Mental Health Can be Everything and Everywhere!

People and indeed the world itself are forever evolving/changing. As times move on the way that we do things and even the way we think develops and evolves. Everything that we do has an effect on us as people and on our Mental Health as a result. As this effect happens the questions still stands: what actually is Mental Health and what actually affects it?

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Today’s blog is going to be about what Mental Health is and how we as a society need to change our approach to Mental Health. I got the idea for this blog by talking to one of my mates at work. We were catching up about the past year in university and we moved onto the topic of academic difference. Now after we finished talking I asked if I can use this for a blog and he said that he cannot see how simply the word different can make a topic link to Mental Health, this is where the idea for the blog came from. In effect, we can link anything to Mental Health which is what I will talk about in more depth later on in the blog.

Firstly we need to take a look at exactly what is Mental Health. MentalHealth.gov, https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health, describe Mental Health as “our emotional, psychological and social well-being.” They say that our Mental Health has an effect on ” how we think, feel and act” and it influences how we handle things like stress and how we make decisions. I quite like this definition as I feel like it is very close to my own.

To me, our Mental Health is who we are as people. It is how we think, how we process information, how we communicate and develop, Mental Health is us. It baffles me when people say how so many things are not related to Mental Health when in reality they are. Anything that has an effect on society, us as people and the way that we think and feel all make up what is known as our Mental Health. Nearly everything we do impacts our Mental Health and that is what we need to start thinking about. We need to get out of the loop that is Mental Health is only relevant when people are having problems as Mental Health is a constant. Even if we may not be suffering from a Mental Health condition, your Mental Health is constantly evolving and changing. The only way that change in Mental Health is actually going to happen is if we rethink what Mental health actually is and how we tackle it in day to day life.

An example that I like to refer to when talking about this ideology is the different reactions people have when they are going to work. Going to work is a topic that I don’t bring up much on the page but for this example, I think that it fits in well and is very relatable. The reaction that you give to going to work has an obvious link to whether you like your job or not. The way that you feel about your work acts as a foundation to how it impacts on your mental health, in a positive or negative way, and then it develops when we actually are going to work.

Let’s say for this example that you love the job that you are in. If you love your job then I believe it is safe to say that work makes you happy. This means that the foundation of how work impacts your Mental Health is a positive one. If you love your job then for the majority of the time you will be happy when you are leaving to go to work and you will be happy at work. This good mood that you have can correlate to a more positive Mental Health. A more positive Mental Health can link to a more positive look at work and indeed life in general. I am not saying that work determines your look on life but it does play a part.

Now we are going to look at the flip side of the coin. let’s say you hate the job you are in. Now if you hate your job then I think it is safe to say that going to work makes you unhappy. This means that the foundation of how work impacts your Mental Health is a more negative one, which is a complete opposite to the last scenario. The unhappy mood and mindset that you get going to or even thinking about work can correlate to a more negative look on life. As said above I am not saying that work determines your outlook on life but it definitely does play a part.

If going to work makes you unhappy or puts you in a bad mood then it is only natural that it is going to impact on other parts of your life. Once you get put in a bad mood it is often hard to not see everything else in that same mindset. So if you hate your job and going to work then if something else happens then you are more likely to approach it with a more negative mindset, hypothetically speaking. This is obviously the other way around if you love your job, I don’t think it is necessary to repeat the paragraph again just to flip everything.

I believe that is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! I hope that I have possibly broadened your horizons into what Mental Health actually is. Mental Health can indeed be everything and everywhere, Mental Health is us as people, it is who we are.

What do you think of today’s blog? Do you think that Mental Health can be everything or everywhere or do you have a different view? What do you define Mental Health as? Let me know what you think of the blog and your answers to the above questions in the comments on this blog or get in touch with me through the Facebook page!

Thank you all for reading!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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James

Valleys, Mountains and the Land in between

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Today’s blog is going to be about an old phrase that I read in a Welsh book when I was younger. The phrase translates into English as The Valleys, The Mountains and The Land in between. I cannot remember the name of the book that the phrase was used in but I want to take a deeper look into how the phrase can relate to life in general.

