In search of Happiness #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

There’s big things, and wee things in your life that help you to feel happy. I believe they are all connected.

The wee things for me are making my two year old giggle as I tickle him, or marvelling at how much he knows now compared to last Tuesday, the development and march of progress in children is a joy to behold.

A big thing is being with someone you love and respect, and having that love and respect given back to you.

As it’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek there’s a lot of chat out there about our mental health and a lot of worry about it, what can be done? and how can we make it better?

I’ve written before about the death of my Dad and how he suffered from poor mental health. He had his first breakdown when I was a teenager, and seeing him in the aftermath of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) is something that hit me hard. He looked absent, lost and empty, whilst all the time he was sitting in front of us. It stripped layers of himself away, and exposed his vulnerability. He and all of us had to work hard to rebuild him, as well as our family.

Talk about adverse childhood experiences! I remember being upset and at the same thing thinking, I needed to do all I could to not suffer the same fate. That perhaps there was something in me as a man, and as part of this family that I had to learn to protect myself against. My father’s decent into psychosis was alarmingly fast and well, very scary. I wanted to take it all away, but all I could do was hold his hand whilst he went through it. The one good thing I learnt from his experience was that I had to be different. It shaped my life for years, and I believe still impacts my choices.

I don’t believe I’m a great runner, last night whilst on a run a young kid overtook me twice. He was awesome. I run because I have to. It helps reset my day or week, it gives me time to be in my head and somehow I feel closer to our city and nature when I run. It helps my mental health, and though I feel knackered, I feel happy too.

It’s great to see so many people talking about mental health and it matters that we are as open as we can be about it. We need to keep the conversation going, and need to reach into the vast areas where support is still really poor, and let’s face it, we need to spend more money and time researching mental health.

My Dad’s poor mental health took him from us too young, the things that he’s missed out on since his death make me sad. However his spirit and soul lives on in me and my children. That makes me happy and that to me is a big thing.

Thomas Lynch