April 21st 2018 was the without question one of the hardest days in my life. Losing a very close friend who was more like a brother, Charlie was just seventeen years old. I was out in a club with Charlie laughing, dancing and just having a great time all round. I woke up the next day to the news he sadly took his life a few hours after. So many emotions were rushing through me. Me and my friends felt like we really let him down and could’ve done so much more to support him whilst he was going through depression. It made me realise the way our group treated each other simply wasn’t good enough and everything was all a big joke, until something like this happens.
Having to do my A level exams 3 weeks after I lost Charlie made me so overwhelmed with stress but what got us through it was being able share great memories about Charlie with all my peers. Communicating with my friends and telling them how I felt was so important. I was having intense conversations with friends of mine that would never normally open up about how they feel. It made us realise what was important in life. It didn’t matter about our A level results or if we got into the university we wanted, as long as we were always emotionally available to each other and could lift our spirits up as a team.
I’ve watched how social media over the years has created this very opinionated world and because of that it stops us from being who we truly are. It’s like we wear emotional masks every day to disguise how we feel because we have this fear that showing any signs of weakness can have you labelled as less of a man than the next guy.
Boys in Mind has helped me in so many different ways. I am able to go into schools and share my story and to connect with students and it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been able to do. It’s been helping me use my story and be able to share how I think and feel to many people. I have always felt comfortable being vulnerable and sharing my emotions with people and because of that I have found many of my peers come to me for support and advice on their problems. Boys in Mind has given me the tools to connect and offer further guidance to them.
Personally, I believe music is the best therapy for whenever you are feeling low. I have found myself through music and dancing from a very young age. As a Performing Arts student I am always required to use music in everything I’m doing within my work. When I hear a song I love, I begin to dance to it as it completely frees my mind from everything, makes me present in that very moment and I just enjoy taking time out of my busy day to learn more about the fluidity and rhythm of my body.
I understand how difficult life can be for young people : a lot of challenges and expectations are sent your way ; you have to manage that whilst managing relationships with people and constantly thinking about who you are in this society and where you want to be. I believe in every single young person out in the world struggling. Remember you are loved and appreciated by so many.