I believe that this phrase has a lot of connections to life in general and think that if we can truly understand it then it can help us find peace in our daily lives. My take on the phrase is simple, I think that the phrase relates to how we live our lives. When we are having a good day then it can feel like we’re on top of the world (or a mountain?) and then when we have bad days it can feel like our mood has slumped, like we’ve gone down a valley.

river near mountains

The phrase helps portray life in a very positive way, which is crucial in modern day society. The way that I understand the phrase is that as the world has it’s mountains and valleys, we can have good and bad days. It makes the whole prospect of having different moods seem like it is part of nature, not a thing for us to worry about, a thing for us to accept.

I really like this phrase as when you are having a bad day, or at the bottom of a valley in this phrase, you know that your mood can become lighter and increase until you feel good about yourself and about life in general.

Now the one part of this phrase that I haven’t talked about yet is the land in between part. I interpret this as when you are feeling calm and relaxed, you’re not exactly super positive or happy but you are content. I think it is when you are feeling neutral and ok with life like you are the land in between a mountain and a valley.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! I do have some smaller things to say before the post is finished however but these act more like announcements rather than part of the blog. Firstly I would like to apologise for the blog being later today than it usually is. This week has been my last week of exams at university and I had two really big exams to prepare for. Due to the time needed to prepare for my exams, I have not had the time to write a post as long as I usually do.

Also, I think it’s a good time to update everyone on how the blogs doing. If you are following the Facebook page for the blogs then you will be familiar with the fact that we are smashing through the milestones I set for the age initially. I am very pleased to announce that we are nearly at 2,000 total views. This is a massive milestone for the page as we have only been going for around 4/5 months! After we pass this milestone I’m aiming to hit as close to 5,000 total views by the end of the year as I can!

thanks! paper and black pen on wood surface

The last point that I want to bring up in this post is about promoting the page. I am aiming to launch another set of Facebook ads soon to try and get more people to the page. I am wondering if everyone who is reading this can possibly share the page on Facebook?

Sharing the page helps the page find new viewers who might really relate to the content. There are a few ways you can share the page. You can either do it via the page on Facebook or you can hit the share button at the end of this or any other of my blogs posts.

Thanks for reading today’s blog and I hope you all enjoyed! If you have a minute or two spare please leave a rating and a recommendation on the page! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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James Sweeney

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 8: The Stigma in Male Mental Health

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Today’s blog is going to be the eighth blog in my Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to look into stigma in relation to mental health. Today’s blog is going to talk about what stigma is in relation to mental health, what causes it and how it affects people suffering from Mental Health problems.

First of all, we are going to talk about what stigma is in relation to Mental Health. The website Health Direct, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stigma, describes stigma as ” a mark, a stain or a blemish”. Stigma occurs when “negative opinions, judgments or stereotypes” are targeted at people who are experiencing or have experienced Mental health problems.

It is clear to see that stigmas do not have any positive effects on people who suffer from Mental Health problems, they only add to their problems. It is this point that raises the question why does this stigma actually exist? It is possible to link the existence of this stigma to many different sources but after doing research there are two main causes of the stigma, the media and lack of understanding.

People who suffer from Mental Health problems are often labeled as being violent and dangerous in the media and are commonly associated with crime. In reality, people who do suffer from Mental Health problems are more likely to be victims of crime rather than a perpetrator. This is just one of the reasons why this stigma surrounding people and Mental Health needs to change, people are usually just working off assumptions, not actually looking at the facts surrounding the matter.

An article published by the Time to Change organization, https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/media-centre/responsible-reporting/violence-mental-health-problems, talks about the facts surrounding Violence and Mental Health. In this article, they talk about the British Crime Survey and how the responses from this survey further back up the point that the stigma surrounding Mental health needs to be changed quickly.

The British Crime Survey results show us that around 47% of crime is done by people who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol. This figure alone should act as an eye opener, nearly half of all the crimes committed are often done by someone under the influence of alcohol. The survey also tells us that around 17% of crimes are committed by someone who is believed to be under the influence of drugs.

