I saw your feature on BRB Panic Attack’s “Speak Out” series, in which you talked about your own struggle with mental health. Could you tell us a little about that?
I battled depression and mental health for years, but never admitted that I needed help, my father took his own life having suffered with mental health, and I was ending the same way, i was horrible to be around, I hid it behind drinking alcohol, gambling and p*rn. Inside I knew I needed help but was to manly to admit it. Well after my first attempt at taking my life I want on a mission to change my ways telling everyone who would listen that I’m losing weight, getting back fit and a whole load of rubbish, I was still the the guy, I wanted to rip people’s heads off and was horrendous to be around, I became someone I hated, it cost me my marriage and nearly cost me my children. After the spilt from my wife I hit (what I call) the bottom of the well and couldn’t find the strength or commitment to climb out of its so once again I thought of taking the easy option of ending my life, before I could even take the final step something changed in my head, I thought about my children and what pains I grew up with knowing my dad took his own life with no answers. It wasn’t until someone asked me what I wanted to achieve in life I realised I wanted to help atleast one person battle through a mental illness and work with them to stop them taking their own life and with that Don’t Man Up was born.
What would you say to someone who is going through something similar to what you went through?
It gets better, believe me it really does, don’t put a permanent solution on a temporary situation. And I know it may not feel like it at the current moment and you might even tell me to f*ck off but I’ve been there, I know it’s not snd nice feeling but it does get better.
In your interview, you placed emphasis on the saying, “man up”. Going from that, what do you think the community, as a whole, can do to fight toxic masculinity and encourage everyone — no matter their gender — to speak up?
Just speak up, stop the stigma of mental health being a dark secret nobody should know and speak up. Be brave and don’t man up, speak up, you are not alone.
I noticed you are the founder and host of your own podcast called Don’t Man Up. Could you tell us a little about that and what you hope your audience gets from listening to it?
Yeah, I wanted to connect to a wider audience and I thought about what platform is becoming increasingly popular and thought about the podcast, I’m used to performing in the past in front of a crowd and podcasting jumped out at me, knowing I can talk about mental health and speak about issues in the way i want to come across, (I’m extremely honest and maybe swear a little to much) so launching the podcast was perfect.
How has the pandemic affected you mentally? What things did you learn about yourself during the course of this pandemic that you didn’t know before?
It’s been hard at times, and at one point I was going round and round in my mind when he Uk was in lockdown so I decided to hiking, and instantly fell in love with that, so much that I’ve pledge to hike 24 miles doing the Yorkshire 3 peaks to raise funds for mind charity in the uk.
What self-care practices do you recommend? Furthermore, why is it important to scope out time for yourself each day?
I keep a journal, and I’ve got worksheets printed ready for if I’m feeling down, I also meditate 3 times a week.
Why do you think prioritizing mental health is so important, especially for youth?
Your mental health reflects who you are as a person, and that not a bad thing, I’ve talked about this on an episode of my podcast that majority of young people who suffer with mental health are to embarrassed to ask for any kind of help, why is that? Because unfortunately we now live in a world full of social media and fake social media lifestyles, we need to connect with the youth of today and help them when they are brave enough to speak up about their feelings.
Who have been your biggest role-models or resources in times of unsureness, grief, and healing?
My biggest role model is a guy called Paul Mort, I stumbled across his now famous Cliff video talking about his suicidal thoughts and it hit home with me, the way he speaks about stuff is what connects with me. Go check him out, you won’t be disappointed.
What does mental health mean to YOU?
Everything, mental health is my number 1 priority, I can’t be the dad and person I need to be if my mental health isn’t my number 1.
Is there anything else you would like Revive’s audience to know?
Come check me out with got big things planned for 2021