Today is an important day.

World Mental Health Day.

Millions of us struggle, not just today, but everyday with some aspect of our mental health. But many are too afraid or concerned about how talking will affect others, that they suffer in silence and hold the damage inside.

Since my struggles intensified over recent events, I have been working on a project to raise awareness of the struggles that everybody face everyday and so today I thought was the perfect opportunity to share them as a collection of images and musings on the important subject of mental health.

At the end of this post I will be sharing some links to places where you can find help if and when you need it – please talk – share and be there for each other. If 2020 has taught me nothing, it’s that this is a cruel world and it is indiscriminate to whether or not you are a good person. We need every one of you around to help make this world a better place.

Today was a dark day.

Stagnant dark day.
Go away.
Don’t hold my hand and lead me through the daylight on shadowy footsteps.

Let. Me. Be.

You feed me with words and feelings that are not my own. I gag on the toughness of hateful air, and sit mute.

Dark day. Go away.

Let me sit upright – not uptight, looking for a fight. A pressurised canister unexploded but loaded and ready to go.

Dark dark day.
Just go away.

Let me be me. Soon you’ll see that I have been a man receiving signs in a world that aligns and hopefully spitting out unspoken rhymes to get me through this nightmare pain.

Hear me when I say.

DARK DAY
GO AWAY
Beast

Mental health issues are The Beast within us. The worst part though is that words like best can be used as weapons against us – and when they are they can sit dormant inside until we use them to harm ourselves – speak them and get them out of your system. WORDS HURT TOO.

Don’t hold back.

Sometimes we are meaner to ourselves than we would ever let anyone else get away with. It is said that we hurt those closest to us, but that doesn’t account for the damage we do to ourselves everyday.

LET IT OUT.

Say it with me… I am going to do everything in my power to stop the harm that I am doing to myself.

I am a man and I am choosing to speak out now, to save myself later.

Inside my mind.

Sometimes I feel a plethora of emotions that span the entire spectrum. People can be caught off guard because one day I can be gregarious, full of energy and joy, and the next I can take refuge inside my own mind.

Beaten.

Self-inflicted damage is easy to hide – but not from yourself.

Do not suffer in silence. Speak out, seek help.

It will get better.

Protector.

Self-consciousness can shame you from being your authentic-self and that is no way to live.

We protectors see what others need from us to be their best selves, to support them and ensure that they weather the storms.

Protect yourself too – show self-care and love to the person that you are.

Sometimes. Men. Cry.

It’s ok to not be ok.

Emotions are felt by all. They are not discriminative. Look into the eyes of your loved ones, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbours, the parents in the playground, the people on the street – and smile – connect. That may have been the only thing that got them through the day.

If I can be of help PLEASE do reach out – I am not an expert – but I am here to listen.

Take care of yourselves. Wayne x

The NHS recommends the following steps for helping others:

Top things you can do to help

Express concern and say you can help

Letting someone know you’re worried is a good way to open up a conversation – it shows you care about the person, have time for them and that they do not have to avoid things with you.

Reassure them

The first time someone mentions their worries is a big step. It’s good to recognise this and reassure them. Let them know you’re there to listen when they need to talk.

Offer your time to listen

Listening is an important skill. Ask open questions that start with “how”, “what”, “where” or “when”. This can help people open up.

Act as you usually do together

Do what you usually do – behaving differently can make someone feel more isolated. Do not be afraid to offer kind words and a space to talk, whether by phone, messaging or in person.

Be patient

You will not always know the full story. There may be reasons why they have found it difficult to ask for help. Just being there can be helpful for someone who may want to open up later.

If they do not want support

Gently explore their reasons for not wanting to get support. If they are unsure whether to get help, just talking and listening without judgement could help work out what’s getting in the way.

Do not force it

Do not force someone to talk to you or get help, and do not go to a doctor on their behalf. This may lead to them feeling uncomfortable, with less power and less able to speak for themselves.

Look after yourself

It can be upsetting to hear someone you care about in distress. Be kind to yourself and take some time to relax or do something you enjoy.

Offer practical help

Little acts of kindness – like offering to do the shopping or to go to professional appointments with them – can help. Find out what works for them.

And here are some organisations who may be able to help (for a full list please visit the NHS website HERE

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.

Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Website: www.thecalmzone.net

Mind

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Website: www.mind.org.uk

SANE

Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers. 

Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare

Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum

Website: www.sane.org.uk/support

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