It is hard to keep writing here on Sober Paddy with all the moving I’ve been doing. I just got to Ecuador today and love it. High up in the mountains in the centre of the globe. Mad how short of breath you get at altitude. Mad how unfit you get as you stop training and hit your late thirties. Mad how you think things are mad when there are perfectly rational explanations.
So I got through Colombia and not one FARC rebel did I see. Had a few offers of the ould devils dust but I turned them down – I know what happens at the end of my binges and it’s not pretty. I turn into a paranoid, semi insane lunatic. I am bad enough when I’m sober. Well, not really anymore…I have calmed down a lot.
If you had told me ten years ago that I would spend 3 months in Colombia and not even consider trying a line of 100% pure local produce, I would have laughed you all the way to Pablo Escobars front garden and chopped the charlie out in front of you.
Times change though
I saw a great article about the Dubs promoting the “Mind Our Men” campaign. My old team mate Paul Flynn is out there doing his bit helping to promote the cause. For those of you who have the time or the interest, check out the campaign here.
I mention this while talking about cocaine for a very simple reason. The reason is that us men like to hide our feelings. We love to keep the brave face on no matter what. I know that I hid behind the drink and the rest for years. I never had suicidal thoughts, but there were times when I was coming down off drugs and I thought my whole world was collapsing.
Drugs unhinge your mind. You can have some great experiences, don’t get me wrong, but I would never trade the possibility of the bad for the good again. I just stay away from it all. Honestly there were times when I thought all my friends were messing with my mind. There were times I had the most evil, deep rooted paranoia and thought that everyone I knew was trying to get at me in the most twisted, screwed up manner.
In a way I was lucky. I was lucky enough to have enough sense that things faded away after a while.
The bad thoughts eased and after a week or so my mind would feel “normal”.
I still feel now though, the fear and terror of many horrible occasions many years ago.
This is where the connection is.
Many of us me keep it all inside. We combine drink and drugs with deep anxiety, stresses, abuses or memories and we come down hard onto our very selves. This batters our will to live sometimes. We feel like failures, wrecks, hopeless and feel no love. This is when men turn to killing themselves. It is the last choice for someone who cannot get out of their head anymore.
I know of a lot of lads who have taken the ultimate decision. I am sure it never came lightly and that they had to do what they had to do. There is no need to over analyse right now.
The rate of suicide for young Irish men is abnormally high – you can bet that drink, drugs and abuse has a part to play for some of them.
The point for me I suppose, is that it may never be too far away. The mind is fragile and if you let negativity creep in then you never know the position you can bring yourself to.
So as people and especially as men, there are a few things to know.
It is ok to feel depressed. Everyone gets down about things.
It is ok to feel weak and helpless. We all do from time to time.
It is ok to feel like a failure. Success comes at different times in life.
End on a positive
Take time in this life. Talk to your friends and family. Share your troubles. Reach out to each other. We are in this together.
It takes a real man to look out for another man. Go help a brother out.
Asking for help is a good thing. People love to help.
Get involved with groups who are raising awareness about mental health.
I only speak my mind here and if I get some of this wrong then I mean no offence. I think as a race of people we all need to open our heads and our hearts and take on some new ideas. We need to advance a little bit in a way that can really move us on as a tribe who can flourish. It only takes a little to make a big difference.
Show your fellow brothers some love.