeah yeah and it's just kind of just to address it you know it's all right for boys and men to cry so right for women to cry so I have a shoulder to cry and ask of help and it's like you know I've had counseling you know throughout my life of various things and we just kind of want to get in there you know just to you know smash the stigma and sort of break order to booze and stuff and yeah we're we try our very best you know and conditions that I remember we we wrote about endometriosis and like we did research on it and like how it came about is like my wife you just get really bad period pains and it just like chronic really bad pains and it's like we kind of looked into it and sort of discovered this condition called endometriosis and it was like can't believe that people go through this and we kind of wanted to address it on the board and for despite looking like we're in our mid 20s we're in our 40s yeah no yeah absolutely yeah and then it just seems bonkers for two guys in their 40s to be right about endometriosis on a ball but we kind of yeah just wanted to do it and it kind of went down well yeah yeah well it connects with people and also it might have been a moment of discovery for someone who's not looked into that yeah I might you know take a chance and and look into it or go and seek professional hell nothing that's what it was yeah it's just like just we wanted to kind of like you know make the invisible visible you know there's so many invisible all this is and sort of like you know disabilities that can't be seen and like you know sometimes when people like you to you know someone will look at the youngster sitting down on the seat not wanting to give up their seat for another person but who knows what they're going through yeah because I've got ulcerative colitis and sometimes I get such bad fatigue that you know as much as I want to stand up for someone I just physically can't and just every step feels like a mile you know and so it's just to sort of obviously like if people communicated on the tube for example that that whole yeah stigma wouldn't exist because that person if they felt comfortable to say it and you felt comfortable to ask and so on and so forth that wouldn't even be a problem so you know maybe we're trying to bridge still that kind of get people talking more you know get people to recognize the potential there to talk and so on and so forth it's still going to be a bit of a trick for a lot of people but you know and around about that time that we was writing we don't know whether we influenced it or it was kind of like a perfect storm where people were thinking the same thing but there started to be like appearing on sort of train seats like not all disabilities are visible on seats like for the priority seats and it was kind of like seem to happen at the same kind of time so yeah well I think you know one thing obviously and we've touched on it very lightly um obviously it's prevalent for people to experience anxiety attacks or panic attacks when they're in the underground on the tube because it might be due to claustrophobia or the amount of people that are there or it just triggers something in them and obviously they manifest in very different ways for some people it would be very obvious they were having a panic attack when I'm having one nobody knows it is completely internalized my heart is racing but no one can see it my breathing is relatively normal I'm I can sort of control that bit but the cognitive element is off the scale my heart's racing I'm hot so I feel like I'm going to faint but if you were looking at me it's like I'm sat here now so I think again looking into that and the amount of people that are triggered by going on the underground and like you said you you have to comfort people on a regular basis who are who are dealing with that how do you approach that because obviously that is something that takes a lot of care and understanding an empathy to deal with and you're not doctors not medical professionals but you are able to ease people's nerves and to help people in that way I think I think it helps that kind of we we know that it's it's not life threatening yeah so when you approach somebody and you just start talking to them about what they're going through you know that you don't necessarily have to be a doctor or something like you just have to be there for them and just talk to them as long as you can and time will do the rest you know just get them away from the situation and it works out with a number of times we've had people like 20 30 thousand people coming through in one go and yeah there's all this vibe and everyone's loving it and all that but not everyone does they have a panic attack in the corner and no one notices but we've noticed them gone over helped and you know 10 15 minutes later their eyes rain they can go go on you know and they're happy to do that and that's part of our job to be quite honest with you it is it's part of our job to help people in that way but yeah not everyone can do it not everyone's going to go and do it either you know a lot of the time people are having panic attacks and they just have to figure out for themselves which is pretty sad to be honest it's nice to be able to do that well lovely feeling for you guys too to know that you've genuinely impacted someone's day or evening in in such an important way and there's an amazing story in the book Ian where you help a little girl who was terrified of getting on the escalators would you mind sharing a bit of that story with absolutely I mean like I've been working for the underground for like 21 years now and it still remains one of my favourite memories of the job