Balderton man encourages others to speak up about mental health
AFTER suffering with his mental health for years, a Balderton man is encouraging anyone who is struggling to reach out and get help.
Peter Blake, 33, is trying to get the message out there to encourage anyone — particularly men who are more inclined to bottle up their emotions — to talk to someone if they feel they can’t cope and need help.
His problems started when his unborn son died in 2005, and his then-partner had to go through the trauma of delivering their baby.
He was unable to grieve because he tried to support his partner and, soon after, he lost his job and the couple lost their flat.
Then when his daughter was born in 2011, he said, looking back, he had postnatal depression.
“Before she was born I was competing in martial arts but I couldn’t afford to do it any more and I resented that. I would come home from work and she would be crying and I didn’t know what to do,” he said.
“I started to spiral and when I split up with my partner. I was in a very dark place.”
Days before Emily’s second birthday, Peter’s father, Jim, died of cancer,and, again, Peter couldn’t grieve properly because he was only given three days compassionate leave from his job.
Following this latest tragedy, Peter’s mental health began to spiral out of control — until he met his partner, Ruby Gavin.
“She has been my rock,” Peter said. “She has been there for me every step of the way.
“I was awful to her for the first two years of our relationship. Then she told me I had to get help or she was leaving, and that was the push I needed to get help.”
Peter went to see his GP who prescribed him antidepressants, but after a relapse, where he was suffering from anxiety related to concerns about his health, he started considering ending his life.
Then a close friend took his own life, which completely changed everything.
“It made me think — if you end your life then you are not suffering anymore, but what about those left behind? They are left with such pain and devastation and unanswered questions.”
Having been well for six months, Peter is keen to encourage anyone suffering with their mental health to talk to loved ones, to get help, and to not bottle things up.
“I was a culprit for telling people to man up, but you realise over time that doesn’t work and bottling things up is no good,” he said.
“It especially seems to be bad with young lads who don’t want to talk about their problems as they don’t want to be teased.
“I would say to anyone who is struggling, just talk to someone. It doesn’t matter how stupid you think it sounds, your loved ones will listen.
“Don’t keep it in. Just open your mouth and talk to someone. It will be the best thing you ever do.”nds, your loved ones will listen.
"Don't keep it in, just open your mouth and talk to someone, it'll be the best thing you ever do."
More by this authorRachel Armitage