For the guys

depression-3

Thanks to Movember for alerting me that it’s World Suicide Prevention Day today. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under fifty. Mental illness, of course, cares not what gender you are, but it’s something that we men find particularly hard to deal with and open up about. We are emotional and far more sensitive than society likes to try and condition us to be, yet collectively still appear to fall for the fallacies, viewing talking about such things as a sign of weakness.

I know as well as anybody how horrendously frightening and just impossible it seems to begin communicating such dark, hideous thoughts – hence the drawing. It feels as though nobody is there; no-one will understand. I bottled up my mounting depression and anxieties for several years, until, in 2012, I could take no more and suffered a breakdown whose magnitude was such that I’m still coming to terms with it and receiving treatment (currently a combination of medication and counselling). It scuppered the final year of my degree and put me completely out of action; I spent Christmas that year and later my 21st birthday in the dark, hiding under a duvet, because I’d convinced myself it was all that I deserved.

The path has certainly not been easy since then. In the intervening period, suicide has flirted with me on a number of occasions: It would be the only way out. It would mean nobody had to worry anymore. I don’t deserve the people around me. I don’t deserve to live anymore. I’m useless. I’m such a disgusting person…

But, reach out to the right places, and there are lights in the dark. There is stardust in the nightmare. I’m not over all that happened, and there have been some worrying relapses, but I’m in a better place right now than I have been for a while. I owe that to a select group of people, most of whom are not doctors or psychiatrists. Please don’t let it get to such desperate stages, and certainly don’t leave it until your suicide note. Remember that there are people and services out there who want to help and can lead you in the right direction, and, with time, help guide you away from this awful mindset.

Likewise, if you know anybody who’s in a dark place right now, remind them that you care. An act of kindness or generosity you know they’ll appreciate. Give them a hug. You don’t have all the answers – I certainly bloody don’t – and it’s naive to think that you will, but it could just be one of the most important exchanges you ever have. Just being there is worth more than you know, and it most definitely won’t go unappreciated.

Be the light in the dark.

On this vein, I feel I must, with my experiences, offer my own ears; if anybody finds this who would like to have a chat privately, I’m around anytime. You can also contact Mind or The Samaritans if you are in need of help.

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18 comments
  1. Geke Hop-Wassink said:

    Thank you for sharing you’re story, it’s hard I know. Having PTSS and people say, everyone is having a bad day, always you have somthing, I lost them all. Treatment does help, but it takes time but please go for help if you need it, there are so many suffering from this illness.

    Like

    • Jacob said:

      I’ve become quite aware of PTSD through speaking to a number of sufferers online, and it sounds a truly terrible thing to have to deal with. I think it alarming that in 2015, people continue to view mental illness with that kind of “just get over it” nonchalance, even in the face of so many deaths by it. It’s an absolute madness.

      A lot of my ‘friends’ became tired of my lack of motivation to go out and seemed to be frustrated that I was taking so long to recover. Needless to say, I am not friends with these people anymore.

      1 in 4 here in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. That’s a lot of people. We need to work out how to make them feel less alone – particularly the young men who feel they cannot seek help.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Geke Hop-Wassink said:

    You are right and it’s very sad people still react that way. I heard my diagnose just after an ex millitary shot multiple people, I remember asking, is this the same I have, he had multiple PTSD, and yes, I had the same. It scared me a lot, but since last year I finally have the right treatment, but it’s still 1 step forward and 3 steps back. The hardest are the memories I had pushed away and it’s frightning to let them come back, but have no choice. I hope to win from this illnes, but it’s hard.
    Also, like you mentioned, it’s sad that in 2015 people drop you because of it, thinking like you have a choice, because there is no choice. Please also in Holland call 113 online for help, they won’t send you away, together we can fight this, not by judging, but by understanding.
    Thank you Jacob that you make me tell my story, because you had the courage to do so. I hope my spelling is okay, if not please adjust, because this is hard to tell, but I can’t tell how I got it, only 1 reason was my love who died at age 39. I did it with my sons, more than 5 year 24/7 and it took him 25 days to die, it was and still is hard, people don’t even want you to talk about it, Like Freddie said, death and gone, but he was my and our life………The other event I can’t tell, nobody will understand.
    Thank you Jacob 😥 ❤