Surprisingly the survey shows us that only 1% of crimes are committed by someone who is believed to be suffering from a Mental Health condition. These statistics clearly prove that the majority of people who are suffering from Mental Health conditions are not usually dangerous or violent, they are more likely to be the victim fo a crime.

If we add the two statistics for people being under the influence of alcohol and then the people who were under the influence of drugs, it equals 64%. 64% of crimes are believed to be committed by someone who is either under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When we compare this to people who commit a crime with a Mental Health condition we see that there is a 63% difference. It is 63% more likely that a crime has been committed by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol rather than someone suffering from a mental illness.

Lack of understanding is the other major cause of the stigma surrounding Mental Healths existence. A lack of understanding can often be the main cause of a lot of problems in modern day society. It is often brought up that if you haven’t actually experienced or researched a mental health condition then you cannot actually understand it.

Mental health is such a large topic to look at that, unfortunately, people do end up just assuming that they understand it when in reality they have no idea. The fact that the majority of Mental Health issues can usually be talked through is often overlooked in society. Personally, I have had people tell me that I am too young to have any problems or that I have no valid reason to say that I have a Mental Health condition. It is these people who only fuel the fire that is Mental Health when really they should be helping us extinguish it.

When I was originally planning this blog I was going to do a large section on the effects that the stigma actually has on people suffering from a Mental Health condition but now looking back I feel like it is better to cover in its own blog.  I will briefly touch on some of the effects in this blog but will leave the in-depth explanations for a later blog.

The stigma surrounding Mental Health mainly affects peoples self-esteem. The stigma leads to people feeling like they are being judged constantly simply for having a Mental health problem. This feeling of being judged is only going to lower the person’s self-esteem which could lead to them experiencing more problems. This can develop a very dangerous cycle involving mental health which could end with someone getting hurt.

The feeling of being judged can also lead people to begin to isolate themselves. People tend to stop seeking treatment and support when they are scared of being judged. This approach leads to more and more problems. This can create another dangerous cycle where people just add more problems on top of the problems they already have. If they stop getting help to work through these problems then eventually they will break.

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog. What do you all think? Did you know about the stigma surrounding Mental Health before reading this blog? If so where did you find out about it? If not was it a useful thing to learn? how could we go about getting rid of this stigma? Is it a personal problem or a problem for society as a whole? let me know what you think in the comments or by getting in touch with me!

Thank you all for reading! Please let me know what you all think. I appreciate all feedback be it positive or negative! If you have a minute or two spare then please leave a rating on the blogs Facebook page, it lets me see if I’m doing a good job or not! Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll visit the page again,

Sweeney’s Blogs

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James Sweeney

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 7: The Facts

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Today’s blog is the seventh blog in the “Looking into Male Mental Health” series and is going to be called “The Facts”. Today’s blog is going to take a look at some of the facts that have been released regarding Male Mental Health and are going to be suggesting reasons for why there is a difference and how we can go about reducing it.

A newspaper article published by The Sun on the 11th May 2018, can be found here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5911685/male-suicide-rates-uk-awareness-the-samaritans-2018/, gives us an insight into the differences between male and female suicide rates. The article informs us that the suicide rate in men is up to three times higher than female suicide rates. This statistic is really worrying and it is only the tip of the iceberg to what the article tells us.

According to The Sun, approximately 84 men commit suicide each week. This number alone is alarmingly high yet it gets even worse when we apply it through different timespans. If 84 men commit suicide each week, we can work out that approximately 4,368 men commit suicide each year. This number is absurdly high and action needs to be taken now in order to counteract this.

If we apply these statistics to the average lifespan of a citizen of the United Kingdom, which is around 80-81, then in one person’s whole lifespan there could be between 349,440 and 353,808 male suicides. Now, these facts are not intended to scare people but more so to inform them of how serious a situation this is. Even though these statistics are only an estimate, and they are taken from an article released in 2018, they still paint an unsettling image into the modern world.

Even though the figures we have calculated so far are alarming high it is still important to remember that suicide rates are still increasing. We can look at statistics all day long and see that there is a clear problem but if we do nothing to address and attempt to counter this issue then the problem is only going to get worse and worse. We need to learn from the mistakes made in the past, we need to focus on how we can grow together, not just as individuals.

