Sometimes all you need is a good cry.
A young father in England was buried in debt, drinking alcohol and smoking weed all day and planning his own death, until he learned to tap into his emotions.
Josh Connolly, 34, from Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire struggled with overwhelming feelings of shame and sadness since he was 12 years old.
He released his unmanaged emotions as anger and self-medicated with alcohol and marijuana to calm his internal struggle.
At 24 years old, his mental turmoil hit an all-time low when his relationship with the mother of his four children fractured.
“I was £17,000 ($20,885) in debt and I was staying on my mum’s floor. Everything I owned fit in a plastic bag,” Josh told NeedToKnow.online. “I was always on a knife-edge of having an emotional outburst, I was so full of shame and overwhelmed.”
“Alcohol caused issues in every aspect of my life but I always held down a job and to most people that meant I was doing just fine. In reality, I had made a plan to end my life. But it was that plan of an escape route that changed everything,” he explained.
A weekend visit with his children after conceding to taking his own life changed his mindset.
“Suddenly the pressure was off and I knew it could be our last visit I could be more present with my children and I treasured the time together,” he said.
“It was such a good visit that I lived for the next one and decided to do the same the week after that and the week after that. Soon I wanted to sober up and live in the present moment for them for every coming week. They saved me.”
Connolly began attending Alcoholics Anonymous and found a therapist to help him learn to live a sober and present life. He also began utilizing new techniques such as breathwork and publicly speaking about his journey to channel his overwhelming emotions into good.
Nearly seven years later, Josh started delivering workshops to global organizations about resilience and helping men interpret their emotions, sharing his message on Instagram with his 117,000 followers.
“I came to the realization that a lot of my anger was actually shame that I wasn’t coping or sadness,” he shared. “Once I learned how to name my emotions and really feel them, I could move forwards easier. I’m a lot less angry now and I think it’s because I cry more.”
“In my 20s, I believed that resilience was the ability to keep going no matter what, to avoid any struggle and show up. That ideal drove me to a place where I felt the best thing to do for my children was to take my own life,” he explained.
Connolly has since tapped into his emotions and re-defined what resilience means to him.
“Today I have a new idea of resilience. I can say when I need a break or if I’m getting overwhelmed and frustrated and stop myself from reaching that furious breaking point,” he said.
“When I pushed my emotions down all the time it was like a cup that could fill and when it spilt over that was anger. The smallest thing could set me off. Now I don’t let my cup get so full.”
Mental Health America reported that one in five adults experience a mental health problem each year with nearly 6 million males suffering from depression and male suicides have been on the rise for the last two decades.
However, men have been found to be less likely than women to seek help for their mental health struggles due to social norms, a reluctance to talk and downplaying their symptoms.
“We are increasingly lonely as a generation because of all the separation that apps and social media give us. I want men to feel able to show up with us and feel completely comfortable as their truest self,” Connolly said.
“Sharing your truest self with trusted people is the antidote to loneliness.”