Life Is Sound

027 | The Path To Mental Health Awareness w/ Danielle Petruzzelli

August 28, 2023 James Mayer Episode 27
Life Is Sound
027 | The Path To Mental Health Awareness w/ Danielle Petruzzelli
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Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to Life Is Sound! I'm your host, James Mayer, and today's episode is something that is truly close to my heart as I sit down with Danielle Petruzzelli. 

Over the years Dan has come to realise that true happiness lies not in the pursuit of material possessions or grand achievements, but in the small, everyday moments. Through her experiences in life, she has learned that it is the little things that bring immense joy. Recently, she has discovered a newfound sense of contentment, finding herself exclaiming "I'm so happy" on a daily basis. This journey of self-discovery has allowed her to appreciate the beauty in the simplicity of life and to savour the micro moments that make each day special. 

Tune in as we explore the complex world of Mental Health as Dan share's the story of her brother Vittorio who sadly lost his life to suicide and the amazing work of the amazing charity, MenTell of which Vittorio's story became a huge catalyst for the charities evolution.

What We Discussed In this Episode

  • Transition from hustle culture to calm peace.
  • The Wisdom of Anxiety
  • Finding balance amidst pressure and self-care.
  • Social media sharing, honest friendships
  • MenTell, A charity for Men's mental health
  • Charity grows from personal stories and connections.
  • Losing a brother to suicide
  • The importance of Men sharing
  • Stories of grief.
  • Men need to show up for each other, just like women do.
  • The importance of being more aware of others
  • Reflect on the past and appreciate moments.

Find Danielle's IG Here

If you have listened to this episode and would like some more information on MenTell you can find them HERE

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Hello, good people, and welcome back to Life is Sound. Today's guest is a person that I've always got good vibes off when we met, good vibes when we've connected over the years, good vibes. She's got an amazing story. That's why I wanted to ask her to be a guest today. So today's guest is Danielle Petruzzelli. I want to say a big welcome to Life Is Sound. Thank you for having me. So I want to jump into your story, but I want to start with a question first. I've started this with people. What is important to OOH? Do you know what the first thing that came up just then was? Like, happiness at this. Like, I'm 35, took a long road to get to a place to just say, that's it. But, yeah, just peace and happiness is just most important to me. If it's just me, obviously, yeah, like, happiness, that's it. Where do you find that? I think what I've learned over the years is it has to be in the micro moments of each day. It's not some big end goal that I probably used to think it was, that I was chasing things, money, cars, whatever business I think that I've learned in the trenches, it's actually the tiny little things each day that I'll focus on and be like, wow. And I've found myself strangely, what a weird question you've asked me. I found myself recently, the last few months, every day going, I'm so happy. And I've actually like, that has been a journey, because that is not something I would every day be saying. And it'll just come off the back of small, little things and I'm like, oh, I'm so happy. I say it out loud. Do you spot the difference now for times in your life when you couldn't spot, you were happy? Because I think even that's an achievement in itself. It's weird you've said that. I was on the couch the other day, don't know if I was editing or just on my iPad and I just went, Life is great right now. Yeah. Even though it's been so difficult at the same time. But it's also happiness. And realising is you recognising how you respond to things when times get tough. Not just the, oh, today was a great day, or, I've got food in the fridge. For me, happiness is also coming from, well done, bro. You really handled that really well. Yeah, 100% funny. This conversation is mad. Literally. Last week was speaking to my counsellor and I was like, wow. I've actually in this place where I'm looking back at take one situation, how I'd have reacted to that ten years ago, to the way I'll react now, and I'm like, I can't recognise myself. It's like the work in that space. But, yeah, I think the awareness now of even just being able to go, wow. And seeing that in yourself, that's a massive achievement. Well, for me, anyway. So one thing that's been coming up, and I've had a real awareness of this recently, is you can only know someone from the last version of them that you knew. Yeah. So we were just talking outside as we came in, and we're saying the last time we've seen each other is probably around 2018. Obviously, we spoke on social media, so who I knew at that point, the vibe and energy I got was, you had a great hustle mentality. Yeah. You have a natural, infectious, kind energy. Thank you. And your story is something that shifted so many lives at that time. And we'll speak about how we came to know each other, but if you want to just speak about your journey prior to 2018, to who you are now, just so people can get a sense of who Dan is, when you. Were saying it, then, I thought, oh, my God. That version's like dead in the water. I was thinking oh, my God. I was hustle mentality. I had a big business at the time and I was very much like hardcore hustle till you die type vibe. And the rest of the stuff you said, that's still me. But in lockdown, I had what am I going to call this? The biggest I don't want to say breakdown. It was a breakthrough in the end, obviously, I'm here say, but it was the biggest, darkest don't know what happened to me in lockdown, but it was a lot. I lost my business, I had to sell my car, had to move out my apartment. This is all going on lockdown, had to get a job. I'd had this business that I had for ten years, so it was like everything was changing on top of lockdown and I was just like a deer in the headlights, didn't know what was going on. And I would honestly say it took me from when was that? 2020 or 21 was? Yeah. So I'd probably say from then till six months ago to rebuild this new version of me. And although I'm still the same person, my mentality has changed a lot. So it's not hustle culture anymore. It's just things will just go at whatever the pace they need to go. I'm not going to put myself under any pressure for work under any circumstance. There's a difference, I think, between being excited and getting stuff done and killing yourself off. So me now, god, honestly, it's like there's been a death and then a rebirth, and that is exactly how I feel. Paul John must feel like he's had ten girlfriends in the last few years, because, honestly, I don't know. All I want is peace and I just want a calm nervous system, something I've actually never had in my entire life, until probably I met Joel and then I was in this safe space, didn't know what to do with that. And then I've done the work and now I'm like, this is nice like this. Calm, peace, peacefulness. I know a lot of people probably experienced what you said, lost a business, reality is shattered. Those years were really strange for a lot