Recently, I started changing my physical lifestyle. I started eating better & attending a local gym. Now this isn’t the first time that I thought about getting healthy, but most of the time it didn’t last more that a week, at best. I have stuck at these changes for about 6 weeks, so far. I have managed to lose 1st 5lbs in that time. Though, I have also managed to cry especially after ‘Leg Day’.
The difference between this time and all the other times, is that I got a scary wake up call. I had my blood pressure checked by a local pharmacist, it was 146/97. He did have to check it 3 times & change the machine, to make sure the reading was correct. The high blood pressure scared the crap out of me & gave me the motivation to change my lifestyle & stick to those changes.
With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I have been thinking about my mental health and whether I am looking after it as well as I should be. I don’t want to wait until it’s to late to ask for help.
I have been a dad for 5 years now, so you would think that I would be top of all the crap that comes along with parenting, but I’m not. I still get days where I think I am the shitest dad in the world. I still get the so called ‘mum guilt’s’; contrary to popular belief, these are not exclusively for mums. Most days I am completely exhausted, literally from the minute I wake up. All this rolled put together makes me feel run down, tired, emotional & sometimes I feel like I’m a useless husband, dad & man.
I am fortunate enough to have a very supportive wife, family & friends who I can talk to. My wife usually knows when there is something up with me & will always ask what’s up, but I don’t always want to seem vulnerable & open up straight away. I have this skill of waiting until it builds up so much that I turn into a blubbering mess. Usually, it starts over something so small & minor but then I let it stew and it seems so much worse than it really is.
Men often struggle to talk about how they are feeling, or to admit they are not ok, but it doesn’t make you less of a man to talk to someone. Asking for help in your time of need is an act of bravery and one that should be encouraged.
As a parent, I have an obligation to teach our children that it is ok to ask for help. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to be you. Because at the end of the day, everyone is different but most importantly nobody is perfect.
One of things I fear most as a dad, is that my sons would feel that they couldn’t or shouldn’t talk about how they are feeling; if they are sad, scared or worried. Even though my boys are only 5 & 3, myself & Mrs B always tell them that they can tell us anything & that no matter what they tell us or what they do, we will always love them. We encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. We don’t tell them they are being silly. We try to make sure that they never get put off talking to us. In teaching the boys to be open, I have learned that this is something that I need to try to embrace myself.
We have been given the ability to communicate with each other, so we should do it! It doesn’t matter whether you are happy, sad, depressed or think your life isn’t worth anything. Just talk to someone because it matters.
One of the most successful mental health recovery plans is the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan). It uses a Wellness Toolbox, which is something that could be listed on paper or items in an actual box. The point of the toolbox is to put things on it/in it that help you stay well or help you when you are struggling. These are usually very simple things like talking to a friend, listening to music or go to the gym etc.
Today, I was in a really bad mood for most of the day but couldn’t seem to shake it. I went to the gym, as I had planned and after the session, I felt so much better mentally. Physically, on the other hand… not so much yet!
And your wellbeing matters.