Help me help others, it’s time to get serious….
About 2 months ago I finally got around to starting up my own support group “exboozehounds group for men” at the Hope Centre, Halesowen. Whilst the Hope Centre has been closed for the summer holidays the local mental health unit, Halesview, Halesowen have allowed me to run the group in one of there rooms, my mental health worker said outsiders being allowed rooms was almost unheard of. When I asked Halesview if I could borrow a room for the group for a few weeks I was asked “what sort of group is it?” My reply “just blokes talking about there issues etc” I was then asked “is there anyone volatile in the group?” To which I laughed and replied “to be honest I’m the most volatile in the group and I’m running it but fortunately I’m on the right meds”.
When Camilla from the Hope Centre spoke to James Morris MP about me starting the group he asked her to get me to get in touch with him to speak about what I was doing and how the group was going and he offered me support for the group in anyway he could. We also spoke about what the government are doing to try and bring the mental health side of the NHS in line with the physical side of the NHS, the All Political Party Group are seeking parity for mental health in the NHS. We all know it’s trendy for politicians to talk about mental health and it’s always in the news, but I and many others I have spoken to believe that James is genuine and passionate about his mental health campaign. James even asked if he could attend the group at some point, I have put this to the guys and they weren’t keen, not for any specific reason other than anxiety about new people and the system that’s supposed to look after them, and unfortunately quite often doesn’t, partly because some people just won’t ask for help (loudly enough) or when they do ask for help something goes wrong which leads to losing trust in the system.
As the group has been going a couple of months now I asked a few of the guys if they would mind giving me some feedback on the group and my part in it.
Steve said…. The groups helping me with my socialising it’s building up my confidence and definitely helps me. I saw a mental health worker at my GP’s for 6 weeks but I get more out of the group. It feels like Jon actually understands what I am going through….
Pete said…. Going to the group has really helped my anxiety, others have commented on how much more relaxed I am….
James said…. In all honesty it’s been a good thing for me, it’s definitely helped with my confidence and provides a bit of reassurance. To a certain extent Jon understands what I’m going through. I’ve had counselling a couple of times but the group gives me more strength and is a good follow up to the counselling to keep me going….
Listening to the guys supporting each other and willing to give me the feedback above is so amazing for me, a good while back I chose to start a blog, speak about my experiences, open myself up completely honestly, sometimes even being too honest, and in doing that I’ve had a lot of people telling me I’ve made a difference in there lives. Only a couple of days ago I was told off yet again for not taking a compliment, but now in order to start getting more serious with exboozehound I have got to start believing the nice things people say to me.
If any of my words, either written or spoken have EVER helped you please find the strength to tell me. If I’ve ever met you at a meeting and I’ve had an effect on you, if I’ve ever helped you understand your or a loved ones issues with mental illness or addiction please please please let me know either by commenting on here, Facebook, Twitter, send me a direct message on Facebook or Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then add your comments to this page, so as I’m trying to keep the progress I am making going forward with different organisations including some important people in NHS management I can show them that my approach as an “expert by experience” is making a difference.
YOUR COMMENTS CAN AND WILL BE KEPT ANONYMOUS, JUST TELL ME YOU WANT TO STAY ANONYMOUS AND I WILL JUST PUT AN INITIAL OR SIMPLY “ANON”.
Currently my blog is getting between 600 and 800 visits per month which is roughly double it was getting at the start of the year, I want to keep this growing so together we can keep helping people fighting against mental illness and/or addiction.
I really really look forward to hearing from you to help me keep helping others….
Ryan said…. Jonâ€™s writings on depression have helped me out a lot because they are so real and are common among many men who experience depression. What isnâ€™t common is actually being brave enough to talk about it. So many men donâ€™t seek treatment and donâ€™t talk about it. The problems that we typically think of as male, difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior and rage are really attempts to escape depression and which serve to mask the true nature of the problem. Jon exhibited most of these behaviors in his life. Many men never escape this pattern of behavior due to depression, but Jon has. Jon had the self-awareness to know his behavior was due to depression. He was then brave enough to seek treatment. Admitting you have depression and seeking treatment is a huge step for any man; especially when 54% of the world thinks depression is a personal weakness. However, Jon didnâ€™t stop there; he went public with his depression by starting a blog and a therapy group. By talking about his depression he is helping to end the stigma. He is helping people realize that their pattern of behavior may be caused by depression, and he is demonstrating to people that it isnâ€™t weak to speak up and seek treatment. Jonâ€™s actions have giving me hope that when men become educated on depression they realize it isnâ€™t a weakness and will seek treatment.
Bellann said…. Just a reminder, that even though you are going through a bad spell just now, you are strong enough to keep going. You are so strong that you have survived 100% of the very worst of your worst days. You are your own sword.
And another reminder; You have been strong enough to wield that sword (this is starting to sound ‘rude’, but stay with me here…) for your friends. You have fought for their survival on the worst of their [my] worst days. Never think that they wouldn’t do the same for you.
Camilla from The Hope Centre said…. Jon is amazing……………………………you are helping raise awarness of an illness that so many who do not understand thhe illness fear it and stigmatise so manyxxxxxxxxxxx You are strength and a light in darkness for so many .thank you.
The Hope Centre, Halesowen
Neil said…. I am very fortunate to know Jon. Neil also shared the link to this page on FB.
Julie said…. @juliechristie1: @exboozehound well done Jon, it sometimes takes a bit of time and reflection to see how much you’ve achieved. I had every confidence in you.
I wrote this after that meeting.
Health Watch Dudley said…. @HWDudley: @exboozehound This sounds great, fantastic work raising awareness of this important issue. Can’t wait to hear more! https://t.co/W54cGiI5gx
Making it Real Dudley, retweeted the link to this page.
Judy said…. Jon has been a very special person to me from the moment I first read something he wrote on the Mens Depression site. As I was reading his words, I could feel both his pain and his immense determination. As I began to correspond with Jon, his wonderful soft heart, desire to encourage others and to make a difference, became apparent. Through Jon’s openness about his illness, his willingness to explain exactly how he feels, I have learned so much about my son’s illness. For me, Jon’s friendship has been a comfort, and a source of first hand, invaluable information about mental illness, which is notoriously difficult to understand. He is an Expert by Experience. We need more Jon’s!
As Judy mentions we met through Mens Depression site, she had been interviewed about her experiences prior to me writing for the site. See below to read both the articles.
Anya said…. Jons openness and directness always enlightened the mood. He has a warm heart and is a kind soul. Whenever I feel alone or unsure about what I am going through Jon reassures me itâ€™s okay to feel what Iâ€™m feeling. As the quote goes â€œone day a timeâ€ and thatâ€™s a fact!
I canâ€™t wait to see where exboozehound goes!!! Helping and inspiring every step of the way!
AL said…. It is hard to express in words the impact that connecting (from opposite sides of the world) with Jon has had on my current life. Quite simply put, I very much doubt I would now be waking up every morning with the man I love. The support he provided to both myself and my partner â€“ all thanks to the Internet â€“ at a time when so much could have gone pear-shaped and shrivelled into oblivion is astounding.
Alcohol, depression, you name itâ€¦ He was always there with his â€œtell it how it isâ€ attitude. He constantly pushes his own struggles aside to help others. He is a true inspiration.
I am now engaged to the man I love, two little girls have their Daddy back and two growing lads have a strong male presence in the house who proves to them everyday that one neednâ€™t ply themselves with alcohol to be funny, witty but most of all, to be a â€œmanâ€.
Thank you Jon for all of your support. You know what you did!
Your influence is global.
CA said…. Just read – and reread. The bit at the end with all the thoughts scattered about was brilliant and captured exactly what goes through my head when things not so good. Thinking overrated for some, for me I overthink when I struggle. Your blog reaches people because you have a real talent for writing down what other people are thinking/feeling with uncanny accuracy. To read something you can totally tune into like getting a radio station with perfect sound and no interference is beyond comforting when you’re feeling isolated. I hope you recall this when you have the thought – what’s the point?
Sorry to ramble on big guy but there’s just so much to you it seriously upsets me that you can’t harness & keep that with you when the going is crap. But then, that’s the thing isn’t it..?
CA had just read “Thinking is overrated”
“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”
Keep going 😉
Jon aka exboozehound
Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)