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Change and adaptation are two of the things that humans are the best at. It’s what helps us learn from our past mistakes in order to make a better future, We need to adapt as a community to the phenomenon that is Male Mental Health. The spotlight has only recently been shone onto the crisis that we are facing and it is our job as a community to ensure that that light does not lose its focus.

It is all well and good for us to simply look at the statistics and hope everything is going to work itself out. If we do this then the number is only going to increase and increase until change and adaptation are no longer options. Steps need to be taken to try and combat these insanely high figures.

I have spoken a lot about why I think there is such a problem with Male Mental health in most of the blogs in this series. Although I mainly focus on stereotypes as the largest one there are still plenty more that arise. This is where the main problem comes up with Mental Health as a topi, although we can categorise some things as similar between different people, there are still and forever will be personal problems that are added to the mix.

As I have talked about in a number of blogs, identifying your limit is crucial as one of the main factors in tackling Male Mental health. Learning when enough is enough and what your limit is can save your life. Valuing the fact that life is about equilibrium, a balance can allow you to gain valuable insight into how you can grow as a person and not overwork yourself.

When I originally started writing today’s blog I was going to talk about a lot more statistics, however, after I wrote the first few paragraphs this quickly changed. We as a society often focus too much on statistics and they are often used to distract us from the actual matter at hand. However, that is not what I wanted for this blog. I wanted to use real facts that have been calculated and released to really show how important the topic of Male Mental health really is. The facts that I use are used to back up my points, not to distract people from them.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog. I have been holding back on doing this blog for quite some time as it is a very serious topic but it is one that I need to talk about before going further into this series. As for the future of this series, the polls that I ran last week have shown me that people do like this series and do want more blogs in it. I will be doing a few more personal blogs into my battles with mental health in the upcoming weeks as well as different theories and ideas that I can think of into how to tackle the global phenomenon which is Male Mental health.

What does everyone think of today’s blog?  Do the facts surprise you as much as they surprised me? Does seeing the facts make you want to try and combat them? If so how do you think we can combat them? Are changes being made? If so then are these changes enough? Let me know what you think in the comments or on the Facebook Page!

Thank you all for reading today’s blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series! Let me know what you all think! I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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James Sweeney

Change – A small word with a big footprint – James Sweeney

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 6: Rebuilding the Jigsaw

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the sixth blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to be called Rebuilding the Jigsaw. Today’s blog is going to look at how we can learn how to put ourselves back together after going through a rough time and is also going to act as a summary for the series so far.

When you hit rock bottom it’s often hard to see how you can pick yourself up and put yourself back together again. The sense of desperation and isolation can make you feel like you will never be able to be the same again however it is not the case. There is always a way to rebuild the jigsaw that is ourselves however sometimes it is harder to find.

Now as I think in a very theoretical way I like to compare how we rebuild ourselves to how a person might make a jigsaw. There are hundreds of ways to solve a jigsaw, the same can be said about some problems that we encounter. A few of the more common ways to solve a jigsaw puzzle involve starting with the corners, finding 2 random parts that fit together or by simply trying to recreate one section of the original puzzle and working from there. I mention these because it can easily relate to how we can go about solving our problems.

The way we solve pour problems is individual, there is no right or wrong answer for how to solve a problem. Some people find avenues such as counselling and therapy help them out greatly, that is not to say that if you do not find counselling helpful then you are wrong, it is all down to what works for you. From speaking to a few friends it is clear to me the large diversity of solutions to problems. Some people like to talk them out with friends or family, some like to create songs or poems, some people write blogs and some people do a lot of exercise to name but a few.

The point of the blog is not to tell you which way you should use to help solve your problems, but to simply focusing on the actual rebuilding process itself. I am thinking of doing a very deep blog series into rebuilding your mind in the future so I am going to be careful f how much detail I go into at this point. The human mind is an extraordinary entity, one which no one truly understands. The mind is capable of getting over problems, it is just down to if we as individuals can get over them.

