Happy World Mental Health Day

I have to admit that I didn’t know that the 10th October was World Mental Health Day, but I had a blog lined up for such an occasion, and, having suffered with depression and anxiety for over a year, it was another excuse to write about it to try and gain a little more understanding in my own mind. It was also an excuse to try the audience of Medium.

Way back at the beginning of the year, I wrote about Blue Monday on LinkedIn and shared how I had been struggling with mental health for a while.

Before I wrote that, I was ashamed, scared and nervous. I thought nobody would understand and I’d be ridiculed for making excuses. I thought that my career would be in jeopardy and everybody would think I’m some sort of crazy person that needed to be in a straight-jacket.

The response I received was incredible and positive. People coming from all over the place to share their experiences and to discuss the issue with me, both publicly and privately.

The truth is, and many people have told me since, that this illness is very like any other.

If you had broken your arm, you’d have it in a cast. If you had an infection, you’d take medication. If you have a mental illness, you can talk about it and/or take pills to help through that — there is always a way to make you feel better even if it’s not immediately clear!

It doesn’t make you any less capable that anybody else. It doesn’t make you any less of a person than anybody else. It’s just something that is dealt with like any other thing in the world. Anybody who tells you different doesn’t deserve to be talking to you.

I’m no expert on the illness by a long stretch, but the truth is that it can happen to anybody at any time.

Quick Facts

  • Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.
  • Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and drug use) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds.
  • Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.

Bottom line — you’re not alone.

So Tom, why are you writing this blog?

Between January and now, I lost friends to depression.

I wrote in January about how in 2014 there were 6,109 suicides, of which 76% were male, and suicide currently stands as the biggest single killer of men aged 45 and under in this county.

This statistic scares me. It scares me that 6,109 people, the vast majority men like me, thought it was easier to die than carry on.

I wrote my original blog to try and prevent particularly other men (who seem to have a tendency not to talk about these things for the reason I mentioned above) from taking their own lives. The truth is that my blog is designed to appeal to anybody of any background in the same position.

I’ve been to the darkest places. I’ve felt the worst feelings. I’ve thankfully never wanted to take my life but that’s because I acted to get control of what was going on. I spoke to the people I trusted and brought my confidence back. I’ve achieved things I thought I couldn’t do two years ago.

No matter how bad you think it is. There is always somebody to talk to and hey, why not talk to total strangers for impartial advice. That’s what I’m doing here!

Happy World Mental Health Awareness day!

You’re not alone. Quick links for help: