My mental health journey and why I am a Man on Inverclyde ambassador.

By Callum McFadden.

Mental health is a subject very close to my heart. For most of my life like many others I’ve always tried my best to look out for those I know who have battled mental health.

Up until last year it’s not something I had to deal with directly. I’ve had my challenges in life my parents split when I was young, I lost my dad at 14, lost a very close family member to leukaemia at 15 and a very close relative of my best friend at 16. All deeply upsetting and unsettling moments in my life but although they were moments that I did at times struggle with and cry a lot over, I still felt in control.

However, last year for a spell of two months all of that changed and my world turned upside down. Running CFB means the world to me and it’s a hobby that I absolutely love and take incredibly seriously.

However, last September I began to feel uneasy, horrifically unsettled and most worryingly unlike me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my family, my girlfriend (now fiancée), my friends, my job and the sport that I admit am I obsessed with football with all of my heart.

Although, for that two month spell last year, I lost all of my sense of happiness, determination and sense of perspective on the world around me and myself. I became withdrawn and quiet – very unlike me – and found that I didn’t have any real passion towards anything that I love – for me that was the scariest feeling as I didn’t know what was causing it.

Never did I think I would have to seek advice or help as I’ve always tried to ‘man up’, ‘get on with it’ and ‘keep your problems to yourself’ like many of us do and were brought up in a world especially here in the west of Scotland where that is what we are ‘supposed’ to do.

That only worked for so long for me and last year I went through the toughest spell of my life to date and knew that I had to seek help. It was a step that I was incredibly worried about as I was scared those close to me would think I was ‘mental’ considering that I have absolutely everything my life that I need to be very happy and grateful as mentioned earlier – an incredible family, the absolute best friend and fiancée anyone could ask for and an amazing group of pals behind me.

I told my two closest confidants – my mum and my fiancée – that I was struggling to cope and they supported me in seeking some support and encouraged me every step of the way. Upon seeking support, I was told that I suffer from anxiety and that I would need support to help me control my anxiety rather than the let the anxiety control me. Something that at the time of seeking help seemed improbable and to be honest impossible in my mind.

However, I am now over a year on from what I can safely was the toughest battle of my life and can honestly say that seeking support was best thing I have ever done.

I am now in a place of unbelievable happiness and joy. I now have a range of support strategies to help me out with my anxiety and I am now in full control of it more than ever and am backed up with incredible support from those I have mentioned earlier. Without those closest to me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today as they really are the best bunch of people I could ask for in my life.

That’s not to say life hasn’t got it’s challenges for me. I set Football CFB up as I always dreamed of working in sports media when I was a teenager as football is my passion. With CFB, I carry out that dream as a hobby and I can honestly say it’s the best hobby in the world.

In 12 months, CFB has 425,000 listeners and is listened to all over the world in countries as far away from my home in Scotland as possible in countries like Vietnam, India and Reunion island. I have formed friends and met so many new people through CFB as well as covering the sport I love closer than ever before.

Football in my view can play an enormous part in aiding the mental health of others within society. I also believe that CFB and I myself can – albeit in a small way – and the work that Man On Inverclyde! do in my local community of Inverclyde is inspiring. From zoom calls, to podcasts, support groups and organising a walk and talk weekly for men to meet up socially and speak about a whole range of issues, they are making a real difference.

I have the upmost respect for every single person man or woman who wants to play a part in aiding the mental health of others. I want to play my part too and as always my emails are open to anyone struggling at footballcfb@gmail.com.

Whether you want to chat via email or over the phone I am here for you as are Man on Inverclyde!

Published by Callum McFadden

Football CFB founder. Freelance football writer & broadcaster of over 300 interviews with professional players and managers across all levels of football.

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