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

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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!

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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