Sweeney’s Peutz-Jeghers Story – My Dance with Death

6 years ago yesterday I got rushed into hospital and was diagnosed with Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome. I was only 15 years of age when it happened and I am eternally grateful for all of the work that the surgeons, doctors, nurses and more did to save my life when I was but 3 hours away from what would have been my unfortunate death.

I am James Sweeney and this is my Peutz-Jeghers Story, My Dance with Death:

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World Mental Health Day 2020

Mental Health is something that affects each and every one of us as people. Our Mental Health makes up who we are, who we want to be, and so much more. It is a phenomenally large field, that continues to grow each and every day. Over the last couple of years the spotlight and mainstream media have started to focus in more on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of people and international events, such as World Mental Health Day, which is happening today on the 10th October and so important for our future.

So let’s take a closer look into Mental Health and World Mental Health Day 2020!

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Sweeney’s Stuttering Story – The Call

Today’s blog is going to be a little bit different to the usual kind of blog that I write. The blog is going to be focused around a story which happened to me around 4-5 weeks ago, which played a really large role in the increase of the amount that I stutter over the last couple of weeks.

I mentioned in last weeks blog that I was going to talk about it this and, even though it is quite a personal story, I still feel like the messages that we can take from it are very important. It may seem like a very sad story when you read through the first few paragraphs, but there’s always a lesson and a moment of reflection that we can take from moments like this.

So without further ado, this is Sweeney’s Stuttering Story – The Call.

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Time to Talk – Blog 2: The Reality of Grief – Kyra Fehrman

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Today’s blog is the secong blog in our Time to Talk series and is all about The Reality of Grief. The idea for the blog and the blog itself came from a new guest writer on the page Kyra Fehrman. It is Kyra’s first blog on the page so let us know what you think and if you want to see more from Kyra! Hope you all enjoy the blog and learn something new about grief!

January only has 31 days, however, for me, it felt more like 100. January was a long and arduous time, certainly one you wouldn’t qualify as the best start to 2020. We all have days where everything seems to go wrong, where the world seems to be fighting against you, creating misery and chaos wherever you go and in whatever you do. For me the battle seemed to last the whole month with my grandmother going into hospital on the 1st and then finally succumbing to pneumonia and end stage COPD on the 9th January and her funeral was the 28th January.

Grief is not fun I am sure no one needs to tell you that but what they don’t tell you is that the five stages of grief isn’t as easy as going from one to two to three etc. It is a stressful process, one minute you’re in shock, numb to the core unable to process the reality of your situation, next you jump to anger and you end up not knowing what is going on and what to do with yourself. You play the blame game take it out on those around you maybe after that you cry, sob your heart out over the loss.

What no one tells us is that you can be stuck in that vicious circle for a long time, my partner lost his mother almost ten years ago and he is still grieving, stuck in the numb phase unable to speak about it or face the reality of his loss. My point here is that you never stop grieving and it will have a major impact upon your mental health, before January I was a different person with a different mindset.  

Now after losing my grandmother I am seeing the world in a different light, faced with my mortality and the idea of my loved ones dying eventually has forced me to appreciate all the time I have with them. It is hard to talk about these things and a lot of people may say to you to just “move on” that they are in a better place and while the sentiment is nice it invalidates your feelings. You have every right to grieve your loved one and regardless of if they are in a better place or not they are not here with you, they are gone and all those things you would want to tell them, the jokes, the memories you’d want to remind them of you can’t.

Mental Health is a major topic nowadays with a rise in suicides, people taking anti-depressants and antipsychotics, we are in a mental health crisis and this post aims to encourage people to speak up. No matter how silly it may seem there is always someone out there who is willing to listen. If you are grieving a loved one and think life is not worth it anymore just remember this, they loved you with every fibre of their being don’t give up because they don’t want you joining them any time soon.

It is paramount that you look after yourself during these difficult times, hard as that may be, it’s crucial to remember that life will always go on and no matter what you will survive. You are strong enough to endure this pain help and support is out there. A light can be shone in even the darkest of places. Below are numbers and websites for Mental Health organisations.

Thank you all for reading! We hope that you have enjoyed today’s blog and have learned something new about grief! What do you think of today’s blog? Would you like to see more of Kyra’s blogs on the page? Has grief ever impacted on your life? How did you manage it? Let us know what you think in the comments below or on our facebook page.

