In Light Of The 70%
I woke up this morning to some shocking statistics. The biggest killer of men under the age of forty-five is suicide and 70% of all suicides are male. For some time now, I have wanted to write about my experience with mental health. In light of this morning’s statistics I’m putting this short blog post out there, in hope this will open up a conversation.
I’ve realised recently, looking back on some of my time through high-school and college from the age of around fourteen, I was depressed. I internalised all of my thoughts and feelings to the point where I wouldn’t speak to anyone and I felt like I didn’t have anyone to speak to. There were plenty of caring teachers and family who tried to connect with me, but still I shut them out, most likely because I didn’t want to admit that there was something wrong. I can say that thankfully I never experienced suicidal thoughts, but I was very stuck in a dull dark place. This was a constant theme until I was around nineteen or twenty. I gradually got better when I started to accept myself, and I soon realised I was surrounded by people who also accepted me. It was a gradual journey where I grew in confidence and I’m grateful for the perspective it gives me now.
In hindsight, one of my breakthrough moments in accepting emotional openness was during an acting class exercise. It was a class of around twenty people and part of the exercise was to sit in a circle, open up and tell everyone an emotional real life story that’s happened to you from the past. At first, I can remember being very sceptical, I have never been someone who cried a lot (not even at Bambi), but I went along with it and to my surprise the floodgates opened. I balled my eyes out in front of twenty strangers opening myself up emotionally and letting these people see me at my most vulnerable. This experience has stayed with me because before then I always felt you have to put your emotions away, don’t embarrass yourself. More than anything this class taught me the opposite, after the sense of relief I felt, it taught me how important it is to share your feelings.
It’s sometimes difficult to make sense of things or even put emotions into words, especially at such a young age. Even now, there are days when I feel nervous; I very occasionally may even suffer a panic attack in small crowded places, there are days when I just don’t feel mentally strong. In general I am a very confident person who can sometimes give the impression that I just breeze through life, but like most people I have insecurities and doubts. The difference is now I share my feelings, thoughts and insecurities, I am so grateful to have friends and family beside me that are ready and willing to listen to my constant moaning.
I believe there is always someone willing to listen, you sometimes just have to brave enough to share.
Again, I’m really shocked and moved by the release of the statistics this morning so over the next few weeks, I will be putting together another personal blog post about the pressure that social media can sometimes have on mental health.
Thanks very much for reading. Feel free to get in touch by commenting on instagram, direct messaging, emailing, or whatever you fancy! I may not get back to you straight away but I will eventually. I have also put The Samaritans helpline below, should you ever need it.