November is the month we should turn our focus to men’s mental health and how we can support men to find care and treatment. According to the Mental Health Foundation, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or OCD.
And these statistics may not paint an accurate picture, since the results are based only on problems that have been reported, and they exclude those that may have gone undiagnosed. The fact is that three times more men die by suicide than women, but only 36% of NHS talking therapies are for men.
In my case, after suffering with severe anxiety, an eating disorder and OCD - it took me 7 years to seek and find suitable help and to set myself on the path to recovery. I am originally Romanian and have been living internationally for the past 8 years. Although I am very receptive to other cultures, growing up in Eastern Europe was very different. 2013 was the year when I experienced my first serious mental health problem, while I was living in Los Angeles away from those who were close to me. The social and professional pressure I was going through led to me experiencing an eating disorder, having lost almost 2 stones in weight by the time I returned to Europe in 2014.
There were moments when I felt helpless and almost weakened by my suffering. I had days when I would skip all meals and work out hours in the gym instead. I wanted to keep the problem to myself until I had to reach out for help, so I went on to see two therapists, but neither were able to help as they were of different cultural background and we had no connection. Fast forward to 2018 and while living in London, I have started developing some severe anxiety, especially around my health and those around me. And from there it started becoming worse and worse until I decided to self-refer to the NHS. After a long waiting list, I was sent to Chelsea & Westminster hospital for therapy, but after several weeks of therapy I had to pretend I was better just to get discharged.
After trying a couple of apps that still didn’t work, I have finally found a therapist who spoke the same language and grew up in the same area that I did. I was skeptical at the beginning, seeing the fact that I went back to my roots like some sort of “defeat”, but seeing how open minded he was and his approach, I have started feeling better. I have continued therapy with him for more than a year and I owe a lot of what I have today to that experience. So this is the experience that led me to where I am today and I am glad to have started working on such an incredible project. I am confident that Superpow! will help those struggling in the same way that I did, especially now around this particularly difficult time.
Thank you very much all for all your support so far and look forward to making this project a real success.