SJP 360's Zandie Thornton has penned a piece on his mental health journey for this Saturday's copy of The Grecian, which is dedicated to the work of Andy's Man Club.
Before the covid-19 pandemic that’s dominated the airwaves over the past year, I was asked to tell my mental health story by the club.
The video had a great response and it felt like I had played my part in actively continuing a conversation that society has been encouraging us more and more to have.
Of course, a few things have happened since then that has taken precedent, but with this weekend’s match being our dedicated game for mental health, it seems a good time to continue this conversation.
For the last year, a large amount of time has seen us relegated to staying in our homes and avoiding one of the most fundamental principles that makes us human - connection with one another. It’s almost felt as though the opposite of what can improve a person’s mental health has had to be sacrificed to protect our physical health, and the lockdowns have been hard on us, particularly mentally.
I know at times I have struggled with the feeling of Groundhog Day during this pandemic. Much of our normal lives have been disrupted - everything from physically being with other people to treating ourselves to a dash of retail therapy or nice meals out - have been severely hampered due to the pandemic. I’m lucky in that I live with my partner and daughter, so my heart goes out completely to those that haven’t had such luxuries and may have spent large amounts of time on their own over the last year.
I can tell you without a shred of doubt that one of the worst things that we can do for our mental health is spending excessive time alone. Humans are pack animals, and regardless of whether you’re an introvert like myself or an extravert, we need the interaction of others to maintain a healthy mind.
I actively encourage everyone that has or hasn’t been struggling with their mental health to reach out and see and speak to other people (safely, of course). It is vitally important to regain that connection, and if you’re fortunate enough to have not had mental health battles during these strange times I encourage you to speak to friends and family that may have done, whether they have explicitly told you or not.
Sadly, there will be many people who have and will continue to suffer in silence, and having a conversation with them may just save a life. That may sound like hyperbole, but just having a conversation with someone and really listening to what they’re saying could be what saves a life from being unnecessarily cut short.
If you’re struggling, speak to someone. Anyone. Speak to a friend. Speak to a family member. Speak to a doctor. Speak to the Samaritans or any of the other mental health helplines. Just talk to someone.
I read something incredibly powerful a while back that simply stated “I would rather listen to your problems than listen to your eulogy”.
Numbers that can help: