International Men’s Day 2021
November 19, 2021 | by a friend of Juan 'Jukes' Guy
Mental Health – “something that other people are dealing with, it doesn’t affect me”
Some of you reading this, may be able to relate to those words, it’s very much where I was at. I have never doubted that people suffer from mental health, but as I say, it thankfully doesn’t affect me, so something for others to worry about…right!?
Unfortunately, our mental health isn’t something enough of us think about until we’re not feeling our usual self, and in February 2020, one of my best friends took his own life.
It’s a day that I will never forget, the shock, unbelievable pain and devastation are, still today, impossible to put into words.
As a group of long-standing school friends, being together and saying goodbye to Juan (Jukes) on the ICU ward at Nobles Hospital was the saddest and most emotional day of my life.
I’m not ashamed to say, I went home and cried for hours and hours, I didn’t know how to deal with it. Even calling my mum and dad to come round and give me a cuddle, didn’t help, but at that time I just needed them there.
On that day an indescribable hole was left in so many lives, his son lost his dad, his parents lost their son, his siblings lost their brother and so many people lost an irreplaceable friend.
Jukes was funny, really funny, the life and soul of every party, and gathering. A huge football fan, and Manchester City was a major part of his life. A season ticket holder, who supported city all his life (even when they were s*1t, sorry Jukes). Wherever Jukes went he made friends, holidays, trips to the UK, away matches, nights out – and we had A LOT of nights out!
His undeniable infectious personality was what made this harder for me to understand – he seemed fine? Why didn’t he reach out to us if he was in need? How didn’t I realise he was suffering? Did I see enough of him? Why didn’t I message him more to ask how he was…the list of questions is endless…and it’s unfortunately a really crap, and often daily Q&A session, where you sadly never get any answers!
In footballing terms, and sadly harsh reality, the final score of this match is ‘Mental health struggle 1 – dad, son, brother, best friend and IOM community 0’.
We lost that day, and everyone that had been lucky enough to know Jukes will continue to feel that loss every day for the rest of our lives.
Ahead of International Men’s Day I wanted to share my blog/short story to raise awareness and highlight the importance of asking for help when you need it.
If you are not sure who you would turn to if you, or someone you know, is struggling maybe you could attend one of Isle Listen’s courses such as the Mental Health First Aider course. Not only will they cover what signs to look out for, but where to seek help for yourself or others.
Day to day, I talk openly with my family and friends about how I am feeling. Personally, I find sharing stories, and all the amazing memories therapeutic. I’ve actually found sitting down to reflect and write this genuinely very helpful, and in hindsight, this is something I should have shared sooner.
Mental health challenges are silent and, in my experience, can be well hidden. It doesn’t need to be like that. Open up to family, best friends, friends of friends, work colleagues, professional services etc and share how you’re feeling so that you can get the help that you need. Please don’t struggle in silence, I’d give anything to turn back time, and for my phone to ring.
I miss my mate, and I think about him every day…