A Letter to Myself - By Ben


Dear Ben,

I wanted to write to you in the moment where you feel you have hit your rock bottom.

It's been five to five and a half years since the suicide of your Dad/ best mate and all round legend.

Once again like every situation you became the front man, the 'Go To' guy when others can't cope.  Over that five year period there was a legal dispute over Dad's final wishes and everyone turns to you.
Feeling like it's all on you to "fix" or clean up, takes its toll. You haven't noticed just how far down the pit of depression you have sunk yourself.

All of this mental turmoil has begun to take a toll on your marriage.  You have started having suicidal thoughts of your own and countless plans on when and how. Yet at the last moment something seems to stop you, either a random phone call from a friend, or a random event popping up that steers your focus.

Your are eaten up inside with self doubt and anger.  You are upset with yourself due to the state you have let your marriage reach.

We won't got to deep into that but you beat yourself up daily for it.

The pressure you put on yourself to "be better" is enormous.  Between all of that and your life long battle with massive self worth issues (believing you are less or worthless) through years of bullying for being "the poor kid", you are broken.
That toxic belief that asking for help is a form of weakness doesn't fit with you.
You're not weak, you have dealt with death, illness, injury, been stabbed and so much more.  Why would you think of getting help when you're so "strong"...
You make a plan for Monday morning to be your last, "Surely they will be better off if I'm not dragging them down?" (WRONG!)

The Saturday night you have a "final yahoo" with some friends, beers at a boxing match. You have been putting way too many beers away lately and that too is making your thoughts clouded.

Turns out that event will be the first turning point for you.  It is the launch of a new mental health charity and the speech that guy makes sobers you up like an ice bath.

The message is clear "It ain't weak to speak" and a thought comes over you. What the fuck are you doing? Why would you end your story? Use it instead!

I'm proud to say that Monday is not your last!
The first of many steps you take is seeing your GP and your get yourself onto a mental health plan. 
The first 4 psychologists don't fit and you stumble a few times thinking there is no one that gets it.
But during this process you start focusing on things you enjoy, Four Wheel Driving and camping!  Out of this a Facebook group is born. The concept was simple where we started a group page to simple give people a place where they could reach out, share their stories or ask advice with no fear of judgement. It didn't grow until you put a very emotional and heartfelt video up "The origins of No Mates" in where speaking only from your own experience and of your own still present struggles, the response and the group exploded!

All due to you seeking help and brushing off the belief that it's a form of weakness to seek help, you have grown and continue to strive to be your best self.
I'm pretty sure you tried just about everything from psychologists, medication (definitely helped), spiritual coaches, life coaches, exercise, cognitive behavioural therapy and a few more you found along the way. You've discovered what works and you continue to work on the inner demons that set you on that path, using your story and experience to encourage and inspire others to keep on going.

The things you will achieve over the next 5 years will blow your mind.

Through the Facebook group and your work within it, you will be involved in 9 suicide preventions; make life long friends you didn't believe you could have; rebuilt your marriage to be stronger than ever and are now bouncing through life's struggles as a superstar team. Today the greatest of all, you will father two of the most amazing children to grace this earth, happy, healthy and loving children that light up the moment you get home from work. And it's all because you reached out and chose to speak up. 
From Ben. 
#ItAintWeakToSpeak