June 13, 2012

Photo of Tim, a Time to Change bloggerStatistics say one in four people will suffer mental health problems in any given year. To put that into perspective, that’s maybe half a dozen work colleagues, four members of your rugby team and a couple of close family members. And if you’ve got 200 friends on Facebook, well that’s fifty of them.

Yet how many people do you know who suffer? Unless you happen to work in mental health, I’ll guarantee it’s a lot less than that.

The reason for this is that most people choose to suffer in silence. They are afraid that others will perceive them as weak, or they’re ashamed and racked with guilt for feeling that way.

A lot of mental health problems have trauma as a starting point. Mine was in 2006 when my sister took her own life. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. We were estranged at the time and guilt stemming from that took over my life and engulfed me.

I had my own construction firm, a great relationship and a good life- bit by bit the depression dismantled everything, and still I didn’t seek help. When I had my first breakdown two years ago, my way of dealing with things was to shut myself away in the house, alone, with the curtains drawn. I stopped answering the phone.

How could I, a six foot four eighteen stone ex-rugby player be so weak?

I was ashamed of myself for feeling the way I did, filled with guilt for letting everyone down and I felt worthless and less of a man. How could I, a six foot four eighteen stone ex-rugby player be so weak? I went to some dark places which four months later led me to attempt suicide.

Because I didn’t let anyone in and hardly nobody knew what had happened, I managed to brush it under the carpet and get on with my life without seeking the treatment I needed. After the inevitable second breakdown I started to get some clarity on the situation. I knew I needed to let people in to share my experiences.

I spoke about some of my experiences on Facebook

It started off as a self-preservation thing- I thought if it was out in the open and the people around me knew what I was going through, and were asking me about it, I would be compelled to get the help I needed. So after some soul-searching, I spoke about some of my experiences on Facebook.

The response was overwhelming- the support I received made me realise that mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of and I didn’t need to suffer in silence.

friends who had mental health problems but had kept them to themselves shared their experiences with me

And unexpectedly, friends who had mental health problems but had kept them to themselves shared their experiences with me. A lot of friends. Which brings us full circle to the one in four. And I hope that those people that opened up found it as cathartic as I did. I have a long way to go, but I’m feeling positive about the future for the first time in a long time.

So please, if you know someone who is struggling, a kind word or a hug can go a long way. Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed about talking to us. And if you are suffering, you need to talk too. Open up to people. It’s hard to expose yourself mentally at first, but it’s the best thing I ever did.

What do you think about the issues raised in this blog? Share your views with us on Twitter >>

Or pledge to share your experience of mental health today and find out how talking tackles discrimination. 


Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.

Comments

Well done, Tim. I have

<p>Well done, Tim. I have suffered depression since 14ish, but it came to a head when I was about 26. After medication (which didn't help me), I went through lots of counselling and CBT and now I have the tools to cope. Self adminstered art and music therapy help no end and the fact thatI now feel comfortable talking about it helps no end.</p>

Being depressed and trying to be happy

<p>Dear Tim, My name is anne and i&nbsp; have being depressed all my whole life but now i want to make and move on towards the future instead of being on medication how do you make the future brigter again instead of being depressed and seeing loads of people i just don't want to be depressed again and i want to face up to my mental health and be ok in my self so how do you make the future more brighter again </p><p>it would be nice to hear from you tim</p><p>Yours sincerely</p><p><a href="mailto:Evereen03@hotmail.com">Evereen03@hotmail.com</a></p>

good and honest account

<p>It's about time more men were able to talk about their mental health problems- too many people fail to understand them, and I've had so much nonsense about 'man up' 'everybody has bad days' etc. &nbsp;</p>

depression/ Rugby

<p>feb 11/11 my 18yr old son took his own life. he was a great kid, found his inner jock when he got to high school. he played football for 2 years and rugby for 3yrs. he did suffer severe concussions. it was 6 months after the last one that he started changes. i truly believe that the concussions played a huge role in his depression which lead to him taking his own life.</p>

It's great to see you sharing

It's great to see you sharing your thoughts and experiences, I'm sure it will prove as helpful to others in finding courage to talk about their own and make sense of their situations as it will be catharthic for yourself. There has been loads of work done recently to try and remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues especially within my profession so again it's a breath of fresh air to see it become less of a taboo and ensure that the help gets to those who need it in a supporting environment. Well done on first post and hope to see some of that classic Tim humour creating in there somewhere on future posts! Nice work Tim ;)

Depression, police work, stress, dark thoughts.