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James

Time to Talk Series Update

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Today’s blog is going to be a shorter blog than usual talking about what I am planning on doing with the new Time to Talk series. I have wanted to do a series like the new Time to Talk one for quite a while now and wanted to run it a little bit different to how I usually run my series. The traditional way that I run my blog series is by doing a new blog for them each week, with the Time to Talk series, I am hoping to tackle it a little bit differently.

The wole purpose of the series is to share peoples stories regarding Stuttering, Stress and Mental Health. What I feel like would be best would be to post this a new blog in this series each time I get a new story through. In order to do this I am always looking for some new stories. If you have an experience or story you would like to share about when you have either seen or experienced anything to do with Stuttering, Stress or Mental Health then please get in touch with me!

All stories will be appreciated, no matter how big or small. It would actually be better to have some longer and some shorter stories as it diversifies the content even more, hopefully reaching out and helping more people! If you have an idea for a story and want some help writing it, please get in touch too, I am always happy to help write or even write the story based off of your idea, giving you the credit if you want it.

If you have a story and are worried about using your name going on it too we can sort that out. I am more than happy to make the writer anonymous, if that is what you wish. The important thin with the blog/story is thr message and lessons that can be learned from it. Even if you think that a story doesn’t have a lesson to it, there is always a way of finding one.

As stated previously there will most probably not be a new blog in this series every week. I will upload one when I have a story sent through and checked it through quickly. This series is all down to audience participation so if you think you have a good story, please share it. You can make a massive difference to somebody’s life!

Thanks for reading and I hope this has cleared up a few questions people have been asking!

James

Time to Talk – Blog 1: The Introduction

Time to Talk Day 2020 was on 06/02/2020 and in celebration of such an important event, I have decided to start this new Time to Talk series! This series is going to be a real eye opening series and is going to be on that I am really looking forward to starting!

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This is the 1st blog in the new Time to Talk series that I am going to be launching. This series was inspired by Time to Talk Day which was on the 6th of February this year! This series is going to all be about people’s stories regarding Stuttering, Stress and Mental Health. The aim of this series is to share and tell the stories that help make us who we are and how we have got to where we are now.

Although the main concept for Time to Talk day is surrounding opening up about Mental Health problems, I feel like if we bring in conditions such as Stuttering and Stress then it can make for an even more enlightening experience to both read and write. I also feel like this will open up a lot of different avenues that people can discuss and share experiences in which can ultimately help more and more people.

I am planning on running and writing this series very differently from how I usually write them. I feel like for this series to have the desired effect and message that I want it to have then it would be much better to bring in guest writers who wish to share their story. If you have any ideas or stories that you want to share then please feel free to get in contact with me! I am always happy to talk through ideas, no matter how weird or bizarre they may seem at first!

All I’m looking for is a story, can be as long or short as you’d like, about a time where you’ve experienced or seen someone experience something relating to Stuttering, Stress, Mental Health or anything similar to these! If you want to stay anonymous or want to use an alias for your story too that is completely fine, it is the story itself and the message it carries that is important. Let me know if you have any ideas!

In regards to the schedule of the series, at this current moment, I am unsure of how long the series is going to be and when the new blogs in the series will be released. I suppose it comes down to how many people wish to share their story. I may or may not write a few blogs for the series too, it is something that I am not 100% on currently but is something that I am thinking of doing. I feel that the blogs that I could write for the series would be better in their own series and really want this series to be about other peoples stories.

If you have an idea for a blog or story and are nervous about writing or sharing it please get in contact with me too. We can discuss the idea through and if you want to then write it I can help with the wording and phrasing if appropriate. As stated previously every idea is encouraged, I will always talk through ideas with you, even if it seems really silly at first!

That’s all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Are you excited for this new series? Do you have any ideas that you want to share? Have you ever had an idea but didn’t know how to take it forward? Leave your answers to the following questions either in the comments or on our Facebook page and we’ll have a chat about it!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

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James

Time to Talk Day 2020!

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Today, February 6th 2020, is the annual Time to Talk Day! Time to Talk Day is designed to encourage people to speak up about any problems or issues they have been facing in regards to their Mental Health. It is an enormous day of the year in regards to Mental Health and is a day that I feel is not focused on as much as it should be, this is one thing that I am hoping to change over the next few years.