The process of rebuilding yourself can be a very interesting one. A common phrase which you would hear a lot if you look into mental health is that you only really understand true pain if you have gone through it and come out on the other side. This comment is often criticised due to the perception of what pain really is. Pain is a word that has different meanings for different people, some people have very high pain tolerance levels whereas others don’t. Little things may affect people greatly or may have little effect on them, it is all down to the person. This just goes to back up the point that rebuilding yourself is a common goal that people try to achieve but the way that you do it is completely down to the individual.

We as people need to learn how we put ourselves back together again and then have to learn how we can adapt that into our lives. This topic can be seen as a very general topic about Mental Health as a whole but I think that it fits in with how the series is going very well. The rest of the blog today is going to act as a short summary of what has been covered so far in the series.

Mental Health is a topic that is only recently getting the attention it deserves. The purpose of this series is to look into Male Mental Health and see how we can begin to help people who are experiencing Mental Health problems. The main reason that I believe that Male Mental Health is as bug an issue that it is today is down to stereotypes. Stereotypes have been the cause of a lot of very large problems throughout history. The main stereotype is that men are too touch to talk about their problems and should be able to handle all of their problems by themselves. This stereotype has no merit in my books, I think it is completely ridiculous.

In the personal blog that I posted for this series, I went in depth about how one bully tried to break me and how they slowly began to break away at me. this blog wasn’t posted as an attack at that person, it was posted to show that even though someone can break you, you can always put yourself back together again. If I do more blogs in this series I will do more blogs going into my personal experiences with mental health as well as more theories that I have made in order to help me understand what mental health really is.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Are we still enjoying the series or would we rather it be finished soon? I will be running a poll on the blogs Facebook Page, Sweeney’s Blogs (you can find it by clicking the link in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page), to see what the overall verdict is. How do you rebuild yourself when you have been knocked down?

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have all enjoyed! Let me know what you think in the comments below or via the contact page! All feedback is appreciated, be it positive or negative!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 5: The Rollercoaster Theory

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Today’s blog is going to talk about The Rollercoaster Theory, a theory I have created, and how it links to Mental Health. We are then going to take a closer look at how this theory links directly with Male Mental Health and the steps we can take to try and reduce this theory’s effect on people.

The Rollercoaster Theory is one of the many theories that I have created to help visualise how stress and mental health problems can directly affect us. In my experience of creating theories I often find that they are a hit or miss area. What I mean by this is some people can easily relate to them and it can help them understand the thought process of people whereas others who don’t understand them or don’t like them find them useless.

When I first made this theory I made two possible explanations for it. In this blog, I am only going to be going over one of the explanations but if it receives a good response then I might do a second blog going into the theory a bit more.

The basic premise of the Rollercoaster Theory is as follows: We, as people, are the cars in the rollercoaster. The problems and obstacles that we face in life add to the height in the rollercoaster. If we do not find a way of releasing these problems then we slowly go higher and higher up the rollercoaster track. As I have brought up in the past with previous blogs and my balloon theory, everything has its limit. It is this principle which applies to the Rollercoaster Theory as well.

If we go through life no sorting out any of our problems but more so just keeping them going in our lives then we are eventually going to reach the peak of what we can handle. This is the peak of the rollercoaster, it’s from this that we start to go down the rollercoaster, or downhill in real life. This downhill spiral eventually reaches the bottom and then the rollercoaster starts again. This theory could quite easily be called the Hill Theory as the concept is the same however visualising it as a rollercoaster adds to the scale of the theory and it makes it easier to remember.

This theory helps us visualise mental health in a simple and easy to understand way. It helps show us how mental health can make our mood go up or down similar to a rollercoaster and how if we leave our problems to accumulate until we can’t handle them much longer then we will collapse and start going downhill, down the rollercoaster, faster and faster.

Now it goes without saying that the theory can relate to anyone regardless of gender however we are now going to take a look into how the theory can relate to Male Mental Health in more depth. The classic stereotype of men being able to handle all of their problems by themselves and being too proud to talk about their problems links this theory to male mental health perfectly.

