Gary, Daddy Dilemmas
What made you start sharing your mental health experiences online?
The answer to this is short but has a lot to it. Suzy made me start Instagram and my blog. Her reason behind this was that I have always been into spoken word poetry and write a lot myself. I have always found it hard to speak about my emotions but find it really easy to write about them. I am so proud of her strength and so very thankful for her pushing me into it. I hated social media and everything I thought it stood for. To me it was a platform of hatred, filled with people who made others strive for bodies, lives and experiences that are unachievable and frankly unnecessary. How wrong I was, yes there are a lot of people on here that seek out sadness but they are just a drop in the social ocean filled with love and emotional support. an ocean I am proud to be part of now.
What have been the pros fro you ?
The pros have definitely been the love and support. I honestly thought nobody would want to hear a dull Glaswegian rant on about his battles and they do. I have had so many lovely messages and this along with creating a platform for myself where I can be free and open has been incredible. It has also made my marriage stronger. I pushed Suzy away so much that most would have left but not her. She stuck by me through extreme lows and turbulent times. She is my rock and such an incredible woman. Bottling up my emotions made me horrible to be around and it must have been so hard for her. Instagram has allowed me to open up that bottle and be me again.
What have been the cons?
There has only really been one con and that's the negativity. I have never really bothered about what people think of me. I am me and always will be but as my followers grew so did the trolls. I have received several messages that have shook me. Some that have had me in tears and one that made me want to delete my account. I had a woman tell me that I am glamourising suicide and because of me people are dying. I was heartbroken and plummeted into a depressive state and for the first time in a long time was suicidal. The thing that pulled me out of that was what I call my instafamily and they will never know how important they have been.
Did sharing online lead you to making any real life changes?
I wouldn’t say I made life changes but my life has changed. Sharing on here has given me a new focus in life of helping others. I feel like I have a voice now and my story can and will allow me to help with mental health in many ways.
Did it lead to you making any decisions about accessing professional or medical help?
No unfortunately I have been let down by the mental health support in this country. Last year I tried to commit suicide at my darkest point and the NHS never thought this was enough to get me an appointment quicker than the 3 months I waited for one. I will be honest I had to pay privately for therapy as I was so low that I couldn’t wait for the NHS to see me.