It’s very easy when writing about mental health to write scared.
It’s an extremely sensitive subject and it becomes comfortable to write what people want to hear. Writing what people need to hear is not so easy.
So my words are my own and are coming from a place of experience battling metal health and anxiety. Depression is now a popular word and it’s convenient for some men to jump on the depression bandwagon. I’m not judging any man who has done this because I have been one of them at times in my own life.
During that time you feel it. Maybe it’s not clear whether its depression, anxiety or a deep level of unhappiness. Depression could even be categorised as a severe lack of energy. But it’s become easy to declare yourself depressed and play the role of the victim who has no control over his destiny.
I think there are a small percentage of men who are past the point of no return and need medical intervention in order to save them from themselves. This leaves a large percentage of men to whom I believe have full control over their mindset and outcomes. During recent conversations with some friends who are feeling down or depressed I always ask the question ‘So what are you doing to try and make yourself feel better?’. The answer is always nothing or very little.
If the actions you take are minimal the results will follow the same path. In my opinion, depression is an alarm bell signalling that something in your life is not right. The difficulty comes in making the necessary decisions and acting upon them. Sitting in the depressive state is strangely comfortable, as painful as it is. Change can prove more challenging than staying the same.
Certain vices make the depressive state bearable. Alcohol, drugs, high volume of junk food, sex, violence, excess television and gossip all offer a temporary plaster with no long term solution. Exercise, whole foods, water, meditation and sufficient sleep also offer a solution to some of your battles with positive and long term benefits. So which do you choose?
You have a choice. Accept this.
Self awareness is something you will need if you are to move forward. The best thing that ever happened to me was being told I was full of shit whilst describing my situation to a small group of men. I was challenged, put on the spot, and asked the difficult questions I needed to dig deep to answer. Any shit that came out of my mouth I was immediately punched in the face. ‘Cool story’ was the most popular response from the crew of dudes who were the first people not to accept my pitiful excuses.
I went away and spent a turbulent 18 months creating new habits that eventually made me aware that I was in charge of how I felt. It only took 33 years. Once you reach this destination you start to play a new game that has more highs than lows. It’s refreshing and new. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because feeling happy is a new feeling for me and I sometimes worry it’s a phase.
I have come to accept I need to do things most men don’t or won’t do such as getting up early to meditate or spending most of my time in creation mode.
This is life now. I think it will be for a long time.
So perhaps a BIG change is exactly what you need. A new start for new results. Scary, but exciting. Once the light starts to shine through, you will not want to go back.