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Having the confidence and indeed the courage to stand up and talk to somebody when you are going through problems with your Mental Health can, to many, be seen as an impossible hurdle to get past in life but I firmly believe it is a crucial step in both accepting and resolving the issues and problems that we are faced with in life. The spotlight is slowly starting to be shone on Mental Health but in my eyes there is still so much more that needs to be done. As a society we need to try and understand how hard it can actually be to say that you need help. Too many simply asking for help can be an impossible task, and that is something that we need to try and change.

The first thing that I believe we need to change is how we see Mental Health. The video below will help give you an insight into what Mental Health actually is and how it affects us in day to day life:

As we can see from the video, Mental Health affects each and every one of us. it is a part of who we are and is something that we should be proud of, not ashamed or embarrassed of. Time to Talk day is designed to encourage us to speak up and talk about our problems which is also one of the key principles of this page!

Image result for time to talk day 2020

We all have our good and bad days but it is crucial to remember that they are normal in life! I openly admit that I have days which seem like they last forever and then days that go by in a second. There are days when maybe you will be more upset than you usually are but if we focus on those days then that is all we will ultimately see. Learning to identify when you are having an off day can sometimes be a lifesaver. Remember talking to people can make a massive difference, even if it is just over a cup of tea, this is where Time to Talk Day comes into play!

If you are not quite sure what Time to Talk Day is then the video below will hopefully give you an idea of what Time to Talk Day is all about!

In celebration and appreciation for Time to Talk Day I am going to be launching a new series of aimed at encouraging people to talk about the times they have come into contact with Mental Health. It can have affected you or somebody you know and if you want too, you can remain anonymous. If you have any ideas or want to share your own story please get in touch! I’ll more than happily listen to any suggestions or ideas!

If you would like to learn more about Time to Talk Day, you can do so through the following link: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day

Thank you all for reading today’s blog! Happy Time To Talk Day! What do you think of today’s blog? Have you heard of Time to Talk Day before? Are you doing anything special today? What do you think we need to do regarding Mental Health as a society and a community? Let me know what you think in the comments or through our Facebook page!

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Any money donated will be used for content, advertising and future page plans!

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James

Time to Talk Stories

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

We are currently looking for people to share their stories for Time to Talk week! If you have ever experienced something to do with Stuttering, Stress or Mental Health and would like to share your story then please get in touch!

If you know anyone or have a story you would like to talk about, please let me know! The story can be as long or as short as you want, it’s the message that’s important. If you have a story but are unsure about how to write it, I can help you out with that as well. If you are nervous about sharing your story and want to do it anonymously then that is completely fine as well!

In regards to when I will need the stories by, any time is fine! If you can get it to me fairly quickly then even better but if not then simply get it to me when you can. When you send it to me I will read it through and then if it reads well and has no mistakes, it will be published shortly after. If I have any suggestions for edits or changes then we will discuss them first before we move forward.

Thanks for reading! If you have any ideas or suggestions, please get in touch! See you all in the next blog!

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

We ALL Have Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It — Peace from Panic

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week and tomorrow, October 10, is World Mental Health Day. So let’s talk about it! Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to speak to a group of elementary, middle school, and high school counselors about mental illness. I’m a presenter for Ending the Silence, a mental health awareness program by the […]

via We ALL Have Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It — Peace from Panic

World Mental Health Day — Seema Kataria Blog

This has been my all-time valued question. How are you? Sometimes, we have to ask this more frequently, even when we hear “I am fine.” Seriously, there is so much more to ‘I am fine.’ ‘I am good.’ ‘Leave me alone.’ Sometime back, I happen to write a one-liner observing how this person has been […]

via World Mental Health Day — Seema Kataria Blog

There’s always someone you can talk to!

Loneliness and isolation are two of the most dangerous aspects of Mental Health. When people suffer from Mental Health issues they often feel like they are weak and that no one would understand or even listen to them. However, this is not the case in reality. There are of course a lot of bad people in the world but it is crucial to remember that there is always someone around who you can talk too. That is what we are going to be talking about in today’s blog!

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Today’s blog is going to be about how there is always someone around who you can talk to. As mentioned above loneliness and isolation can be two of the most dangerous sides of Mental Health if not handled properly, which they are often not, and it is something that we need to take a closer look at. We as a community and society, in general, need to come to accept that there is someone who will listen to you out there, sometimes you may just have to wait a little bit to find that person/ those people.

