It’s been two years since my very first dealing with depression and anxiety.
I remember the day when I first hit a low point in life and it’s not a nice memory to have. I didn’t know how to deal with such a strong mental health issue, so I hid my problems away from family and friends which made my issues worse.
I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to socialise with friends and I’d put off family days out. There came a time when I questioned my existence in life; was I a burden? Was I even worth having around? What did I bring to life in general?
One day everything just got too much, and I sadly and now regrettably tried to take my own life, not once but twice. It was at this point when I knew I needed professional help and I needed to speak out, which started my recovery to this day.
I received help and support from a lot more people than I ever expected.
Men are usually surrounded by toxic masculine stereotypes, e.g always being told to ‘ man up ‘ which shouldn’t be the case – and this is why men find it so hard to open up about their problems whether it be mental health, illnesses, financial problems or addictions.
I personally haven’t experienced anybody telling me to ‘man up’ or ‘grow some balls’ – fortunately I’ve been brought up around family and friends who have always told me the best way to get through your troubles is to openly speak out, whether that be to a professional or to a family member or friend. Nobody should be made to feel alone and closed in, especially if they’re going through changes in life or mental struggles.
I took it upon myself to talk on BBC Humberside radio about my experience and started to work closely with smaller organisations to help beat the stigma surrounding mental health towards men.
Choosing to openly speak out isn’t for everybody and certainly isn’t easy. It does take a lot of courage and confidence which I had to build back up from scratch.
After many toxic past relationships which didn’t help in my favour for my mental illness, I am now in a happy place – not just with a beautiful woman who I idolise and worship, but most importantly with myself.
I believe that with determination comes willpower, and with willpower comes the road to recovery. I do still suffer from mild depression and anxiety so I’m not quite there yet myself. It’s still a battle I’m fighting, but I have so much more fight in me than I used to have 2 years ago. My anxiety still makes me feel like I may lose what’s important to me and that I’ll mess up in some way or another, when in hindsight everything in life is going well so far. It’s something I need to overcome, and something I know I will conquer within time.
A little message to those who have read this today (and I thank you if you have):
When you’re feeling low, try and remember you’re loved and cared for more than you think. You’re doing great even if you feel otherwise – you’re doing a brilliant job and things don’t just get better with a click of your fingers (although I wish they did). When the time is right, you know when you’ll be ready to speak out.