Have you ever?

Have you ever wanted to take your own life? I have. I am not afraid or ashamed to say it. There shouldn’t be stigma attached to someone who is struggling with their mental health. But too often people are ready to judge rather than listen.

“What have you got to be depressed about?” When I told my mother in the 1990s that I got diagnosed with depression by a psychiatrist. It’s not the best or response of your own mother. I even had a member of my family make fun of me about a time when I was in utter pain.

I was reading about a local lad in Chester-le-Street that took his own life because he had witnessed a horrible trauma of his own mother being murdered by his father. Medicating himself to stop the anger is a way a lot of people do to mask the pain.

But who can we really turn to in that moment of crisis? Here’s my advice …

1. Always have a friend you can trust and go to even if it’s telling them your not feeling too good and they will check on you later

2. Keep phone numbers in your phone of contacts who are professionals. Even though I am doing really well at the moment I still keep them in my phone. People like Mind or Samaritans.

3. Be aware of the times when you feel low. For me it was always when I was tired, had a drink or late at night. Sometimes it was none of those and it just appeared out of nowhere.

4. Realise you aren’t your feelings. In other words how you feel now doesn’t define you as a person. You are loved. Even though you don’t feel it. Someone does care even though you think no one does.

5. Talk to people. Women do it well men are shit at it. Fuck that comment someone said to you about talking about your “feelings” it wasn’t being “a man”. Fuck them! It’s your life not theirs. It’s your health not theirs.

6. Go to things that help. Medicating yourself with booze fags or drugs is easy and a temporary fix. Talk to your doctor. Talk to someone about what they think you should do and own your health. You’re in charge. I love music, films, friends, photography on social media. I find pleasure in stuff I like.

7. Be yourself not your past – If you are struggling with past trauma, your sexuality, or something someone said or did. There’s help out there. Bottling it up might help it in short term but these things always come back to us. I have spoken to hundreds of guys over the years who are terrified of their own sexuality. I was like that when I was a teenager. Afraid of being who I was and thinking people will reject me. I had nasty comments before I came out by my mother and when I did come out she didn’t speak to me for 3 days. But after talking to her about it she realised I was the same person as I was before nothing had changed. If they don’t accept you it’s their problem not yours.

Anyway. I hope this is helpful. Share it with someone who you might be concerned about. Message me if you need to chat. I might not have all the answers. But I can point you in the right direction of someone who can.

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the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!

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