Before I get into who I talk to about my problems it is important to understand the scale of people who can help us. If you want to talk about something you can always go to family and friends but also other role models who you might not usually think of, like teachers in school. The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter who you actually talk to, it is the talking that is the important part.

It is very common in life that people will change and friends do sometimes part ways. It is just the way things go sometimes but it is important to still talk about your problems with someone. We often tend to focus on the more negative side saying how there are so many negative people in the world these days but there are still good people around, you just need to look for them.

I am going to do a blog in the near future about building a positive network of friends and colleagues but it still very important to this blog. If you surround yourself with people that you don’t trust and people that always bring negativity to your life then how are you going to be able to talk through your problems? The social network that we build is in our hands, surround yourself with good people, not bad people.

Personally, I tell all of my friends that if they ever need to talk to just chuck me a message but that’s down to the sort of person I am. People seem to forget how easy it is to ask someone how they’re doing, it literally takes 2 minutes and can make someone’s day. I’m not saying that you have to have a fully-fledged conversation which each person you pass in the streets but saying hello is really easy.

At the minute for me, there are two people that I talk about my problems with. One of them is my mate Aodan who I have known for around five years and the other is a mate of mine who I met at Reading University this year. An important thing here is that I haven’t known these two mates all of my life but I do still trust them with my problems. Time is not really a problem when it comes down to friends unless you make it one. If you trust someone enough to be friends with them then should you trust them enough to talk things through with? Personally, I say yes but I would like to know what you think!

As mentioned earlier in the blog surrounding yourself with a good group of friends is a great way to help you when it comes to speaking about your problems with mates. An important thing to talk about here is even though I don’t speak to Aodan or my mate from uni every day, I know that they are there if I ever need to talk something through, which is the important part.

Diving in a bit further here, we’ll take a closer look at my mate from university. I met him once in Freshers and barely spoke to him again until the end of the year. But what I know is that if I have a problem then I can message him and vice versa. The amount of times you speak to a person is only really an issue if you make it one. Like I have said a few times in this blog, surround yourself with good people and you are giving yourself the best headstart possible. You should be happy with the friends you have, not embarrassed or ashamed, that is what people need to remember.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Talking your problems through with people you trust is a valuable asset in life. Be them friends or family talking problems through makes them easier to solve. Having people yuo can trust in life like two of the people I mentioned above, is a massive aid to you. Remeber you cannot expect someone to be there for you if you are not there for them too, it’s a two way street.

One quick thing that I wanted to mention before finishing this blog is how I work when it comes to using names and personal experiences in my blogs. If I ever use a friends name then I will always ask permission first. If they don’t agree to me using their names then their names will not appear in the blog. I always ask first.

What do you all think of today’s blog? Do you think a good friendship group helps you out in life? What else can a good group of friends do for you? LEt me know what you think about these questions or any other questions or thoughts you have about my blogs dwon below or on our Facebook page!

Thanks for reading and I hope you 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

Stuttering in Mainstream Media – Blog 4: Being Picked on by a Teacher

Stuttering affects lots of different people in lots of different ways. One of the main factors to think of when it comes to stuttering is how people react to you. Teachers in school are there to support and mentor you so how do you react when one of them makes fun of your stutter? This is something that I have gone through and I will discuss it further in this blog.

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Today’s blog is going to be the fourth blog in my Stuttering in Mainstream Media series and is going to focus on when I was picked on by a teacher in school for stuttering. I loved school and learning when I was younger and even though I encourage everyone to look at the positives all the time there are times when you need to look at the negatives to learn and develop from them. This blog is going to look at how a teacher picked on my stutter, how I reacted at the time and what we can learn from it.

The incident itself happened when I was in year 8 back in Secondary School. Me and my classmates in 8f were in a History lesson at the time. F was one of the top sets in the year. The class was close to the start of the year and our teacher asked us what we think we should learn about this year. Most of the class asked if we would learn about World War 2 or about Slavery and I would just sit and listen. I used to feel quite scared about speaking up in class due to my stutter but I finally thought I would give speaking a go.

I had been a big fan of reading encyclopaedias and history books at the time and had starting learning a lot about Oliver Cromwell. I had read all the books I had on him and didn’t understand the formal articles that were published online. I was really interested in his story however so decided to try and ask our teacher if we would be learning about him. Before I go further into the story I am not going to be mentioning the teachers name in theis blog as that is not the point of the blog, the point of the blog is to learn from my experience and how it affected me, it is not meant as an attack to the teacher in question.

