Provide. That’s what us blokes do. Safety, shelter, security, protection. Nothing stops them, nothing phases them, they take on anyone and anything. Straight forward isn’t it? No.
In recent years, there’s been some startling revelations about men’s mental health. Prince Harry and Simon Thomas have made some fantastic public accounts of their journeys. However, I’m not fifth in line to the throne, or on Sky Sports. I’m just a bloke, struggling to deal with shit. And that’s me being honest; I struggle to deal with shit. But that’s a new sensation, it’s never happened before. Sitting on the end of my bed, shaking and crying uncontrollably. Alone and wondering how it came to this. Not even wanting to feel this way, but strangely not being able to change that feeling. It’s mental, literally.
How did it get to this? I spent years struggling with my mental health and telling nobody, assuming it might one day miraculously go away. Because that’s what men do, right? Don’t worry anyone else with your problems, they’re just that. Your problems, nobody else’s. You own them, you deal with it. Wrong. It’s an old saying; ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’, or something like that.
When my girlfriend escorted me to see a doctor, it was a weight lifted from my shoulders. The doctor was amazing. ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ he said. A phrase I repeat to myself regularly. I spent a year visiting my GP on a regular basis, adamant I wasn’t going to take medication. I knew I could deal with this, I’m a man after all. But I couldn’t. I found myself shaking, crying, without a clue about what was going on.
What did I do? I sent out a text to really close mates, as best as I could whilst shaking and crying, asking for a call. They called. I told them. They listened. They understood. My girlfriend understands too. She knows I’m still that man, who provides and protects, but who also has a sensitive side.
I’m almost through the worst now, I think. But were it not for being open, the request for help and the support of people around me, I dread to think where this may have ended up. Talking about it was the key for me. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not easy, but that was the definite starting point, and if my blog can help just one person, then putting my experience out in the open has been worth it. Don’t be afraid, you’re not alone and it can get better.
It’s ok not to be ok.