My Mental Health Story that still challenges me in 2023 to grow

Introduction

As my heart speeds up with stress I stand here on a train typing this on my phone. Starting to feel a tiny sense of relieve already lol (and yes I may put the occasional lol in these blogs)

In today’s blog I’m going to touch on the following:
Why I am writing a mental health blog
Who I am writing this for
Who I am, some of my challenges and what I’m doing to work through things

Disclaimer:
None of this should be treated as professional mental health advice. As with my podcast, social media and any other materials I produce on topics around mental health, self esteem, confidence and personal growth this is me sharing my own experience as an individual, working with a coach, being formerly a coach and other unnamed individual stories (unless permission gained to share their name). I am not a qualified mental health professional please seek professional help where appropriate to do so.

Why I am writing this
In the last year and a half I’ve faced a considerable amount of life stresses that have resulted in some challenges in my mental health. Whilst I have taken responsibility to grow significantly in the personal growth world going to events like Tony Robbins I have learned that challenges help us grow. That’s not to say that some of us can have mental health challenges though. My aim of this is to
1. Help myself through some of my own challenges by journaling it out
2. Get back into doing something I love (writing), which is always great to do what you love for mental health
3. Feel a stronger sense of purpose by sharing with others, something I’ve learned also significantly can improve our mental health – alongside other factors
I could come out with other generic things like “I want to change the world” “I want to make others the best versions of them selves” the pretty generic purpose statements, which of course can be true for people at times.
I intend to be as honest as I can in these blogs, whilst admittedly I may take a bit longer sharing some things than others. I always think of courage that way, you don’t have to go to the extreme straight away but little acts of sharing small pieces of vulnerability or tiny acts of facing fear.
Also you are entirely welcome to disagree with anything I write or not read it again, I am just sharing from my heart here and wanting to be as real as possible (when I haven’t been many times in my life). I also fully accept that I am likely to get trolls or haters, I would like to emphasise though it is not my intention to insult anyone only help.

Today is more an introduction into why I am writing these blogs and brain dumping a little of my history. Future ones are more likely to focus on day by day in 2023 (and possibly onwards).

Who am I writing this for?
Although if anyone reads this and it helps them change or save their life, I dominantly am speaking to the men out there. Unfortunately I know this may offend someone out there with today’s world. Again I have no intention to do so. I know mental health can be a challenge in anyone, I’m sharing my experience from being a man though. I know a lot of us suffer in silence. I do of course hope anyone can read it and understand a bit more about how I’m feeling as a man as I too like to understand more about how all genders feel.

Who am I?
I was tempted to say Batman then 😂. Private joke with friends.
Na… back to seriousness, my name is Jonny Pardoe, I’m a 32 British guy based in a city called Bristol in the UK. I run a popular podcast called the self esteem and confidence mindset which has over 2 million downloads and a top 1%, one of my proud achievements 🙂 I’ve written 7 books. I love personal growth. I’ve previously coached people 1:1 and work in sales. I love exercise mainly running, gym classes and football (or soccer if you’re in the USA). I also love my social life. I have many years in a career in project and change management too after successfully graduating with a psychology degree way back in 2012. I rent my own flat in central Bristol. I’d describe myself as a fairly good looking and in shape guy with pretty good intelligence having formal education and tens of thousands in personal growth too and able to get on with most people.

Ok maybe you’re thinking…. Well your life sounds great Jonny!

Well maybe you also thought there is another side…. There is. So this is probably the challenging part of today’s blog, not in opening up as much as how to structure it. So here goes…..
I’ve been troubled on and off in my life with various things. I’m not trying to get a sympathy vote here, some have worse perceived situations and some not so bad. It’s important to remember you are feeling how you are feeling we are all different individuals and should not compare, and I am merely sharing my life with you.

As a child I had a pretty good upbringing to be honest, perhaps there’s something I’m missing. I would typically play my playstation for hours and hours a day, addicted to it and eat a lot. Fortunately it was that way round in life as I’d imagine doing that now I’d be suffering health issues and not being the healthy footballer and runner I am.

A few things stuck out for me though; losing my brother at 2 / 3 years old when he was a baby, losing my grandad and then losing my grandma when I was 7 / 8 years old. Also being in a car crash when I was 11 years old which could have easily killed me. I never really processed those things though and only really started to think about them in recent years.


When I was 13 years old I remember it really started, I’m not sure how and mental health awareness was minimal back then (roughly 2004). I was never officially diagnosed so can’t say for sure I had it, I had the same challenges going on as a friend who was diagnosed with derealisation. What would happen in lessons if that I’d be sitting in a classroom and then suddenly felt like I was in a dream detached from my body. It was terrifying. The nurse at the school thought I was being ridiculous and tired but it was a nightmare to live in. I had to leave the lesson with a panic attack. It even happened when I was playing rugby for the school. Eventually I was able to work through it, bizarre one.
The rest of secondary school and my teenage years though led me to some serious day dreaming. I did well in school through hard work so not completely detached but many hours of my life were spend day dreaming. When reality didn’t go my day it would leave me down at times, such as disappointing sports performances or not doing as well with the girl as I thought I would do.

