It is vitally important that we have a variety of hobbies and interests outside of our working environment as it is unhealthy for us to allow our whole lives to evolve around work.

In reality we spend most of our life trying to earn a living in whatever our career path is. Bills have to be paid to maintain the roof over our heads and the food on our plates. Some of us will not be able to afford a luxury holiday as all of our money is spent on living expenses.

But what happens to us when we retire?

I have been to social functions where some people can only hold a conversation when talking about their jobs and when the subject has changed, they fall quiet.

There is nothing wrong in being enthusiastic about the work that you do or the position that you hold in your company as long as your life doesn’t fully depend on it.

I have made the mistake many times in the past just focusing on my job even when I was not off duty. I lived and breathed work. I never could switch off and concentrate on anything else.

One day there was no job. I had lost my work through redundancy and mental illness and because my whole life evolved around my position, I began to feel useless which led to severe depression and suicidal ideations. I was in financial debt.

There was no immediate support and the first place I turned to was my GP surgery. If you can get past the receptionists, then you are going to save the day.

At my worse time of need I was told to come back the next morning and queue up at 8am, bearing in mind I was already a diagnosed bipolar sufferer.

I have suffered from depression as far back as a child and it has been an emotionally and mentally traumatic experience.

I have always thought of ending it all. My mental pain has always had a negative impact on my whole life.

My suicide attempt was not a cry for help it was a way to end all the intrusive thoughts, feelings of no self-worth and the hatred I felt for myself.

I felt a complete failure and a waste of space on this planet. Death was the only answer that was ringing in my head. I had already played out many scenarios in my head of the quickest way to end it all.

People tend to think that this is the most selfish act a person could possibly do, but at the time, all you think about is how everyone would be better off without you. Unless you have reached this stage you would not understand.

I was desperate to end my pain and mental suffering. I did not believe that it would have a great impact on the people that cared about me. I did not know that this traumatic event would mark me as a risk factor for the rest of my life.

I was fortunate to of survived my attempt without any life-changing damage. I may be on medication for the rest of my life, I may have to rely on other interventions, but it was not my time.

It was not the only time that I have presented with this self-destructive behaviour, but I have since given up trying to die. July 2018 was the wakeup call for me.

My true purpose in life is to encourage and support people who suffer from intrusive thoughts.

I have learnt a lot from my experiences and through having many ongoing therapies.

I realise today that I was not alone in living to work and not working just for survival.

The reason I am writing this is because I attended a press conference today for the ex-boxer’s association and was surprised that there was no press and no support from any of the promoters of the sport.

It broke my heart to see all the effort that was put into creating this event and the absence of the much-needed support that the charity needed. It was a disgrace.

I was introduced to this charity a couple years ago. I was not aware that many ex-boxers have zero support when they retire.

Those who suffer trauma are left alone to fend for themselves.

Personally, I believe that there should be a care package put in place throughout their careers where they can access support groups to be able to express their feelings and to raise awareness of Mental Health difficulties💯 why wait till retirement.

The charity that is fighting to raise money for the respite and care are doing the best they can with the lack of support and resources.

I have heard some people say “well they chose the career path knowing the risks of life-changing illness why should we support that”

I am not here to debate about the ethics of the sport.

The point that I am making is that we are talking about ‘human beings’ who have the right to choose their careers. There are a lot of followers who enjoy watching the sport.

It would be interesting to know if any of the boxing community of followers, have acknowledged the trauma of some of these retired fighters. If so, would they be willing to donate to the charity that will help to support them with their mental health and respite care.

How far does your passion for the sport take you?

Some athlete’s identities or egos are built on maintenance, publicity, and image, all of their sense of self power is in the sport.

Once retired they may find themselves grieving that identity and get depressed as the money depletes and they start to feel less important to their fans.

In the past several years I made a pact to put my wellbeing first before any project that I decide to take on. I am of no use to anybody if I am stable.

The English dictionary says to employ is to use.

Yes, we are being used by our managers but are we getting the respect, care, and acknowledgement that we deserve?

Are our employers putting our wellbeing first?

Is Mental Health Awareness implemented in every organisation?

Today my passion is to encourage and support people who are finding it hard to cope with their thoughts and feelings but at the same time being mindful of my wellbeing.

In everything there must be a balance

Natalie Bleau
The Scripture of Balance

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