About 11 years ago, I went on a road trip with a few friends to watch the Confederations Cup, an international friendly football tournament, in Lyon. Not long after we got off the ferry in Calais, we were in a car crash that totalled the car and could quite easily have killed us all.
Luckily, we were just a bit bruised and shaken up. We continued the journey by train and had a great holiday.
No root cause
A couple of weeks after getting back to Manchester where I lived, I was in the pub my then girlfriend and a few friends. The friends left, and out of absolutely nowhere, I burst into tears. With no cause whatsoever, as far as I could tell.
So we both went home. After that, I didn’t leave the flat for a few days, wandering round feeling absolutely shite. There was no root cause to feel like this.
I eventually called a helpline that helps people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in case it was that. As I chatted stuff through with the counsellor, I remembered I’d driven past the scene of another accident near Manchester earlier that week. I’d felt terrified doing it. It made me think “I nearly DIED in that car crash”. The counsellor helped me talked things through, and I felt 100% better by the end of the call.
Three in four suicides
Now. I was nowhere near suicidal. But plenty of men are. In fact, male suicide accounts for three in four suicides and is now the single biggest cause of death in men aged 20–49 in England and Wales. The guy on that helpline helped me massively, and CALM are a charity that help way more men with way more serious problems work out what’s bothering them (and us blokes are generally not exactly encouraged to do that), every single day.
That’s why I’m looking this ridiculous, with a moustache, in work meetings and events, for the whole of this month – to raise money so The CALMzone can do that great work.
So if you could make a tiny donation to support them – or even if you just think it’s mighty brave to leave the flat looking like this – that would be terrific.