of people. While you were in the chaos, what was the thing that kept you going? I knew I'd felt that I want to call it like darkness. I'm going to give a book recommendation here. The wisdom of Anxiety by Cheryl Paul. I just wish everyone in the world got give that book in school because the teachings in there about anxiety and these big feelings that we don't get taught how to deal with. This book opened my eyes and I was like, wow. And I only found her work because I was so in the dark. That was googling. Like these feelings that I was having. And her work kept coming up. Got this book and transformational. And I think I have experienced darkness several times before in my life. Like that dark feeling. So I was able to kind of say to myself, it was like, you know, this is a phase over. This is how you're always going to feel. I don't know if scary is the right word, but what's also is it was like a realisation I can also probably ties into the next bit of the story, but it's also I think in those dark times, you're actually able to relate to people who can't cope with that pain and pressure. And you think, I can see why someone might not want to be here anymore because if they don't know that this pain ends, it's so heavy. And I think in the moments, I probably over the years developed the tools. I've been having counselling since I was like 17, and I'm always trying to do the work. I just had this knowing that I think it's just a big like, some it's got to die and some it's going to come back free. And you've just got to ride the waves. And that's all I was thinking. Just whatever it is, keep riding them waves. I think that's a great way to look at it because every time you are in that dark space from that, you come out a whole new person. Yeah, liberated. Spoke about this on different episodes as I've been jumping into people's stories that the only outcome is growth. And sometimes you just got to surrender. You have no control of this thing that's happening to you, external circumstances, whatever it may be, but the guarantee is you're going to come out of it a complete different person, 100%. Me and my friend Carla, we're very similar. We'll go into dark holes and then come back out again the next day. And we'll just text each other the emoji of like a dark hole. And I'm like, let me know when you're out. And we have that relationship where we can say, back out now. And we're like, glad you're good. And we always say we're riding waves. And I think of it in my head, like, imagine a massive big wave and it's so powerful and it will just suck you out into the ocean, drown you, the lot. And that's how you feel. You can't breathe, but also waves take you back to the shore and I always just have this feeling of I'm just riding this wave and it will take me back and I'll get back to the shore and I'll be able to breathe again and it'll be all right. So then when I'm back, I'm like, I'm off the wave. And then I'll text my friend saying, Hi, I'm back now. And she's like, Hi. You just made me think about a question in terms of when you're feeling like you said you text your friend. Do you text more than one friend or is it just like a specific friend? I've probably got, apart from my counsellor at the time, I've probably got two other people that know me on that level where you can say, like, dark stuff to them. They're not going to be thinking you're about to do something insane that you can actually just say, oh, my God, I'm feeling suicidal today. But do you know what I'm trying to say? And they'll just be like, Text me when you better, and then it'll be a few days. I'm like, whoa. I'm back. That was a dark hole we were in. And I think having those friends that you can just send a text out of blue and say, struggling, do you want to call? I think it's so key to have them people and I'll pick up the phone and just say, it how it is and then I'm all right and I'll be all right in a few days. I think that's great because someone like yourself, who comes across as a positive person a lot of the time, I feel like sometimes you can feel an extra pressure to keep that up, keep up appearances 100%. And when you go into that darker space, it's crucial to find those people in your life that you can be truthful with and share. And do you feel like women still naturally have that? Yeah, I think women are I'm not going to say better, I think it's more women are from Venus, men are from Mars. Right. So I think it's more in our nature to just be like, oh, my God, and express, express all these emotions, I'd say. Or maybe we find it easier because it's more nap. That's what we're like in comparison to men. But one thing I'll know is I used to be afraid of them emotions. I used to think, oh, my God, what is this? And you panic. Then something must need fixing, I must need to go and distract myself. And I was out all the time. And now when I feel them feelings, it's like this switch goes on in my head. I'm like, I'm just having a sad day. I'm going to go and get in bed, I'm going to cry and watch my favourite film. I even say to Joel, I'm not having a good day. And he's like, okay. And he doesn't need to ask me a million questions, he knows what it means. I might just be sat there crying my eyes out, but just let me get out and a bit absolutely fine. An hour later and I'm not scared of them anymore. I know. I think if anyone's listening and they do get scared of them emotions, I'm almost like I let them be. If I feel like I need to get them lie on the floor, I'll honestly just lie on the floor with my anxiety blanket over my head and think it just needs to come out. So let it out. And then an hour later, I'm back up and it's like gone. It's a process in it. Yeah. And I think you've got to let it out. I think one thing is great that you said your partner gives you that space because I've even caught myself doing this. I feel like when you present a problem or an issue to a man. You want to fix. Our brains want to fix and go, right, logic, how do we do this? And sometimes that's not the thing that's going to work. You just need the space, you need the time to just process, go through it and come out the other side. I can relate to that a lot. And obviously they call it the dark night of the soul and sometimes it feel like you're just going through loads of mini ones of them and it's like, when's this actually going to stop? But it's the knowing that every time you come out, you're a complete different person. Yeah. And it is exhausting because you do think how many dark nights of the soul? Because the book, Cheryl, you'd love it. You get dragged in by this dark night and you do sometimes think you're literally like, when's this going to stop? But being on the other side of it, I'm so much stronger now. When them phases come, they don't get me for as long, they don't go as deep. And I think just being able to have this, knowing that it's a phase and it passes like cuts half pressure off and then each time, even though it is annoying, every time you have to go through that, the more you just let it out, the easier it gets. And I'm finding that this shorter not as intense. And I'm just hoping one day we won't need to get a visit from the dark night of the soul anymore. What's your go to things? When you feel things building up, what's your toolkit to keep your mental health balanced? Recently, I found a couple of new tools