The way in which the stereotype leads to people keeping their problems to themselves adds to them climbing up the rollercoaster. The more isolated people become often leads to the more problems they face. These problems if not handled correctly act as a catalyst and propel people up the rollercoaster at alarmingly fast speeds. This causes people to face the downhill turn of events much faster than they usually wood often relating to people struggling severely with things like stress and mental health issues.  This is but one of the examples of how this theory links back to male mental health and it shows that steps need to be taken to get people off this rollercoaster cycle.

That is all that I want to talk about in today’s blog! I would talk about the theory in more depth but I do not want the blog to be too long or for it to drag on. If anyone wants me to do an individual blog on my Rollercoaster Theory then let me know and I will start working on it!

Thank you all for reading today’s blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series! What do you all think? Does the Rollercoaster Theory make sense to you? Do you think that the Rollercoaster Theory links to male mental health well? Do you have any theories or ideas that you use to visualise mental health? How would you get someone off the rollercoaster cycle? Let me know what you think in the comments or by getting in touch with me!

Thanks again for reading! All feedback is appreciated!

James

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 4: Personal Experience 1

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the fourth in my Looking Into Male Mental Health series and is going to look into my experience with mental health. I have mentioned a few times in my previous posts that I have gone through a lot of mental health problems in the past. I am going to be going over briefly what caused these, how I learned to resolve and manage them and how I try and balance things out in life so that I do not get overcrowded.

This is the first time that I am doing a blog this personal so I am going to be extra careful in how I phrase things and how much detail I go into. This blog is going to talk in detail about how the bullying I went through when I was younger affected me and grew without many people noticing. I am going to do more blogs like this in the future where I talk about how I struggled and how I managed to fix myself but I thought I would start here.

The mental health issues that I have been diagnosed with and have worked through have been Severe Anxiety, Depression and PTSD. I had the bad luck of encountering all of these at the same time due to a build-up of several factors which I will be talking about in a little bit. It took me a while to admit to myself that I actually had problems that I needed to solve but I quickly learned that it only got worse with time when trying to beat it by myself.

There was a range of factors that led me to have mental health problems, one of the largest was bullying. Bullying has been a large portion of my life and is a topic that I feel very strongly about. I have been bullied in the past, some cases it was only short term bullying but others lasted several years and really damaged my self-confidence and the image I had of myself.

The worse bullying that I faced was by one person for around ten to ten and a half years. Looking back at it now I realise how smart the person was actually bullying me. They started out by making comments about my hair colour, my freckles and other general comments then progressed into more offensive, deeper hitting topics. After realising that bullying me with comments about my appearance didn’t really bother me they began to bully me about my stutter.

My stutter has been a condition that is very personal to me and something I have tried to control over a number of years. I get very defensive about my stutter and I try really hard not to stutter much but sometimes I just cannot help it. The way that my stutter works is that it tends to flare up when I am feeling extreme emotions. This can mean that it flares up when I’m really happy, angry, sad, excited, nervous and in many other cases.

When this bully started to bully me simply for having a stutter it slowly began to erode at the defences that I had been putting up. After this went on for a while and they saw that I wasn’t reacting to it they decided to up the level and start isolating me from my friends. This particular bully would speak to people when I wasn’t there saying that I was talking about them behind their back, a thing that I would never do.

At first, when I got told that this was going on I didn’t think it would make a difference to my friends or my social life however it all changed in a few weeks. I stopped getting invited out with my mates and I began spending more time by myself in my house. This rise in the level of bullying was when I started to realise that I was struggling. I had been bullied due to my appearance, my stutter and now my social life had started to break.

The bullying stayed at this level for a few years and then it began to increase again. Before the level of bullying increased I counted that the bully had turned around 37 people against me. I had done nothing wrong and I couldn’t understand why people weren’t speaking to me and why they were actively ignoring me. My trust in people took a huge fall at this point and I only really trusted friends that lived close to me that I had known for years.

The next level of bullying started when I was walking home from school. I began to walk home by myself after school. This was because the bully lived near me and they would walk back the same way home that I did. It was at this time that some of my older friends began walking back with me. They would talk to me as they would usually and for the first few weeks I started to think that things were going back to the way they used to be.

