WSPM Series Part 5 – Gareth’s Story

For part five in this series, my friend Gareth shares some thoughts about why the suicide rate is so high among men compared to women, how the macho culture literally can be deadly, and shares some of his own experience with depression and suicidal thoughts.

“If I can live through this, I can do anything”

Man up.

Oh be a man.

Real men don’t cry.

These are all such throwaway phrases that people use in everyday life, probably without thinking about it. Yet sometimes, these can be a lot more damaging than you’d ever imagine. They might just be words, banter maybe, but being a guy with depression and anxiety is not easy – and perpetuation of these societal norms really do not help.

Men don’t want to reach out for help, because we’re sold on the ideals that we’re strong, we’re head of the family, head of the household, protector. We don’t get to be sad and scared. Thing is, it’s just not true. We’re just as human as everyone else – and this macho culture amongst us is literally killing us.

In the UK, over 3 out of 4 suicides are men. Yet women are 40% more likely to report mental health issues and seek help. Of course, the statistics can’t gather what people don’t report – so mental health support gets biased heavily towards females, because that’s where the professionals, understandably, see where the problem is.

However… spot the disparity. The stats say that the gender gap is only about 14% – whilst suicide rates have a 50% gender difference. This means that potentially, thousands and thousands of men with mental health issues are going unnoticed and undiagnosed, and in the end, they pay the ultimate price.

We’re men. Feelings are feminine, and we don’t have them. We should go out and fight bears with our bare hands. Must be strong. Must back up the family. Must be macho.

Thing is, we’re not cavemen any more. We’re not hunter gatherers. The last piece of meat you ate probably came from the supermarket or butcher around the corner, not from a wild animal that you had to catch to ensure the survival of your dependent family. We’re based in offices, drinking coffee at our desk. Stress impacts us in a different way, day to day pressures are different, even our work ethic is totally different – so why do we still hold onto these same caveman ideas?

This is a subject that sits with me deeply – as I’m a man with acute depression. It’s a daily battle in my head to fight off the stupid side of my brain that tells me I’m never going to make a good father, never going to be a role model, never going to be able to look after a family, never even going to look after a girlfriend or wife, because I can’t even look after myself properly. I should be the one that stands up tall and just gets on with it, rather than the one that ends up hiding away because I can’t. I should be the one that pushes to just get into work and make money for my family, rather than allowing myself a day off to recover from whatever was eating me up the day before.

We’re programmed to not talk about our problems – we “should” just know how to deal with them, and not burden others with them. Of course, that’s absolute crap – a problem shared can be a problem halved, but it’s so deeply ingrained into us that it’s not okay to do this that it means we don’t share these things, we don’t seek help and unfortunately, it means that when it ramps up and up, we end up crumbling under the pressure.

Trust me, I know this first hand. My worst day, I’d had a long day anyway and my head was a bit of a mess. I then got a really shitty email from someone at work, and it was the straw that broke me. I left the house, and walked for as long as I could in the drizzle, and walked on the path beside a railway line. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it home that day.

Yet I didn’t want to ask for help from professionals. I didn’t want to appear weak. I wanted people to think I could handle this on my own. Yet as I was proving, I really couldn’t.

This has got to be one of the scariest days in my life, I’ll be honest with you. I was completely in crisis, yet I felt physically unable to call someone, because my head told me that I needed to not. I needed to deal with my problems myself, rather than burdening someone else with them.

I made it back home that day, and my parents asked me if I was alright.

I told them I was fine.

Lives depend on us breaking this vicious cycle, and stopping us believing these things. We need to realise that it’s good to share problems, that we can open up and be vulnerable, and that we can drop this macho shit.

Peace and love.

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WSPM Series Part 4 – Mark’s Story

For this next story, Mark tells us about how a potential relationship nearly proved fatal for him. He wants us to know that PTSD isn’t just for the armed forces, men go through rape too, and there is no clear definition of a victim – he was older than his attacker, and his attacker was “straight”.

“You’re going to be the death of me, you”

My story began almost exactly one year ago, when I returned to University as an adult student. I figured that most of my twenty’s had been wasted so as I approached my thirtieth birthday I knew I needed to achieve something.

It became apparent that I was the oldest student, but I quickly became friends with everyone in the year group. Over time, alliances formed but one person, (known for the purposes of this article as X) stood out and we became close friends. Over Christmas break, we’d spend up to four hours a night on Facetime. We’d speak to each other on the phone every day. I supported him through difficulties with drug abuse and problems with his relationship. It was a fantastic friendship.

