Guys don’t “man up” let’s talk and change the way mental illness is perceived.

So as it stands today in 2019 suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50. 

Now that is a shocking statistic I think we can all agree on. Now I can honestly say that I had never heard the term or phrase “mental health” or “mental illness” until probably 2017 and thats the honest truth. It was only because of my own poor mental health that I really became aware that those were terms that were used. 

Now my background had been in the army which I joined when I was 16 so in 2017 aged 30 I found myself in a downward spiral not knowing what was going on at all. You see the military often is this all male environment where you don’t show any weakness especially if you want a good career. This was with everything wether it be injury or illness it was always frowned upon to have anything wrong with you. I often heard the terms and even used the terms “man up” or “get a grip of your body” it was literally ingrained into you to be like that, it was the needs of the army before anything else even your own health. 

I often reflect on the times I had used phrases like this with soldiers and think how narrow minded I was and that there were plenty of other things I could have said. I also look back and think maybe if I had stopped to take a look in the mirror I may not have been so judgemental or could have realised I myself actually had a problem with my own headspace and thoughts.

There were a couple of people that said to me over my senior years in the army that they thought I should see someone about my mental state as there was something not quite rite with me but I would put it off. I would say that I was ok or I will think about it. The thing was though that the environment I was in I knew what was said about guys that had mental illness issues. It was frowned upon to be brutally honest you were branded as “jelly head”. Now this was something that kept me from speaking out because deep down I knew there was a problem I just didn’t want to be judged, treated differently or loose my friends.

Well in 2017 everything came crashing down on me and I meticulously planned my suicide. My thought processes were all over the place and I left my house with the plan to never return again.

It all became too much for me and I wasn’t coping. I had held in years of traumatic thoughts, depression, anxiety and often lashed out in anger at anyone.

The only way out was to kill myself.

I found another way. I had to change so much in my life. Friendships, alcohol, negative influences and many more. But it was a real necessity to set the conditions to become a better person and to heal.

I started therapy, I meditated, I ran and found other things to enjoy in life other than go out and drink myself to a point where I had no memory.

Today life is happy, fun and positive. Now this is only a short blog on a huge part of my life that I will expand more on in the future but after the recent national news coverage of the staggering fact of suicide being the biggest killer in men under 50 I had to say something.

Always remember that there is always another way and the power of a simple conversation with someone can be unreal, you just have to start somewhere.

Reach out and speak it will change your life I promise you.

I’m here talk to me.

Sean  

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