Two days ago I had a severe mental health episode in town. I had been to A&E a day or so before due to feeling highly unstable, traumatised and suicidal. I was struggling badly at home so called a my housemate (also a great friend) who was in town. I needed to reach someone, so I drove into town (it was difficult to get there but I managed to park).
My friend told me to meet at a cafe in town but she wasn’t there. I had destroyed my phone a day or so earlier due to trauma that might have been down to trying to help a friend who was suicidal the day before. I had already phone the Samaritans a few hours before he became suicidal.
It’s all been a blur and so I probably can’t give you an accurate timeframe of events. This post is more about other people’s reactions to my breakdown in town.
I was stood outside my previous doctor’s surgery clasping my head, and saying things like “I’m feeling confused. I need help” and “What’s going on?”. I was obviously in need of help, and yet people walked straight past me. I have tried working out why this might be? Was it because:
- Being six foot with a shaved head and muscles, makes people scared of me?
- I’m a man, and men need to sort out their own problems? I asked myself if a woman struggling might have got more support? (again I don’t know, please let me know what you think)
- Did people think I was on drugs or drunk? And therefore perceived my problem as self-inflicted?
I don’t know. However I was desperate for a passerby to #reachout to me. Luckily I eventually managed to stumble into the police station which was nearby and a kind police officer and receptionist helped me over the nest hour or so. Huge thanks to those at Abergavenny Police Station for their support.
Please reach out to those in need. A man (or woman) who is emotionally struggling needs as much support as someone who is collapsed and bleeding on the floor. We need more awareness of mental health, and mental health first aid.
Check out these:
- Mental Health First Aid courses (MHFA Wales, MHFA England, MHFA Scotland, MHFA Ireland)
- Emotional First Aid (a talk by Guy Winch)
My head has gone at the moment, so this blog post might not make a lot of sense. However hopefully I can get your feedback on this, in the comments below. Let’s share our experiences. Thanks, Mike.