Hope you’re doing okay in lockdown. And if you’re not doing okay, I hope you’ve got an epic support network you can call up and say “today is really f**king hard” or whatever you need to say.
I do! And I’m so thankful for that. Many of my buddies, we finish our voice notes with “love you bye” because I personally think that should be way more normal than this “harden up” not telling people how you really feel BS.
I'm not claiming to be an expert on mental health. I’m not. All I can talk about are my own struggles and how it’s impacted my life.
The biggest time was during my head injury (which was a catalyst for leaving my job and starting STOKEDNZ). The fact you can’t “see” a brain injury and the common psychological impact of this. I literally thought I was making it up and I should be better by now… meanwhile I couldn’t cross road by myself, was building Lego to try get back some cognitive function and Gary or Mum was looking after me. My head injury took me to some really dark places. Places other friends have not been able to get out of.
I didn’t want to be here anymore. I genuinely thought I was a burden on my loved ones. I wrote a diary daily (because my memory was that shit I couldn’t remember what pills I’d taken, what activities we had done, headaches I’d had and I needed all of this info for my specialists). One day I needed out. I’d just written in my diary and hid it under my bed. Told Gary I was going for a walk. This was a few months in. But I hadn’t gone for a walk by myself yet. He said “take your phone”. I said no and hid it in the mailbox.
I went only a block down the street and chilled at a park. I needed space.
What I didn’t think about (because I didn’t have the capacity to) was how Gary would feel when he couldn’t reach me on my phone and heard it ring in the mailbox, the day before I had cried because I built my lego monkey wrong. This is the state I was in.
Gary drove around Cambridge for a few hours trying to find me. I eventually came home.
We hugged a lot.
And we made an appointment for a new neurologist.
Long story short, we got things sorted. Changed my medication. Got on top of my headaches and finally began to make some progress in my recovery.
But it doesn’t work out that way for everyone… and I realise my mental health was impacted by an injury. Not everyone’s is. But my point is, it can be affected by many different things and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.
Mental health has affected the biking community for some time. A few years back, we lost our friend Mark and most recently my buddy Liv.
It’s amongst every community. And we need to talk about it. There are so many pressures we put on ourselves internally and so many external ones (which Liv talked about in her final post). WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT!
The idea came to donate a bunch of cash to mental health awareness (it should be govt funded, but until it is we need to do it mates) because it can affect anyone and everyone.
And if I can use my tiny platform for some good then I will.
So my thinking - with any Liv Towelie we will donate $20 from each one sold to mental health.
And we will donate 5% of TOTAL sales over a 7 day period. Starting tonight at 9pm - Sunday 5th September at 9pm.
During this week we are also going to drop some links to some great resources and charities doing good things in this space. We are also going to launch our hugely anticipated towels (Tuesday at 8pm) so 5% of these sales can be donated to Mental Health too.
I hope mental health gets the funding it needs. I hope resources are more accessible. But most importantly, I wish we had open conversations. This kiwi attitude of “harden up” or “have a cup of concrete” is honestly the biggest load of BS ever. We need to start calling that shit out!!!
Life is f**cking hard at times. We all move through seasons, good and bad. I just wish we talked about the hard times more. And stopped with the social media highlight reels. Life isn’t all roses.
I hope my mates know that I would stop anything for them to lend my ears, my hugging arms and to tell them they are loved.