that are really working. A few days back, I just had what felt like about two months, just reach a climax of, this is too much for me now. Yeah. Even though I was fine during the process, knowing I'm going through difficult things, I can handle this. I know how strong I am. It's doable. I'd booked a holiday and that got cancelled. My grandma was really unwell, so it was all fate, it was meant to happen. But like you said before, my nervous system got prepped for a holiday. My mind was like, we get to relax and it was like, no, holiday cancelled. And my nervous system went broke. I'm out. Yes, we're broke. And I got ill and I felt my nervous system go, no, you told me holiday. If that's not happening, I'm done. Yeah, I'll stop you. Exactly. You need to slow down. And I felt my stress levels over the past two, three days reach a point where I'm supposed to go to my friend's house warming and I just voice noted him and said, bro, I know you know what this is like. I've reached that point, so I'm not going to be able to make it tonight. I just need some time for me. And he messaged back, do what you need to do. Not a problem. The next day, I went to the float tank in Wimslow Wimslow Float therapy. And this place now has become a sanctuary for me, where I'm like, right, what can I do? I'm going to go there. So what are some tools that, you know, that really do work? When things just get to that pressure point? It's funny, isn't it? Because I get to that pressure point a lot and then I think, why do I let myself get there? And then it's only when you're at the pressure point you do all these things that are good again. I think, why can't I just keep this balance up when I'm feeling good, no matter what? It's like, I get to this point and I'm like, oh, my God. And then I bring in all these fantastic things like get a green. I'm saying it because I've just done it. Get a new green drink, get a new therapist. I'm like, oh, my God, I'm on top of the world. And and I'm like, maintain actual question. I think there's a few things that I do. It really depends what's going on, what I can have capacity for. Sometimes I can't even ring my mate to say, oh, my God. It's just like too much. So if it's one where I'm like, no, I can't even speak to anyone, the first thing I have to do is put my phone down. I can express how when I'm at the edge, that phone tips me over the edge. So I have to sometimes I get sensitive to light, I get sensitive to noise. It's like all going on in my head. So I have to turn my phone off. That helps. Massively. My number one go to actually, when you said float tank, it's a little bit like that, but I have to run a bath, a piping hot bath. Lavender oils, coconut oil, like kitchen coconut oil, turn the lights off and candles and I don't know why for years I've just gone, Just get me in the bath. And then I feel like ten times better. But it depends what mood I'm in. Sometimes I'll put a movie on that makes me cry because I want to cry. Sometimes I'll have to watch a comedy or just be in silence, sit by myself. It really depends. Sometimes I can say to my sister or my friends, I'm coming round and I can sit in their company and I'm like, not all right. But yeah, it depends. I think, a few things like that, and then just I've got really good at just letting it out. So I spent the whole of June in bed, basically. I've got three jobs. I'm on the go all the time, and I could feel that pressure point bubbling away all beginning of this year, and I thought, carry on doing what I'm doing. And in June, it's like my immune system went, see you later. I think sitting down and taking a look at everything and going, what summit's got to give? What is it? And being all right with it. I had to chop a day off work and go, fine, less money, more peace. Fantastic. So just having a real conversation with yourself because you can ask other people, but it's about yourself. Is that thing working for you? Is that job that's causing you chaos? Is it know or that relationship or whatever you're doing, the awareness of yourself? And I'm really good now actually asking me, even if I get asked to do something, I used to go, yes, yes to everything. And now I go, Danielle, do you actually want to do that? And half the time ago, no. And then I don't do it. And I'm all right with letting people down, like you said as well. I am perfectly okay. If I've got some planned and I haven't got the capacity for it, I'll cancel it. And that doesn't mean that I don't care and I'm not gutted to not be there, but if it's not worth it to me anymore when you hit that point, I think you've really got to just adjust and just have a conversation with yourself. I'm hoping societal norms are changing, because when you do that and you call someone voice note, bro, I'm so sorry, I can't make it tonight. Your default is, oh, he's going to be on the other end of the phone saying he's making it up. He's this there's nothing wrong with him because that's what we've been used to. Whether your family have applied that pressure as a kid or your friends throughout your life, whatever it is, that seems to be what the norm used to be. And I'm hoping we are experiencing a shift where now when someone says that, it's like, you do what you need to do and it's okay, no judgement. I feel like it'll take a while to shift into that, where that becomes the norm, but I feel like more people are hitting this pressure point, so much going on. I think you see the quotes nowadays, don't you, like, get shared on social media? Whereas if someone doesn't text back straight away, it's fine. My sister shared one. It was more like Mum life. You can't see all your friends and all your family and hold down a job and a relationship. Sadly, sometimes when you're going to lose friends from being honest with people. It's happened to me over the age I've not been able to make things and it's caused big rouse, but I thought, you don't understand me and that's okay. I've two major occasions in my life and I thought, we're just not the same people and I'm taking care of me. And then you find out who your friends are, like when you've text your friend and he's gone, no problem, hope you are right. I think the more of us that just show up, it's just being honest and honest of ourselves, actually, and the more we keep showing up, I think everyone else is going to start being like, yeah, it is okay to take care of myself. And it's actually really important, as in, I think some people might just think it's not that big a deal, just come to the party and you're ready to blow. In your mind, you think, what? Whereas now I think there's this understanding of, well, maybe he's not all right or she's not all right. I've had partners in past relationships where I've gone, I'm just not feeling great, don't know what it is, but I feel like if I'm around people, I'm most likely not going to be relaxed. Yeah, why don't you just come and see how you feel? Now, I understand that because there's a safety mechanism in your brain, something's telling you if you don't go, you'll be safe, you'll be comfortable. The more you actually go and do that, you can rewire that programming, of course. So the logic behind it, I get it, but sometimes when somebody says that and you're in that space, you feel like you really don't get me or how this feels and there's a danger where people just flippantly, say it like that's the cure. And I relate so much to that because it fires up everything in you, like you just want to explode. Yeah. Honestly, I can't talk about money because the people know exactly I'm talking about. But two occasions in my whole life that rattled me to the core. It was after my brother's passing and didn't get why I couldn't turn up at certain things or grief got me one day and I couldn't get off my knees and they didn't get why I couldn't turn up to that thing and we didn't speak after that. And I'm thinking, one day, hopefully not going through some of it, but you might have a moment where you understand and you think, oh, because grief gets everyone. It's the one thing. And I was thinking about that the other day gets everyone. That big pain. Don't know why we don't get taught about it. It's the one thing we're all going through. It's still a very unspoken thing. Yeah. And I think when we met and you find out someone's lost someone in the life in some way, there's like an instant connection there 100%. And I know we've shared stories with each other and people can even get to the ages that we're at now. You're 35, I'm 37 and still not lost anyone, and they can't really relate to what you might have experienced and that's no fault of their own. But anxiety, depression, grief, whatever it is you're going through that's real for you at that time, and I think we've got to get better at Navigating and helping people navigate these places without letting them stay there, because, like you said, we have to move through these things. There is a way out. And this is what I'm really trying to drive home on this podcast via conversation, that everyone goes through incredibly insane stuff and there is a way through it. Like you said, I look at the version of me who I am today and I'm like, wow. If I told the 24 year old me who was, grieving, you're going to be this guy? I'd be like, that sounds all right. Yeah. And there is a way through. And you hear stories and we'll jump into a bit of a deeper part of your story about how we met and the losses you experienced, which kind of created a ripple effect of a movement. So we met, I want to say 2016. 2017, I think 17. Yeah. And I was a part of which is now a charity, mentel Starting. There was a group of us who a friend of mine, Kieran, just messaged me and said, I'm thinking about getting some men together, just to talk in a circle. Are you up for it? I think you'll be great. And I, at the time, was going through a lot of anxiety and I thought, do you know what? Push myself into the discomfort? Let me just see what this is like. And we went to, I think, a scout hut in Stockport, and we sat in a circle and we just had a tennis ball and we knew we'd pass that ball when it was time to share. And we shared and it was a powerful moment and we realised there's something in it now that started to grow week by week, new person by new person, and it's at a place now that is incredible. It's a charity and seeing the things it was on TV the other day, ITV, and I sat back and was like, wow, this is amazing. And when you came into the picture, it was really, again, quite early on, and you shared your story with us, and I think we were all so humbled by it. It kind of hammered home the message of why those circles were so important. So, in your own way, if you're happy to share that story, and then we'll jump into the ins and outs of it. How old was it at the time? I'm 35 now, so it's my birthday, 2017. So I was 29. Lost my brother to suicide on my birthday. And, yeah, I think that was well, I didn't know what was coming after that, of course. And I'd spoke about it online. I share it all the time, like his story, and just I'm big on I just talk about everything, so I don't mind sharing the stories. And I shared this post a few months after, and I'd already had Andy, the CEO of Mentel, on my Facebook, and I shared a picture of my brother, shared his story. And this guy just pops up and says, Can I ring you? This is really random, but I've got an idea. So I was like, I was up for ideas. Go on, then. And he said, We've started this thing, stopport, gave the Scout Hut story. And I was like, wow, that sounds cool. He said, I've just seen a picture of your brother. And in a little brief glance, I thought it was me. He said, It caught my eye because I thought, wow, was that me? And then I read your story, and I connected to it so much, and that was like, the start of the next journey, I'd say, for Mentel, because they wanted to set up a physical circle in the hometown that we were from. And then that just begun this massive fundraising campaign to set this circle up. We raised all this money. I volunteered a lot with Mentel, and that was where it all began. So I don't know where we go. From there, but I remember the feeling of us all meeting you for the first time and you sharing the story. And I felt I've not got the greatest memory, but I remember feelings and I remember there just being a feeling of what felt like silence, of, wow, this is real. What if we could have got Vittorio to a circle 100%? And then seeing the power of those circles, which for people listening, you can find mental online. But how it works is you sign up for a circle, you show up, there's a facilitator and somebody else kind of like helping them guide that circle if need be. And it's a space for men to just share without judgement, without well, I think you should do this and you should do that. It's no advice. Just let things off your chest. And there may. Be a discussion about it, but there is no direction of, this is the solution. Yeah, just releasing, just like this podcast. When you said at the start, this conversation is mad in those circles, I realised week by week, one topic will show up, and that's the theme of the circle for the night. And your story at that time, hearing about your brother, was that jigsaw piece that came in at the right time. And to see what has been achieved now with Mentel and the direction it's going and the growth of it and checking in on the updates is amazing. And it's probably one of those things that you can't really calculate how many lives it is fully touching and affecting, but this is the butterfly effect and this is why I really want to help share people's stories, because by you being vulnerable and open and sharing about your brother, imagine you didn't do that. No, it's mad. Which was probably for you, a way of releasing. Yeah, that's how I love writing stuff, so I always haven't for a while, but always would write stuff and I don't know how. It always just got so much traction and shares and comments and love, and then one day it reached Andy, like you say, and then that's gone on to ripple onto other things. It is incredible, because I remember when I met you all in that circle, and I think I said, didn't I was like, my brother didn't like men in white suits and doctors and he didn't want to talk to those people. I know if he just stepped into a room of normal lads that looked sound and felt like him, I honestly, hand on heart, no, if he'd have stepped in one of the rooms, he'd probably still be here. But then the irony is this wouldn't have gone in the direct mentel, wouldn't have headed in the direction it headed. Part of it, without his story, it's just so mad. And like you say, all the lives it's impacted ever since. When you think about that, it gets a