Different Ways to Counter Social-Anxiety – Patrick Bailey

Social-Anxiety is an overwhelming and long-term fear of different social situations. It an have a truly enormous impact on how you live your day to day life, on your relationships with others, on your self-confidence, in both your work & social life and more. For something that can have have such a large effect on your life, can you safely say that you know any ways to help counter it? That’s what we’ll be looking at in today’s blog!

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I Guest-Starred in a New Podcast

On Saturday 31st October, I was asked to be a special guest on a brand new podcast, called “26 minutes with”, which has been created by Respect Mental Health and the amazing Benjamin Seal. It was an honour to be asked to e the first guest for the show and we are going to be taking a bit of a closer look at the podcast in today’s blog!

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My Top 5 Stress Management Tips

Olivia Lucie Blake

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a very stress filled year which has had such an effect on us not only physically but mentally too. I call it Coronavirus stress. It got me thinking, can stress kill you? So naturally I googled it and apparently it can lead to some pretty shocking effects on the body. We often forget how powerful the mind really is on our bodies. I think Stress management should be one of our top priorities to maintain good mental health. There are tonnes of articles on stress management online but I thought I’d put together some of the tips I use myself to help reduce my coronavirus stress.

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Why stress is good — Lampelina

I went to the library a few days ago and came across a book by Kelly McGonigal, The Upside of Stress. The book was set on recommendations shelf and was literally screaming at me “Take me, take me!”. I’m kidding, but it was a pleasant coincidence. It’s ironic, because this is something I had on […]

via Why stress is good — Lampelina

Worth Trying: Dealing with Stress in the Moment — Amanda Cade

A while back, I wrote a post about how to take a few minutes to jolt yourself out of a bad mood. Sometimes, though, we don’t have the luxury of removing ourselves from a situation. When your boss is chewing you out, customers are yelling at you, your kids are having a tantrum, or lots […]

via Worth Trying: Dealing with Stress in the Moment — Amanda Cade

Creative Stress Relief

Crafts Inspire Me

Computer Stress
With such fast-paced lives, we all need a break from our daily stresses. These demands have physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects. The best solution is a vacation, but that may not be possible. Instead, indulge in a hobby or two to take your mind and body to a happy place. Every day you do things for everyone else. It’s time to put yourself first! You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it. Here are a few crafting ideas to get you started:

Painting: – watercolor, oil, acrylic, pouring
Watercolor
Watercolor PaintingDrawing: – pencil, charcoal, crayons, colored pencils, chalk, markers, pens
Sketching with Pens and Markers
DrawingPottery & Ceramics: – figurines, serving pieces, vases, jars, ornaments
Pottery
PotteryCeramics
CeramicsPaper Crafts: – scrapbooking, card making, origami, quilling
PapercraftsJewelry & Watches: – beaded, woven, wire
Beaded Jewelry
Jewelry MakingFlower Arranging: – fresh or artificial, wreaths…

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

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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!

Sweeney’s Blogs

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James

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

Respect – Is it always earned?

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Today’s blog is going to be about respect. I have been interested in doing a blog on respect for quite a while now, I just wasn’t sure whether to do it as a series or as a single blog. What I am thinking now is to do it as a solo blog for now and then if there is interest in it I will launch it as a series in the future, looking at the topic in more depth.

Respect can be shown in a number of different ways. People can earn respect through their age, their status, their job position and their life achievements to name but a few. We are taught when we grow up to always respect our elders, an important lesson I’m sure everyone can agree on but it does raise the question, is respect always earned?

This question is not meant to make it look like I have a lack of respect as this is not the case. I was brought up to always respect people and to treat people the way I would want them to treat me. I am the sort of person who values everyone’s needs before my own, which is an attribute that brings both positive and negative results. It took me a long time to notice that not all people are brought up the same.

Growing up I always use to go for a walk around the country roads near my house. Whilst on these walks we always use to stop and have a chat with the other walkers. This was something that I thought was a very common thing to do. I grew up in quite a close community where everyone knew each other and everyone would more than happily stop for a chat or even just say hello as you walked past.

It was only when I got to Year 11 in school where I decided to do my own little experiment that I noticed that not everyone had the time to stop and talk. The experiment that I did was based off how I got my food during lunchtime each day. During lunchtimes in Year 11 at my secondary school, we were allowed to go into the local town to get our food. This is how I first thought of the idea for my experiment.

