Posted - 28/02/2015 : 11:43:58
The Sun Campaign to Battle Blight of Male Depression
Your article The Sun on Sunday 22.02.15 by Jane Atkinson & Ben Griffiths
Re: Gary Speed & Depression something I wrote a little while ago that you might like to use all I ask is you give me credit for my poems if you use either of them in part or in full.
Unpaid campaigner & poet
Subj: In Memory of Gary Speed.Depression is the biggest killer of men under 40
We were all saddened and shocked at the news of Gary Speed’s death, especially the tragic circumstances of his untimely death; of a man who it seemed had everything going for him, someone who was held in such high esteem by millions of people connected to the game of football, yet it seems this wasn't enough and Gary must have been suffering on the inside, even though no one realised it, not even his closest friends and family.
So in the interest of helping other people in the UK who might be suffering from ‘well hidden depression’, I would like to copy a letter which appeared in The Independent on 29. 11. 2011 and also two of my poems on the same subject. I have first hand experience of this little understood serious illness, having experienced it myself in the past and come through it; I have also counselled other young sufferers in the past, perhaps because I had empathy with what they were going through.
I know that people can often hide how they are feeling from everyone around them, perhaps because of the stigma in the UK that exist with depression; as though it is some kind of human weakness to admit you are suffering from a mental illness, possibly the reason why Gary and probably tens of thousands of other people in the UK feel they have to suffer in silence and dare not speak to anyone just how they truly feel. I hope what you read below helps more people understand. Perhaps a new charity to educate people should be established in Gary Speed’s name; perhaps established and funded by the English, Scottish & Wales FA's, The Premier League and Championship League and the rich Football UK football clubs led perhaps by the PFA.
copy of a letter to the Independent published 29.11.2011
Speed shows why men need to talk
'The fact that Gary Speed so calmly appeared on Football Focus on Saturday and by Sunday was dead, a suspected suicide, was greeted by bewilderment by football fans. “How could he have appeared on TV and be dead the next day?” my next-door neighbour asked.
We still hold to a stereotype that you can tell someone who is mentally unwell just by how they look. The press present dangerous psychotics as regularly wielding samurai swords in local high streets. The majority of people who are mentally unwell look like you and me.
What was going on in Gary Speed’s head? And why could he not talk to anyone about how he was feeling? A British man may express his feelings down the footie and after a few drinks on a Saturday night (and I know that’s a stereotype) but how good are we at admitting when things are going wrong? Admitting anxiety, unhappiness or depression is often not acceptable in a culture which demands we grin and bear it.
I hope that this weekend’s sad event allows footballers and fans alike to be able to focus on mental health and well being, to enable men (and women) to talk about their feelings, the good, the bad and the ugly.
And in an age of austerity, psychiatric services, often the Cinderella of the NHS, should be fully funded to prevent such suffering and death'.
by Liz Larkin
Poems by Simon Icke
Down, down I feel so low.
Trapped in a tunnel, with nowhere to go.
Cut myself off from all my friends,
I’ll work this out in the end.
Dark, dark that feeling inside…
Nothing looks good; I just want to hide.
There must be some people in whom I can confide,
Understanding friends, who are on my side?
One day at a time is what I hear,
No need to live life full of fear.
Do you really need that anti-depressant pill?
With hindsight every mountain becomes a molehill.
Don’t give in to this dark mood,
Fun and laughter can be your food.
Love yourself and say, ‘I am what I am.’
Ignore this hard world you know you can.
Just take the time to work this out,
To overcome a life full of self doubt.
God loves you, the way you are.
You are unique, you’re a star.
By Simon Icke,
Footnote: Depression the biggest killer of young men under the age of 40. ( the cause of one in three deaths) Yet there is so much ignorance and so little help offered within the NHS to sufferers. It can take months to see a professional councillor or psychiatric nurse or doctor after being diagnosed by a GP. Plus there is still a lot of ignorance about the condition amongst friends and family of sufferers.
It is my hope that this poem I wrote based on personal experience of depression some years ago, which I am happy to say I came though eventually, mostly through finding my own therapy, through writing, especially poetry and walking in the countryside. I have also experienced depression in young men in their late teens and early twenties that I know connected to my sons. I have seen them go through terrible bouts of depression, and I have done my best to help them , by sharing my own experience and by just letting them know I know what it feels like.
It was for this reason I wrote this poem to try and help sufferers to try and realise there was a way out of the ‘dark tunnel’ they felt they were trapped inside, ( others have described it as feeling as though they are sinking in quick sand and can’t get out), but I also hope this poem will help friends and family understand how depression feels for the sufferer. This is a very serious illness and should be treated as such by medical professionals, counsellors, friends and family: I hope my poem helps a few more people understand the condition a little more…
also another poem that might help people be more caring and understanding of others:
HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO BE ME?
How do you know how it feels to be me?
There’s a lot more to me than what you see.
Have you felt the same hurts and pain?
We’ve lived different lives, we are not the same.
I’m simply trying to rebuild
a life worth having; in this hard world.
I’m surviving the trials of everyday living.
Oh why can you not be more forgiving?
Your careless hard words, if only you knew,
how they cut me through and through;
even though I make no judgement on you.
I wonder if you realise,
just how much you offend,
with your cruel words; that you sometimes send.
I would just love to be well, like you my friend;
I really hope that I’m on the mend.
And that my painful journey is near its end.
by Simon Icke #Simonick
22 of my poems can be found at: http://www.mesupport.co.uk/index.php?page=message-in-the-rhyme-2
Plus recent article in the The Independent & I newspaper Friday 20 February 2015: Health : Rise in male suicides 'linked to austerity' by Hannah Fearn : comment : Samaritans' research has found that middle -aged men in lower socio-economic groups are at higher risk of suicide. The unemployed are up to three times more likely to die by suicide than those in work.
Full article also gives a case study from Andrew Jenkins age 52, who was interviewed by the BBC on 19 .02.15 : Welsh Film maker has had 19 friends who he new growing up take their own lives, over three decades. The youngest friend to take his life was just 15... speaking of the feeling of losing someone you know to suicide, Jenkins said : " It makes you feel empty." He added: " If they could see the whole picture, if they could look back at their life and the pain the family go through...one of the was 33 years ago and the pain is still with those parents."
This piece of writing dedicated to the memory of two ex-Tring School pupils Matthew Lovell aged 26, and Hector Stringer 18, who sadly both took their own lives, and left the world before their time: See suicide prevention website Hector's House : http://www.hectorshouse.org.uk/
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away