and why was I was working at Warren Street Tube Station and I noticed at the top of the escalator there was a man, a woman and a little girl and she was kind of just not wanting to get on that escalator and I kind of went over to them and then just said oh well you know what's the matter and then they explained her story they had adopted her I don't know where she was from but they just told me a war torn country and that she had just had a prosthetic legs fit it and she wanted to use a tube but she kind of felt panicked by the escalator and you know and it was kind of using distractions I kind of talked to a little girl and like she didn't understand much English and then the first song I could think of it I said to her I'll sing you a song and I sang the walls on the bus guy round and round why I sang that I don't know I was in the Tube Station I felt a bit you know and then she wanted more so I finished singing and she demanded that I sing more and I said look I will sing and I will sing a lot better if me and you get on the escalator together yeah I'm fantastic singer so she kind of agreed and she you know she stood up she held the hand round and I was like just opposite her kind of like just I to I and then I sang the walls on the bus guy round and round like Pavarotti you know customers were kind of looking in that but it was like I could see the the the glee in the girl space and then when she got to the bottom it was kind of like you know I'll say goodbye to him and there was just a bat to get on the train and she came running back and she she kind of threw her arms around me and it was just and then they left my life forever but I mean this to I said the girl would be in her mid 20s now maybe she just uses a tube all the time and yeah and it kind of just start with me and just you know like kindness and distraction and yeah it's yeah so here's one of my favourite memories of working on the underground and it's that it's just the power of human connection yeah yeah it's so obvious to sort of talk about but I do think in this day and age we don't give it anywhere near enough attention thought and you guys are just cultivating that and changing the culture of the tube due to your own work but also the boards and just getting people to connect it's just so powerful that you know you could have like you say change that girl's experience of the tube forever for you just absolutely seeing someone and getting it and being there and it's just and kindness yeah kindness seems so absent sometimes and again I think what you guys do is just highlighting kindness like simple kindness be nice be nice to each other yeah and you know what if people are nice to each other it certainly makes out easier because I mean like you got a sorted recently physically a sorted I got like you know I was so looking forward to it it was poor McCartney plan at the O2 and like we was working together and and it was crowded downstairs for everyone's safety we had to hold people outside but some of the people didn't like being held outside for their safety and then someone had butted me from behind oh my god run away and it was like it's like the people's in my favourite bed every it's like okay poor McCartney and I don't know and I went into that mode there yeah yeah you're in trouble yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah I saw it straight I was like what's he doing you ran off as well so I thought no this is a bit childish but I mean you know we've both you know been a sort of a job many of our colleagues have is unfortunate it happens but yeah kindness like you say makes our job easier yeah but also it's one of the things that's kind of key to what we do you know be kind to each to other people love yourself and know that you're not alone these kind of like three things that we always try and infuse and everything that we do and um you know I think if everyone did that in life anyway things like that wouldn't happen you know like genuinely we're closing the station in that moment to keep them from getting hurt and everyone else from getting hurt I mean it's insane when it's that busy if you have to close it's really I can't imagine controlling that many people you know there's just that four of us to control 20,000 people and it's like this is what we've got to do but yeah it was unfortunate it was unfortunate because yeah like he said he's a massive Beatles fan and it was Paul McCartney and he's like you've got the vibe going on I still got a full McCartney guy you know you know you know you've got a full yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah Maca has no part in this whatsoever that's just unfortunate but yeah it is and how do you how does your social anxiety manifest in a job where you're with at times 20,000 people how do you navigate that you know what I've always wondered this like how I'm doing that job yeah because I remember the first week that I um started and they do this training for me to take a group of you around station the first station it took me to his Victoria station and it was like during the peak and I was like this is men I can't do this I can't do this but I was the only one who's in my head saying I can't do this and I was walking with them I was like I've got to do this I've got a newborn baby I've got you know bills to pay all these kind of things I've got to do this I've got to do this and then I did it and I kind of like because I've got through it is that whole mantra of you know you've got through all your worst days before so you'll get through this one and it's always in my head that I'm each day that I'm working I'm going to get through this I've worked all over the network we both worked a very over 120 stations between us because we work all over the network and yet when I go to a different station each time I've still got that feeling and you're like I'm going to I haven't been there in a while it's going to be all you know and then you just get your breathing controlled you know you um you visualize the good side of things and then you have to just turn up and then it turns out okay everything goes all right you know everything you think is going to go bad doesn't actually happen yeah and I mean I used to I used to be a filmmaker once upon a time before I came to the underground and crazy imaginations was my thing and I think that was kind of working against me when I first came to the underground like well James Bond come sliding down there and he's you know getting chased by a machine gun. We can only I don't know what happens none of it happens I mean you know we worked in the stations where they filmed it but that's about it you know it's very much how my brain works like I'm I'm notting along oh god because my if I feel um a bit vulnerable on the verse my overactive imagination which serves me brilliantly if I'm like writing or doing a creative project is my worst enemy because I think of the most ridiculous catastrophic outcome and like say it rarely like probably never has happened in that way but you you end up having to sort of retrain your brain to go nope and pull it back from that place and it's really brilliant that you're I guess sort of facing your fear daily you know that is it's quite a head on facing your fear every day well I mean I because what you're saying there is absolute truth that's what I do yeah but then I had like he and said I got sorted recently it was our early on in the year just as we're trying to finish this book of all times got so it'll work and had to go off and I had this kind of really bad moment where basically I had been kind of making warnings about the potential for that exact scenario happening in advance um and then it happened to me and I was like wait all this kind of me telling myself that none of those things we're ever going to happen has just happened and I was going through this through my head all the time and we're trying to finish the book we've got deadlines and I was like there must be something I can do to get out of this so we kind of like between us kind of just channeled things into the books it has parts of the book that you know are kind of about that as well you know getting through even when you've got a resistance to things that you've created with your own mantras and so on and so forth and then that gets broken down yeah how you then come back from that you know um so we tried to cover so many things in this book it's like the first book was it was great but this one here we thought you know we're never going to make another book again that's very all in this fight on because there's going to be people who are going to go through all kinds of things and are going through all kinds of things let's see if we can you know figure it all out yeah all in there so you know yeah it's brilliant I think you know it's again important to talk about that you know your worst your worst nightmare or the worst case scenario actually happening and and how do you pick yourself up and put your uniform back on and get back to work and and do your job and I guess you like most things you just keep it in the day just today is a new day and we'll get to the end of the day and see how it is and you can't really project that far ahead or wonder if it's going to happen again or whatever because you drive yourself absolutely mad and it's just a daily a daily thing isn't it I guess with anxieties yeah you know you know I mean like you change your whole life you change your whole yeah create happy face out of it so that's what we do we try and channel those things and find something good that can come from it you know whether it's good for us or good for other people but generally we write just because it helps our anxieties it helps our mental health helps you know get our minds in the right way and it seems to resonate people and help them out as well so it's a beautiful silver lining to all the shit stuff that you've got to go through mentally and physically and it's and it's helping some of the other people and another thing that you cover in the book is PTSD which Ian you've talked about a train driver and had a devastating scenario occur where somebody jumped in front of a train which is obviously sadly prevalent in that line of work and it's something that you've had to address in this new line of work being in the same environment but in a different job how has your PTSD manifested and how do you cope with it? Do you know what so again the time that it happened to it was January 2008 and it was driving on the Victoria line and then like literally it was a Sunday night wasn't busy at all and and funny enough I wasn't supposed to be working that shift I'd come in a day early and they said oh why you you might as well do a shift sort of thing I've got me days off mixed up and then yeah just coming into Pimlico I could see the platform and there was no one on the platform and then just just out of nowhere this like young girl just jumped in front of the train and it was weird it was like it just felt like I'd seen an alien or a ghost you know it's like I reacted fast enough but it was something that you kind of know might happen but you don't expect to see and it was like I was trying to look away and then just right at the last second our eyes met and she smiled and then it kind of stuck with me for years and years and then like