Tomorrow our good mates at Black Sheep Cycling start 'The Man Ride'. The goal? To raise awareness of men's mental illness. As guys, we're not great at sharing our feelings, and one of the big aims of The Man Ride is to get people talking.
So to get things flowing we're going to share some real experiences. The more we share, the more others will share. Talking can change everything.
We're starting today with a very recent first hand experience from La Velocita contributor Kirra McDonald. This one goes straight to the heart of why the Man Ride is happening and why it is so critically important to raise awareness.
It has taken great strength and courage for Kirra to share this, for which I thank her.
Find out more about The Man Ride at www.manride.blacksheepcycling.cc
The face to an illness? Is perhaps the face sitting next to you in your next bunch ride. It might be the face sitting next to you in your row of desks at work. The highly intellectual, incredibly talented professional in the office across from you. It might be a family member. It might be the person you love like none other- and you may never really understand it enough to help them; but what you can do- is start talking about it.
Let’s take the stigma away from ‘mental health’ ‘illnesses’. Let’s consider that your good friend and colleague have a mental health concern- and you find out for the first time when they confide in you… Do you choose to stereotype that person? Probably not- but what you do next could make all the difference in helping that person.
The statistics are all out there. They are staggering. Alarming in fact. Life with mental illness is not to be avoided. It’s not to be feared. It’s not to be judged.
Life with mental ‘illness’- is still a life lived. It can also just as easily be a life lost. The stark reality of life with mental illness is that sometimes, life with mental illness for the person living with it- becomes unliveable. It is not a choice. It is a form of tunnel vision, a fog that never lifts, a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, a sense of loneliness, a sense of never seeing the light at the other end of the tunnel, a sense of failure. Despite having love and support around you, you can no longer see the good in living- instead only being able to pray for the physical pain to end that comes with all of the senses that are around mental illness.
How do I know all of this?
I love a beautiful human who experienced all of those ‘senses’. Those in the past, have been some of the phrases or words used. And despite all the love and support, he died by suicide in August. 39. Too young. Dearly missed. Leaving behind too many who have too many questions. Too many who now wonder- what did I NOT do to help, what MORE could I have done.
Mental health: it’s not too weak to speak.
Time to ask your family and friends- are you ok? Do you want me to listen? How can I help?
Show them the way- help is out there.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
There is no shame in calling and asking for help.