Speak out to help out (our mental health)
Why 2020 is the year that we all should speak out, open up and be there for each other.
Since I can remember I’ve analysed and questioned everything around me. I’ve never been afraid to change something in my life if I felt that it wasn’t working, but this does not mean that I am flippant or that my decisions do not impact my mental health, much the opposite.
I (like my father) am an analytical beast. I factor everything i can into my reasoning. From the physical, mental and practical elements that might affect and impact any decision I make. I do not take decisions lightly and I am proud that I can look at any decision i make from multiple angles (to make sure everyone around me is fairly considered).
As i’ve age up into my forties i’ve noticed that these questions and subsequent decisions have had more of an impact on me mentally than they used too. I can no longer stride out with the confidence of a younger man and push on to the next step in life so easily. But rather they hang heavy on my mind for longer, the guilt stays longer and I question my integrity to make decisions at times.
This is ever more present in the world’s current climate, where we are forced to question more than just our own career & life path, but also whether any path forward is possible when we do not control our environment. The understanding that the future is fragile, undetermined and seemingly random is a difficult prospect to accept for anyone, but accept it we must.
But accepting something does not mean that you should give up on your dreams, it should just act as a “check in” point for you to realign your expectations.
As humans we are naturally driven forward by our dreams, expectations and underlying principles, so when the world comes crashing down around us it can be hard to adapt and change. This drives many of us to be introverted and less confident that we can affect the world around us to achieve what we truly desire.
I am not afraid to let you all know that I am writing this as someone who is experiencing exactly this situation. I made a massive change in my life at the start of this year, when I decided to leave a job in which i earn’t more money than I ever had, where I was leading a team that I respected and appreciated, but where I wasn’t comfortable with the companies working practices. For the sake of my own mental health, I made the difficult decision to leave without something definite to move onto.
I left with my head held high and with confidence that I had made the right decision. This was until less than a month later the world decided to implode and the plans I had originally made turned to dust and disappeared. All the conversations, planning and dreams I thought I had under control were negated by a virus that stopped anyone from doing anything.
So, like the world, I stayed home, I trusted that there would be an end to this situation and I waited. . . and I waited.
In the 6+ months since I left i’ve been fortunate to connect, speak and converse with many different people, all experiencing the same situation, yet it is still immensely hard to accept that my dreams are not turning out as I had once thought they would.
When I left university back in 1998 I arrived into the world as an enthusiastic and determine apparel designer, full of ideas and motivated by my desire to change the world! I had a 5 year plan, a 10 year plan, a life plan!
Don’t get me wrong, life plans are good. They give you targets and goals to push yourself forward. But they also highlight when you don’t achieve your goals for any number of reasons.
I ditched my life plan many years ago, not because I wasn’t achieving my goals, but because I changed my goals. What you don’t learn growing up is that your perspective on life will change, sometimes multiple times in your life time, and that ok.
So in this current difficult situation it is easy to think that you have failed. that you are not up to the “job”, that you should forget your dreams. But to this I say no, you have not failed, you are better than you think you are, and your dreams are there waiting for you to grab them!
For the last 2 years I have done a challenge for the Movember Foundation to highlight various issues I believe in. From prostate cancer (both my Dad and my Grandad have had it), to testicular cancer, to mental health and suicide.
This year I want to step up my interaction with you all, as I feel that now more than ever we need to stand together to support each other. To say it’s ok to fail, to say its alright to realign your goals and it’s ok to not be ok.
Speaking up and being open is something that I have always been able to do. Not because I am super confident, an extrovert or egotistical, but because I care and am passionate about caring.
So in these uncertain times, if you or anybody around you needs support then I urge you to just reach out and have a chat. Share your thoughts and listen to others, as more people are struggling than you probably realise.
To donate to my Movember page, either go to the link below or scan the QR code