I raised my hand and the teacher said my name. I started off asking the question, “Miss, do we get the chance to learn” when I just couldn’t get anymore words out. When I finally  got the confidence to carry on every word I said was full of stutters, “abbbooout Oliver Cccrrrom Cromwell this year?” The question itself was easy to understand even though I stuttered a number of times. Instead of answering the question though the teacher decided to stop, make everyone quiet and then turned to speak to me.

She looked at me and said ” Jjjjames ssspeak prop-er-ly.” I just sat there staring at her in pure shock. I didn’t know how to react or what to do at the time. School was a place where I felt safe growing up and it is somewhere that I really enjoyed to be in. I couldn’t understand why someone in her position would make fun of me in front of the whole class. The rest of the class went completely silent too, no one knowing what to say or how to react.

This lesson was the very first lesson of the day. I didn’t speak again until lunchtime that day, around 4 hours after the lesson happened. No one really noticed that I wasn’t speaking until we all went out to get lunch. I was with my mates on the yard when a boy from my class comes over and starts telling everyone about what happened in History. I didn’t say a word when he was telling the story, I just listened and stared in the distance. When he finished the story everyone just turned and looked at me.

I did not know what to do when the boy was telling the story. I did not know how I should have felt, what I should have done, who I should have spoken to, etc. it is why I just stared into the distance, I was lost. After the boy finished telling the story all of my friends looked the same. Some spoke to me like they felt sorry for me, one or two seemed like they had genuine empathy for me and then the rest just didn’t react, they just stood there thinking.

It was when two of my good friends, Zac and Dylan, found out that action was taken. Zac and Dylan had been my friends all the way through Primary and Secondary school. They understood the affect that my stutter had on me and that making fun of it or joking about it was not okay. As soon as they found out what happened they came over to see if I was alright and if there was anything they could do.

Aftr speaking to me they went to see our Head of Year to make a complaint against the teacher, something I didn’t know they were going to do at the time. If Zac and Dylan take action there and then then I do not think that anything would have been done about it and I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten over this incident. In their own rights they can be classed as stutterspirations as they took action to help me, a person with a stutter out, when no one asked them too, they simply did it off their own backs. Even though they may not know it but they did a great thing that went a long way to helping me control my stutter.

See the source image

As lunchtime break ended on that day everyone went back inside ready for afternoon registration. As I was walking back towards my class my Head of Year called me into her office. She informed me that Zac and Dylan came to her with a complaint against my history teacher and they told her what happened. She sat me down and asked me to go through my side of the story.

I took a set in her office and slowly explained everything that happened from the start of the day up to now and how it made me feel. She sat there listening making notes on a notepad. I stopped a few times when telling the story due to stuttering or when I would get a bit emotional going through it. It was at this point that the reality of what actually happened dawned on me.

After we finished discussing what happened she asked if I wanted to go home or if I wanted to stay in school. I said that I want to stay in school as there is only one lesson left in the day and  do not want to fall behind on work. She then asked me if I want to make a complaint against the teacher or if I want to swap classes to be taught by a different history. I thanked her for both offers but refused them both. I would stay in the class, to prove to myself that I was strong enough and that I couldn’t be broken by one person.

It took me a while to get back to normal after that day. It took me around two to three days to start answering questions in class again and then around a week or so to start asking questions again. I was lucky that I was a fast learner at the time and that I understood the topics we were studying as I am the type of person that usually has a lot of questions about the work we are doing.

I decided against telling my parents what happened at first. I cannot remember exactly why i decided not to tell them but I think that I thought that if no one spoke about it then it would be forgotten about and then I could move on in some way. They eventually found out through a friend of mines mum at a football game on the following Saturday and then I filled them in on everything that had happened.

soccer ball

My mother decided to write a letter to the school voicing her concerns over the matter and then went in to have a meeting with the headmaster. During the following tutorial session on Monday morning I was called out of my class to go to the headmasters office. When I got there he asked me to sit down and tell him what happened from start to finish so I did. As I was talking through what happened he was just sitting there listening, nodding, trying to understand what happened and how to handle it.

