Real Men, Real Stories: Meet Stuart

I approached Stuart about sharing his story after he submitted his mental health journey as part of the Happylands research project. With over a decade of living with depression I hope his story will inspire and help other men who may also be struggling. Remember, you’re not alone. If you need to talk the Samaritans are there for you 24/7 on 116 123.


I've suffered on and off with depression and occasional anxiety since I was 20 years old. Although looking back all throughout childhood I often suffered from low mood. I've been on anti-depressants a few times over the years, the longest stint of taking them being over the last year and a half.

The hardest time was when I hadn't been sleeping for months. I was lucky to get 2-4 hours of broken sleep a night. I was trying to kid myself that I was on the up so I tried to do something I enjoyed - baking. I was getting stuff ready and left the room for 2 seconds when my relatively new cats had jumped onto the side and were licking the mixture. I tried to hold it together and rationally went to the shop to get more butter.


I started again, I left my partner in the kitchen this time but she was absorbed in her phone and once again the cats got into the mix. I just utterly broke down. In floods of tears, I was getting my shoes on to go out for a walk to I don't know where, shouting about this that and everything. This was meant to be something I found calming and enjoyable but it was the straw that broke this camels back. I stumbled back into the kitchen, one shoe on, the other in my hand, eyes streaming and fell into my partner's arms telling her I need help and that I'm not ok. That’s when I knew I had hit rock bottom.

I had ignored the warning signs I'd come to know intimately over the years. Afterwards, I signed up for counselling through a scheme with my then employer, took myself to the doctor and spoke with my partner daily about how I was. I found talking to my partner was really important as I didn't want to cause her extra anxiety by wondering what was going on in my head.


I very much had in my head before that element of a stiff upper lip and just carry on. You can't stop. The reality was, I could stop. Work would carry on without me, the company wouldn't grind to a halt. I knew I needed to focus on myself to bring myself back, to not damage any relationships further, to not let depression take over everything.

If I hadn't spoke about my mental health with my partner I don't think I would have found the strength or mechanisms to find help. I want other people to know;

You are not alone.

You don’t have to pretend you’re ok.

You can talk about it on your terms.

Most importantly, talk.

Here are some great organisations who can help you if any of Stuart’s story resonated with you;

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