June Round-Up

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June has been one wild month, so much has happened and so much more is to come.


FamilySo we start the month with my sisters birthday, but due to my busy schedule and the fact the Champions League Final was on this weekend (she’s a Liverpool fan), we ended up meeting for a meal on Friday night which was last month but shhhh. It was a really nice evening to see my Sister and Dad, as I don’t see them that often and had a chance to celebrate my sis’ birthday. Getting old now!

 


img_20190603_074300_240Another reason we did her birthday meal early is that on her actual birthday I was at a wedding. Number one of four for the year. You can tell you are growing up when you start getting wedding invites. This one was for my friend Steve whom I work with. (The stag do I mentioned a few months back) So on a lovely sunny morning, we all got ready to head over to a picturesque lake in Northamptonshire to share the lovely moment of a wedding with him.


img_20190605_102149_442Then the 7-year-old me had his wildest dreams come true as the GF and I went to watch the Spice Girls. The GF got tickets from her family at Christmas after months of hints as soon as the tour was announced. So we got there, had a cheeky burger and settled in to watch the girls slam it to the left and have a good time. They were really good and still after all these years managed to hold a crowd and put on a great show.

There were a few rude moments from rude people, but sadly they are everywhere. It’s never ideal when they invade personal space and trample you – especially when we were seated it’s just not on. Shame. But overall it was a really fun night and the GF had an amazing time.


img_20190610_103929_645The month goes on, the following weekend in the lovely sunny weather we all went to “Barclaycards Fun Day” – a massive fun day event that Barclaycard put on every year for their employees and families. £5 a ticket, which included a lunch of a burger, chips and a drink. There was also a sea of inflatable castles, walls and assault courses, Go Karting, Bumper Cars, Shooting, Candy Floss Stalls and Face painting. It’s so much fun and I’ve been 3 years on the bounce now. There is also a tradition of taking a photo of me and Sister 5 (my lil bestie) and this year I threw them all together where you can see how much she has grown. #MEGACUTE.

Overall the day was so much fun, a nice moment of relaxation and fun in the midst of busy adult life.


img_20190616_150914_271Did someone say WEDDING! Time for another one – this time it’s the GF’s Uncle who married an Indian lady, which meant Indian Wedding. It was a long day, having to be in Chipping Norton for 8.30am (which is over an hour away from us), we got there in the nick of time and sat down to the English Ceremony, then had a few hours to kill before the Indian Ceremony started. Everyone looked amazing, the babies where rocking cute dresses, I wore a tie, everyone was on point.

The Indian part of the wedding was such an experience as well. To be involved in something so culturally amazing. It went on for a while and the babies started to get a little tetchy at the end but they did so well overall for the whole day. We then partied into the night and didn’t get home till midnight. But it was a great day.

That is 2 of our 4 Weddings for the year done!


1561494549327Now time to mention the fun times of a ceremonial right of passage for any wedding – THE STAG DO. And what a Do it was. My best boy Tom is getting married at the end of July and after much planning the stag do was afoot. Hosted in Nottingham, 30 of the best and brightest teamed up to show him a great time. We went Go Karting, to begin with, and then after a couple of beers on the train, we hit Nottingham Town. We had a sophisticated meal at a local establishment named Hooters, where the beers flowed and the chicken was served. Then we head for the nearest bar and begin.

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Such a good night but being a big group we got a lot of grief from Bouncers who, even in broken up smaller groups would still not let us into a few places, while moving us aside to allow streams of girls in skimpy clothing in. I don’t want to call Sexism here but . . . well, it wasn’t fair.

Anyway, it got to 1am and I was starting to flag, been up since 6am, was a tad drunk and not a fan of club music so me and a friend snuck away to get pizza and ended up sitting on a bench in the centre eating pizza and putting the world to rights. To then sneak back in time for kicking out and home time. What champions we were!


 

That is the lot for this month I think, some side mentions that can’t go amiss: We got NFL Tickets for the Raiders-Bears game in October at the new Spurs ground which is going to be AWESOME. I announced that next month I have a chance to catch the new Spider-Man film early and I’m also booked in for another blogging opportunity next month which I will reveal soon. Now after all that I might go for a sit-down and a cuppa tea.

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Mental Health Movement

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Working out a way to do something. To give a safe space for people who want to talk and want to open up. So without further ado please welcome, share and support. . .

“Pizza Ma Mind”


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Over the next few months I’ll be trialing several things like weekly Twitter Chats and support points. Just to get the word out and the name spread. If you can help, suggest anything or just point me in a direction. All and everything will be much appreciated.

 

 


 

What is Mental Health?

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The first step to accepting and understanding Mental Health is to know what it is. This is a journey and post we’ll learn together.

Simply put it’s the psychological and emotional well-being of a person.

This is what MIND say about MH:

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.

Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. This can feel just as bad as a physical illness, or even worse.