I was scared of the dark so obviously like the post traumatic stress sort of came from that I had anxiety attacks as a teenager and they kind of went away and then they just sort of came back more so and it's just any time that I would hear you know stories of one under certain sounds you know it just I remember I'd be in the front of the car I don't drive myself but anytime that I was in a passenger seat you know if someone you do not mean I was scared to be in a passenger seat and like people walking along the pavement of just kind of looking at them just in case they jumped out and stuff and I did go back to driving trains for a while but like you were saying with anxiety attacks you know no one knows that you're actually having them and I was having anxiety attacks with 800 people in the back of my train in the darkness of a tunnel just believing that I was going to die and then I was kind of like like you said worst case scenario as you kind of jump steps ahead so I was at the front of the train with 800 people on the back during the peak and then thinking is someone going to jump out of the next station am I going to die am I going to go die in this tunnel are there going to be people stuck on the back of the train and then I'll jump ahead and it's like just so if I die I'm going to ruin my family's life my wife's going to be homeless won't be able to do this will anyone turn up at me funeral I'm not that popular and it's like my god what's happening you know and it's kind of like so again using like creativity is distraction you know just writing poems writing stories just anything you know just creating your own little world of just like that you can take yourself you know but subsequently I mean this happened quite recently didn't it yeah it's so I believe that the girl had died and she got in touch with us which was so Jeremy Warme he said look this girl was sent an email so it like literally so I've gone through 10 years of my life sort like just like living with guilt anger you know like my train driver career was over and stuff and then she sent us an email didn't she and Jeremy just said don't read the email and I said mate I can't you know because I remember at the time during counseling I was just under the impression that she was dead and you know it's just you know I just felt all these emotions and and then I felt more emotions finding out that she had lived because I felt like a fraud and I kind of felt like I've gone through all these emotions for what you know all these feelings you know because at the time I was going mad I would literally my mental health was going mad and then people were saying look if you leave trains behind you earn all this money you'd be mad to leave all this money behind and it was like I'll choose my mental health over money any old day yeah and it was kind of like say it was just just all over the place and then when I found out that is like you know I remember during counseling I remember a counselor saying to me in theory if you could meet this girl you'd be in the same room what would you do with her like this before I found out and and I honestly couldn't say whether I'd hug her or whether I'd hit her and that's me being honest and so I do not mean I can I forgive what she's done but I can never forget it because it took so long to forgive myself for the things that I was going through you know so yeah so but yeah still I'm a sort of very jumpy person at situations but it's got better you know because there was times when literally when I was going through it I'd be you know I'd be walking along a tube platform and then you know when you get these intrusive faults yeah I would never do anything to myself but I'd get these intrusive faults and oh you know you had someone jump in front of your train why don't you jump in front of your train and I'm like where's that voice coming from and then it was kind of like being scared of this sort of voice but then like over time I realised no hold on this is my brain and this voice is is mine you know it's say it was kind of like just telling it to shut up quiet and down you know jump on board like get creative with me or you know just go away yeah yeah just um but yeah I anxiety attacks PTSD yeah and we just thought you know we're right about that someone out there may not have had similar circumstance but maybe going through something similar and um just to tell people you know you're not alone and you know just there is you know and anyone that feels like ending it all there is always another way there's always going to be a better day a brighter day just just hold on you know I mean there is help out there there are people that you can talk to as long as you feel you know yeah because it is I think with all of that going on with PTSD is such a lonely place and I think intrusive thoughts are like one of the worst I certainly had that with my PTSD and trying to make sense of things that had happened in my life and you don't want to tell anyone because you feel like you're going mad like you said you feel embarrassed I felt a lot of shame and I haven't had them for a while but if I find myself getting near anxiety or there being something that's quite triggering that is the but I had it so acutely at one point where I thought and you're trying to sort of like it's so hard to explain I was trying to sort of physically get my mom's quite imagery led I was like trying to get it out of my head I didn't know how like physically shaking my head or like how do I get it out and I think actually the way is is sort of admitting it because then if especially if someone else understands it or is even willing to listen and you go oh