Bang. He hit the ground with phenomenal power. Tyson Fury was down, but he was not out. This would be his litmus test, maybe even his crowning achievement, because getting up from a Deontay Wilder right hand is not your average occurrence, and the world knew it. This wouldn’t be the only time Tyson was down and out, it wouldn’t be the only time he would get back up to fight back.

Mental health is all around us today, and we’re much more aware of it, with much of the recognition coming from Tyson Furys ordeal. But how do we deal with it now? Whereas before we would shun those with problems, tell them to “suck it up”, now we know it’s real, and needs care and understanding if we’re to combat it completely. As someone who has suffered from some very serious mental health problems, it is a breath of fresh air to hear Tyson Fury making it to the top under such awful mental torture.

In his autobiography, Tyson explains himself, that traveller culture did not understand mental health, and you were expected to get on with it. He talks about how his Father, at first, didn’t understand the mood swings, how his wife would despair when he went from highs to lows. He even talks about his Grandfather, who had the same mental health issues (obviously carried genetically through the family tree), would receive no sympathy from his wife (who by all accounts, was a tough cookie). So what does that tell us today? It tells us that, we have much more knowledge of the subject, and are much more able to talk about it. I was lucky, my family and friends were incredibly supportive and it got me though, but it quite easily could have gone the other way had I not had that support.

However, on top of this, Tyson Fury has shown a fortitude to fightback, which I feel is essential in improving our mental health. He talks about, how after many of his fights he continues with light training the next day, as he knows he has to keep busy in order to keep his mind occupied. This sort of do or die attitude, has invariably helped Tyson Fury avoid those dark moments that have been so common throughout his life. On top of this, although Tyson has fallen short during breaks between fights, when training, he is the consummate professional, and as a result, keeping active helps him avoid the pitfalls so many of us actively experience.

But it hasn’t always been that way for Tyson. After out boxing Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, Tyson invariably fell into a deep rut that was difficult to get out of. He eat, drank, and partook in other risky behaviours that didn’t help his health, physical or mental, but he did it for that short term happiness, that very human desperation to find a quick way out, something to turn it around. But as many of us know, Tyson said that he would feel great when he was inebriated, and would even believe that he’d changed, yet the next morning he would disappointed to find he still felt awful, if not worse.

This is the other side to coin, and I understand that vulnerable side. Yes, it’s important to keep active and distract yourself, even when you feel awful, but it’s also important to remember that we’re all fallible. If you can keep yourself from self-destructive behaviours, then brilliant, go for it, but if you slip up now and again, remember, there’s a road on the other side of the hill, as long as you maintain the desire to get better, you’ll experience a positive at some point. That’s definitely what I found, and its’s what Tyson Fury reports as well.

So overall, it’s important we’re more mindful of the mental health of ourselves, and others around us, if we are to combat it. There definitely needs to continue to be more understanding and a desire talk about it in society and we have to know the right time to encourage someone, and then right time to just listen without judgement (which is a very hard thing to do). Within ourselves, we need to know the right time to get up and fight, and the right time to hunker down and weather the storm. If we can get all this right, maybe it can be a brighter day tomorrow.

Andrew Lakin – Andrew.g.lakin@gmail.com

Tyson Fury and Mental Health
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