I’d always known X had a girlfriend and that there was no prospect of anything more than friendship, and even more so knowing he was eleven years my junior, but that didn’t stop our friendship from growing. In the first few days after our return to University, X and I became physically close. It was unexpected but somewhat beautiful. I felt an immediate connection, and over the next few months our relationship grew, all the while I knew he had a girlfriend. I was his secret, and I was quite happy with that. I knew that his issues with sexuality would never be compatible with his private schoolboy upbringing. It was what it was.

I later found out that everyone at University knew something was going on, but at the time X and I were in our own little World, and it was great fun. I felt a deep sense of love, and I’d have sacrificed everything to make sure he was happy. As his need for emotional support grew, I’d say “you’re going to be the death of me, you”. Little did I know at the time, but those words would come back to haunt me.

As I got to know his family, it was no surprise to me that I was eventually invited to live with them. His home was closer to University, and I was going to be living with people I cared about so it made sense. Within just a few days, I’d packed up and off I went to begin a whole new life.

The first few weeks were amazing. X and I were sharing vehicle costs and living expenses.  We were cooking together. We supported each other through the highs and lows of life, and our connection developed, much to the attention of his Mother, who sat with me one day and told me that she knew what was going on. Her advice to me was to step on the brakes and allow her son to come to terms with his feelings, which I accepted.

Then, one night, everything changed. We were sat in the lounge together watching a Golf Championship. We’d had a lot to drink, and X became suggestive. I knew it was the alcohol talking so I paid no attention. As he sat with me on the couch and his hands began to wander I could sense that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. He may have been younger, but he was a rugby player. He was strong. I thought I wanted things to happen, but in hindsight I had no other choice but to submit. It was forced and raw, and after it was over he got up, walked out and left me there, lying on the lounge floor.

In the days that followed, things were difficult. We focused on revising for our exams and outside of that, there was little interaction. He started spending more time with his other friends and his girlfriend who’d just returned home from her University. I became somewhat of a spare part and both X and his Mother began playing what I can only describe as mind games. Whatever the problem was, it was always me that was in the wrong. It had become a living hell.

After the University year had finished, X simply cut me off. We were living in the same house together but he was just so vacant. I’d moved away from everything I knew and I had never felt so alone. Repeated attempts to engage in dialogue where met with a wall of silence from both him and his Mother, and I begged my father to come and collect me.  I needed to leave.

Almost as quickly as I’d moved in, I left. On the day of my leaving, I awoke to find an expensive watch I’d bought him left there on top of my suitcases. I was so hurt. I’d bought him the watch as a physical token of my feelings for him – and he knew it. The sense of rejection, confusion, sadness was overwhelming. I could not understand what had gone so badly wrong and I returned to my family in a complete state of loss. I didn’t know what to do. I had so many unanswered questions.

And then it happened…

I was distraught. In the first week after leaving, I struggled to sleep.  I couldn’t concentrate. I was hurt. I remember finding my Father’s medication in the cupboard, and I popped out those pills and kept on going. The next thing I remember was my Mother sat with me in an ambulance. I just wanted the sadness to go away.

In the months that followed, I was asked to attend a Psychologist who worked with me to diagnose acute Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The intensity of the relationship, my desire to feel loved, my inability to control my feelings towards X, the abandonment and of course the rape and collapse of life as I knew it had led me to a dark place. My diagnosis was only confirmed a little over a month ago – four months after the issues took place, and I am now on medication and have to attend counseling and an Assault Support Group.

I went to the Police, as did X, and we both had Harassment Orders served on one another – although his report was more of a retaliation. I never did report the sexual assault and don’t feel that reporting it would help anybody. I have to return to my second year at University in just a few days. He’ll be there, and my biggest fear is not knowing how that will affect me, but the University have been tremendously supportive.

My advice to anyone, and specifically men, is this: you are not weak to speak up. You are strong for asking for help. Talk about your issues. There are Organisations out there to support you. The best thing I did was seek help. I’ve learned to love myself again and no matter what has happened to me, I can move forward knowing that I am the better person. I forgive X for what he did to me, but I’ll never forget.

WSPM Series Part 3 – Craig’s Story

Next up, Craig opens up about how suicide has affected his life. He also shares some reflections on how the pandemic suicide is, can be slowed down, and why it’s so important to talk about.

Craig’s Story

For my family, the issue of suicide was brought into sharp focus in 2011, when my cousin took his own life. The shock devastated our family and of his many friends – any of whom would have helped had they known about the battle he was fighting. In the days afterwards you go through a whole range of emotions, trying to make sense of the situation:

Guilt – could I have changed the outcome had I been around?

