Piers Morgan, being the chuntering waste of cum that he is, decreed last week that when faced with a mental health issue, the men of Britain should just get a stiff upper lip and “man up”. Which, I think you’ll agree, is probably one of the fucking stupidest and most toxic things possible to ever pass the brain filter and fall into the festering bucket of screaming twats that is Twitter (apologies to all my Twitter followers).
So I’m here to tell you that being told to “man up” is the worst possible advice to give someone struggling with a mental health issue, whether they’re a man, woman, non-binary, trans or whatever, “manning up” just simply isn’t an issue, Your body and your mind is a finite space, and when there’s no more room left to store your problems, there’s every chance you’ll start to malfunction.
Probably for a good chunk of the last few years, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, to the point that roughly two years ago exactly, it got to the point where I was about to call it a day and find out if heaven was more than a DJ Sammy song. I’d gotten to the point that the only option I had was to end my own life, because the way things were, being honest and upfront about the fact I was teetering on the edge just wasn’t an option.
The main peak of my mental shitehousery stems from being in a somewhat abusive relationship for around a year and a half. I don’t know what your definition of “abusive” may be, but I’d certainly argue that having your nose bent out of shape by your pissed up girlfriend, with smatterings of being told that you’re hated, plus being screamed at, might be a bit abusive. At the end of that, the reality of the last 18 or so months began to sink in, the fact that I’d essentially started to waste away mentally, whilst looking like a bloated corpse phyiscally. My weight had ballooned and I was a pale, pasty shell of the Butler that had largely been enjoying life up until that point.
To this day, I’m pretty sure nobody believes me that this actually happened, because it’s just simply impossible that a 6″3 man moutain could get beaten up and pushed about by his girlfriend, but that’s what happens. But this also serves as an important part of a different conversation that domestic abuse doesn’t have a gender, a sexuality, a race. It can happen to anyone, and if I can offer you one piece of advice if you are in one; get yourself to the safest fucking place imaginable before it’s too late.
Sometimes, I think about the night I was ready to take my final bows and wander off the stage, and think about how close I was to not being here. If it wasn’t for my two best friends leaping into action, allowing me to hysterically cry down the phone, letting out a year of pent up sadness, you can bet that I wouldn’t be here today. Whilst I don’t really like dragging them into the bubbling tar pit that is my mind, I can’t thank my bois Danny & Reece for guiding me through probably the darkest period of my life. Thanks to them, I’m still here, still living it up to the best of my ability. Things are still shit in my brain, but I’m still here to try and fix it.
The months after that were a total struggle, but being able to frequently talk about how I felt, being checked up on & guided helped a lot. Which is why Piss Moron’s comments about “manning up” are so toxic. Because that’s what’s killed so many men before, that’s what’s going to kill so many men this year, and that’s what’s going to kill so many more men unless we can do more to break the stigma surrounding male mental health. I haven’t written this blog as a “woe is me” piece, I’ve written it so that the walls surrounding mental health can be torn down, to let people know that it’s okay not to be okay, because it can happen to anyone, and being able to have someone there to help you through it and talk it out is paramount.
I’d also like to offer this up to anyone who doesn’t feel they’ve got anybody they can talk to. You can follow me on Twitter as @notoliverbutler and DM me, and I’ll gladly chat to you.
To this day, I still suffer from depression, anxiety and slight paranoia. Whilst people sometimes see me as a confident young man, I am frightened to death about meeting new people, and can convince myself that an entire room of people fucking hate me. I’m convinced my friends hate me, I’m convinced their friends hate me, and I’m convinced that you, yes you, reading this, hate me as well. The only time I handle myself well through social situations is when I’m drinking, and even then it usually goes the opposite way.
Last year I went through a particularly shitey breakup which pushed me down to the bottom again, to the point where I harmed myself. Don’t ask me why I did it, but at that moment in time, the feeling of driving something sharp into my skin seemed to relieve me of a lot of the mental anguish I was feeling, probably because I’d driven a fucking sharp piece of metal into my skin. Again, I’ve spoke about this and nobody believed me, because who’d expect me to do that? But the thing is, anybody can feel like that is a viable option, instead of talking about it and working your way through it, it’s best to bottle it up and deal with it in more harmful ways, because that’s how society has conditioned us to think.
The thing about mental illness is that it’s unpredictable. It’s an illness, much like the common cold, which you can’t help suffering from. So why should depression be any different? Any life event could trigger your brain to start running at a different tempo, and it doesn’t discriminate. Prince William and Harry have spoke about struggling with mental health issues following on from the death of their mother, so if it can happen to the heirs of the British throne, it can happen to you.
Instead of listening to a man who has an entire fucking television show dedicated to getting celebrities to FUCKING OPEN UP TO HIM, it’s time for all of us to talk. It’s time for all of us to be honest with ourselves and ask: how are we today? Stigmas and stereotypes around mental illnesses need to end to allow us to get better. The NHS is crumbling and mental health provisions are getting few and far between under this current government, so it’s time for us to care for each other, it’s time for us to talk about how we’re feeling and begin to tear down the mental borders that stop us from getting better, because without it, more and more people are going to die each year, when they shouldn’t be.
It’s incredibly hard to open up, especially when you feel like your problems and issues aren’t valid, but know that you can’t help feeling the way you do. If you feel so low to the point you have to admit you’re not okay, then your illness is valid, and together, we can help each other get better.