little bit trippy, doesn't it, when you're like, these things have to happen in the way that they do for us to be, at this exact time, a moment. I remember a moment in Mentel because it was men being there for men, and it was very centred around men. And I remember Andy saying, I want to invite Dan down to a discussion. And I remember in The Circle, it was that moment of, but she's a. You know, she's not a man, right. And none of us knew what this thing was going to be yet. So it was like, I thought, we're keeping this. Is she going to be at the circle? What's it going to be? But when you arrived and you shared the story, it was just undeniable of, all right, so many people can add to this thing called Mentel, and you don't necessarily have to be a man to help this thing run and function, because people who are not men have experience of men's mental health issues. So to see the direction and how many people are involved, I know your mom's heavily involved. You're still heavily involved in it. Yeah. So it's great to see the journey and the progression of it, I think. So weird when we set that stage of mentel up back in 2018, and then I was very much like, I think my role here is done for now. It was a volunteer role. All the money got raised, hide Circle got set up, men were attending. And I was like, right. I think for me. And I remember I said to Andy, I think that's my role, but I think I'll be back. I just thought I'll be back here at some point and actually got employment with them, I want to say, nearly a year ago. So funny. The contract came through on the fifth of Jan, which is my brother's birthday. So weird. Wow. It renews on the fifth of Jan, because I only looked the other week and I was like, Weird. And when you talk about things have to happen, sometimes the best thing happens, but it's come from the worst thing. I actually look at my mom and side note to this never ending story of mine, I actually lost my ex partner to suicide when I was 21. So it wasn't the first time I'd sort of been there with those feelings. And I never forget at the time, my mom said, I'd never get over something like that. That'd be it. And then here she is all these years later and the same thing happened to her son. And honestly, my mom's life transformed. She works full time for mentel and goes up and down the country. She's like the heartbeat of mentel. She's a community manager. She goes all over the country, setting campaigns up, doing talks, like, in front of colleges, big workplaces. My mum would have never even sat on a podcast with one person years ago. The same one that said, I'd never survived that if that happened to my son. And I see her and think, do you remember what you said? And there she is. And my mom's so happy now, obviously, despite that's. Not even a factor, is it? But in her work life, she does such good and impacts everyone. But that wouldn't have happened if we didn't have this story. It's so mad how it is. The butterfly effect. Yeah. In that way. Of the reason I started this podcast, because my dad had a breakdown. And from every experience within that time period, a lot of it negative, traditional systems failing, not really getting the help that I could see he needed. Me having an understanding of emotions and trying to shift those and seeing emotion in his eyes rise up as a man. But him not quite letting it out and they put him on medication, which then affected him in an even worse way. I knew I had to start speaking and if that wouldn't have happened, this podcast wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be sat here sharing this. And hindsight is a great thing and it's always easy to look back and go, oh, that's happened because this happened. Why you're in it. You don't really see that. It doesn't feel like that, does it? You feel like there's not going to be a light. You're in it. Yeah, 100%. When you look back at the time of losing your brother, how do you view that now compared to how you viewed it then? I think that was one of the moments where whoever I was then, I was travelling Australia at the time. When I say living my best life, how the universe can take you from best moment of your life to your worst in a day is beyond me. I'd never have been there for seven months. I was at the happiest in my entire life that I've ever been and then literally went to Thailand for my birthday, not seeing my best friends. They met me from here. We all met in Thailand. And as soon as I landed, it was like, you need to come home. And I was like, no, I'm not going home. It was very much like, what? And then, obviously, I had to ring my mom. She said, you got 24 hours to get home. And for a long time I was sad because I thought that version of who you were is never coming back. And I almost hate it now when I see people say, don't even be in relation to could be like body or after a baby or whatever, when you say, I'm getting this back, and I go, you're never getting that back, whether it's who you were, what you look like, what you used to be like. I'm almost like, can we stop saying that? And can we talk about who we're going to become? Because it's almost like that person who I was died and now I'm a new person, but I actually prefer this person, if that makes sense, as who I am. But the way they were, big feelings. And I think do you know what's, Mad? What you said before, like, about you sharing your story? I urge everyone to share the story in the business that I'm in now. I'm like tell your story. Whether it's about new products, you've found a business, you've started a journey, whatever, tell it. Because I think that's how we help each other. I think when I tell my story about how them big, deep feelings got me and then waves it's how somebody else knows that you're not the only one. And I think I knew enough by that point to know wasn't, this isn't just a feeling that's mine. And the more I started to share that, I could not believe the amount of other sisters there were who lost above Sister. My inbox was flooded. And you think, wow, it's not just me, and you don't feel as alone. I know that went off in a bit, but I just think sharing stories is so powerful and, yeah, just from how I felt then, it's different, because I went through those feelings once before, so I knew to a degree, you got better. I know the grief stages, should we say you just don't think you're going to do it twice for the same thing, do you know what I mean? And then it's your little brother. I was talking about this with my friend. We went for dinner on Saturday, we sat in San Carlo crying. We'd had two ponza. Martinez I was like, you bit pissed. And then we're both sharing stories of grief and I'm crying, she's crying. Next thing we're laughing. And I said, what even is this? It was like a podcast. And she was new to grief with her passing of her dad, and I'm not so new to it, and she was sort of like, does it get better? Does it get easier? And I said, do you know what's funny? I still have moments where it's like I've been smacked in the face and I realise, he's not here. Of course I know he's not here, but when that hits, it's like it triggers them feelings. So then big feelings still come for me. I'm just more okay with them. I'd say I'm more unafraid of them. And I just always tell myself, you know, this passes. And to people that struggle, honestly, on my knees of anxiety, physically. Couldn't