Anger – that he had selfishly taken the easy way out and left us to clear up the mess but, mostly, that I could never talk to him again. Afterwards life goes on, but something is altered forever. Everything seems diminished. Our family dealt with it like I’m sure many do; we didn’t talk about it. It was the elephant in the room.

It’s almost inconceivable to contemplate how suicide has now become the single biggest killer of men aged between 20–49 in the UK. I just can’t fathom it out at all. In terms of connectivity and knowledge, we are the most advanced generation that has ever existed on the earth. And yet, every year in this country, thousands upon thousands of men who are dads, husbands, sons and brothers, just like me, end their own lives.

I am incredibly blessed, or some might say lucky. My story is a story of hope and healing. I too have been on the edge of suicide many a time, but I held on because I believe I can get better and I want to share my experiences with others who are struggling. I didn’t take my life that day and a new chapter eventually opened up to me, thanks to my amazing friends and family around me.

I hate talking about these things and, despite all reason otherwise, I still feel ashamed and embarrassed. I have no idea how to turn back the black tide of darkness that claims so many young men’s lives every year. However, I am slowly coming to understand that appropriate vulnerability in the right setting (and with the right people) can create much needed healing and connection. I have also come to the realisation that if I don’t have the courage to speak out and tell my story, then how can I expect other men to do the same?

Things need to change and that change has to start with all of us, taking a closer look at our attitudes towards the silent pandemic of suicide. It needs to stop and we all have to play our part.

WSPM Series Part 2 – Elliott’s Story

For the 2nd part of this series, Elliott shares his story of suicide attempts and shows that no matter how dark life may seem, there is always hope. You can visit his blog at www.mythoughtsracing.com 

A Veteran’s Story

I was 20 years old. A Soldier. Not just a Soldier but a US Army Airborne Paratrooper. A year prior I had been deployed to the Middle East for Operation Desert Shield/ Storm. Without going into it too deeply I was a mess. I was a fight waiting to happen, a walking scar.

Before I was a Soldier I had already been institutionalized. I had been intercepted mid plan of a suicide attempt. I was 16. I had spent over 2 months in a locked psychiatric ward for adolescents. I actually had to go in front of a Psychiatric board to get a waiver to join the Army. My recruiter taught me what lies to tell the board, so I could pass. After returning from The Gulf I was empty, horrified, sickened, demoralized and with a black hole in the center of my soul sucking the life out of me. I drank and drank in search of oblivion. I did drugs to try to obtain bliss. Nothing I did, no action I took, gave me any release. In fact, it seemed that every action, every attempt to find peace added to my torment.

Early in 1993 still Winter I was feeling wretched. My soul was in so much pain. My being in so much discomfort. I finished my duty day on post and made my way to where I lived in a double wide trailer just off Fort Bragg and found my self alone. My roommate was on a training exercise. I was crawling out of my skin with anguish. I wanted the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and dread to stop. I wanted peace. It felt like I had never known peace. I wanted a way out of where I was. A way out of how I was.

My roommate’s 9mm was on the counter. I set it on the table and I probably looked at it for at least an hour. All the while creating a narrative in my head. A narrative that spoke of a child who was unwanted at birth, so he was given up for adoption. A child who never fit in anywhere he went. A narrative of a teenage boy who was less than and could not find his place, so he hid like a coward behind drugs. A narrative that spoke of a pussy of a soldier who could not keep his shit together and was weeping at that moment like a girl. A worthless piece of shit that had no future and a past that no one would ever want and a present that was painful and overwhelming. At the end of that narrative I picked up the 9mm pistol I put it just above my right ear. I closed my eyes. And I squeezed the trigger as though my death depended on it. It was loaded but it didn’t go off. The safety was released but it didn’t go off. There was a round in the chamber but it didn’t go off. I knew my M16 rifle but I knew very little about other firearms. One little fact I learned later was the only thing that saved my life.

24 years later. I have attempted one other time.

Over the years I have gotten the hang of living a quality life despite my mental illness. I have 2 sons that I love very much and I work my ass off every day to never get to the point I was at on that day in 1993.

It can get better! You have to want it, but it can get better.

If you are hurting, hold on and ask for help.

If a loved one is in danger, get involved. Do whatever it takes to get them the help they need.

Suicide is not an action taken by the weak or by cowards. It is a sign that something is incredibly wrong in an individual’s life. If someone you know attempts and fails. Give them your love, understanding and support.