this isn't such a ridiculously free kiss or unusual thing to happen it's a very it's unbelievably common now all of these things that we're talking about anxiety attacks social anxiety intrusive thoughts whether it manifests as OCD whatever it is it's unbelievably common but we're let to think it's not because the conversation still isn't we're all trying to do our bit and get it out there but it there's still a long way to go to have these conversations totally normalized where we could talk to our next or neighbor the person that works in the coffee shop whatever and have that level of humanness and talk about it so I think it's just so brilliant what you guys do and you know like you say like it's so good to talking I mean it's just talk about what you're going through because I got to the point where I was talking I was talking I was talking and then in the end it was like I'm boring myself you know I don't even want to talk about it anymore you know and I just felt in a better place and like let's crack on with it you know yeah and like you know it's just yeah talking to one of it if you're going to ask someone how they are and they say I'm all right just ask them a second time you know I mean just like if you take the time out to ask our they are just take the time to listen you know just you know because the second answer might be very different to yeah I'm doing all right you know mustn't grumble and all that yeah and especially I guess with with people you don't know like with with your job but also people using the tube again in this day and age we sort of freaked out when someone starts talking to us probably more so in London I know whenever I go and stay like I'm in love with Dorsi I'm whenever I go there people you know it's a cliche people are more willing to go morning or whatever if you're just walking down the street or you get chatting to someone with more ease whereas in London it's head down phone out I'm in a rush I'm serious I'm not talking to anyone and people were sort of unnerved if you did say sort of are you okay like if someone looked to stress are you okay what is the reaction if if you've approached someone's checkifier or are people sort of unnerved by it normally well I like talking about what we is another somber kind of story I was only about a year into the job at the time King's cross station it was completely rammed and there was just me and one other member of staff and you know what I think we learned this on the job amongst crowds we start to sense things that happened because you've seen people all the time going like flocks and out as flocks and you see someone individually in there that doesn't quite seem right and it was a lady who was just doing almost like circles in there and I just went over to her and said are you okay and then she was like yeah yeah but she wasn't really looking at me she was kind of like looking around like you know planning something so I said to her stop to her again like I look straight and I said are you okay for the second time as you say and then she just stopped looking at me instead it means that no actually I'm not and then I was like okay um can I help you know and to cut a long story short you know 45 minutes later I was still with her she had been planning you know to suicide basically and looking at how she could do it and it was like I couldn't believe after 45 minutes I you know spoke to this lady the police came along she wouldn't let go of me at that point as she was holding onto my arm having told me all about how her family had disarmed her and she had no one and she didn't trust anyone and so on and so forth and somehow I'd created this kind of bond with her and yeah I mean as far as I know you know she went to they took her away to get help and so on and hopefully you know she ended up in a better place and she was certainly gonna end up that day but like you say you got you've got to be willing to kind of break through yeah yeah um I think if we're all willing to break through the other person's gonna kind of recognise that if it's just like a flea like you are you know not really fast we can tell when someone's not really bothered about the question they're asking us you know so I feel like you know if you if you care about other people you're gonna ask the question the right way at the right time and good things will happen you know so yeah so true it just takes that bit more effort bit of courage because it's quite a nerve-wracking thing as the person approaching that stranger to check if they're okay you know you have to kind of get some steel confidence yourself to approach them but I mean that's unbelievably worthwhile you're just saving a life by doing it and it's same station like about week or two later I had the same another situation exactly the same on another part of the station as well and I was just like gosh this can't be the job for the next you know 20 years of my life right like this is like a few weeks in in a row the same kind of thing happening what's going on you know I think that kind of helped fuel when we're doing things like it gives us fuel like oh you know what we can't always be there we just individuals what can we do to kind of like get other people to be willing to do the same amplify what you do yeah you know because a lot of people walking past they're not noticing that individual how did they not notice that but like I say we notice it because we work every day with incredible crowds and we just sense you know I think to a lot of people I look at staff on the underground thing they're not doing any if any just like lounging around that but we have a peripheral that we learn on this job of