    Like

    • Jacob said:

      I’m so sorry to hear of your loss and all that you’ve been through. I did lose somebody at around the time of my breakdown; I don’t know that it can really be compared to your own bereavement, but nevertheless he was very important to me, and I think it was what pushed me over the edge.

      Indeed, having to dig up hurtful memories is never pleasant, for it can bring all the grief surging back like a tidal wave. It was one of the things that I was most scared of, when confronting a doctor for the first time, perhaps more so than the illness itself. Thanks to therapy, I’m currently experiencing renewed shame for things I’ve missed out on and people I’ve inadvertently hurt during my depression, and that’s not pleasant. But as you say, in this scenario, it has to be done in order to start/continue moving forward.

      “Not by judging, but by understanding.” Exactly, Geke. Spot on! Thank you for posting so courageously, and sharing what you have. I send my best wishes for your continued treatment and recovery.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geke Hop-Wassink said:

        Thank you Jacob, and we keep on fighting, because giving up is no option, because we know what will happen.
        I hope just because of what we shared, we maybe can help just one man or women, and take the big step to get help, that’s what I wish.
        Thank you for your post today, and it took me quite some time to write, but I did, and hope it can help someone. Good Night ❤

        Like

      • Jacob said:

        It’s a lovely thought, isn’t it. It’s the main reason I made the post that I did; I didn’t do it for my own benefit or attention, I just hoped that someone in need would see it at some point, and be compelled to start talking in a similar way, be it to me, a relative or a professional.

        Night night. Best wishes!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lee Hesketh said:

    Big hugs to you Jay, I know it can’t be easy all the time.
    I have a friend from uni who one night kept me up all night pouring his heart out because he was so depressed and scared about life. He hid it so well. You could tell he’d kept iy all tucked in until that point of explosion, it was sad he couldn’t speak to anybody. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thank you very much for the hugs, Lee. It’s sad indeed that your friend felt compelled to keep it bottled up, and it sounds worryingly similar to my own experience, particularly with your use of ‘explosion’; that’s probably how I’d couch the start of my breakdown, actually. He obviously felt that he could confide in you though – isn’t that lovely? Without wanting to pry, is he OK now? Are you still friends?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lee Hesketh said:

        Yes this was a few years ago, he’s doing great now, he fixed it quickly but I know its different for everybody.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Well, that’s brilliant to hear. Good for him! And good on you for sitting and listening.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Geke Hop-Wassink said:

        Respect for you Lee Hesketh, that you took the time to listen to your friend, a lot of people could learn from that. Happy you are still friends and he’s doing well. I just wanted to say to you, Respect, not interfere. Love Geke ❤

        Like

  4. Rebecca said:

    Your beautiful picture says so much. Maybe it sounds corny, but to my eyes, what’s outside the frame is another hand reaching down – you just can’t see it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Rebecca – not corny at all, indeed you’ve no idea how glad I am you see that! I did experiment quite a bit with a second hand in the piece, reaching in, reaching over etc., but I ultimately thought it more appropriate to suggest the presence of the helping hand, with some help from the lights in the dark.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rebecca said:

        I’d say ’twas perfectly done then! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Jolly good to hear! Thank you!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. arcillaa said:

    wow – that’s an awesome rendition of “the artist hand”!

    Like

    • Jacob said:

      Ah, thanks so much once more, Allan, glad you like it – this was actually done and dusted pretty quick. Well, I say ‘quick’, quick for me at least – about 45-50 minutes on the hand. I’m finally speeding up a bit!

      Like

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