Firstly, I just wanted to say, no one is alone if you don’t want to be. That is my massive message when feeling in a dark place, and to be honest I have been in some very, very dark places over my 37 years on earth. Telling myself “You’re this, you're causing this, they will be better if you're out of the picture”.
That sort of devil on my shoulder just feeding the negative mindset I would find myself in. Just really pushing myself down and down. Feeling alone, yet now I have found that I am never alone. I have a network of people and people that really know me, that I can go to and discuss any situation with. I found, by understanding that a problem shared is a problem solved, meant I could put that devil who continued to run me down (wanting me to feel alone) in a box and not listen when my negative mindset started to try to bring me back down.
I sort of learnt I could take the power back by not straight away reacting to that thought, but taking a moment, removing the emotion and rethinking that thought, then discussing with people if needed. I would be silly to say I don’t listen to it sometimes, but it definitely doesn’t have as much hold over me now.
I question my mindset when I actually feel like I am slipping and if needed, I can call or meet up with people to say I have had this thought about this, and this is where I am at currently. My network of people I like sharing my time with is small. I have filtered out a few people from my life who I thought would be there no matter what, yet found they are not, and aren’t really supporting me when the going gets tough. So out they went.
From what I can remember I have really been a guy that has always viewed life as fun. Laughing was so important and playing football, yet when I would find myself alone, I would be worrying/overthinking things that didn’t even happen. Thoughts like, ‘if I do this, will this do that’, ‘if I go to that, then this will happen.’ Worrying/overthinking is one thing, but worrying/overthinking about things that haven’t been placed on the horizon is not a great place to be, it's not LIVING its EXISTING. Just living in your own head everyday 24/7 is relentless and it’s really not needed.
Yet what I have developed from reading about mental health, attending classes and being more open, is that the human brain is not just on top of your head it is trying to make sure you stay alive. No matter what it does or makes you think and doesn’t get the difference between what’s real or what’s fake, fight or flight they all say.
My brain doesn’t care how much is in the bank or what clothes I am wearing, but if I get asked to do a work presentation it wakes that devil up and all sorts of negative questions and answers will fly at me. It really makes me slip south and worry before I have even decided what I will add to my presentation.
Yet after calming myself down and not reacting on the emotion of worry/overthinking, I find that I am strong enough to take on that presentation and if I fall flat on my face, ok not a great outcome, but at least I did it and will learn from it. If you don’t try, you’re never going to know and if you smash it out the park then make sure you pat yourself on the back.
Everyone is programmed differently, this we know, and we feel different emotions at different times. Having gone through a few tough times, what I have become is more in tune with myself. I now know my trigger points and ways to pull myself back out of a dark place in order to address that problem.
I have a network of people I can reach out to and discuss the problem with, I can take a breath, slow down my mind and just take a moment. A moment to get a drink of water and just focus, or go to the gym, walk the dog, or eat something healthy. I like doing something nice for someone, like sending them a funny message or giving them a call etc. There is then lots of options to then address that problem with a better frame of mind.
I am extremely grateful to Aaron at Brotectors who has been very supportive. As someone who started out as a stranger, I feel now at any time if I felt things were going a little south, I could reach out to him and discuss the problem I am facing. So, is that a friend or is that a person that is more than a friend?
I am not qualified to help anyone, but what I can do is listen and support where possible. Which is the reason I feel by sharing what I have learnt, hopefully that can help someone else in some way and that has to be a good thing right? Hopefully, you have a good network of people which you can discuss situations with, however different they are. And maybe you are in someone’s network, and they will speak to you about situations that they have had themselves. I know for me I would never want anyone to be in their head alone with thoughts which I have had.
My life has been full of some great achievements, like getting married and still being crazy in love with my wife 15 years and still counting with more to come. Becoming a Dad to 2 sons and watching Liverpool FINALLY lift the Premier League trophy. Yet then there’s still tough days, and sometimes tough weeks, losing loved ones, getting made redundant 1 day before our wedding, when family members health is alarming and that blood test result seeming like it will take years to get results. But I now see that I continued to get over them.
I have never been any good really at anything… I was ok at this and that but never in my eyes good. Maybe this was due to the pressure I continue to always put on myself and the bar I set, but the 1 thing I am very good at is being a Dad and I have to lead by example. My Dad was and still is my superhero and always showed me if you have a problem never look away from it, never put your head in the sand and never ever stay down.
You get up, look at yourself, be honest and if needed tell someone. If it was him I was able to speak to, then I would tell anything, good or bad, it was off my chest and we could look at overcoming that situation.
No one wants to be judged and seem weak, but by keeping it to yourself then maybe you’re not being true, and your network of people are what you need. I can say how lucky I am that I now see how my network of people like my parents, my wife, Aaron at Brotectors, my work colleges even sometimes my sons, who do not hide their words, are with me through the good or bad.
I’ve found for me it’s never the problem that’s the problem, it’s the time that the problem arrives that’s the problem, and we all know we can’t control time. If you have a smoothie and it’s the nicest smoothie, yet someone comes and puts 1 horrible ingredient into that smoothie that makes the taste turns nasty.
My point really is, it only takes 1 bad ingredient to really take that great thing and change it to now to being horrible. Sort of the same as a day really, one bad thing can change how you view that day. So, tell that person you love them, get yourself off the sofa and get to the gym, pat yourself on the back for eating healthy and just be as happy as you can be, as you never know who you’re inspiring.
No one is going to be walking around smiling all day every day, it would be odd. Yet if you could be walking around with less going on in your mind because you have released that, then that’s starting to overcome the problem. Or better still, you’ve found a way to overcome that problem.
If you don’t have anyone you feel you can speak to or different people to assist you with different situations, then maybe reaching out to Brotectors could be the chat which could benefit you. We all need to learn our own way but what I tell my sons is, in dark times you actually see who your friends are.
Who is actually in the moment when it’s tough, but you can’t say not them if they don’t know you’re in a tough place. It’s all on you. Sometimes you will need to end relationships or remove family members from your life if they are causing you to be in the wrong place mentally, and that’s sometimes ok. You need to look after you, everyone else is taken.
Going forward I know life is going to be good and bad, there’s no getting away from it, but when things are great, take in the moment and enjoy it.
My final thought is: -
Each day you have a choice, evolve or repeat?