After I had told him everything he got a fellow student to go and get the teacher from her class. When she came into his office, I started shaking, dreading what was going to happen next. He then asked me to repeat everything that I had just told him in front of the teacher. I started telling the story again, looking at her reaction every so often to she how she would react. As soon as I finished the story I closed my eyes for a few seconds to stop myself from breaking down and then turned to see what was going to happen.

Our headteacher made the teacher apologise to me and then he asked her to go back to her class. After she left the room he asked me if I was alright and if I wanted to go home. i said that I would stay in school thank you but I just need a few minutes to pick myself back up and then I would be find to go back to lessons. He nodded and agreed and told me that if I felt like I needed to leave any class for a few minutes then it would be more than fine and he would inform my other teachers on what had happened.

That is the story of how a teacher picked on me in front of the whole class back in Secondary school. I have never told the story to anyone since leaving school so it was quite nice to finally air it out and explain what actually happened. We can learn quite a lot from the story, even though it seems very negative and bleak there are a few interesting lessons we can take from it.

Firstly speaking out is very important. I was too scared to speak out about what happned at first but was very lucky that my good friends Zac and Dylan were there to do it for me. Speaking out takes a lot of courage but it is the only way that change will ever happen. We can’t just sit around and wait for change to happen, if we think something is wrong we have t speak up and try and make a change for the better. Speaking out seems like a very basic and easy thing but it can be one of the hardest things you can do. People usually don’t understand things unless you explain it to them.

Taking action is very important. Always try and take action yourself and if you see someone in trouble then try to help them out. Be the person that Zac and Dylan were for me. They saw that I was struggling and they stepped in. Always try your best to help people out, you never know they might return the favour in the future.

Secondly you can always pick yourself back up. After the teacher made fun of me I thought that I would never be able to speak in front of people again. It shook me to my core that someone in a position such as a teacher would pick on me in front of my whole class. It took me a while to understand that if I didn’t speak in class again then the only person it would impact on would be myself and I couldn’t let myself down because of someone else’s mistake.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! I know today’s blog was a bit longer than what I usually do but I think it is important to go through the story and talk about how it affected me and how you can pick yourself back up again after someone knocks you down. What do you all think? Did you enjoy reading today’s blog? Have you got any stuttering stories you want to share? What do you think of what the teacher did? How would you react if it happened to you? Let me know your answers to the questions and any other thoughts you had on the blog in the comments or get in touch with me through the Sweeney’s Blogs Facebook page.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoyed! Remember keep Highlighting the I in Difference!

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 10: The Brave Face

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be the tenth blog in the Looking into Male Mental Health series and is going to be about The Brave Face. Putting on a brave face is a phrase that is commonly used in day to day life. In this blog, we are going to be taking a deeper look into this phrase and then taking a look at the real world implications that it can have.

The term “Put on a brave face” can have several different meanings. The Free Dictionary, https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+on+a+brave+face, defines it as “to appear or make oneself seem more courageous, resolute or dauntless than one really feels”. I quite like this definition as it is easy to interpret and I believe that it defines the phrase quite well. I do have my own definition for the phrase which I think puts it in a more relatable light h however.

I like to define “put on a brave face” as a mask that we use to hide our real feelings. Even though this definition may seem very similar to the one written by The Free Dictionary, I feel like my definition encompasses a larger demographic. Like most pieces of work, however, it is all down to your personal preference. A lot of the blogs that I write do come down to personal interpretation. If you prefer a different definition to the two that I have written here that is completely fine, the points remain the same throughout the definitions, it is just the wording that changes.

When relating this to the world in general there are lots of different avenues you can take. You can apply this term to current world problems, politics, relationships or simply too personal life. The most common adaption of this phrase is when it is used in a personal way. It is very common that people put on a brave face when dealing with Mental Health problems.

It is very common for people or even society, in general, to turn a blind eye to problems like Mental Health simply due to lack of understanding or situational awareness. People often hide their problems and hope that they will go away with time. This style of coping does simply lead to an increase in the number of problems with no solution being found as your head is buried in the sand.

Unfortunately, people nowadays do actively try to avoid solving their problems. This can be caused by a number of different causes. Some of the problems that cause people to avoid solving their problems include lack of time available, fear of not being able to solve the problem, lack of resources available to fix the problem and many more. When people do put on a brave phrase it can often lead to an increase in the number of problems they face. This then triggers the Rollercoaster Effect that I mentioned in the fifth blog of this series, https://sweeneysblog.com/2019/05/14/looking-into-male-mental-health-blog-5-the-rollercoaster-theory/.

