by Paddy Crump
Men’s mental health week runs from Monday 14th until Sunday 20th June. The reality is thousands of men suffer from mental health issues daily, many in silence. Many men put on a brave face to the outer world, while inside they are being torn apart.
Tackling the issue of men’s mental health is, I believe, of paramount importance. In this short article, I will share my own experiences with anxiety, and how I managed to gain control of my mental health.
I went into the start of 2020 with some anxiety issues, however, the unprecedented circumstances we were thrown into in March only served to intensify those feelings. Morning after morning as I woke up, I could physically feel my heart heavy in my chest, and my brain rerunning an insignificant event that happened months ago. The feeling that I had done something terribly wrong haunted me. I felt like life was never going to get better.
As a young man, outdated stereotypes suggest that I should keep a stiff upper lip. However, the thing that helped me the most was the opposite. When I felt I could no longer cope, I reached out to a counsellor. This was the best thing I have ever done for my mental health. Like many people before me, speaking about my mental health made me feel apprehensive and fearful of being exposed.
However, after the first session it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and my heart was no longer heavy in my chest. My counsellor is amazing! She gives me strategies to help cope with my anxiety and helps me to put things into perspective. You can find out more about getting a counsellor at https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help/counselling-and-psychotherapy/ .
Overall, my biggest piece of advice is to talk about your feelings. Whether you speak to a friend, sibling, parent, or colleague, speaking about your mental health is, in my opinion, the most important step you can take to tackle your mental health problems. The first time I talked to someone was the hardest step I ever took but also the most rewarding. I was worried about being exposed and vulnerable, however, I received more support than I ever thought possible, and I believe that you will too.
Although your worries will not automatically disappear, talking is the first step in the right direction to start controlling your mental health. I now speak to my counsellor once a week and speak to my friends about mental health frequently. I have come to realise that speaking about my mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness.
The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information