Nine down, one to go - the end really is in sight. We've been over hills, down dales, along canals, over fields and stiles. Truly a walk on the wild side for this gentleman of the road and my trusty wingman Russ Green, who has walked every step with me. And we're getting cracking support as we inch closer to the finish.
I am ill. I am mentally ill. I am always walking the tightrope of depression where a misstep could lead to self harm or, worse, suicide. That tightrope though has been made much wider because of the NHS. With the wonder of the NHS I do not walk a path where I cry out in hate but smile in gratitude.
For the last couple of years, I've collaborated on a number of photography projects with artists, barbers, men's clothing brands etc, so my main focus has been capturing men on camera. As a lover of history, my inspiration for the majority of the shoots I've done comes from the great men of art and early colour photography.
Sometimes coming from a working class background can making opening up quite tough. My mother and father are excellent, but I do feel like in a household that has a focus on the basic amenities in life, mental health may, unfortunately, get swept under the carpet.
With the decline of the 'dad bod' and a recent increase in male grooming - more guys than ever are taking care of their appearance and trying to achieve the 'perfect' body. "Manscaping" is becoming a part of the daily routine; men are turning to waxing studios, threading their eyebrows, slapping on the fake tan and hitting the gym hard.
Men down talk about their emotions, and we certainly don't ask for help. I've fallen out with several friends and partners because one or both of us felt we couldn't ask for what we needed. This inability to talk is linked to higher suicide rates, poor mental health and use of substances as a coping mechanism.
A couple of weeks ago, I listened to some guy on Radio 2 expressing his point of view on masculinity and the topic of men crying. Real men don't cry, he said. "There are plenty of things that bring a lump to my throat, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start blubbing like a little girl." Wow.
There was strong consensus that challenging everyday sexism, even if it seems small compared to the immense injustices that exist elsewhere in the world was key. Language matters and it was heartening that the boys were prepared to intervene with each other on how they spoke and joked.
10,900 men die of prostate cancer every year. That's one every hour. 44,000 are diagnosed every 12 months, and one in every three diagnosed will die of the disease. I could go on, but I won't. Enough to say that these stats, which are bad anyway, are heading in the wrong direction.
I crave to be on a football field once again. Since finishing college and entering the big wide world of work over 12 years ago, it slowly dawned o...
Anyone experiencing an eating disorder or working to overcome one has shown their ability to work hard, and in the right conditions with the right support there is hope that one day, changing attitudes to eating disorders will mean that employers effectively support the work that people can do, rather than focussing on what they can't.
All that the inaccurate term "Women's Issues" does is help "good" men stay passive or otherwise ignore it, while telling all women that these "issues" are their problem to deal with and nobody else's. Let's be real and name them what the are; "Men's Issues with Women".
I guess there are other attributes I hold that make me a man. My diet consists of meat and chips, my film collection consist of 99% action movies ( 1% Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby - every bloke loves a love story ) I even tried weeing standing up . It works if you lean back far enough!
Every single one of us is responsible for the victim blaming, rape enabling culture we live in. It's time to make it personal because it is personal. <
I've been working in men's health, mental health and suicide prevention, for quite a while now and there is a tendency to try and 'fix and change' people (particularly men) to be 'better versions of themselves'. All in the spirit of healthier lives, etc., etc.
Spotting the signs of depression can be difficult - especially if your partner is unlikely or unwilling to talk about how they're feeling. But severe depression can make a man feel helpless or worthless - and it may get worse without treatment.