We are now going to take a brief look into how this phrase can directly link back to Male Mental health specifically.  Put on a brave face can easily be linked to Male Mental Health. Although I do bring it up a lot in this series I think that a large proportion of that can be linked back to male stereotypes that have been created by society. Men are painted as people who do not need to share their problems, they are meant to be people who solve everyone else’s problems including their own. These stereotypes do much more harm than good.

It is very easy to think to yourself that if you leave a problem for long enough then it will fix itself, this, however, is not the case. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you have a problem or to admit that you need help but when you do it can make life so much better. Trying to find help for your problems is an entity that is undervalued in modern day society. Sourcing help for your problems is almost like you are breaking the mask that you put on when you put on a brave face. Breaking the cycle is paramount to breaking the cycle and is the start of solving Mental Health problems.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! What do you all think? Do you put on a brave face? Does it have a positive or negative effect on your life? How can we break the cycle of putting on a brave face? How do you think putting on a brave face relates to mental health? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thank you all for reading! Let me know what you think! All feedback is appreciated – be it positive or negative! If you have a minute or two spare please leave a rating and review on our Facebook Page! I am thinking of launching a new advertising campaign soon, let me know what you think I should do!

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James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 9: Personal Experience 2

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

Today’s blog is going to be about one of my personal experiences when it comes to Male Mental Health. The aim of these personal experience blogs is to show that even when you are at rock bottom there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I myself have gone through a number of problems when it comes to mental health and I believe that by mixing facts and personal experience help present a balanced picture on what mental health really is and how it affects us all.

The self-hate/doubt mechanism is a coping technique that I first started using when I used to get bullied a lot in school. The technique itself is a very poor one that only went on to make me feel worse about myself as you will see when I go into how the technique itself works. It is a coping technique that I used when I was desperate and it is a very bad way to go about life. If anyone reading this blog does do this to themselves then I would urge them to seek help. Even talking through your problems with a person you trust is a much better form of release rather than getting trapped in a cycle of self-hatred.

The main principle for the self-hate cycle that I created was simple. I would constantly put myself down and degrade myself before others had the chance too. Even though it didn’t make me feel better in my head at the time I was just thinking that it would be easier if I put myself down, instead of someone doing it for me. This cycle was my way of not letting others hurt me, I would break myself instead of giving someone else the chance too.

Once you put yourself in this cycle it is very hard to break after you start using it. The cycle tends to get more and more aggressive to the point where you cross-examine and doubt every action you take. It is an extremely dangerous cycle which is why I wanted to talk about it. If you know anyone who is currently, unfortunately, using this coping technique or if you use it yourself then it is key that you break the cycle. I fully comprehend that this is easy to say and to actually break the chain requires a lot more work but if the cycle isn’t broken or at least reduced then you will sadly end up in a very dark place mentally.

As I mentioned in a lot of my previous blogs Mental Health is a very complicated topic. It is very very rare that the problems people face stem from one source, it is often a mixture of several sources/problems all at once. This is where the self-hate cycle becomes even more dangerous. If you adopt this technique as a form of coping when you are already experiencing problems then it starts to become too much to handle.

The phrase that I quite like to talk about is balancing the books, and it becomes ever the more paramount here. Learning to find a way of releasing can be vital when it comes to breaking the cycle of self-hate. I can’t say one way that works for everyone as there is no one way. You need to find your release and only then will you be able to even attempt to break the cycle.

I have been experiencing the self-hate cycle for a number of years. It took me a long while to recognise what it actually is and then even longer to figure out how to manage it. To put it simply it is very very hard to completely break the cycle, however, it is manageable. Learning the manage to technique to a point where you almost never feel it is vital when it comes to beating it.

That is all I want to talk about in today’s blog! Thank you all for reading! What do you all think? Have you ever experienced the self-hate cycle? How did you overcome it? What do you think leads a person to pick up the cycle? Do we need to learn how to identify when someone is suffering from this management technique?

Thank you all for reading! Let me know what you think via the comments or on the Facebook page! We are nearly at 2,000 total views, great work everyone!

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James

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 7: The Facts

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

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!

£5.00

James Sweeney

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