What do we do
My Name is Chris and my mission is to bring Mental Health Awareness out from the dark ages and into the everyday life.
Being afraid to talk about issues will hopefully one day be a thing of the past and no longer will we need to lose loved ones from such an illness.
Join me by raising money and awareness for the charities around us which are tirelessly working to do just this.
You can help by checking out our clothing range in which we donate money from every purchase along with keeping an eye open for our upcoming charity events. (we do more than just sponsored silences)
"Mental Health has affected most people within the UK."
My Story(An insight on why whosthisguy is around)
At the age of 16 I left school and had a whole life plan set ahead of me. I was going to college to start my apprenticeship as an electrician. I had a beautiful girlfriend and had a vision of me owning a couple of properties which would end up funding my future children and grandchildren lives.
All was going well at the age of 17... I was passing all my exams at college, work were happy with my effort and progression and I had gotten engaged to my girlfriend. (Some say we were young, but when you know, yok know) Although not on a great deal of money at the time the deposit fund was rising.
At the age of 18 the 2 of us booked our 1st holiday together abroad to Corfu. This was January 2007. 1 week later we found out she was pregnant. This immediately changed everything. We sat down and again made another plan. As her family were religious and we were already engaged we decided the right thing to do was to speed up the wedding. May 12th 2007 we got married and officially began our life together.
This obviously halted most of my previous life plans but I adapted. I started working 12 - 14 hours a day, I asked for a raise and I got 1. Things seemed to be going well. We became parents to a beautiful girl on 29th September 2007.
At this point we were living in her parents house. A 3 bed house which we had to squeeze 8 people in. With the additional hours and saving every penny I could we managed to purchase a lovely 2 bed flat in Kingswood on a part ownership scheme, brilliant for the low income families.
Now I was a 19 year old lad with a mortgage, a young child and with only 1 income. It wasn't easy to say the least. I was still working my 12-14 hour shifts, I was working nights and weekends when I could just to get the bills paid. Now when the recession hit our company stopped every bit of overtime. I had suddenly gone from 70-90 hours a week to the standard 40.
As the man of the house I felt like I couldn't let this affect me. My wages had halved and the cost of living was only going up. It was around this time (2010 ish) that I started trying to find ways of providing for my family. I went for countless job interviews at shops like Tesco, Asda and Toys r'us. With me already having an income none of them offered me the role. Times were getting hard and I had to provide for my family.
It was at this point I could hear somebody talking to me as if they were in the room with me. What about life insurance? And it actually made sense....the way I could ensure that my family were under a roof and had money to get by would be to use my life insurance policy. The mortgage would be paid off they would have some money to help them get by and would have 1 less mouth to feed.
When I was about 15 I remembered going to the ice rink with my friends, it was a weekly thing for a couple of months. All I can remember from it though was 1 evening a man had jumped from the local car park. There was no denying his outcome was fatal. I myself went to that car park and stood on the top floor and just looked out. It was only the thought of not watching my daughter grow up which made me come down.
Ever since that day, whenever something went wrong, be it at work or at home all I could hear was that voice again. Is it worth it? Would they miss you? You'd have no more worries!
I got to a point when I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn't afford the mortgage and living costs anymore. I sat down with my parents with a new plan. Move in with them while I saves up again. My wife had started a new job and my daughter was at school. I had also started a new job which was a big uplift in my life that I needed....a fresh start.
The thoughts I was getting were becoming less constant and I felt that I had gotten over whatever was happening to me. I had still not spoke to anyone about what I had been though and I felt like I had won.
It wasn't long however until suddenly it was back. I'm not sure what triggered it, but this dormant volcano had erupted. These voices were constant. I couldn't walk over a bridge, walk along a road or even have a car journey without contemplating the easiest way of ending it.
I had great friends in and out of work but I couldn't talk to anyone about this. They wouldn't understand....I doesn't even understand. I worked with a chap a couple of years older than me for about 4 years. We both started at around the same time and always seemed to be working overtime together.
This man was liked by everyone. He worked with the scouts, was constantly doing charity work and in the whole time I knew him he only got angry once.(that I witnessed)
Now Im Not religious but i do believe that he was on this planet almost like a guardian angel to me. I spoke to him on a Friday and he was talking about his weekend plans. He was going on holiday with his friend who was having some issues at home and wanted to get away. We parted that night, this being his last day at work as he was leaving to go to another firm. We vowed to meet up for a beer and catch up in a couple of weeks once he had settled.
Sunday night I had a phone call asking if I knew where he was. He had come back from his weekend away however had gone missing.
He was found on the Tuesday after taking his own life....
This sent me over the edge. How? Why?
The next few weeks were awful. I had constant breakdowns at work and was just angry all the time. My wife was noticing and we had a few arguments which resulted in me saying the standard "nothing's wrong" line.
Now I'm one for always making a plan. And I needed to sort something out. I came up with this crazy idea that maybe this guy was meant to meet me. Maybe we were supposed to become good friends and maybe I was supposed to see the hurt that it caused to hundreds of people who knew him once he was gone.
It was only a heated argument again with my wife that broke me. One of the only times that I can say that I have cried in front of her.
We sat down for hours and I told her everything. From the very start. The whole night she never let me go.
The next day we woke up and again she just held me. We spoke and for the 1st time I knew I had to talk about it.
I had spoken to my best friend about it and he too just sat, listened and just took it all in. He convinced me to tell the football team that I played in and after a quick message on our Facebook group I was flooded with messages of support and congratulations for coming forward.
After telling my friends i felt like I could talk to my sister. My sister.... the girl that I look up to and respect so much. I came round to her house for a cup of tea and we just sat and chatted. I told her everything and she just seemed to know what to do. She listened, she comforted and told me that I would get through it. And as always she was right.
Ever since this happened, I realised that I wasn't alone. I had so many people arou d me that loved and cared for me. Anything that I was going through I could talk about. It shouldn't of took me so long to figure it out and I hope that anyone else suffering with depression realises this before its too late.
So since all this I have started hitting the gym on a daily basis. The fact is that if you're not happy with something it's down to you to change something. J always felt like I was overweight and wanted to change. It started by me cutting outsugars from my diet. I would eat 3 chocolate bars a day easily. Crisps and other snacks also tookaback seat. Sticking to the"clean meals" wherever I could.
I soon seen my body change and wondered how far I could take it. Bodybuilding.....why not? I paid for a trainer to help with a training and diet plan and got to work. On the 23rd April 2017 I entered my first Mens Physique show and enjoyed every minute of it. I came off stage without a trophy but a huge grin and a new found love. I had indeed caught the body building bug.
I have had support from all my family and friends we along my journey. I have continued to enter body building shows and have no plans on stopping.
I recently entered the UKBFF nationals on the 8th April 2018. I went in with confidence of placing and getting an invite to the finals which is everybody aim there. I got on stage with my best condition yet. I was certain of a top 3 place. But it came with utter disappointment that I failed that....5th place that was the best I could do. I had put my all in and that was all I could do. I left the venue a wreck, doubting myself and everything that I had done leading up to it. Now my plan was always to compete 2 weeks later at the South Coast event. But after this, could I do it.... I went into a deep hole of talking myself out of it and felt myself becoming depressed yet again. I carried on training but couldn't shake those voices in my head to tell me to quit. It was the next Saturday morning that I sat down with my wife and I broke down. I told her how I was feeling and that I was going to give up. She was understanding of how I felt but insisted I kept going. She knows me too well and knew that if I gave up I would never forgive myself. My daughter could here I was upset and she came in and just hugged me. Now she is my biggest fan and for a 10 year old very grown up. She was telling me everything that I told her just the other day about her swimming lessons.
"You told me not to quit at something if you find it hard. You must keep working at it until you can."
And she was right, both of them were. With their support of course I could do it... and now it wasn't just for me, it was now a valuable lesson to my daughter that you should never give up.
So now I had this almighty surge of determination. This was personal, that voice in my head....I had to control him.
The next Sunday 22nd April 2018 I went to Portsmouth and met some incredible people. I went there with the feeling of winning, not a trophy but just making it there. That right now was all that mattered. What happened next was something unexpected. I got on stage and strutted my stuff. I had confidence and I had drive and with that I ended up with 2nd place.
2nd place after almost quitting. This wasn't about the trophy or the invite to the finals. The biggest win here was that I taught myself and my daughter that you should never quit. When you're struggling for answers on your own speak out. Talk to somebody and release that pressure on yourself
I came off stage and couldn't talk I hugged my wife the tightest I ever have and for the 1st time in years I had no emotions but pure joy, delight and felt victorious.
I rang my daughter immidetly and we both had a conversation full of tears and laughter. My phone did not stop bleeping all night with well wishers.
The next morning I went to my parents who were looking after my daughter. I took my trophy over and spoke about the day. Now while doing this it felt like the right time to talk to my mum about my story....This story.
Now although I have spoken to people about my depression I could never tell my parents. So this was the last thing I needed to do. So while i started to tell my mum about this journey my dad came down and hugged me, big deal???? Well yes, see I have a great relationship with my parents but my dad and I never hug. A handshake or youthful fistpump is usually enough. My last hug was the 12th May 2007 (My wedding day). All of a sudden the hardest thing I ever had to do was to not burst out with emotion. So this section is dedicated to amazing parents who have done so much for me. The most generous, kind hearted human beings.
So I'm writing this now while on a treadmill in the gym. Oh the treadmill the place where I am free from worries. The place where I look at my problems and come up with a plan to get over them. I zone out, nobody is in the room when I'm here. And that's what everybody needs, a place to go and clear your mind. A place without alcohol, drugs or other bad influences.
So my plan now is to try and help out with people who are so suffering with depression. Now I'm not expecting to just heal people but I will be there for people, just there to listen, and with that and sharing my story i hope to just help people get through those hars tines.
The biggest lesson I've learned from all of this is that no matter what life throws at you there are always people who will listen to you. Youll meet new friends throughout life and will lose contact with some great friends also.
Keep your head up and always have some goal to work towards. Whether it's in 1 month, 1 year or 10 years, have a goal, work towards it and smash the absolute s**t out of it.
I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.