WSPM Series Part 1 – Jason’s Story

The first part of this series is Jason’s story. It is one of great challenges and how he’s working through them. I hope this it can give some of you a bit of hope.

You Are Not Your Illness

Hello, my name is Jason also known [on Instagram] as scoops777. I am a 38 yr father of a three year old girl and have been battling mental illness since my early teens. Throughout most of my life I have had some ups and downs like most people. During my teens I was a cutter, had depression, anxiety, moods swings and at times heavily isolated. This stuck with me on and off as I grew up and throughout my twenties and thirties. More recently I went through a painful divorce which led to severe depression that lasted almost two years. I had begun to cut again as a coping mechanism and lost my self esteem. I ended up homeless for some time as I lost my house and later my apartment.  I had to move away from my daughter to find a better job as well as a place to live. This broke me as a man and made my depression worse and also caused severe separation anxiety. The longer I was away the worse the anxiety and depression got. I had several good jobs and was even a General Manager for an Espresso/Wine bar in Aspen Colorado. At this time I was overworking putting in about 60 plus hrs a week causing lack of sleep and major stress.
During this time is when my mental health got completely away from me. I left my job as General Manager due to stress and political reasons. I then decided to go back to a previous job as a cook with Aspen Ski Company. I was having the same issues with this job as my previous two jobs. My anxiety was always out of control, I couldn’t focus on a task, I never finished a task that I had started and my mind was never in the moment. I was always stressed and was having problems getting along with people. My anxiety was out of control. I struggled focusing at my jobs and was always thinking about other things.  I was paranoid I wouldn’t get back to see my daughter again. I was facing being homeless again and I didn’t get along with the family I was staying with. I was always paranoid about death and dying or any kind of loss and ended up losing 3 jobs in two months. Most of the time I stayed in isolation cause I didn’t want to be home because I was physically threatened multiple times and faced some verbal abuse. I had lost control of all composure and emotions and started to have severe suicidal idealizations because I did not want to be homeless and I was having problems seeing another day. One night on my walk home I thought hard about these suicidal Idealizations and something clicked to look for help. I realized I wasn’t thinking of my daughter that needs me and I was being selfish. I couldn’t control my emotions any longer and realized no one else was going to help me so I reached out for help myself. I started to advocate on Instagram to find the support I wasn’t getting in my physical life. This was the start of a HUGE change for me as several people reached out to help me, messaged me and talked to me as well as inspired me. I then started to look for treatment. I didn’t think I would find it since I didn’t have health insurance. I was blessed and I found treatment and all costs were covered for me.

This is where I am now. I have been in treatment for a little over 40 days and was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder. The program I am in is inpatient and I go to groups 6 days a week from 8am until 4pm. I have my own therapist as well as psychiatrist for my medication management. Treatment has gone extremely well for me and I feel like a whole new person. The first week I started to notice a change once I was able to get out of the abusive environment I was in and all suicidal idealizations stopped. I was able to learn to stop and think before I react as well as many coping skills. Some of the groups I attend weekly are emotion regulating (my favorite and most helpful) boundaries, assertiveness, anger management, navigating relationships, social media, thought process as well as a coping skills group. I stay in a house with several other patients and we are treated like any other person. We cook, clean, hang out, watch movies, go to the store, the beach as well as other outings. The program I am in is nothing like a hospital which I find to be helpful.
Some of my coping skills I use daily are mindfulness, writing, reading, walking, controlled breathing, assertiveness and advocating for mental health awareness. I believe there is a huge stigma where so many of us are misjudged and each one of us are capable of being loved and living a normal life just like anyone else. The biggest thing I have learned is to use your wise mind. We have 3 mindsets. The left being the emotional mind. This is the mind many of us live off of and react from. The right mind is the reasonable mind. This is when we think more intellectually about a situation. Then we have the third mind which is the wise mind. This is when we take the emotional mind and the reasonable mind to have balance with the wise mind. The wise mind is what we want to use daily. After treatment, I will be headed back to Tucson Arizona to rebuild my life and be back in my daughter’s life. It will still be an uphill battle but I believe in myself and I know one day at a time I will get there.
The biggest advice I can give to anyone dealing with mental illness is to believe in yourself and love yourself for who you are. You are lovable and are important and many of you have been through an uphill battle as I. I believe in you and I know you can do it. Good things take time and when you find hope that truly is a new beginning.
Much love to you all,

Jason aka scoops777

Suicide Prevention Month Guest Series

September is World Suicide Prevention Month. On that occasion, I’ve asked people to get involved and share their stories, which I’ll be publishing over the next couple of weeks. While there are plenty of people and organisations raising awareness on suicide, I feel it’s still important to show people there’s hope, and that’s what I want this series of guest blogs to do.

