So this is probably a bit of a swerve really, considering I’m not exactly a mental health blogger like Colin or Zoe, but at the same time, I’ve suffered from mental health problems as a teenager and young adult… Plus, the sheer madness that Greg James from Radio 1 has gone through to raise awareness for mental health, plus the aforementioned bloggers, have inspired me to write this post. That, and I’ve spent the evening listening to the song that the post’s title steals from the lyrics; Good Charlotte – Hold On (yes, I enjoy the old Good Charlotte songs).
Trigger Warning: This music video includes people discussing those they have lost.
Let’s just start off with one thing; I don’t really know what I want to say in the post, nor do I have a plan for it. I’m going to just blurt things down into the post editor… This is going to be raw, unedited and just “me”… Why? Because I think that’s the best way I can help raise awareness of mental health.
You see, when I was a teenager, everyone apart from my closest friends assumed I was just another “moody teen”, dressing in black and listening to punk and rock music because of my age. And to be honest, it was my own fault that they thought like that. I didn’t share how I felt with anyone outside of my select friendship group, and even then, I didn’t share everything (I’m sorry guys).
Without going into too much detail, I never really got over the loss of my Dad, and then the loss of a large number of other family members over the first 8 or so years of my life.
This has a resounding effect on my mental state, and as I grew up from being a young child and started to understand the world more, it affected me even harder. That’s something I think a lot of people forget; a child who suffers from an event will process it again later, once their brain is more developed, and it will hit them which a much stronger force later in life. There will be an initial hit to their mental health, but the worst is still to come.
The phrase “time heals all wounds” is correct, but so is the phrase “it gets worse before it gets better”.
Now, with that said, let’s get to my confession; since the age of about 14, up until just a couple of years ago, I had suicidal thoughts over and over again. There, I’ve said it. I would even plan out the best way to do it without other people having to see. There were times when I would sit back in my chair and envision how to carry it out, rather than just daydreaming about nice things that everyone expects adults to daydream about.
Even after getting married, the thoughts didn’t stop. In fact, it took until I was about 28 years old for them to really start to fade away.
Without being soppy or generic; my daughter was born. Now, that didn’t stop the thoughts completely… And I know how horrible that is to say… Instead, the birth of my daughter gave me a way to fight back against the thoughts and the sadness. You see, if I acted on those thoughts, selfishly, I’d never get to see her smile again. And unselfishly, I’d be putting her into a similar situation that I grew up in. My Dad died accidentally and it had such a huge effect on me… What would it do to her if her Dad died by his own hands?
Would she think I didn’t love her enough to stay? What effect would it have on how she’s the world? How would she grow up, knowing that her Dad didn’t stay?
My love for my daughter helps me combat those thoughts. But it wasn’t until she was born, reached up and grasped my finger that I was able to do that. So, firstly I want to say thank you to my daughter for being here.
Secondly, I want to tell her that Daddy isn’t going anywhere. I will always be here for her, and I want her to know that.
What Am I Even Trying To Say?
Honestly, I’m not really sure… I guess I just want to let people know that, even those of us who laugh and joke all the time can feel the same. As the Good Charlotte song says, “we all bleed the way you do”. We may look happy, carefree and relaxed, but deep down inside it can be a completed different story.
Don’t ever think you are alone in how you feel. It’s far more common than people let on. And know that it really does get better. It may take a year, it may take 14… But it really does get better. Don’t let go, even if it seems like the only way. It isn’t, I can promise you. I’ve been there so many times in my life, and it took a decade and a half, but now I’m finally in a place where life is good. I have people I love, and they love me back.
No matter how dark the storm clouds are, there really will be a silver lining; you just have to hold on long enough to find it.
And That’s All Folks
I may not be a “mental health blogger”, and I may laugh and play around all the time, but don’t think that means I don’t have a mental health problem. People with mental health issues, please, understand that you aren’t isolated in how you feel. And please, hold on with everything you have, and if that isn’t enough, talk to someone so they can hold on with you. It’s so worth it. I did, and now I’ve got my daughter; she’s the best thing in my life, and that’s because I was able to hold on. It wasn’t easy, and music, friends and family helped me keep my grip on this world.
Those of you without mental health issues, please stop looking for the “obvious” signs alone. Depression, anxiety and all other types of mental health can be completely invisible. Someone can look like they are on top of the world, but inside they are shattering, piece by piece as the seconds go by. Talk to each other, show compassion, and be willing to listen to them. You may just end up being a rock to help them hold on.
Let’s end this post with two more songs that really helped me out when I was feeling down, just like Hold On by Good Charlotte. These will always be two of my favourite songs, simply because they helped push me to hold on; Into Oblivion (Reunion) by Funeral for a Friend, and Make It Stop (September’s Children) by Rise Against.
As those featured in the Rise Against video say, life get’s better. If you ever need help, speak to friends or family, or call one of these numbers: