Recovery

I am a man but that doesn’t mean, I am resistant to mental health.

T

he shame and humiliation us men feel with regards to mental health is mortification. Unfortunately there is still ignorance and negativity attached to mental illness, yes even in 2018. Individuals will stereotype self harm in the attention seeking category, many people believe that mental illness sufferers are violent and dangerous, which certainly isn’t true, and are looking for attention. Patients are more at risk of being victims of crime and harming them selfs, rather than harming other people.

There is many reasons to why, people suffer in silence, every day is a different day, each feeling is different, there is lots of ways and reasons why day to day living impacts our lives, one of the biggest is modern living.

Some people may feel out their depths, they feel hopeless, can’t cope and living is just impossible. Other people can pull themselves together easily, but the next day might not be so easy. Know one can really interpret what’s actually happened in people’s minds, the human brain is a powerful and dynamic tool.

Men’s mental health gets neglected, which makes it more challenging for men to talk about their own personal experiences and feelings, well that’s what my own personal feelings and thoughts have been like.

Some individuals distance themselves away with someone who is suffering from mental health disorders, it is absolutely ridiculous and shocking, not realising they are actually making problems worse. Especially if the person you consider is a very dear friend and thought you could talk to and trust that person, suddenly turns their back on you.

My attempts to confide in family and friends never worked. I can’t really explain how I felt, I felt dazed and numbed, part of me was dead. All my thoughts and feelings were based on entirely ripping my skin to pieces and watching myself bleed, it was always a release for me, as i was lonely and isolated and tormented most days with tonic clonic, epileptic seizures, I was devastated it took over my life.

I battled with my own personal mental health problems, my epilepsy diagnosis, dealing with break ups, my mums passing. I discovered myself to be at loose ends, waking up alone, and being uninvited to social gathers with so called friends, I discovered people had spoken negatively about me behind my back.

I was constantly worrying and anxious about my seizure control, concerned and nervous about when the lighting would strike again. I just wished that I could live a normal life and not be burdened by such a condition, what did I do to deserve this at 21 years of age. I was always hoping that all my negative thoughts and feelings would disappear soon.

The only cure for me, that could put everything right, was to self harm. Loneliness and anxiety became just normal for me. Being on edge, not being able to sleep or eat made me wonder if life is worth carrying on for, what is the point really?

Depression isn’t just something that suddenly happened. I didn’t go to be one evening happy, by morning I was sad. In my case it was trapped a feeling that kept building up for months, or even perhaps years, who knows. Unable to talk to people, talking pushed people away. I was great at hiding how I was feeling, I suppose at least I was good at something. I smiled confidently as if everything in my world was amazing and I walked on.

In 2016 not long before I discovered Epilepsy Connections, negative thoughts spiralling out of control, constant thoughts that I wasn’t good enough, all my thoughts were negative ones and all related to seriously hurting myself. I tortured myself by pouring a kettle of boiling water over my right arm. After I self harmed, wow I can’t even describe the realise I got from it, unfortunately that realise was short lived and my distress i had been feeling was still with me this time and with a constant dull, stabbing and aching pain.

To this very day I feel disgusting, ashamed and extremely guilty as I covered up my self harm burns by lying and confessing to family and friends, I had a seizure while making tea. I am sickened with my lies, i needed to protect and support myself, I was frightened and terrified of the possibility of staying in a mental health hospital.

One day I thought, this is it, this has got to be it. I am ashamed of lying, what type of person am I? On another level I felt so worried about upsetting my family about being dishonest I never wanted to give anyone a reason to be hurt or doubt me.

I am now 35 and haven’t self-harmed for over a year. I have no ambition to harm myself in any way. I am a confident person, my self esteem increases every single day. I appreciated love and life now, I relish In meeting new people and take pleasure and pride in taking time to talk to people and socialising.

I now love my life

Mental health is part of everyone’s life, know one should feel ashamed to open up and talk and their feelings. We talk every day, it’s the main point of contact for people. If words can hurt and create disruptions, they can equally create comfort, piece of mind and help support each other, through good times but especially the bad.

Steven Connelly

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