|A Long Journey to Now|
Today Man Matters is pleased to launch A Long Journey To Now, the story of Lisburn man Norman Stewart and his son Gary who took his own life when he was just 28.
Norman decided to write the book to tell his own story about dealing with bullying, depression and suicide and to try and make people understand how hard they are to deal with.
Norman has battled with depression and alcoholism throughout his life but particularly after the sudden death of his brother, the deaths of his parents in quick succession, the death of his beloved wife Noreen from a brain tumour and tragically the death of his only son Gary from suicide.
"I've dealt with so much sorrow and pain. I've dealt with depression and low self esteem my whole life and I turned to alcohol to numb the pain. I tried to take my own life on a number of occasions because I just couldn't cope. Losing my son was just unbearable."
"The support that comes from having other men, like myself to talk to is like a light coming on in the dark. We can be open and honest with each other and its okay to say you feel down, tired and afraid and yet you're no less of a man for saying so."
"The Man Matters Project is honoured to help Norman tell his story. Although the book is an emotional and sometimes difficult read it is none the less important for that. It deals with many issues that too often remain hidden but perhaps most importantly it shows the power of getting involved in groups and how that can help."
Men often find it difficult to share their thoughts and feelings and are encouraged throughout their lives to bottle up what they really feel. Norman's story shows the vital importance of providing space and resources for men to come together and talk about their shared experiences and importantly for them to know they are not on their own.
"Men are just as vulnerable as women, they have weaknesses, they feel pain, fear and suffering and they should be encouraged to be open about those things. Hopefully this book will encourage them to look for help and get involved in community groups like this one."
Norman's book is being launched during World Mental Health Week (7-13 October) and the theme is Depression: a global crisis. The aim of World Mental Health Week is to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the wider community, to increase community awareness and education about mental health issues and to encourage participation in life enhancing lifestyles.
Copies of A Long Journey To Now can be downloaded here. While the book is free of charge it is Norman's wish that those who read the book and find it worthwhile will make some contribution to a charity dealing with suicide awareness or bereavement through suicide.