What struck me with the people who reached out to me, was that they were all male. Seeing as suicide is one of the biggest causes of death among men, I feel it’s important to show that it’s okay to talk about – it’s okay to tell someone you’re struggling, especially when society expects you to hold it together. There is help, there is hope, and even when your mind tells you you’re not worth it, I promise you are. These men are living proof that there are options for when you feel life isn’t worth living, and it gets better, so stay tuned for what they have to say.

What’s Another Year?

Hi everyone!

I realised it’s been over a year since I wrote anything on here. I have wanted to because a lot has happened, I just haven’t been able to find the words to share or I haven’t felt like it mattered in the grand scheme of things. I do want to share things with you guys more often though, but I’m not in a place to make any promises. I don’t want this to be any sort of life update post, but I’ve had some thoughts some of you may be able to relate to.

Over the past couple of months or so, I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’ve been feeling as close to normal as I think I can get, which has been great for me. I feel it’s given me a taste of how life “should” be and it’s given me hope that maybe I really can get better one day. However, a positive thought rarely comes alone in my head. It usually has a tail in the form of a negative question mark. What if, what if, what if….. So naturally, this time is no different.

The one thought which has been looming in the back of my head for a little while now is “am I making this all up? what if I’m not really sick after all? what if I’m just imagining the effect the meds have on me?” but I’ve mostly managed to let it pass like a cloud and not pay too much attention to it and go about my day and not let it bother me. Sounds good, yeah? As we all know though, nothing lasts forever – good or bad. A day or two ago, the dark cloud that is so often used to illustrate depression, started making an appearance again, and my first reaction was one of gratitude, strange as it may sound. Because when you’ve been living in a bubble of normality for a while, you start believing that your normal is the same as that of people who don’t have to deal with the same issues you do, but as we go along in life, of course, we learn that everyone has their own battles to fight. This is great for some time, until you realise that it’s not the version of “normal” you’ve come to know.

– But why would I be grateful to feel depressed? you may ask.
I was grateful because to me, that meant I wasn’t making it all up, that the meds have actually been working for me, and that I really do have battles left to fight. For this very reason, I also felt a sting of relief. I’ve mentioned before that I’m grateful for the person my illness has turned me into, and I stand by that. I believe it makes me more open to other people’s views, more empathetic, accepting and understanding, as well as more appreciative of the little things in life that we so often take for granted. This has also been a huge contributing factor in my journey to self-acceptance as well, which I think is one of the most important journeys we take in this life.

My next move will have to be to figure out a plan of action to deal with this, because despite my experience with anxiety and depression, I don’t have all the answers. I still have a lot to learn, and I’ll do my best to let you all know when I do figure out how to tackle this particular episode.

Until then – take care, stay strong. Whatever you’re dealing with, you’ve got this, and you’re not alone. x

Small Steps…

Hi everyone! *waves*

I hope you all had a good time over the holidays. Now that that’s all over though, a new year is on the go and for many of us that means it’s time to get back to normal routines. I also hope you all had a better start to the year than I did, although being sat on the bathroom floor crying in the middle of the night is practically as good as it gets, am I right? 🙂

It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here, which is becoming the norm for me, but I will try to update more often. Anyways, to sum up the past few months, I’ve ran my first half marathon, had some good times and a few crashing lows. After a visit to my GP, I had my meds increased and walked away with a referral to a psychologist, with whom I had my first session today. The session, I thought, went really well and for what I think is the first time, I wasn’t nervous about it which is a big sign of progress for me. This could be because I’ve done these first meetings a few times before or because said psychologist had already received some info beforehand through the doctor’s referral, but mainly I think it’s because I had already decided I would be as honest as possible and tell her as much as I could. I really feel a difference in myself regarding my depression, anxiety and all that other shit. I don’t care as much as I used to about what people think, and that feels pretty damn good. Even if I get down for whatever reason (or no reason at all) I’m not ashamed to admit it. The fact is, people will have an opinion about me (or you) no matter what, so it’s really none of my business what they think.

