A Different View on Depression (MUST READ)

A soldier with PTSD fell into a hole and couldn’t get out. When a SNCO walked by the Soldier called out for help, but the SNCO yelled back, “Suck it up son, dig deep and drive on,” then threw him a shovel. The Soldier did as he was told and dug that hole deeper.

A Senior Officer went by and the Soldier called out for help again. The Officer told him “use the tools your SNCO has given you”, then threw him a bucket. The Soldier used the tools and he dug the hole deeper still and filled the bucket.

A psychiatrist walked by. The Soldier called, “Help! I can’t get out!” so the psychiatrist gave him some drugs and said, “Take this. It will relieve the pain and you will forget about the hole.” The Soldier said “thanks” and followed his advice, but when the pills ran out he was still in the hole.

A well-known psychologist rode by and heard the Soldiers cries for help. He stopped and asked, “How did you get there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the Soldier talked with him for an hour, then the psychologist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The Soldier thanked him, but he was still in the hole.

Another Soldier , just like him, happened to be passing by. The Soldier with PTSD cried out, “Hey, help me. I’m stuck in this hole!” and right away the other Soldier jumped down in there with him. The Soldier with PTSD started to panic and said, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck down here!” But the other Soldier just smiled and replied, “It’s okay, calm down, brother. I’ve been here before….. I know how to get out.”

No matter what you’re going through, you are never alone.

But don’t be too proud to SHOUT OUT!, ‘HELP I’m stuck in this Hole’ ……

We all get stuck in a hole from time to time but all it takes is to join us at MINT – Men In Need Together and we will be there even if we have to jump in that hole with you.

#DontManUpSpeakUp

#MenInNeedTogether

Depression + Family = 🤷🏼‍♂️

Looking after your family when you are struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health problems can be an absolute nightmare and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

Can it be done? This is a question I often asked myself during my times of struggle and honestly there were many times I said “No, it’s not possible” or “I can’t cope anymore” and this was because I wasn’t taking care of myself which was ultimately my downfall.

At MINT we are huge advocates of self worth and self love, something that most men find impossible to do. Luckily for me my partner is one of the best mothers I have ever seen and she does absolutely everything for/with my two little girls but when I went through my real dark times I found it super difficult to juggle work, family and everything swirling around my head. Working 12 hour days coming home to my family felt like a chore, it felt like I had a second job which ultimately being a parent is but I was getting angry with the things they were doing more than I should have been and trying to hide away from day to day dad jobs.

Once they were in bed I would resent myself for not being nicer and giving more cuddles and I would promise myself that tomorrow would be different. But low and behold each day was the same. This would then take its toll on my partner who picked up the slack and compensated for my lack of love so to speak. This then inevitably caused problems in our relationship as it was only a matter of time until she burnt out. Don’t get me wrong, my love for these three girls is unquestionable but it was myself and how I was being that was the issue.

As men we don’t speak about our struggles and I myself couldn’t speak to anyone close to me out of shame and embarrassment, out of fear that if I told my parents or partner that all they would do is constantly worry about me and where I was and what I was doing. But after years and years of feeling alone I eventually spoke out and told my partner and although she didn’t understand what I was going through she was there for me and that’s all I could ask of her, it’s all I could ask of anyone. This was a break through for me and I know it’s rather cliche but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I was no longer in a hole on my own as I now had someone there with me helping me fight for my freedom and it felt amazing I felt weightless.

Eventually after beating my demons, losing friends, starting MINT and chatting with my team I found that my problem wasn’t that I was a bad dad or that I was unable to grasp parenting and my problems but it was in fact because I couldn’t administer the correct self care and instead allowed everything to build up until I crumbled. Like an old table, although we look like we can cope with day to day jobs we can only carry so much weight until we break and cannot perform as we are supposed to.

To enable us to look after those around us we need to ensure that we ourselves are working at 100% otherwise although you try there is only one ending to this story.

So take a break, love yourself and everything will fall into place because if you can’t do this for yourself how can we expect anyone else to?

#mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #DontManUpSpeakUp #ItsNotWeakToSpeak

Why MINT began..

Hey Folks, Josh here 👋🏻

I wanted our new blog to first of all explain how MINT came together and my dealings the with my demons.

So, where to start?

MINT is alive for 2 reasons, the loss of 2 of my best friends and to make sure nobody ever feels like their alone in their struggles.

I lost my first best friend Barry Kirkpatrick back in 2015 and this was one of my darkest days upto that point. The first thing that came to mind was “I could have done more” and “Why wasn’t I there for him?”. Barry was like a brother or rather is a brother to me. This boy changed my life (not always for the better 😂) and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the man I was today if it wasn’t for the experiences I had with him. From playing beat the letter (like hide and seek but each player had a letter that collectively made a word and you beat each other up until they told you their letter) to choking out your step dad and his friend on New Year’s Eve by accident 🙈

This was my first real experience of someone so close taking their own life and wow did it hit me like a brick. I will never forget that feeling of helplessness running through me like ice knowing I wasn’t going to see that ginger little t**t anymore. The feeling that if I was there for him more when he needed his real friends, needed me, would he be here now? The feeling that his mum and sister may resent me knowing that if I would have pushed him harder and steered him away from the toxic people around him would he still be here now? These are just a couple of the questions that run through anyone’s mind that loses family to such a thing as depression.

Then in 2018, that same brick reappeared and hit me again. Opening old wounds that had nearly healed and that’s when Jack decided to leave us too, but it was different this time, this time it hurt more. Not because he was more important to me than Barry but because of the type of person Jack was and what he did for me. Jack helped me through the toughest time of my life and I wasn’t able to repay the favour and this broke me, it broke me into a million pieces.

Jack was possibly the most loving human being I had ever met and one that brought huge amounts of joy to anyone around him and in the blink of an eye he was gone, leaving a Grand Canyon like whole in our hearts. Now I couldn’t deal with the pain, I couldn’t grieve and admit that he was gone so I vowed to make sure that not me or any of my friends and family ever had to go threw this again, and alas, Men In Need Together was born. MINT was how I grieved, MINT was how I made the loss of friends become something to celebrate as it has made other people’s lives much easier to cope with. It was also away for me to make sure that I will never forget either Barry or Jack and the effect they had on my life and many others.

Now onto battling my demons! The thing I never spoke about, EVER!

So my demons came about unknowingly around 2011/12 not due to any one thing but an accumulation of many things. At School I was always a big lad, I loved my sports and was rather smart (surprisingly I know) however my reign at high school was not because of this but because I was a class clown and a little bit of a bully. Looking back now it makes me feel awful knowing how I treat some people. I never physically hurt anyone and never truly bullied someone but there was always someone at the brunt of a joke which to me is just as bad. So although I thought I had loads of friends, in reality, I had none and this hit hard when I left school in 2009.

Time passed and year after year I realised that I hadn’t spoken to friends in what felt like forever but the truth is, they were no longer my friends, not anymore. This is where it began.

I started substituting my lost friendship with alcohol, gambling and women which as you can probably imagine didn’t end well. This went on for years, wearing masks pretending I was okay but inside each day I was crumbling with nobody to help for support. I was a perfect example of the stereotype as to why men struggle so much with depression. I didn’t deal with the problems in front of me and instead tried to forget them allowing them to build up until they were too big to carry alone which inevitably only led to one thing.

Now, I never told my family or partner out of shame, embarrassment and self loathing which regrettably just made everything worse. I couldn’t face the look of worry on my mums face every time I saw her or tears it would have brought my family knowing that the person they always turned to in times of hardship couldn’t face life and the pain it caused him.

But now I’m here, I have a wonderful family with 2 girls that I love unconditionally, I’m running 2 Mental Health organisations that are saving lives and I now have a hold on my demons (For now anyway).

#DontManUpSpeakUp #ItsNotWeakToSpeak