After a few weeks, I started to realise that everything I was saying to my friends was being told to the bully. I found out after school that after I went home my friends would tell the bully everything I said to them and it would be used against me as ammunition.  This strange reality that was happening hit me hard. I started to notice that I was becoming more and more isolated and that the people I trusted were in with the bully.

The bullying did rise another level one final time before I put my foot down. I went off school for a while in Year 11 to have life-threatening surgery where I lost 3 foot of my small intestine (I might do a blog on my medical condition in the future). I came back to school 2 months early when I could barely walk with a six-inch scar going down my stomach. It was at this point where the bully decided to throw his comment at me. They just looked at me in front of all of the mates and said: “Can I store my change in your stomach James as you’ve lost some intestine?”. This one line broke something inside me.

Everyone around me started to laugh and I thought that I was completely alone. This was one of the main factors that completely broke me. After writing this I have decided that I will do more blogs in the future like this as it is quite long now as it is, that is without me adding in more points. I do not want to make the blogs too long that the main point of them dissolves.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog in the Male Mental Health series! If you are wondering what this blog has to do with mental health then it is meant to show how factors can build if not acted upon and how they can lead to you struggling unless you know when enough is enough. I didn’t put my foot down soon enough which is why I still struggle with the drawback effects now.

What do you all think of this week’s blog? Has bullying affected you in the past? How did you get past it? Do we as a society need to learn to identify secret bullies? What can be done about bullying that we don’t even see? Let me know any answers you have to these questions and your thoughts on today’s blog! There will be a few more blogs like this that talk about how I learned to overcome my problems in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned if you’re interested!

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

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James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 3: Help is out there

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is the thirds blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health Series and is called Help is out there. This blog is going to talk about what kinds of help is out there, how you can get in and how it can make the world of difference to you. I am going to be briefly talking about how I reached out for help and how services like counselling helped me solve some of my problems. I will talk about the problems that I faced and how I overcame them in more detail in next weeks blog as that is going to be the more personal blog in the series.

Help can often show its face in many different forms. Help can come in the form of friends, family or maybe a service such as counselling. Usually, people tend to learn the way they deal with mental health in their own way. For me, it took me a while to admit but the way that I coped was with counselling and with stress handling practices such as meditation.

Often the thought of asking someone for help is what people find the hardest. The thought that you will be seen as weak often forces people into hiding how they really feel. People tend to isolate themselves from others in hopes that they can solve their problems. The way in which we isolate ourselves is very clever. We tend to act as if everything is normal, we laugh and make jokes when inside just wants to break. It is this invisible isolation, this embedded fear that leads people to really struggle and can cause serious damage to their mental health. However, help is out there and being able to seek it is a strength often underappreciated.

The first place I tend to think of when I think of help is counselling. The ability to talk through your problems in a judgement free environment can often be a real burden off your shoulders. Counselling provides us with an extra tier of support, a fresh viewpoint, a change in perspective of how we see our problems and most importantly a form of release.

When I first started having counselling I did not think that it would help me. I saw me asking for help and talking about things with a stranger as a weakness and something I would never do however that view quickly changed. The counselling sessions that I had allowed me to work through my problems one by one, going into as much or as little detail as I wanted.

During my first few sessions, my answers to the questions asked were often short and defensive but over time I learnt to develop my answers. I learnt that my counsellor needed to understand me as a person, how I think, what I value, how I see the world before he could help me. I began to see that I could answer every question honestly and talk as if I was to a mirror in a way. Although counselling proved very effective for me there are a lot of other forms of help and support that people can try available.

A form of release and help can be as simple as talking to your friends and family. Being able to talk honestly to people who truly know you and value you can be a great aid when trying to conquer the entity that is mental health. Learning to be open and honest is a skill that is becoming more and more valuable in modern day society. Having a group of friends that understand you can really help when you are going through a tough time.

Although it is often overlooked, a simple how are you can make the world of difference to a person. Knowing they have someone to talk to and someone who will listen to them can often make them feel valued and feel like they can get through difficult mental phases. As life continues to accelerate and we take on more and more tasks it is crucial to remember that we need to make time for our family and friends.