Some of the statistics regarding MH as according to the Mental Health Organisation are as followed:

  • In England women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders as men.
  • In 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.
  • 1 in 6.8 people are experience mental health problems in the workplace.
  • Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.
  • 1 in 8 adults in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.

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Learning these numbers was shocking. Especially the ones relating to Work Life. 1 in 6.8 people is the one that hit me. At work there is 7 of us in our team. Which means one of us is likely to experience something. But due to the stigma attached to MH, people do their best to hide it from the world. Which isn’t healthy at all. There is not shame in admitting you’ve lost a step or two.

I often think this about Work, but it could also be applied to Life I guess. “It’s such a easy thing, but it’s made complicated by people and their actions. If everyone was honest and easygoing there wouldn’t be a problem” If people weren’t afraid to open up, or if people were accepting of MH and didn’t look at it with disgust or horror the world would be a healthier, happier place.

The stats are horrific and as a society and race we need to make a change. We can’t have this level of suffering, this level of uncomfortableness. Change is needed. Remove the Stigma and live our best lives to our fullest potential.

 

 

 

Who is Mental Health?

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I follow a large number of bloggers and Mental Health Advocates who talk so strongly and openly about their own MH, MH as a whole and ways to raise awareness. With this in mind I wanted to showcase and share those people with you. I took to twitter to ask for help and for people’s posts to share. The response I got was MASSIVE and I am so thankful and appreciative of everyone wanting to get involved.

Everyone that has commented will get a mention in some form or another.


MWBM


ODP


PWVS

  • Erica over on The Prepping Wife
  • Her Twitter Page is: The Prepping Wife
  • MH Post – Veteran Suicide
    • This post is a great look a MH in the Armed Forces, be it in the States, UK or anywhere I imagine it’s the same regardless. This post is insightful and eye opening as Erica details the little things the Vet has to deal with when returning that we take for granted and don’t think about. Also I never realised the Suicide number was this high. It’s such a shame these people give so much for their country and for peace, but are rewarded with mentally challenging situations.

hj

  • Helen over on Helen’s Journey
  • Her Twitter Page is: Helen’s Journey
  • MH Post – How to Give Yourself a Break. . . . .
    • This is a great pick me up, remember you are amazing, look after yourself style post. It’s a reminder and that is so important for everyone to hear. Even if you don’t think it, you are important and you need a dose of positivity every so often.

Tiam

  • Tiffany over on Love Always Tiffany
  • Her Twitter Page is: Love Always Tiff
  • MH Post – I Am More Than Sad
    • This post is short but sweet and to the point. Highlighting the difference between Sadness and Depression, and being ok with admitting the problem, seeking help and looking to get better. Tiff as always you are a gem!

Hiontb

  • Hollie over on Life with my Trio
  • Her Twitter Page is: Hollie Cagney
  • MH Post – It’s Ok Not To Be Ok
    • Hollies post is one of the most relatable, real posts I’ve ever read. The idea of trying to portray a normal persona to save face but really on the inside being torn and broken. This reminds of me of the below line from Scrubs.


Honourable Mentions

As I said above I was overwhelmed by comments and people wanting to share stories, articles and posts in the name of MH. I’d have loved to have done the above for all of them but then this post would have gone on for days. So the ones I’ve missed but still deserve some recognition are as followed:

Sophie – TwitterBlog
Roberta – TwitterBook
Chloe – TwitterBlog
Joan – TwitterBlog
Nell – TwitterBlog
Jordyn – TwitterBlog
Marlena – TwitterBlog
Kat – TwitterBlog
Natasha – TwitterBlog
Nikki – TwitterBlog
Meditative Owl (Can’t find her name, sorry) – TwitterBlog
Koral – TwitterBlog
Stephen – TwitterBlog
Nykole – TwitterBlog
Jackie – TwitterBlog
Anneka – TwitterBlog
Maureen – TwitterBlog
Jade Marie – Twitter Blog
Catey – Twitter Blog
Sarah – Twitter Blog
Elizabeth – Twitter Blog
Christina – Twitter Blog

 

What To Do Next?

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As you might be aware of recent I’ve been a bit quiet on the social media, blog front. Just because I’ve been left feeling very deflated and . . . . well like this.


Stuck in a lifestyle that I am not a great fan of anymore. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to bad mouth these aspects of my life because they have served me well and I’ve learnt and grown from them. But it is now time to move on and take a bigger step forward. Though how realistic is that?

Not to moan about money but sadly this is what makes life tick over. I know I should live in the moment. Enjoy what I have. Can’t take it with you bullshit. But sadly Karen that isn’t the world we live in. The fact of the matter is if I don’t earn X amount a month I won’t be able to pay my bills, buy food or get by. So if I bring home less than that or I have a sick day and don’t get paid. I feel the pinch.

It’s horrible.