what is right and what is not right as it's happening and we just pick things up I mean your job is extraordinary there aren't many jobs like it where the expectation is to be there for the very practical everyday stuff but also for the deeply emotional life changing impactful moments of everyday life you know it's a lot for you both to take that role on yeah and it's become more like you know Jeremy like having those things go on and like the messages that we've received over the years it's like well it's like we's counting them up and like we've received like over a thousand messages like direct messages from people all over the world just saying oh you posted this at the right time I was about to do this or you know you've changed my life for the better and stuff and like you know some people asked us for advice and we're like look again we're not medical like it would be irresponsible for us you know it's just but but just reminding people that they're not alone and you know there is help you know it's yeah it's that has been humbling you know I mean it's like what we don't do on stations we do on our social media you know and it's and just to use social media for the goods you know I mean it's like we can use it for the for the good you know we can we can I think you know because we've talked about this in in lots of ways on the podcast I guess that social media can get a lot of flak or you know people point fingers of it being a terrible thing or whatever but it's kind of a benign entity in itself it's how we choose to use it and you guys have chosen to absolutely use it for the the very best possible methods and to reach as many people as you can and to celebrate brilliant things but really draw a right it to important causes too and you can use it to like properly connect with people you really can yeah no yeah and also Jeremy you've been very honest about insomnia which again I'm kind of spirit with you on this one like I love again I slept terribly last night I got into bed way later than I would like to normally I took some melatonin that took the edge off a bit but I still didn't go into a proper sleep and again it's very lonely place in the middle of the night when it's dark and you've got no one's talk to you, but you're just lying there. It's horrific. When did you start? How do you deal with it? You know, I kind of, it's been so long, I think I've, I almost feel like I've always had in some, yeah. I'm sure I haven't, but then, you know, you hear stories from me, I'm saying, you just get up in the middle of the night and do it, isn't do that. So it might be, yeah, maybe it's kind of always been bubbling day or something, but I think it became worse, I don't know how many many years ago it was when I got tinnitus, when I started to realise, oh, I might have tinnitus. And what happens with that is, and I noticed it when I'm particularly exhausted, the tinnitus gets louder and then you're trying to combat the tinnitus with your mind because you've got to, because the only weapon you've got. And then of course your mind is working now more. So when your mind is working more, you're not just going into sleep, you know, I'd like to be like one of those people who can just pretend to sleep and then fall asleep, but you know. Doesn't work like that always does it. So, you know, I stick headphones in and pop some music on, you know, some soothing kind of music music that I listen to or sounds, you know, waves or things like that and that helps. But yeah, in some years, some years crazy, I think, I mean, also when I do get sleep, I'm not really getting that REM sleep that I probably should be getting. So I'll be like, I got a whole eight hours last night and I feel like I was up all night. Yeah. That was the last night that I didn't go into that deep bit. Yeah. I was like, I woke up this morning and I tried to sleep on the train here. Luckily, I knew it was going to be a long, long trip. So I thought, you know, I could sleep. I'm a little bit. Yeah, why not? Why not do it? But I can't sleep on train. No, no, no. Can I? Coaches or anything? No, no, no, no. Same. Just doesn't work. Or in the day, like I can't even nap anymore. No, no, no. I used to be so good at it in my twenties. I could sleep anywhere. And I could have a nap anywhere. And I could sleep with any noise going on. And now it's like, it has to be my bed with my pillow and my eye mask and my ear plugs and the fan on. So it's a little distracting noise and it has to be all the same. Otherwise, I'm screwed. Yes. I don't know if it's a fan as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I use a fan, big time. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I hate fan-ish. Just like light humming the corner. Yeah, yeah. It's just like the kind of white noise and the- Right, right. On a bus route. So otherwise at 540 on the nose, I will hear, I'm like, oh, no. So I have to have that on to distract me from the animal's on the he-free flight path. So that's also quite fun. Again, five, the first plate. I know all the timing, what flight, what bus. So the fan just takes the edge off all that and just gives me a little bit more distraction, I guess, to stay asleep sometimes. But again, it's a shitty one in some near. And it's- And loads of people have got it. Millions and millions of people are dealing with that. I'm pretty sure if I lived in Spain, I'd be the only one to wake during this yester. Because that's the- Yeah, yeah. I'm not going to be having a nap and coming back being all strong and I'll be like, I'm not working. I'm exactly the same. It's mad. But I mean, it does help to a degree. I mean, we both work late only on the underground. That's