If you see a person that you know or even don’t know struggling then stopping to help them or even briefly speak to them can be a real asset for someone. It does not only make you feel better personally but the difference you make to the person you talk to can be lifesaving. It does sound dramatic and drastic but simply talking to people can save lives.

There was a story in the news a few years ago about a boy in America that was about to commit suicide when a boy in his class noticed that something wasn’t right. The boy didn’t overload the boy or criticise him but just had a small conversation with him. Even though the boy didn’t know it at the time but he saved the boys life simply by having a conversation with him. The boy felt like he meant something and sought help and support to get through his tough time.

Social media and helplines can often be a good way to find support in some cases. There are more and more helplines being created by the day in hopes of helping people going through tough times. The growing rate of suicides in younger generations, especially in males is a very worrying site and people are trying to make a difference. There are facebook pages such as Mental Health Believe UK that are created for people who need help and support.

These facebook pages provide a platform for people to communicate with others and find a way out of the maze that is our minds. Helplines are also an often overlooked service. There are numerous helplines open such as the Samaritans whose goal is to help people. They are there to listen to people and to be a way for people to communicate in their own time and in their own space without being judged.

These are just a few of the forms of support that are out there and there are hundreds more. As we talked about in last weeks blog, the ability to know your limits can save your life. Knowing when to say no and when you have too much work on is a vital tool for anybody to have in their corner. Saying I’m struggling is not a weakness, it is a strength and that is what needs to be remembered. There is always help available, sometimes it is on your doorstep, sometimes it is on the phone. Dealing with your problems alone can sometimes work but when it doesn’t, don’t suffer in silence.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series! What did you all think? How do you cope when you are going through a tough time? Does social media help or hinder people who are struggling? Do we as a society need to change to try and reverse this crisis?

I’m trying to reach as many people I can with these blogs so if you can share or reblog it will make a huge difference! There are buttons available at the bottom of each blog post which allows you to share the blog to social media or you can share the Facebook page. If you do not know the Facebook page then you can click the Facebook icon on the sidebar and it will take you to the page or you can simply search Sweeney’s Blogs on Facebook.

As always feedback is greatly appreciated! Feel free to donate to the blog if you want too!

James Sweeney

Sweeney’s Blogs

Any money donated here will be put back into the business. This can be through marketing campaigns, upgrades to plans or for setting up future events!

£5.00

Balloon Theory – What is it and how can we use it?

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to talk about a theory I created called The Balloon Theory. The Balloon Theory is a theory I created which displays how stress can affect a person and how people need to learn how to balance their stress levels and try and find ways to help lower the amount of stress they face in day to day life.

The logic behind the theory is pretty basic, picture a person as a balloon. The variables that they stress about then relate to the air filling the balloon. Now if a person fills too much air into a balloon  ( a person taking on too much stress/work) then eventually the balloon will pop. There is only so much air that a balloon can hold, this is the same as people with stress.

This theory isn’t saying however that everyone can handle the same amounts of stress. There are lots of different kinds of people as there are with balloons. Certain balloons can hold more air than others, the same can be said for people. This does not make that balloon more superior than others however it is still something that needs to be taken into consideration.

The theory also helps us see that relieving ourselves of stress can often be a very valuable asset/achievement. Relieving a person’s stress is often similar to how you would release air from a balloon, slowly and gradually, not all at once. People also need to find a balance in their lives, you cannot just keep filling your balloon or else it will pop as mentioned previously.

The Balloon Theory is a theory that is still in development, it was an idea that I had a while ago and I am only now really developing it. What do you all think of the theory? Does it have merit? Do you know your limits when it comes to stress? How do you release air from your balloons/ relieve stress? If you want to add any development to this theory just let me know!

Thanks for reading today’s blog about the Balloon Theory I created. All feedback is greatly appreciated. If anyone has any questions then feel free to comment on this post, email me via the contact form or get in touch on our Facebook page: Sweeney’s Blogs!

James

Treat your body like a balloon, don’t overload yourself