On a side note: I know there’s a debate between self diagnosis v official. I won’t go into that, I personally like to ask the professionals and get the official diagnosis from them but I know sometimes waitlists or the signs are very obvious that some people self diagnose.

When it came into University I began to get into heavier drinking habits which in turn led to more anxiety attacks, spells of feeling down, anger and dramatic mood swings. I guess this was partly social shyness. It led to a brief spell of self harm although that never got too serious fortunately. I guess it was a cry for attention but I never really alerted anyone of it, that was one of my lowest points in my relationship with myself.

Most of my twenties was ups and downs, usually heavy partying at weekends after football and then exhausting work weeks. As I went through I started to notice small glimpses of darkness creep into my life although not too serious. Where I’d feel no hope, like the world was a dark place and I’d lose everything. Typically this was very rare but terrifying.
I lost two grandparents, the scary part was I didn’t really grieve like I hadn’t when I lost my grandma at 8. It started to come out more in my early thirties though….

When I got to late twenties this became a bit more of an occurrences unfortunately with some life circumstances getting me into some serious depressing spells. A combination of work stresses, high alcohol intake and dating challenges.
2019 was perhaps one of the toughest years alongside 2022 of my life. In 2019 I met the first girl I really liked and both connected strongly at the age of 28, I know crazy. Sure I had dated, briefly been with others, not had problems getting dates in my twenties and I wasn’t unpopular with girls but never met anyone I connected with as much. After a brief spell and it didn’t work out, I sunk perhaps into an extremely low point. Combined with risks of losing my job, work place stressors and a couple of health scare issues I was not in a good place. Triggering feelings of losing my brother at the age of 2 came into my system. For weeks when this ended I would go to sleep as soon as I got home, exhausted. Depleted.
I tried to recover, but in an unhealthy ways going out drinking loads, eating junk food and dating someone too soon which didn’t end well. I began to feel lower and lower that year. Let’s call it growth or an intense emotional gym workout as I see it now.

To add as well, my twenties was not all bad I achieved many things including becoming a very good public speaker, several work promotions and awards, gaining more and more friends, writing 7 books, winning things in football and more.

I did at the end of the year too decide to start a podcast on overcoming self esteem and confidence challenges, which now to date has over 2 million downloads. Helping people overcome their challenges so I was meant to go through all that. Life was happening for me.

2020 started rough and not for me because of covid. Because I was still recovering in pain from 2019 and attempted to jump over a spiked fence whilst drunk after losing my flat keys.
The result a frustrated landlord (who was very patient with me under the circumstances a good guy) and 30+ stitches in my hand leading me to hospital. Oh and I have a finger that has never straightened since, fortunately I still have all my fingers and fortunately it’s a finger on my left hand when I’m right handed. I still need to get round to arranging that operation I should have done 3 years ago lol.
However after that 2020 and 2021 were weirdly quite good years for the most part. I signed up for many personal growth events, Tony Robbins being the main one, met loads of friends and got to meet in person. I grew so much as an individual and shared on my podcast and continued to write.

Then 2022 came along…
It’s 100% my responsibility for taking on how I feel but let’s say the universe (we all have different spiritual beliefs) decided to test my growth journey. Now I was equipped with more tools, had more opportunities such as sales roles, was in a good job until……
Financial issues hit
Redundancy hit
Personal relationship challenges too
Things started to add up to test me.
I did get a new job reasonably quickly, found a way to sort finances and eventually fix those relationships with people but I found myself falling into a deep darkness in the way I looked at life. Sure I had a lot more confidence in myself and skills than 2019 but I started to lose trust that I could genuinely feel happy. I had to do some of my deepest emotional work, work through all the traumas, grievances and more.
I also got added to the waitlist for ADHD diagnosis which kind of made sense when I read the symptoms although I know it’s become very common in society, we’ll see.

2023 here we are…
I have good and bad days, and using all my personal growth tools whilst I share what is working and my story. There have been days where I see the world as a very dark and terrifying place but I can feel a huge amount of light coming back into my life again. This is what my future blogs will be about.

Conclusion
Today’s blog has been a little about my mental health journey. It’s now past 4am in the morning and I’m still procrastinating from what I was meant to do lol.
In a world where most of us are being trained to be significant rather than be real, I hope my story can give you some insights.
I have challenges with stress, anxiety, feeling depressed and concentration (possible ADHD to be diagnosed), I do know though that I have the right people in my life and ability within me to grow through this though and it’s my pleasure to share with you.

PS there are probably several typos in the above.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Jonny Pardoe, 1st May 2023

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