Mental Health: The Importance of having an Outlet

My own story in regards to mental health and football has been well documented and I’m sure some of you have seen it on the home page of this site in the last couple of weeks. Thank-you to those who sent lovely messages to me following the post. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but felt amazing with the support from our claret and blue family. I wasn’t going to add any more to it but something happened today which I wanted to share with you guys which got me thinking. This is all very off the top of my head and apologies if I’m rambling throughout this post.

Today whilst at work I was booked onto a training session called, “ Managing Stress in the Workplace”. It is a training session delivered to NHS staff by a charity organisation called, The Kaleidoscope + Group. They are a charitable organisation based in West Bromwich and promote mental health and wellbeing in the West Midlands. They run training courses, one to one counselling sessions along with many other mental health services. As a Senior Nurse within the NHS I was asked to attend as I manage a team of Nurses who will all be prone to dealing with stress and anxiety in the workplace, especially as the NHS continues to struggle under pressure.

There was only 7 of us present today but I found the session totally engaging and wanted to share with you a little snippet of it. We firstly discussed why people become stressed, the signs and symptoms of a person being stressed and in particular what stress means to us. The counsellor who was leading the session asked the group for anyone brave enough to share how we deal with stress, that could be from a generic stand point or from a person view point and I myself chose to share part of my personal story.

As I’ve discussed before, I was this happy, go, smiley chap without any issues in the world and someone who I never thought could ever suffer from any mental health related issues. Until something does happen in your life which makes you feel rock bottom, helpless and stressed out to the max. My way of dealing with my stress last October was to throw myself into work to distract me, which worked in part. Whilst I was at work, it worked however outside of work I was still not in a good place. I’ve never been one to open up, I’ve always bottled things up until it all explodes, just like a shaken pop bottle. Once I gathered myself again and picked myself up I had realised I’d given up far too much in my relationship and I’d made myself miserable by trying to make others happy. It’s not selfish to think of yourself ever now and then. Something I didn’t do.

January 2019 was a fresh start for me, I’d had months of feeling low, locking myself away in my house a fair bit and only seeing my family. My friends had taken a back seat in my priorities and so had The Villa. I restarted my Villa away day fix in the new year and started engaging more with fellow Villans on Twitter. This is where it all changed for me, I made new friends, new beginnings just from being on Twitter and instantly felt respected by my fellow Villa supporters. Then I stumbled upon this blog and saw the first few blog posts and admired Tom so much. He opened up on his past, along with others, which trust me is not an easy thing to do. I looked at Tom’s posts and thought that must feel scary but so good being able to write your thoughts out like that. So I mulled it over for a while and decided to give it a go. Since posting my story, I have to say I feel like a weight off my shoulders. I’ve finally opened up and said my peace, something I normally keep firmly locked away.

So I told the group today how a good friend of mine who had suffered with mental health problems in the past created this platform to unload and discuss his own problems with mental illness along with helping others. I discussed how the platform then gave me this outlet to do something I’d never done before, share my experience with others. I also gave my high praise to social media, something which can get slated at times but should also be celebrated. I’ve met some incredible people on Twitter and through this blog in recent months, people who I would call friends and people who I feel I’ve known for a long time. That is in credit to the younger generation and social media. Everyone in the group was really thankful for me sharing the story I shared today however my thanks go to Tom for creating this platform, for letting me contribute and for everyone who has participated so far on this blog and kick started ‘The Villa boys from Aston Blog’. I’m sure it’s just the beginning of something pretty special. Remember, opening up is never an easy thing to do but trust me once you move past the fear, having that outlet and platform to release is an incredible feeling.

Anyone ever wants a chat, please DM myself, Tom, or any of the other contributors to the blog. You’ll find our details on the ‘The Team’ tab. For information on The Kaleidoscope + Group I’ll leave a link to their website below.

Thanks again and UTV.


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