For many people, 2016 has been a disaster. We lost dozens of well-loved celebrities. The vote to the leave the EU and Donald Trump’s election have both created anxiety and deep concerns about the future. New Year can be a time of joy or it can be a time of heartbreak. For men going through horrifying difficulties such as divorce or severe mental illness, a New Year can either bring relief or dread.
Maybe you’re heading for divorce in the next year. Perhaps your wife has recently told you she doesn’t want to be with you anymore. Perhaps after so many years together, she wants to toss your relationship on the scrapheap. To you, 2017 is a ticking time bomb. 2017 is 12 months of potential hell you are dreading. The thought of the clock striking midnight, 1st January 2017 fills you with horror about the oncoming storm.
But no matter how bad things get, they will get better. Perhaps not in 2017, but eventually.
I could fill this blog post with platitudes and quotes from long-dead thinkers. But I don’t think platitudes will help. If a few words from Gandhi or Marcus Aurelius are what keep you going through the day, all power to you. However, there are men – perhaps you are one of them – that need genuine support through a difficult time. While everybody else is cracking open the champagne and looking forward to a 2017 infinitely better than 2016, you can’t help but tumble into a pit of despair at what is to come.
Things will get better. That’s the only advice I can offer. No matter how low you fall, no matter how bad things get, no matter how close to suicide you feel, things will turn around. When you are at the bottom, the only way to go is back up.
Damn it, I said I wouldn’t use a platitude!
I was there, where you are now. Just over three years ago I almost took my own life. I’d lost my marriage and the memories, my options. I had a mountain of student debt and no hope of getting a graduate job. I felt trapped. I felt lost. I was broken… utterly broken. I felt the only way out was to jump off a cliff and I stood there for precious seconds contemplating whether to do so.
But I turned away from the cliff that day. No matter how bad things get for you, talk to people. Identify the people you can most rely on – a sibling, a friend, a parent. Talk to somebody when you most need help. You are not alone. You can’t man up out of this. You can’t grow a set when in the deepest pit of darkness. You can’t do this alone and nor should you try. It’s ok to ask for help.
Three years from now you may be glad you didn’t jump from that cliff.
All the best for 2017 and I hope that no matter what sort of year you have, you come out the other side a much stronger person. If you need help or support, I have a page with some mental health resources here.