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The High’s and Low’s of Football and Mental Health: Can Football be an escape?

While the Play-Off Final win at Wembley was euphoric and an incredible experience for the majority of the Villa fan base, we should be mindful that there are people out there battling demons in their lives and trying to work things out in their mind to help themselves feel better. Whilst a Play-Off final win can be normal, run of the mill, win a football game sort of stuff for some, it can be the highest of the high’s for others, perhaps as a distraction as to what they are dealing with in their own lives.

Football is a major distraction, sometimes a healthy one, sometimes others would say an unhealthy one. To me, it’s a healthy one. Spending quality time with your friends and family, something you might not do too often but because of your shared love for football, you do this on regular occasions. Spending this time with your friends and family, learning to smile and laugh and forgetting the rigours of daily life. Football is an escapism and fills people’s lives up and down this country.

However, being on top of the world, on an absolute high can sometimes be dangerous territory. Human instinct wants us to continue feeling this euphoria and happiness for a prolonged period of time but the reality of life is that you are soon back in the mundane routine you have always been in. You will hear the typical comments from some people; why are you depressed? You should be happy. You’ve had a fantastic few days celebrating the football. However, this is very short sighted and doesn’t delve into a persons life and past experiences, which has a bearing on what that person feels day to day and how they make decisions in life.

The change in a person from being very happy to feeling extremely down within a few days is a clear sign and symptom of depression. As I said previously, we all try and find our coping mechanisms. This is quite often distraction. Distraction for me, and for probably a lot of others is football and Aston Villa. My daily life does revolve around the club. If I get a break at work, I log onto Twitter and Facebook and my feeds don’t include anything other than news and opinion regarding Aston Villa. You have to find your coping mechanism, it’s very personal to each and every one of us.

I suppose for what I am trying to say, this week has been a fantastic week. Aston Villa are back in the Premier League. Monday was an incredible day, sunshine, laughter, meeting up with friends and family and seeing pure joy on the faces of 36,000+ Villa fans at Wembley and beyond. But deep down, there are people who after this fantastic occasion have to head back into reality and deal with difficult aspects of their life. This is the tough part but shows what a brilliant escapism football can be for some people. Look out for your friends & family and your fellow Villa fans, there are people out there struggling who may be very grateful for your support and listening ear. Don’t be afraid to talk if you are one of these people, this is life and it happens. There is nothing to be ashamed of. As I have found out, talking to people can sometimes really help you move forward.

As always, if anyone is struggling and wants that support, please message myself or the other guys on VBFA. Our twitter details are in the ‘ The Team’ section.

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I’m Simon, a 26 year old from Birmingham. I’m a Nurse by day with a huge passion for sport and football in general. I’m an Aston Villa supporter and follow the team home and away. I have been a villa supporter since I can remember and hope my posts will give some insight into the life of a die hard Villa supporter.
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