how- That's how the way our shift pattern works. So it kind of helps that when it gets really busy for us on the late part, when event people coming out to any of the people coming out of the O2 at like, you know, 11 o'clock at night, we're just waking up. I'm just waking up. I'm just waking up. I'm like, yeah, this is all right. I can get through this. The early part of this shift, I'm like, I should be in bed or it's going on me saying like that. But that part there, I'm like, yeah, yeah, I'm up for this. Yeah, let's do this. Let's do this. And then I get home and I'm like, yeah, now I need to go to sleep. No, no, let's just keep going. Let's keep going. Yeah, just keep going. I'm just like, what are you doing? I'm just going to do okay. Just start writing some stuff. I feel quite bad saying this. I have no trouble sleeping at all. There's some people just don't. Loads of my friends just can- and my husband, he's just like, no. And he's gone. And it irritates me like, don't fall asleep so quickly because now I feel even more of a more on that you're asleep so quickly and I'm completely not asleep. Yeah, I do need things going around me like happening to sleep, you know, like whether it be a podcast, like to fall asleep or the fan going off and that. And I've noticed as I've become more mature or older, I'll go to the toilet a lot more in the night. I only generally wake up to go to the toilet, but yeah, I'm good with sleeping, yeah. Well, it's good. Yeah, yeah. It's good that you can support each other in a very different way. Yeah, so yeah, when I've got some now sending messages in the middle of the night, then your wake is an idealist. Let's do this. And I'll quickly read it on the way to the toilet and go back to sleep. It's ideal. Yeah, it's all good. It's so good. When you're putting your, either this book out or you're writing your boards, what is your hope with any particular message? They'll make a difference, I think, you know. It certainly helps us writing it in the first place or putting it out there in the first place. It's got us through something. So if it's got us through something, it's going to have to resonate with other people surely, at least one person out there. And we've written some boards before that just tanked on social media, say, oh, no, no, it's not like that at all. And then you get a DM from someone who said that literally saved my life. Like, that's what I'm saying. It's not about the quantity, is it? It's the individual impact. Yeah, it's the time has gone on. Like, again, with the social media, it's like, we don't care how many likes we get, you know, because if it's liked by the right person, then you've saved the life, you know, or you've changed the life. So we're not bothered about likes anymore, nice. We just sort of go with what we feel is right at the time and then just put it out there. You wrote a poem in this new book called Happy Places. Yes. What are your happy places? Well, that was inspired by you a good self. Yeah. Right. Do you want to go with your happy places? Because you've got some strange ones, aren't you? I don't know. I feel totally legal. I'm a life's, right? Yeah. What we have all kinds of discussions that go very extreme to very some way away. Do you know what I'll kick off? Yeah, because I've got one in my head straight away. I'm going to pick cinema. I'll be my fancastic. I'm going to pick cinema. I'll be my fancastic. I'm a fancastic because you know, you go cinema and you're in another world. You don't have to think about, you know, life going on outside, you know, especially like if you go to a matinee and stuff like that, you put your phone away, you're not looking at social media, you're not, your screen time is not being added up and you can just lose yourself in a movie. I will see anything at the cinema, you know, it could be the worst film ever or the best film ever. But just I'm lost. I'm invested in this life going on. I can forget about the, you know, cost of living crisis and bloody this and that and just be lost in it and then come out and think, okay, I'll carry on with me life now. Cinema is that be crazy? It's a good sort of break, isn't it? Little breather. Oh, totally. And, you know, what can I talk about? Well, I saw the other day. I'm still not over it, yeah. Right. Matilda. Oh my God. Oh, I need to see the new one. Yeah, Matilda, the musical, yeah. It's brilliant. It's fantastic because I've seen it up the West End. Yes, same. Obsessed with it, yeah. And yeah, yeah, just loved it. Yeah, it's all of it. I was singing along, tapping me fake. We had Tim Minchin on the podcast recently. He wrote all the music for it. Of course, yeah. Who we love. Yeah, absolute genius. Genius. Genius, yeah. So funny. Yeah, that's a good one. So that's a good one. What about you, Jeremy? I'm going to say, Ken Bessenz, particularly because me and my family, we go there like now almost every year for our, we found it's the place that we go for our summer holidays. Beach is huge. You know, there's things for the kids to dig up. You know, it's so big that they can't run away anywhere for us enough that you can't catch up with them. So you can actually lie back and be like, I'm relaxed there running away. I didn't like far enough yet. No, now they're far enough. You're going running after them like that. You've got water, you've got everything. You know, and it's not one of those beaches that's got loads of, you know, a peer and loads of lights and noise and all that. It's just kind of, it's kind of secluded, but not, and it's just lovely. It's got dunes as well and just love it. But beaches in general, but I just have a thing for waves, you know, not