<P>Ive been a cop for several years, seeing the bad side in people constantly, is a bad thing-mentally.&nbsp; Ive divorced years ago, because of a trauma at work- lost contact with my beautiful children, (who now hate me) thanks to the&nbsp; family court system and cafcass - and am now almost wrecking another relationship. I feel if it wasnt for my young son, I wouldnt be here. I re-assure myself that it would be selfish to leave him without a father, like&nbsp;i grew up.&nbsp;&nbsp; I tell myself that i have a good life, on the face of it. Inside im a powder keg, suppressing my feelings.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;If it wasnt for the occassional hug from my son, no one would make any physical contact with me at all.&nbsp; I often think my son would be better off without me, as a father figure&nbsp;, just because I have become so corrosive in my attitudes.&nbsp;&nbsp; Im checking these pages and others seeking help.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;If i tell my employer, in this economic climate, i will probably lose my job.</P> <P>&nbsp;&nbsp;</P>

Hi

<p>Hi J, </p><p>I am also a police officer albeit with 3 years service to date. I joined when I was 39 years of age and I have to say, it was the most stressfull, intimidating experience of my life. My start in the job didn't go too well as I was never sure that the decisions I made were the best ones. I also had a gaffer who didnt like me, (for reasons unknown), where I am convinced, he tried to get me the sack. All this, plus my wife was pregneant with our first child. </p><p>Because of this, I was at my lowest ebb and remember just wanting to end it all. There were a number of occasions where I just wanted to drive away and never return. </p><p>However, it is the love of my daughter that has kept me going.</p><p>Just wanted to let you know so you know you are not alone.</p><p>D</p>

Facebook

<p>I have been struggling too and I found out that Facebook is a big contributor. When I posted up my negative feelings and thoughts on facebook no one messaged me or tried to make me feel better. Instead, my friends just called the cops and I got taken into the Looney bin. Little did I know how much facebook was depressing me further until after I read about all the studies done by Universities that cite Facebook as a main depressing element in their life. Now I'm without facebook and still fighting depression that is over 10 years old. I wish there were people that I were friends with that would have helped me. Good for you, Im glad there are actually peopel out there that will help someone without being paid (Doctor's). </p>

I deleted my facebook too!

Hey, just a quick one to say that I also deleted my facebook and it made me feel a lot better. I didn't have any experiences as extreme as yours, but I felt constantly being inundated with other people's lives made me feel hypersensitive about my own. I'm sure it's not the same for everyone, but it you're predisposed to mental illness, depression or anxiety, I personally don't think it helps one jot. I'm on Twitter which is nice because I can follow world events and journalism rather than the personal ins and outs of others lives.

i have been an arse for ten

i have been an arse for ten years and am now down to only one freind,even writing this i feel self indulgent and self pitying, cos i know their are so many people worse off than myself, infact, thats it, i have to stop for now, my problems are insignificant to many people ,cheers

Hi, if you'd like to talk to

<p>Hi, if you'd like to talk to someone about your experiences or what you're feeling at the moment the Samaritans are always available on&nbsp;08457 90 90 90 or&nbsp;jo@samaritans.org - Rethink Mental Illness, one of the charities that run our campaign, also run an excellent forum where you could share your story with people who may have gone through similar experiences:&nbsp;http://www.rethink.org/talk/</p><p>Best wishes,</p><p>Ed, Time to Change</p>

tim

Dear Tim , I am really proud of you, i had depression myself but i am now better but depression is a constant fight. Tim you a legend! Frenchy

well done tim

well done. its about time people like yourself felt able to talk openly about an absolutely horrendous medical problem, I have also suffered from what the professionals call reactive depression for the last 22 years, and have tried to commit suicide several times and still self harm, I am on really strong doses of medicaation and still have weeks when i dont go out of the house at all, keep talking and keep yourself well, depression is a battle that most of the people involved in, just dont talk about. we are not aliens, we are human

Issues

I cannot imagine anyone understanding my negative experiences, but would welcome some one with tbe interest to relate.

What did you think of this blog? Tell us in the comments