Dave used to bottle up all his feelings. Here he explains how opening up about his mental health changed his life.
I’m a 50 year old man, who never used to talk about my emotions. Like most men I thought I can’t let anyone think I can get upset or show any weakness.
"We can and should talk about our emotions because not doing so stops us getting help or asking for support."
Well I’ve got some great news for you. We can and should talk about our emotions because not doing so stops us getting help or asking for support.
And so here are my tips for men on how to open up.
Tell someone – So how do you tell someone how you feel, I wrote down all my thoughts on my phone notes and showed my wife. It was hard and seeing it in words made it even harder to look at. I gave her the phone and she was heart broke. I had become so good at hiding my mental state that she didn’t have a clue.
Visit the doctor– I will always remember the weekend before I went to the doctors with a sinking feeling sat in the waiting room, wanting to run away but it’s the best thing I have ever done. He explained I wasn’t alone and many men suffer with this, including him.
Making choices – only you will know how you feel about taking medication. For me it works and I am still on medication. I received counselling after self-referring which for me was self-referral to Mind filling out an online questionnaire which was hard as the questions are very direct but try and go through this. Then I ended up having something called CBT which tries to break down how you feel and work on your behaviours again it helped but its only one part of support with my recovery.
I started to read as much as I could about what I had and what I could do to help myself. I went to a yoga class with some lovely older ladies. Trust me this was harder than going to the doctors for the first time about my mental health. I was stretching in places I didn’t know were possible to stretch. But over time this was a great thing to ease my mind.
I also tried Reiki, which is a Japanese method of healing using energy to balance the body and Mind. For me meditation was most effective which you can access on YouTube.
All forms of exercise tend to help. Just choose the right one for you, whether it is walking, running, cycling or yoga.
"After a year I decided that I still wasn’t happy with how my mental health was so I decided to get a personal counsellor."
After a year I decided that I still wasn’t happy with how my mental health was so I decided to get a personal counsellor. Wendy really did change my life for the better. We talked about things I’ve never said before to anyone and yes it’s that word talked again. I saw her for several months, which gave me so much inspiration to push myself forward when all I wanted to do was hide away.
It has taken me two years to start to calm my mind. I know that sounds a long time, but remember we all are different so each person will have different experiences.
"I have gradually realised it’s not about getting better it’s about learning to cope with who I am."
There have been so many times when I wondered “will I ever get better” and I have gradually realised it’s not about getting better it’s about learning to cope with who I am and accepting the person I see in the mirror each day.
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