like massive waves. I'm not about that, but like that just the right level of waves. I'm not saying my love it. You get the sound. You get the heaven. You got the, the crashing against the, the sand, but then also as it goes out and the noise of the, of nature, you know, from the, from the birds, the sea goals as, as mad as they are, I try not to eat anything that they're going to want to eat as well. Oh, brutal. Yeah. All of that. Love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. It's just amazing. Beach is an amazing place for kids. Like, would it, if I gave one of my happy places a plug, they might give me a discount or for a holiday. Yeah. Is that okay for me? Give it a try. Give it a try. Give it a try. Yeah. Let's bring the rule back out of window. Give it a try. Where do you want, you want to like a trip to? Yeah. So, so one of my favourite happy places, if you're listening, is a place called Sunset Beach Club Hotel. Right. It's in Benham, Medina and it's very specific. Yes. The sun rises there and magnificent. The staff there are fantastic. I'd love a free holiday off you. Everything's great there. They've got kids club and all sorts. And especially we throw in, I mean, a Jamaica, anywhere, Barbados, got any, Maldives. Maldives. Yeah, let's throw that in there. That's a lovely resort. We will happily take a freebie. We're, let's just get what we can out of this episode. Just getting this sunset beach club hotel, Benham Medina, if you're offering free holidays. Yeah. Yeah. We're all underboard and that, yeah. We're like, I'm for it. We're going all together then. Is that the thing? Yeah, why not? I'm not. Yeah. Yeah. And then I'll do a plug. Yeah. This is because my misses will tell me, oh, home, home is my happy place. Just going home. I know. Because you know what? That's my home. We work. We work sometimes all over the network and I've had to walk two and a half hours to get home and I'm like, I can't walk. I've just done eight hours. You can't walk, but then you start visualising home. You know, my kids sleep in her home as well as the dog. He always like jumps up on me when I come in through the door. And yeah, I just start visualising. And I'm like, yeah, I can't wait to get home. Get home. Get completely exhausted when I get home and then stay up for five hours living somewhere. But I need to home. But I'm home. That's just it. I'm home. I'm going to get in the air if I don't say home as well. You better say home. Yeah, so home with the wife in her arms is my happiest place. If I break it down, you've gone too far. Home is better heart isn't all that. Yeah. So anywhere we're furries are home. Oh, you're such a romantic. I love it. I love it. Now, I'm the same. Home is hence my work from home a lot. I just can't sit in a lovely home. I just love being at home. I just love being at home. And with Simon the cat, you've already met. But look, I think what you're doing is fantastic, as you know. And I hope that you'll come back to the festival and do more next year. If we invite it. Of course you invite it. You come every year. And I love this book. Your daily companion. Everyone needs to have this just on their bedside or just some of they can pick it up and pick any random page a day. And really a little extra in the toilet as well. In the toilets. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We've got told by a lady a little while back. Perfect, Lou. She goes, I've got me. I've got your book in the toilet. And then she goes, I don't offend you, but I've got your book in the toilet. And it's like, we're not offended. Does it help you go? Well, it really helps me go. It keeps the regular. Yes, I mean, we're just going to put that on the front of the book. It helps you go. Oh, my God. I'm glad that you didn't, because it's perfect. Perfect, does it is. We like inspiring words to take from morning to night back to our day. That will do. Ian and Jeremy, thank you so much for being on Happy Place. It's been an absolute joy. Thanks for having us and thanks for being here. You're just amazing. Thank you so much. Oh, Jeremy and Ian, thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much gorgeous energy they brought to my little studio at the end of my garden. I was buzzing for ages after they left, such lovely people. All on the board, your daily companion is out now. And whenever you choose to read it, it will absolutely lift your spirits with all the never-before-seen boards and poems and personal stories from the guys. Someone else, by the way, who had similar advice to Ian about making sure you ask people twice how they really are, was Roman Kemp. If you did miss that episode, do scroll back in your feed and have a listen because that was another particularly moving episode. Thank you so, so much again to Ian and Jeremy, to the producer and hiskate at Reward Re thing Cordio and to you. Make sure you look up from your phone next time you're on a train. I bet you'll feel better for it. Loads of love. I'll speak to you soon. Hi, I'm Dory Shefrier and along with Kate Spencer, I host Forever 35, a podcast about the things we do to take care of ourselves. Join us every Wednesday with guests like author Phoebe Robinson, chef Simea Noesrat, actress Busy Phillips, and even former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. On Mondays and Fridays, we have many episodes where we answer listeners questions on everyday problems like how useful a but mask really is, how to deal with a petty friend, or how to relax after a long day. So join us Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on Forever 35 where we're not experts, but we are two friends who like to talk a lot about serums.