It’s important to talk…..

On Wednesday, I had a very bad day, I forgot to do something very important at work, and the impact of my error was pretty horrific. The details are irrelevant, suffice to say I’m still beating myself up over it three days later. On Thursday, having had another night of broken, uncomfortable sleep, I woke up and sat on the bed, crying, not sobbing uncontrollably, but silently weeping, until I managed to compose myself, and go to get ready. I arrived at work, and sat in the car park, again, the tears came thick and fast, and it took a good twenty minutes to compose myself to go into the building. It was at this point that I realised, I wasn’t in this state because of what happened the day before, rather, the events of the day before were a result of the state that I have got myself in, over a period of months, gradually deepening and darkening until it has come to a snapping point. I have been burying this feeling for months, putting my head in the sand, denying that it was happening, firstly to avoid worrying those closest to me, who have their own issues to deal with, but also, because I didn’t want to admit to myself that the black dog had come back and was winning again.

I’m a walking cliché, by the way, I’m in work, in a caring profession, I’m also a singer, and a wannabe comedian, I’m married, for the second time, I’m in a comedy ukulele band which is phenomenally popular, not only in Sheffield, but increasingly countrywide and even reaching the four corners of the globe. Life, it turns out, is actually really good. So, what have I got to be depressed about? nothing. really simple answer, I have no specific thing to be depressed about, but that’s the kicker with depression, it’s irrational, arbitrary, random and inexplicable in who it affects and why. It hurts people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, it’s colour-blind, sees no religion, gender, or sexual orientation, that’s one thing you can say about depression, it’s had its diversity training and is a fully equal opportunities condition!

So, yesterday I left work early, and went to my G.P. He was calming, listened to me opening up about the last few days, few weeks, few months, he asked me a lot of questions, which prompted me to give some answers which shocked me, answers which had never occurred to me, but explained so much about what’s brought me to this dark place. it was upsetting, I cried, a lot, but afterwards, still a bit shaky, waiting in the pharmacy for my prescription, I felt a sense of relief, like a weight was lifting slightly from my shoulders. I’m signed off work for a couple of weeks, I have a couple of weeks holiday, and I’m back to see the doctor in a month. Apparently the tablets can take about a month to really start working, so I think realistically, being back at work in a month is probably a bit ambitious.

Which brings us up to date, and the reason for this blog. If there’s one thing that has always kept me going, it’s being able to communicate with people, to share ideas and just generally put something of myself out into the world, to leave a legacy I guess. Since I went public on Facebook and Twitter about this current black dog attack, I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the messages of love, support and kindness from friends, family and from followers of the band, the sheer number of messages and weight of support has made me realise that not only do I have good reason to feel very lucky and loved, I also have a duty to try and use my voice to get a message out to the world, specifically to men, that it IS important to talk, that it ISN’T a sign of weakness to cry, to not be ok, to not ‘man up’ (I have begun to hate that phrase with a passion) and that the bravest move to make is to stop, accept the problem, and get some help. So, this is going to be a blog about my journey, and hopefully a place where I can make you laugh, cry, and maybe think.

6 Comments

  1. Brill blog and nothing better to kick the black dog up the arse but to to share how you feel and get help this isnt a sign of weakness but a sign of strength and getting the upper and with the black dog x you have hit the nail on the head with your blog and how it does not descriminate keep going keep winning x

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  2. Shaun Thank God, you’re using your Voice, taking a stance & Shouting From the Rooftops, about ‘The Black Dog’ I too suffer with ‘Depression’ suffered in Silence for Years, had all the ‘Man up, Get a Grip, what have you to Feel Depressed about?’ Quotes plus the Old Yorkshire Spirit of Come on to myself, I Listened too much, result a massive Breakdown, I’m still a shadow of what I was, but Moving ever forwards, Wish I’d done as You Have, come Clean that I was suffering & needed Help, I might be further along this path, But I get some solid strength from People Like you, Go on our Kid, I’m Proud of you👌 Ken

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  3. I said you were brave for reaching out for yourself and I am so proud of you for trying to help others and break the stigma of mental health. I look forward to reading about your musings and reflections.

    Much respect

    Amanda

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  4. This is beautiful Shaun. So good to share these things and you’re right that it’s especially important for men to open more about mental health. I hope you find writing your thoughts down and seeing the support from others therapeutic, as your many talents and kindness are therapeutic to both people you know and strangers all over. I’d like you to know that just reading this has helped me personally. I’m a head-burrier. I’ve always felt obliged to be perceived as being strong by others and to get to this state I tend to beat myself up if I feel a bit delicate, which obviously doesn’t help. Reading this, I’ve realised that I should extend the same compassion to myself as I feel towards you in your situation. As well as looking after each other, we have to look after ourselves! I really admire your openness, it’s encouraged me to talk more with my friends. So thank you and warm wishes. Keep writing! Xx

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  5. Thank goodness you’re opening up and that you were brave enough to visit the doctor and realise you needed help. I feel your pain I’ve been in the exact same place twice it’s dark in there but know that all your mates and family have candles to show you the way out and know we all love and care about you

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