The Real Enemy

This weekend I was involved with a charity coffee morning for the charity Aware NI, to raise awareness for mental health issues, particularly mental health issues in males. It was the brainchild of my friend Chris, who did a great job organising everyone and everything. Males are generally terrible about talking about their feelings due to the expectation of society that they maintain their ‘masculinity’ and soldier on. Unfortunately, things like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts aren’t things you can soldier on through. There is no shame in asking for help. It could save your life. Men need to know this, and it is up to society to change the preconceptions and stigma associated with mental health. I have struggled with depression in the past and am thankful that I was able to talk about it with others. Talking about it helped. Writing about it helped. With hindsight, from the conception of my ‘traditional fantasy’ world, long years ago, mental health was a big inspiration; in fact, without realising it at the time, depression and anxiety are literally the enemy…

I don’t want to go too much into detail with it here, lest I ever finish writing the story, but I found a great way to deal with certain negative emotions were to personify them, much in the way that JK Rowling has said the Dementors were manifestations of her own struggles. It’s just that I never realised that that was what I had done until recently.

It’s true though, in real life – mental health issues are the enemy, as they can destroy lives. We need to get rid of the stigma and encourage people to ask for help. No one needs to go through the darkness alone! Just remember, it always seems the darkest before the dawn!

Author: Phil Berry

I'm a Health & Safety professional who wants to put fictional people in unsafe situations.

3 thoughts on “The Real Enemy”

  1. You just described my teens and my 20’s.

    I suffered a bad injury a week before my 29th birthday. Being laid up for two years forced me to face the enemy. That injury changed everything for me but some men aren’t that lucky.

    This is a special post. I hope it reaches many people. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your comment. It’s so important that people know that it’s ok to ask for help. Mental health issues can be defeated, but some people need help doing so. And there is nothing wrong with that.


  3. Us guys are raised to act tough, keep it to ourselves and so on. I once read a study where it’s the women who are better at handling things than men. If true we’ve been taught the wrong lessons from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

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