The most rewarding job I ever had

Is only been 3 months but I can already see the difference we make in participants’ lives. Dealing with mental health is difficult, how can you explain something we don’t understand, even when it is happening to you? Physically you are fine, emotionally fantastic, family all really good so why do you feel like you can not get out of bed? Have you ever had that feeling? I had and people around me didn’t understand. Is so easy to judge until it happens to you. The most important thing I’ve learned is that you are not alone like our participants, we are here to guide them all the way . Seeing how after a meeting their confidence grows , just making the effort to come and see us when they have been feeling they can’t get up, makes my job the most rewarding job I have ever done.

Giving something back

When we ask our participants what they’re hoping to achieve, we very often hear that they want to “give something back”. Many are drawn directly to support roles, such as peer support or care work. For others, volunteering within the local community means that they can continue to grow whilst helping others. In many instances, “giving something back” becomes something they do alongside the day job.

Mr Universe Musclemania 2013

Take Ty for example: he left a career in financial services to become a world champion bodybuilder, he then landed his own television show in Kuwait before moving to the USA to pursue a career combining fitness and music. His passion was always to show people that they can achieve their goals. To this end his role as a fitness instructor to a diverse range of individuals, meant that he could turn his own success into something tangible for others- whatever their individual aims.

Helping others

When Ty’s own health started to suffer he returned to the UK. After a while he enrolled on HeadsUp, and almost from the start he stated that he wanted to help others. We explored what this would look like for him personally, encouraging him to use his existing skills to help build back his confidence. When the time was right he started working as an instructor at a local gym; and as he left HeadsUp he spoke of how he wanted to use his own journey to help others who may be struggling.

Inspiring your peers

In March 2022, Ty was one of the guest speakers at the West Ham United Foundation and Hackney CVS event, 21st Century Black Man. The event aims to inspire and encourage young black males in Newham and Hackney, by bringing them together with successful people from a range of backgrounds. Ty spoke of his own journey and success, discussing how he dealt with his own mental health and depression. This willingness to openly discuss mental health had a positive impact on attendees. One attendee spoke of his own struggles, and how hearing from role models about their own journeys gave him hope.

The 21st Century Black Man event was part of West Ham United Foundation’s “Moving On Up” programme, which has been supporting young people from Newham for three years. For more details, contact . To see more of Ty’s journey, follow him on Instagram @tyoghd .

By showing others how he overcame his own mental health challenges, Ty has definitely “given something back”.

Keep calm and carry on they say

Staring out of the kitchen window I noticed that at last glance it was bright sunshine and within minutes I am trying to comfort my terrified cat as he cowers from deafening claps of thunder.  In a matter of a few minutes and pretty much without warning, everything changed.  This got me around to thinking about where we all are at the moment.

I’ve been around a few years.

As I child I lived through the Cold War, watching the standoff that became the Bay of Pigs.  I was a teenager when the country was battling power cuts and three day weeks. In the glory days of my 20s we had ridiculous interest rates and high unemployment. In the 90 the property crash – my very flashy sports car was probably worth as much as my flat that it was parked outside. The noughties, the global recession. Now I have just lived through a pandemic and I am observing a war in Europe between a shark and a minnow, neither of which I expected in my lifetime. Worrying about a cost of living crises as we all are but I’ve lived through and survived three recessions.

Curved balls

The thing is, we can’t make provision for everything that life throws at us as life will always throw us a curved ball when we least expect it. What I have learned about facing mental health issues on a daily basis is that we have a remarkable amount of resilience, probably far more than we ever credit ourselves with. Leaping out of bed, excited for the day ahead is not something we are accustomed to. It can be a slow crawl with mental gymnastics on how we are going to do the everyday tasks, make that phone call, open that letter you have looked at for three days…….get to the shops…..put the laundry on.  Oh I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it!

That’s how

Here’s the thing though, because those everyday things can be such a challenge to us we’ve developed tenacity and skill which are finely tuned to deal with change even if we can’t always see it.   We walked side by side with it, embraced every morning and mostly come out on top even if it takes time to get there. Of course there are days when it really does just feel it is all too much and those are the days to give yourself a break and just don’t challenge – roll with it, take a break because tomorrow you will be stronger. That’s how we keep calm and carry on.

Are you happy?

Are you Happy? It’s a question I have asked and been asked just this week.

I was talking with a long-distance friend that moved out to America a few years ago, it got me thinking how do you measure it? How do you answer that? Realistically it probably depends on the person you’re speaking to and how honest you can be.

When I asked this question to a friend, he described it as a ‘Loaded Question’ which made me rethink my measure of success in life. Instead I said, are you content? This made me think about my own life as well, no one can maintain happiness all the time but to be content is a success. To be content in the moments in our lives, simply walking outside and feeling the sun on your face, or watching the rain, new episodes of your favourite show and speaking with friends. Finding those content moments how ever small in everyday life is a true measure of success.