But what can I do? How can I make my life better? I’d love to go freelance. In photography or media or blogging. But taking that plunge is an unrealistic step for me. I’d love to get into charity work. Especially Male Mental Health based work. To help give a voice to people. To do something meaningful and to make a difference but sadly in the most none selfish way that won’t pay my mortgage. Not to begin with anyway.

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A very supportive and lovely friend said the following to me earlier – “You really could do it full-time I believe in you buddy! You’re written word is fantastic, I love your content and you are always one of the first people to boost people up in this community! I honestly couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more than you.”

Which is crazy cute and mega supportive of her and it made me think – who else thinks this of me, maybe I could be this figurehead that people look up to, maybe I could help everyone.

I’m thinking about setting up a movement / brand / organisation that focuses on those goals of raising awareness and money for Male Mental Health charities. Which is where I will need your help.

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I just hope something like this can and will give me purpose and until I find my feet I will have to keep going with my current affairs but in time, maybe one day, I will be able to stand up tall and look back at what I have done with pride.


 

Welcome to StrongMen

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StrongMen – What is it and what it is doing.


Just so you know this if not an AD, the Charity didn’t come to me. I asked them if I could write about them to help spread the word of who they are.

As many of you might know recently I discovered Channel 4’s S.A.S Who Dares Wins. Which pits a team of average joe recruits through a version of the selection progress for the Special Forces, lead by a tough team of Directing Staff which is made up of Ex Special Forces Operatives; Ant Middleton, Jason Fox, Matthew Ollerton and Mark Billingham.

Each season highlights the recruits back stories and reasons for taking on such a challenge, and each season for me has a couple of people who really stand out with some truly emotionally touching stories. Earlier seasons showed me Ehrem’s story and the season just gone showed me Mark and Milo’s stories. All dealing with grief, loss and a drive to prove themselves in honour of their lost family members.

Obviously as the world is very social media driven I jumped on the bandwagon to follow both Mark and Milo on Instagram. Only to find out their relationship has continued after the show and they are embarking on a Charity Climb of Mont Blanc in July with Ollie Ollerton. All in the name of “StrongMen”. Which got me thinking, who are they?


StrongMen

StrongMen is a non-profit organisation set up by several Ex-Recruits and a D.S. from the show. Their mission, to tackle Mental Health issues caused by bereavement and suffering in men. Offering weekend retreats for Men aged 18-55 who have suffered a bereavement of a family member.

With grief and loss being one of the main causes to depression, stress and other such mental health issues the team at StrongMen have set up retreats to focus on several aspects of life; from diet, to exercise, to leisure activities – all with the goal of helping men open up and talk about their emotions and problems. Even if you are not effected by such things I strongly urge you to check out, look into this group and support the team at StrongMen.


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Mental Health is an ever-growing concern in this modern world, as it becomes more widely recognised and accepted. There is still a stigma behind Men and their diagnoses but with the help of organisations like StrongMen we can move away from that stigma and make it socially acceptable to be worry free and open to discuss what is really going on in our mind.

Men can still be the strong characters they always have been, but there is also no shame or harm in being open about what is going on inside your head. Especially if it results in help.

 

 


With all of this new and fresh in my mind it’s really made me take a step back to evaluate my own personal mental health. The up’s, the downs and the vague patches in the middle. Evaluating my own thoughts and well-being has been on the forefront of a lot of discussions recently. Growing as a blogger I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with several Mental Health bloggers for both Men and Women and this has helped me dramatically change my opinion on the topic for the better.

IMG_20180121_224107_636I suffered a bereavement nearly four years ago now, where I lost my Mother. I was 24. It was the start of the summer and I was sat in a beer garden in Northampton with some friends. Just a standard evening of drinks after work to unwind. When I got a phone call. My sisters number, but it was my Dad on the phone. He broke the news to me that she had passed away. Regardless of my relationship with her it was still a shock and worse of all I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I couldn’t even drive the 70 mile trip home there and then because I was in a beer garden. Though I have always be a strong-minded character I think that deep down I have never properly grieved. I just took a deep breath and got on with making sure my sister was ok and putting my Mothers affairs in order as I organised a funeral. (My Parents were Divorced as this point, so power of the estate was in my hands).

I’d never thought about this as a contributing factor to my Mental Health before, but with life getting busier, Adulthood creeping in and responsibilities racking up that tower of Life begins to wobble and lean a bit from time to time. Maybe throwing “Money worries” “Frustration at work” and a dash of “Road Rage” into a pot on top of a ungrevied significant moment in my life isn’t a great move – but then on the flip side maybe I am at ease with it all and how I dealt with it was perfectly rational and understandable during that time in my life.


It is a serious discussion we should be having and with the help of organisations like StrongMen I truly believe that discussion will be taking place more frequently.

As much as I am no professional, I like to think I am a supportive guy who will help anyone, with that in mind – if you want to talk, open up or even just have the knowledge and thought that someone is there. Here I am. Don’t be shy.

I will always be there for you all.