stand on my own legs. And I think I do a mental note, but I can imagine if someone is in the mix of it and then they feel better. Write a letter to yourself to remind yourself that you felt better and it passed. Or it eased off a bit. Because the next time that wave comes for you, if you in that moment can't think straight because of how you're feeling. You read the letter that you wrote, and it will remind you that oh, yeah, these exact feelings came for me last time, and I was obviously all right. And it just helps you, like, clinging on till it's gone. Sometimes it's a week, sometimes it's a day, but I think just knowing that just on a wave and it's going to take you back to the shore, that really helps me. Because otherwise they're big feelings and I don't know why we're not taught about them, because no one's getting away from them. Feelings are they like we all feel them. It's grief, everyone at some stage. Why does no one tell us what to do with these feelings? Because I don't know. I think if we all learned about that, so many more people would still be here because it's in their big feeling moments that they must possibly think, this is never going to stop. Why else would you want it to end? Yeah, sometimes you wish you could just say, it'll stop. It won't feel as intense. And it's hard to hear that whilst you're in it, because someone who's been through it on the other side can say that. But while you're in that storm, you're kind of like saying it from outside the storm. Hey, dry and warm. It's going to be going to be good. Look at me while you're in it. People really struggle to see through those dark clouds and it's one thing Maureen's made me really aware of. She's been on the podcast quite a few times, is I feel like we've gotten really good at talking about mental health and the words come up in society and everyday culture, but people really still don't know what that means or what we can do. There's places like Mentel that spreading awareness and they've got circles that you can go, you can share, but the average guy that doesn't have much knowledge on anything to do with mental health, we're all talking about it, but we can ask the question, what's really changing? Because I'm still seeing a lot of stigmas. I saw it with my dad. Now my dad's, obviously my dad's age and generation, that's a different generation to my generation. They're really tough nuts. Their fathers are even tougher. It's just a different time, different age. This generation is a bit more open. I'd like to think younger generations are going to be even more better than us. Open. There's still resistance. I feel it within me sometimes. I can feel that. I think I've probably said it, I've said a lot on this podcast now, but I've probably said it. There's a moment I was in the shower and I just overwhelmed. Tears came. 10 seconds, right, that's enough, bro. Man up. I was like, what was that? Where was that? What is it in me that has been taught that I need to stop crying right now? A basic emotion. No one says, James, you need to stop laughing now. You're happy, you express it, you're laughing your head off. If something's funny, we're going to laugh. It boggles my mind that we feel that it's just another emotion when we're happy, we'll laugh. When we're ecstatic, we'll be screaming when we're sad, you're meant to cry. So I don't know what went wrong where but it's just another emotion. So, yeah, I don't know if someone. Taught you at ages where it was like you were crying, someone said, hey, if you do that for too long, you're weak. I know. Or, Stop crying, you big girl, which is obviously said to young boys, and. You might not feel like it's a big comment, like, oh, it doesn't matter, but I got when you said that, then I thought of my little nephew Reggie. He's so emotional and I love it I'm so obsessed with him and he's dead sensitive. He reminds me of me when I was little and he cries and he says he'll say to my sister and me, he's gone, Dan, dan. I've gone, yes, babe. He goes, It's all right to cry in it. I go, 100% cry all the time and he'll cry. And I think that's what we have to let this next generation show up. And just like you said, I used to not cry as much as I wanted to cry, because I think I'm too emotional. I shouldn't be still crying. I was still crying about my ex partner ten years later, just before my brother died. You shouldn't still cry over that. But now, honestly, whenever I feel anything bubbling up, I could cry for hours. And I think it obviously is all coming out now because I'm letting it. It's that shame voice, that little shame voice going, man upstop, we're done now. It's such a powerful process when you allow yourself to do that. Now, as a man, I can't ever envision myself sat there with tissues going when I visual myself letting go. I did something recently and it was a really new practise. I was on my couch. I don't know if I was watching TV or what, something just came up, tears started rolling. I was sat in the cross legged position, which, if I was going to meditate, that's how I'd sit. Yeah. So my brain has gone, oh, we're meditating. So I've gone, Let me trick my brain and say, we're meditating. And I just sat there and I was just breathing slow and the tears were just rolling, not in a heavy way of, but just in a I was like, we're just going to meditate and allow all this to come up and those tears to release. Because there's chemicals that get released when we cry. There's stress hormones that get released. So every time we stop ourselves from crying, we're just creating a backup problem somewhere, backup, and that will lead to an explosion of something somewhere down the line when one thing in your life triggers you. But it was a really powerful moment and I think maybe that's where women are better with that. They'll give themselves the time and the space. Like you said before, I'm having a bad day, I'm just going to go to bed and cry. Yeah. Now, it's very rare. You probably hear a man say that. I don't think I ever have. How can we redesign it? Because I definitely I've not done it since. Yeah, I might need to only do it once every five years. That might be enough. Once a year, once every three months, who knows? But that moment on the couch with my mind going, this is what we do when we meditate. You meditate. And I just went, Let these tears flow. And what that did, I went from current trauma to past trauma and I went, oh, so there's still some unresolved stuff here. 100%. Let the tears come. Yeah, let it we'll just meditate and let it rise. That went to another previous trauma that I thought, that's good, I'm good with that. No, up it came. And I allowed myself time and space and it just kept going to all these things in a backwards chronological order. Well, you find the root of it. Exactly. Things I thought I'd process. And after it, I was like, I felt so light because I'd give myself time and space to acknowledge those things that clearly do still sit with me. And I think it's great talking about mental health, but these things as I'm only just discovering that people might hear that and go, yeah, that's not a new thing. People are already doing that. How do we teach men to get more comfortable with these tools? Rather than it seems like we're doing a lot of talking. And again, things like mental amazing, safe spaces for conversation there's things I think we can slowly