As it’s World Mental Health Day, I felt like I should put something out on my blog because mental health issues/awareness/recovery have been such a big part of my year.
It was a Thursday morning, the 18th of July, in what I now look at as the most important day of 2019 for me.
Coming, into 2019, I was feeling really good. I was in arguably the best shape I’d ever been in, I’d decided I wanted to give my biggest passion, Stand Up Comedy a go and I was happy in my work and personal life. I felt like it was going to be a big year for me.
It turns out that it has been a big year, but not in any of the ways I expected it to be. Skip forward to May/June time and I’d hit what I can only describe as absolute rock bottom. Even now, I’m not completely aware of what triggered it, but with reflection, I can definitely see that some of my decisions affected it.
I started gigging at the end of February and I absolutely loved it. I’d performed my first stand up gig and people actually laughed. I couldn’t believe it, I was on cloud 9. So, I threw absolutely everything I had into it. I stopped exercising, I was drinking more because I was spending so much time in pubs or bars for gigs. I wasn’t spending enough time with the people I cared about and when I was, I was drinking (shock-horror). I’d let my obsession with comedy completely control my life for a few months. I could feel myself getting low, so I took a few less gigs and stepped back from it, thinking this would solve all my problems. But I just began to put my negative energy into other things. I was on a downward spiral and I didn’t talk about it. “I can deal with this shit, I’ve been here before” I told myself. Silly Tom.
I’ve always had a strange relationship with depression. I have really mixed feelings about it. On the one side, I would obviously prefer that I didn’t have times where I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and I want to completely isolate myself from the world. But I have to be honest and say that it also makes me appreciate when I feel better so much more than I think I would otherwise.
Back to 3 months ago… The day when I realised I needed to get help. I was sitting in work on that Thursday morning and I just felt like I was going to burst into tears. I didn’t know why, I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking about. I can just remember that the first 2 hours of that Thursday morning felt like an absolute life time, I’d done no work, I didn’t want to speak to anybody. I needed to go home.
I spoke to one of my mates on the team about it and he could tell it was bad. He told me that if I didn’t speak to my manager about it then he would. So there it was, time to admit it. I was depressed as fuck.
Work were, and still are, unbelievably supportive. I was off work for 8 weeks while I tried to sort my head out and they were great about it. They also allow me time out of the office to go to counselling meetings which is really good of them. It’s something I really need.
As I mentioned above, it’s been 3 months now. I’ve put a lot of effort into getting better, I’m still not perfect. I have things I still really need to work on and I know that it will take time. But I’m definitely on my way now. I’ve had incredible support from my friends and family. The more open I’ve been about it the more understanding I’ve had from those around me.
It all started with that one conversation in work. I’d like to say that it was easy, but it wasn’t. By admitting it to somebody else I was accepting it myself. I felt like I was letting people down I felt pathetic. However, that one conversation got me to where I am now. I feel happy a lot more than I feel sad. I feel comfortable talking about my struggles. I actually want to get better.
If you’re reading this and you’re feeling shit. Have that one conversation. It won’t get better straight away, but it will get better in time. People in general aren’t shit, you’ll be surprised by the amount of support you get. Reach out to me if you’d like. I’ll do what I can.
Just talk to somebody.