The latest episode in our Resilience Unravelled series has now been released, Resilience Unravelled – Men’s mental health. Compassion rather than judgement.
Tom Simmons is the founder of Fellas with Feelings, an education based platform to aid men’s mental health. It also illustrates the moves he has made to enhance his own mental and physical wellbeing. His mission is to inspire others find a light in times of intense darkness. He does this through practical methods and insights to help improve men’s mental health and physical well-being.
Tom now works in sales for an event company but when he was twenty he suffered from two hard-hitting health scares. Firstly he was hit with a heart arrhythmia (or Afib) and then four months later he was diagnosed with cancer. At that point he was faced with a very new reality and had to start battling increased anxiety and depression as well.
Tom feels anxiety was present in his life from a very young age. As a child he suffered from night terrors. At school he was insecure and very conscious of what other people thought about him. At university he partied too hard and developed some unhealthy lifestyle choices. When he was growing up it was perhaps easier to explain the anxiety – that he was trying to get his head around life generally but at university it became more of a topic. At the time there was still a lot of stigma around therapy and anti depressants and he wanted to do everything he could before he went down that route.
In fact Tom found it far easier to get treatment and support for Afib and cancer. There are actual tangible and physical symptoms and treatments where you can see an improvement or cure. Mental health problems are far more complex. Tom found it really difficult to find alternative, non-medical resources, methods and practices to help him return to better health and it was this lack of information that drove him to start Fellas with Feelings.
Tom feels mental health problems are caused by an imbalance in the way we live our lives. He feels that prescription drugs can work really well for some people but for others they cheat them out of having to make a lifestyle change. They can be an easy option so people can continue bad lifestyle choices that they don’t want to give up. Tom feels that he was taking life for granted and the his unhealthy life choices resulted in poor health outcomes. He was playing with fire and got it wrong.
Tom feels women find it easier to be more open about feelings. Men avoid talking about emotions because it’s seen as a weakness and not cool. Younger generations are waking up to this and things are starting to change but it’s still problematic for many men. More men speaking out will normalise mental health. The idea of ‘just getting on with it’ is judgemental rather than compassionate. This may be a British idea as in Europe there is often a more compassionate attitude. People take more of an interest in people who are asking for help.
Tom researched some holistic ideas and started introducing them into his life. He decided to do everything he could to make as much progress as possible. He made huge change in all sorts of areas – he gave up drinking and prioritised things like breathwork, changing his diet, improving his sleep and doing regular exercise.
Tom is now doing much better than he was fifteen months ago. The changes he made have helped and he now feels on course and knows where he’s going. His daily Instagram blog outlines what he’s getting up to. It’s an honest account of how he’s feeling and what he’s doing rather than the often superficial lifestyle generated by social media. Tom hopes that people resonate with it and finds it a safe place to talk about mental health.
Tom believes the secret to living our best lives lies within ourselves. It’s already there but for many, it goes unnoticed and that’s where Fellas with Feelings comes in.
You can listen to the podcast in full and find out further information about Tom here. Our previous podcast episodes and upcoming guest list are also available and there is an option to sign-up to receive our podcast episodes on release.
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