but surely integrate into society where men get more comfortable with physical practise, like women have been great with for years and years, the longest time. I completely agree. And I think what was going on in my mind then, I thought, you go first. I think men need to show up for each other. Like, women are really good at this. I think it's just like who we are, we will show up and then it lets you know, well, you're all right to cry then, and then she's all right to cry and we're all crying in San Carlo. I think men need to show up for each other. So you don't see in you gave me such an insane idea for mentel, actually, but that's another day we don't see in these circles. You don't see the men crying, you don't hear the stories. Someone needs to tell them. Someone needs to say, I just sat on the couch and cried my eyes out for it to become the norm. I think men just need to go first. Like leadership, isn't it? You go where you want others to go and page that part, what's the word? Pave that path. But I think if men in their moment shared that story, say on social media, you're letting other men know, a, it's normal, b well, if he can show up, so can I. And if he can talk about it, then maybe I can talk about it. The conversations are happening, but we don't see them on these meetings are confidential, obviously, so I'd say the big difference. I think women share everything, don't they? We share everything on socials paragraphs, like we'll cry on camera. Whereas I think I'd love to see more men just sharing the micro moments, just what happened to you letting that out and not in the moment. It could be a reflection after. But I think men need to go first for each other and then other men can follow. That's my thought on that one. Yeah, that's what came up when you were saying, what can we do? And I also think what I've realised, when you lose someone to suicide or any death, I'm going to say, people are always gutted, aren't they? Oh, if I'd have known. And when I hear that now, I don't know why, obviously I get triggered, so I get angry because I think you did know and I think all around us people are saying I'm suffering, but they're not saying I'm suffering. They might just say, I don't know. Do you want to go for a walk tonight? Do you fancy catching up? Someone's ringing you but you're not catching the call. You didn't get back to them, hey, how are you? But really, they want you to be like, oh, my God, how are you? I think what I see now is I go, people are screaming out of help all the time, but we're not hearing it or seeing it for some reason. So I think maybe a bit more awareness or just that second question, if someone maybe asked you to do something or just think, did you want to come for a walk? I can't bothered. But really they what, did you come for the walk with them? If that person disappeared, you'd all be going, I wish we knew, but I promise you, if you open your eyes, it's everywhere. People are actually microly, like actually saying, I'm not all right here, we missing it. So true. I think that's such a profound thing. When I think about when I get to a point of I go, Let me see what Tim's doing this weekend. Let's go see if Tim's free. You'll ask him how he is. Yeah. Hey, man, you good? You want him to go, Are you all right? And you're like, no, but we don't do it. Yeah, so true. Or should we go for some food? Essentially, you're saying a few things. I've not seen you for a while or I don't feel great. Who makes me? You're my person. Good. Who's my person I can share with? Right. And I've probably looked at it in that way, but I just feel like it's a great insight to what you just shared, that people are reaching out. People are. I had no idea. I think you did. I get so angry about it. That's something I need to deal with, but I just think you did. No, I don't want to hear what you knew how many times did and now I've got this awareness, I see it all the time. I think that's a good little awareness to have, and it's not to say every time someone rings, we answer and we've got to look after ourselves as well. But I think just that little tweak of thinking, maybe they needed me for that walk, but they're pretending we come for watermate you know what I mean? Yeah. So yeah, so true. I absolutely love that insight. What would you put if there was the one defining thing you've probably had an array of things that have helped you process grief. What would you put as the pinnacle? Like the thing that you were like, that thing right there. That was my saviour. Wow. We're on the topic of grief. Bloody al kay. She was my counsellor since I was like, 18. And last December I was at boiling point again in my own I'd let it get to that point. And I actually text. We'd not spoke for a few months and I text her and her husband replied, I think this is one I've not probably processed still. But, yeah, she'd passed away. So that thing that I'd had since I was like 70, she was like my go to. I needed her for X. And then now that was another one and she wasn't there. But the profound thing was her therapist that I'd had and just that journey of it's like speaking to someone who's not going to judge you, who's just going to let you go. And obviously on top of someone that's known me so well, that was able to just give me that little nody, I would honestly say speaking to having that therapeutic relationship for me was somewhere you can take your crazy, dark thoughts and not be judged and just you feel lighter. Yeah. And I actually just found a new therapist I've had for the last eight weeks. Even that was tough. Starting afresh, I was like, oh, my God. But I was kept reaching these little boiling points. And then I was ill for the entire of June and thought, it's all just been stuffed in since December. And now there's a new grief in there as well, just in case anyone is thinking, oh my God, where do you even start? I listen to Nearlywed's podcast with Jamie Lang and Sophie Haboo best podcast when I say crying, laughing, nearly crashed my car because I can't cope with the best podcast, hands down, I've ever listened to. Excuse me. Well, apart from this one. Once you listen to your own episode. And then they recommended BetterHelp, it's an app you go on, you put in your details, you put in what you want help with. And I thought, you know what, I'm going to go. Because I was thinking, where do I start? Now, when I was 17, I got referred from a doctor to Off The Record, a free service that's not there. Then I kept that private sessions going with Kay. I was like, Where do you go? So I downloaded this app, you put in all your details. It sort of like, picks the person and goes, here's Danielle, your therapist, a bit about them. So I was like, no, not that one, not that one, not that one. And then it stopped on this and just thought, she sounds and looks all right. And you pay for, like, four blocks in a row and I've just done eight weeks and once a week you log into the app and it's like a video thing. And, yeah, started that journey again, because for me, just being able to say it, no one's like, help because they're not getting coached, they're just listening. I feel like a new person. Even from who I was eight weeks ago, I was struggling again, honestly. Spent, like, four days in bed one week, three the next week. Mind was like and I was laughing, saying, I feel I was, like, at one Anatma, like a