Can money issues be a catalyst for anxiety disorders?
Absolutely. I see lots of clients who suffer from stress, low mood and anxiety related to their financial situation. The people I see tend to have spent more than they’re earning and feel pressure as a result. There can also be the embarrassment of telling friends or relatives about their situation, and that can make things worse.
Have money issues ever been a source of stress for you?
Not really. Broadcasting is an unstable area to work in, financially, but I’ve always been self-employed and I’ve never known anything different. I’ve never known what it’s like to have holiday or maternity pay and I’m fine with that, as it’s always been a choice I’ve made. But, like every freelancer, you’re conscious of where your next job is coming from.
If people do have money-related anxiety problems, how should they deal with them?
Ignoring the problem is always the worst thing. You need to set a plan of action. It isn’t fun, but it is the necessary option. Break the problem down and address it in small steps — it’s often more worrying to look at something as one big issue.
What was your first job?
Working in McDonald’s at weekends when I was 15. I got £2.73 an hour and you had to clock in and out for toilet breaks. Relentless hard work.
What’s your best investment?
I own a flat in Islington and rent it out. I bought it in 2006. As a self-employed person it’s good to have a stable source of income each month.
What would be your money-no-object purchase?
My husband is from Sicily, so I would love to buy a villa there and go whenever we felt like it.
What is your must-have luxury?
My fortnightly massage. As a therapist I talk a lot about ‘me time’. The massage is pure indulgence. I would give up food before giving up the massage.
Are you a spender or a saver?
A bit of both but, as a freelancer, I make sure I squirrel money away. My carefree days of buying handbags are over — it’s all about buying pushchairs now. The most I spent on a bag was £700 for a Mulberry — I couldn’t justify more.
Your last impulse buy?
When I was pregnant I decided my Audi TT wasn’t going to cut it and upgraded to an Audi Q5 — it’s a four-wheel drive. It’s handy for taking my son out — you can put a pushchair and scooter in there and have room left over.
■ Breaking Mum And Dad: The Insider’s Guide To Parenting Anxiety by Anna Williamson, published by Green Tree, is out March 8, £12.99