To give you one example, on Christmas Eve, I had a rather bad panic attack. It had been building up for a bit, although I was generally feeling good that day with the family and my other half. I stated generally that I was starting to feel dizzy but didn’t think much of it as it was warm in the room and we’d all had a lot to eat etc. I then had a warm and fuzzy, happy feeling rush over me which I was also happy to let everyone know. I literally felt so happy I could cry in that moment. It didn’t take long for this feeling to build up into the old familiar feeling of sheer panic and I just had to leave the room to be alone. My other half followed me downstairs and tried his best to help. This included getting me a glass of water and (sad as this may sound) my mum. They both stayed with me until I felt well enough to rejoin the rest of the family and I was able to be completely honest with them, which I think helped me a lot. My brother, aged 16, also walked in and started playing his guitar which distracted me a bit. As he came in he (naturally) wondered what was going on and my mum tried to play it down and said something along the lines of me being a bit stressed out, at which point I went “no, why not just say it as it is – I’m having a bit of a panic attack, but I’ll be fine” – he accepted it like I had just told him it was raining outside.

What’s so great about this whole situation, is it shows what amazing support I’ve got, and I’m eternally grateful for that. I know I’m one of the lucky ones in that sense, but it’s taken me a lot of time, work, pain and tears, to get to this point. I’ve had to wrestle with myself, my fear of being judged, the feeling that no one cared and there was no point. I’m still working on being completely open, but I’m a long way from where I used to be, and that’s what matters. Fuck you, depression. Fuck you, anxiety. I may still stumble into you, but I’ve got this.

I’m Still Here!

… In case you were wondering 🙂

It’s been a while, but right now I felt a need to write. For some time now, I’ve struggled almost daily with some fairly intense anxiety. Some of it completely out of fuck knows where, but I have had a few things going on which I don’t want to get into detail about at this point. On several occasions, I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out why and how I can make it get to fuck. I’m not sure, but I think this has been a contributing cause to my mood dropping to shit levels as well, especially for the last couple of days.

However, after watching this video http://youtu.be/G-TMxq8cE3Y (do check out this guy’s channel, he’s awesome), I was reminded of something – sometimes trying to fight our issues, be it depressive thoughts, bouts of anxiety, intrusive/repetitive thoughts or whatever, in fact, makes it worse. Trying to make sense of something that frankly doesn’t make sense, just isn’t worth the little energy I have these days. This doesn’t mean I’m just going to do nothing and feel sorry for myself, but rather acknowledge that how I’m feeling is part of how my life is at the moment, I CAN and I WILL get through it, but more importantly, I will (hopefully) have learnt something from it when I come through on the other side.

The reason I’m writing this isn’t wanting sympathy or anything like that – far from it – but I am hoping it will reach someone who is going through similar issues and think they’re alone, just to say “you’re not” and “I’m here for you.”

I also think it’s good to allow myself to be vulnerable and sometimes I need to show myself and others that it’s ok to do just that when we feel the need.

This brings me to my next point. I was talking on Skype with a very good friend of mine last night. We’ve both been dealing with some shit times lately, but at the end of the day we’ve always got each other’s backs. I’m quick to praise others for their strength in hard times, but being there for someone when you feel like you’re barely holding it together yourself takes some real fucking muscles, let me tell ya! I guess I need to get better at applying this to myself the way I do others, because it is most definitely a two way street. One great thing last night was that during this call, I didn’t think twice about being open about how I was feeling. The words “I feel like I might cry” or similar were uttered more than once, I could feel my voice breaking at times, and he was nothing but supportive all the way.

People like this, who somehow make the bad times seem manageable and the good times even better cause they’re happy for you, truly make life easier, and I’ll always be grateful to have someone like that in my life.

I’ll leave you with this – whatever you’re dealing with, I can assure you (almost 100%) it’s better out than in. Dare to open up. Dare to be vulnerable.

Until next time x

In This Moment

My view right now is my pillow and the white wall next to me. I’m lying face down on the bed. This is just another one of my particularly bad days. It’s like a wave of increased consciousness of the indifference depression often brings with it, has washed over me and I’m drowning. Everything hurts. To think, to breathe, to be. I’m not trying to make sense of what’s happening because I’ve been here before, more times than I care to remember. I know it won’t last forever, yet every second feels like an eternity.

This is one of those times where part of me would like to reach out to someone – anyone – but the sickness in my mind tells me there’s no point. My energy to try and explain just isn’t there because how can I explain something I don’t understand myself? Besides, I don’t want to bother anyone with what goes on in my perfectly flawed, fucked up mind.

On the flip side, I know they would try to understand and do their best to help if I did talk, but at this moment, I’m not sure I can be helped. All I can do is endure because I’ll be damned if I ever let this bitch of an illness defeat me.