Mental Health UK – Opening Up
The amount of times I’ve had people say to me “you’re doing it”, “you’ve made it” or “you’re smashing it” is testament to how it looks from the outside.
A couple of years ago when I was an employee at a law firm, I remember a time when one of my work colleagues came up with a challenge where each of us in the team had to say one thing to describe another. Something I absolutely hate doing.
As if being annoyed with the challenge wasn’t enough, I got “lucky” enough to have been given her as the person I had to describe. I’m a nice guy, always have been, so I couldn’t say what I was thinking: “you ask too many questions and talk so much shit” lol.
Instead I came out with “umm, you’re inquisitive”. It’s the first word that came to my mind, and I just wanted to get it over with. But she was delighted with it, boosted her confidence. Lesson in there, how you can make someone’s day by re-wording what you say.
But anyway, it came to my turn being described: “you’ve got it all figured out”.
Silent By Nature
I suppose that’s the effect of being a quiet guy. I’m silent by nature. Talking is something that requires a helluva lot of effort. So, I rarely talk to people. That includes friends and family.
In fact, when my wife was in Pakistan for almost a year, I think the total number of phone calls between us was about 3!
Yep, that’s not a lie or an exaggeration. She still doesn’t let me live it down now. But that’s just the way I am, and have always been. (Messaging and texting was more consistent, before you think I’m a callous prick – albeit it wasn’t enough according to her, but then it never is with women ha).
Being quiet. Getting on with things. Having achievements that show. Answering questions and opinions in as little words as possible…I can see why people would think I have it figured out.
But there’s a saying that goes, the quietest mouths have the loudest minds, or some shit like that. Or is it the quietest minds have the loudest mouths?! I don’t know, whatever it is.
Voices In My Head
Point being my quiet, calm, “figured out” outward demeanour contains a mind full of utter chaos, confusion and an orchestra of voices.
Yes, voices. I’m not crazy or mental, but I don’t stop talking to myself. There’s a loud conversation, or several conversations, going on in my head at all times. Be honest, you talk to yourself a lot too don’t you?
If not monitored, if not controlled, the effect can be destructive. There is no bigger enemy for a person than their own mind.
Recent Mental Health Issues
So after thirty years of being a social recluse, of keeping myself to myself, of keeping my thoughts private, what’s changed for me to decide to open up all of a sudden?
Well, there are a few reasons, but it included recent mental health issues such as:
There are hundreds of such articles. The worst part…apparently 13 men kill themselves EVERYDAY in the UK.
I find it staggering that the levels of unhappiness, stress and depression are so high in a first world country, that probably is one of the strongest in the world in terms of amenities and living standards.
It seems that everyone is stressed, anxious or depressed about something. Most don’t even realise it or acknowledge it and end up doing stupid shit in response.
The facts and figures show that it doesn’t apply to a specific type of person or circumstance. It’s pretty much across the board.
From the articles above it’s clear to see that the young are struggling with mental health issues and emotional problems at an age which should be fun and carefree.
You, reading this, most likely have a whole host of reasons for being anxious and stressed init?
They say talking helps. I’m not sure. But I’m going to find out.
So the point of this post, and the ones that are gonna follow hopefully on a regular basis, is to use myself to help other people open up and deal with their worries. I encourage you to talk and share your thoughts, with me, or anyone else you think of.
It’s also a personal challenge for me to evolve and work on personal development. After being a wall for so long, it’s not easy being open…the fear of “what will people think”, “you’re gona sound like a pussy”, “people are gona think lesser of you” and what not is in full force.
But it’s a fear I intend to conquer, along with the fear of public speaking, however that’s a topic for another day. Contemplating whether to publish this article or not has taken much energy, doubt and thought, so that fact that I’ve done is a good first step.
It probably will help me too to help others. They say the best therapy is to help others. So if my words help just one person, I’ll be satisfied.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk to complete strangers. I know I personally would be too embarrassed to get in touch with someone I know and say “yo, I feel shit.”
That’s enough now for the first one. The plan is to go into more detail in further articles about the kinds of things that are causing stress and mental health problems in general, as well as publicly opening up about the kinda shit that is dragging me down, before then moving into discussing solutions.
One such article I wrote about solutions can be found by clicking here: <Treatment for Anxiety>
If any of the above resonated with you, or if you have any stresses and struggles please do speak up. My messages are open if you wana keep it private.
Please also like, share and comment, it would mean a lot to me, and for my confidence in writing this.
Your feedback, about the content, writing style or anything else would be crucial too to help me write better articles, so please give it.
‘preciate your time, until the next one…
Mental health does not discriminate, it is so important to start the conversation. Thanks for your post
Absolutely, it doesn’t discriminate. Thank you.
Your article is wonderfully written, very informative and I like the personal connection with it. Like you were talking to me and not at me great job!
I appreciate the comment, thank you.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this subject, which is still largely taboo in the UK as you say. Although I don’t personally suffer from mental health issues, my father and sister did and one of my best friends does too. It is very common but not talked about nearly enough or discussed.
Sites like this and personal stories like yours are great for opening up the debates and getting people talking about this very important issue that affects millions of people.
Thank you very much for your comment. I agree, it is very common…too common i’d say given we live in one of the most advanced societies ever.
Great stuff zulfi. Keep it up. Great content and such a important topic that needs to be addressed especially in the south Asian culture where men are programmed to be tough and show no emotions. We need more people opening up and being told it’s ok to get help. There should be no shame in it.
Hey, thank you. You’re right about the South Asian culture, they go a step further to make it look like they’re tougher than what they’re actually feeling.
You always were full of wise words….when you decided to speak 🙂
Very well written Zully, keep up the good work.
Ha, thank you for the compliment.
Thanks for sharing. My husband sounds very similar to yourself, and its like you have been working so hard to get to where you have got to, then early 30’s comes knocking on your door, and you are like, what have I been doing it all for?! Who cares if I have a nice car, who cars if I have a fancy watch! But we keep climbing that ladder. To where? And what for?
It’s a cliche, but we have taken up camping and are trying to get back to basics, live the simple life for better mental health.
Hi, thank you for your comment. You’ve done the right thing about camping, and going back to basics. It definitely is one of the things that will help a lot, of which I hope to discuss soon.
I like your honest and healthy approach to tackling mental health issues. I once heard someone say that everyone has or will have a mental health a mental health issue in their lifetime.
I love the way you identified that having it all doesn’t necessary make us mentally sound. The story you highlighted is a very good one. I do hope we all become more comfortable talking about issues like this.
Yikes, I sure hope that’s a stat that won’t come true. Appreciate the comment, thank you.
Very well written Zulfi and definitely a brave disclosure. With hindsight, I thought you were the complete opposite in our Uni days. You have addressed a sensitive topic so well. Good on you ?
Thank you Samina. Lol…i’m pretty sure many people had a much different opinion…at least that’s what i’m finding out now with all the comments since i’ve started writing.
Hi there Zulfaqar,
Thank you kindly for speaking out, by means of your site in regards to mental health issues. What people don’t realize is what is going on in peoples minds, despite the outward appearance.
I decided a few years ago, to adopt Thai economics into my life and not judge things by how successful I am or how well off financially I may be but to judge by how happy I am – a real measure of economics in my opinion as the old saying goes there are just somethings money can’t buy and happiness is one of them.
Hi Derek…thank you for your comment. You’re absolutely correct about how to measure success…too many of us just get that wrong. Interesting…I may look into Thai economics. Thanks