I used to go to the same cafe every day for my lunch at school. The cafe was about a five-minute walk away from the school. Whilst walking to the cafe/sandwich shop I would always say hello to the people that I passed. The experiment here was to see how many people responded when I said hello to them. My goal of the experiment was to see how many people/ if any would actually respond to me saying hello and whether there was a difference in the responses between generations. The results that I did get were very surprising.

When conducting the experiment I said hello to 39 different people that I walked past, not counting other students in my year as they all responded. Out of the 39 people, only 2 people responded to me. One was a lady that use to help out in the local brass band that I was in and the other person was an older lady walking to the shops. If we break it down to the stats it does not look good.

Statistically speaking only 5.12% of the people that I actually said hello to responded. That means a major 94.88% of people simply did not respond to me. We can use these stats as an estimate to enlarge our sample size. Imagine now I said hello to 100 different people. Using these stats we can estimate that 5 of them will actually respond and the other 95 will simply ignore/not acknowledge it. These statistics further ask the question, is respect always given or should it be earned?

I understand that this is only one small experiment that I did but it still does paint quite an interesting picture. The experiment certainly makes me think of how I speak to people who I pass on the street. I always say hello to the people I pass however this experiment shows that the respect may not always be mutual. It’s quite an unfortunate insight into how respect can be perceived but it also makes you think a little bit more into how you treat others.

I am not saying that if you do not say hello to every person you pass on the street makes you a bad person as that is not the case. The main premise is that if someone takes the time to say hello to you then isn’t it a common decency to respond? We can also look at this from a mental health perspective. As I mention in quite a few of my blogs, especially my male mental health ones, simply saying hello to someone who is having a really bad day can make the world of difference to them.

Simply taking the time to have a quick conversation with someone, it doesn’t even have to be long, can really brighten up their day. Let’s try and do another challenge on this page. The next time you go to town and walk down a street say hello to a few people and see how many respond. Let me know how it goes! Did people respond? Were they people that you already knew or people that you have not spoken to before? Did it make you feel better about yourself? Leave a comment with how it went or get in touch with me through the contact page or on our Facebook page!

Thank you for reading today’s blog! What do you all think? Is respect always just given or should it be earned? Is it one or the other or even both? Do you think I should do a whole series on respect covering all areas or leave it as a ew smaller single blogs? Let me know what you think! I appreciate all feedback, be it positive or negative!

Thanks again,

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 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.

photo-1499244571948-7ccddb3583f1

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

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

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

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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

Looking into Male Mental Health – Blog 1: The Introduction

Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!

This is going to be the first blog in a new series that I am going to be doing called Looking into Male Mental Health. There is a forever increasing worrying figure of male suicides in the last few years due to people not seeing another way out. Society is seen to expect men to take on everyone else’s problems but keep their problems to themselves, this causing dramatically high-stress levels which can lead to some men sadly taking their own life.

This series is going to be a more personal series for me as I am going to be talking about the mental health problems that I have encountered, how I learnt how to manage them and where people can go to get the help that they need. Due to the traumatic events that have happened lately, there has been a large spotlight shone on male mental health. The awareness that something needs to be done is increasingly daily however enough things are not being done.

Sadly stereotypes have developed in modern society where men are seen as ‘too strong’ to ask for help. This is madness. Noone is too strong to ask for help, admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. As I am going to be talking about in a future blog I have had counselling in the past. At first, I thought it was weak and would do nothing to me however after going for a few weeks I found it a great aid to me. Counselling allowed me to talk about the problems that I was having in a judgement free environment and then I could work with my counsellor to help resolve my problems.

People need to be informed of the signs that someone is struggling in day to day life. What quite a lot of people don’t understand is evening asking someone if they are alright can make the world of difference. Learning to distinguish the signs that someone is struggling is key when trying to help them. People often have their own symptoms and signs that they are struggling and simply recognising these can allow you to plan how you are going to help them resolve their problems.

Thank you for reading today’s blog in my new male mental health series. This is as far as I want to go for today’s blog as I don’t want the blogs to be too long that they lose their focus and the point they are trying to make. IF anyone has any questions or thoughts on the new series please let me know. What do you think about male mental health? Do we as a society need to change? Why is sharing problems seen as weak? Does strength in numbers become relevant here?

Thanks,

James