back out of, like, eleven out of ten now. And it's just from going about anything, could be anything, but it's gone, it's out. Because I genuinely think when you don't and you swallow it, it's stuck somewhere in your body. And then I'm ill and I know it every time, it's like, same when I'm ill, I think, what's jammed in there? So I have to let it out. So therapy is the answer. So I've got a question that I ask on every podcast, but with what we've spoken about, I reckon it's probably going to point back to what we've just discussed. Okay, so the question I want to ask you is, you at this age today, the 35 year old you, if you could go back to the 21 year old you that experienced that grief, what would your advice be from this position? I'm laughing because the first thing that I said was, honestly, just hold on for your dear life. Like, cling on, because that's what it feels like. You're just holding on something, aren't you? I will say that where I am now, wow, it's been a journey, but I am the happiest, most peaceful version of me I've ever been. And honestly, it's taken from childhood to here, but it's worth it. It's weird because everything was worth it, because I like who I am now. Not that I didn't like who I was, I didn't think I was worthy and stuff in the past, but I like who I am now and I just think it's worth it. You have to cling on. I'll find something to hold on to. Whether it's someone else's story going well, if she did it, so can I. That's why I think it's important for men to share, because someone will go, if he felt them feelings and look at him now. I'm going to get there as well. So, yeah, I just think my advice would be to cling on and just find those people that you can people, let them people know, listen, you're the person I'm going to come to when I'm not doing well. So what I'll do is I do it. My cousin Zoe, I text her, need to offload. Is now a good time? I don't just ring her and go. I say I'm not. In the best place. Have you got a minute to listen? She goes, of course. And then at the end, we laugh. I go, Just charge me later for that. But, yeah, having them people, you can just say, Can I ring you? I'm in that place. And then you've got to imagine the wave and you've been sucked out and you're going to get spat back onto the shore, but you'll catch a breath. And now, honestly, I've got the most magic life every day. I'm like, oh, my God, I'm so happy. And then I shock myself that I've just said it. But that doesn't mean I don't have them, like, moments, because I have them more often than people would know. But I also exist here, which is a really good life. And that's exactly what this podcast is. The reason I called it life is sound because it's when life is horrible. How do we get it back to feeling great, feeling good, normalise it and acknowledging the times when you go, I am so happy right now. And enjoy it and soak it in and breathe it in because it's really easy in life to go, I'm happy. Oh, shit. What's next? What's on its way? Because I know this doesn't last, and usually it doesn't, something will come, it'll test you, it'll slap you, it'll beat you up a little bit, but it's knowing whatever that is, you can handle it and we can get back to that good place. And this is exactly why I wanted to share these stories and bring people like yourself on that have had an impact in my life, people that I've really just got good energy from, powerful stories that people will resonate with. It's so important to share. My final question to you would be you today, 35 years old. What's a question you would ask the 45 year old you. Wow, 45 year old me. Who's she going to be? Jeez, based off the last ten. Wow. Hopefully not as not as wild. But the 45 year old me, what would I ask her? I'd actually ask her if she savoured all those moments. And what I mean by that is and in fact, this could be a great wrap up to how I'd like to end the podcast is when you're in life, whether it's like your partner or your siblings or your mum and dad, we take it for granted. And we all like to say, no, we don't. But we do. And I've changed in that. Oh, God, the God awful music my brother used to play that I'd scream at him, Turn it off. He'd sing, shut up. He'd be playing his guitar. I'm going to bash it over your head if you carry on. It really used to annoy me. Didn't want to hear it. When your dad asks you trying to go for a walk or you're coming around for dinner, I'm busy now. I watch it and think, you better pick that phone call up off your dad. I hope you sit and listen to your brother's music till you go blue in the face, because now his music is the music that I play in my car. And I'd give anything to hear him vibrating my walls with his electric guitar and his amps, but in the moment, we're like, oh, God, shut up. Be quiet. So through my life now, when people are singing, dancing or ask me to dance, if my mom's ringing me, I'll answer the phone. I would say to my 45 year old self, I hope you've savoured all the moments and didn't bash them off because they're the moments that you just wish you could have again. The ones that piss you off. It's always the ones, the little things. I didn't know what his favourite music was. It's my favourite music now. It's The Smiths. It's Morrissey. It's Idol. I did not know that while he was here, do you know what I mean? He'd sing the songs and I wouldn't even be listening. And now it's all I listen to. So I don't know what the phrase is to just pay attention, because I promise you, there's going to be a time where you're going to look back and think, why did I not do that? Why wasn't I listening to the music? It's so easy, isn't it? We do it all the time. I still do it micro times and I go, oh, no, right, okay, tell me. I'll play it. Go on. But I just think it's all around us and we keep missing moments. So to my 45 year old self, I would just say, did you save for all them moments? Incredible. Yeah. So I want to say a big thank you for coming to do this today. It's exactly what I knew it would be. And welcome people like yourself that I know are on a journey and continuing to do work. There's an open invitation to come and do this. It's not let's fit your life story into an hour. We're more than an hour. So whenever you're ready in the future, come and jump back on and we can jump into something else with different insights, more growth, more perspectives. Yeah. A big thank you for coming to do this today. I appreciate it. My pleasure. And to you guys, the listeners, if you're listening to this podcast, please leave a review. It really helps us grow this podcast. If you're watching, you know what to do. Hit the subscribe button, drop a like, drop a comment. It really helps push this podcast to people and get this message out. So, Dan, I want to say a big thank you for today. You're someone who left an impact on my life and your story has now rippled out from your brother's story to your story mentel growing the way it's growing. It's incredible to see. So to anyone listening, I would say if you are struggling and you're a male mentel, you can go and cheque them out. I'll leave everything in the description for you to do. So I want to say big thank you for this. Anytime you want to come and do it again, you're welcome too. So remember, guys, no matter what you're going through, life is good, life is sound. See you on the next one. Stay blessed. Bye.