Hi, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Matthew Field and I am 22 years of age. I study Earth and Environmental Science at Lancaster University, which is where I was lucky enough to meet Luke (the better looking director) during my first year.
For 21 years I was fortunate enough to live an extremely enjoyable life, and for the most part I would like to think that I was a reasonably happy, outgoing kind of guy who always tried to put a smile on other people’s faces. I was also lucky enough to spend my 2nd year out in the beautiful state of Montana, USA (Big Sky Country), where I met a lovely assortment of folks from all around the world. I think it's pretty safe to say that my life peaked out there.
Now the purpose of me writing this is not to stunt a weird flex about how good my life has been… and I won’t bore you with details of my trips to Iceland or Kenya (I saw a rhino!!!! MAD). Nor is it a chance for me to reminisce about the summer of 2020… which was so goated in every single way. No, unfortunately the theme gets a little more serious from here on out.
In late November 2020, Lancaster was tier 3 and we were in full lockdown. After seeing the same walls over and over for weeks on end and spending an obscene amount of time in the library I desperately needed something to cheer me up. So I decided that a break was needed. I left the rainy NW and hopped on a plane to the tropical island that is Tenerife, to join 2 dear friends who shall not be named.
To cut a long story short, I enjoyed myself a bit too much. Captain Morgans & peach iced tea had become some kind of holy water that I couldn’t seem to get enough of. This mixed with a questionable decision to not sleep for 3 days straight led me into a hyperactive state which would soon after spiral out of my control.
This “hyperactive state” would later be diagnosed as a psychotic hypomanic episode.
For the film junkies out there, the best way I could describe my experience is somewhere in between Ed Norton in Fight Club and Mr Dicaprio in Shutter Island. Basically, I was living in a separate reality where I was the most famous man on the planet with a plethora of new celebrity friends.
Although this probably all sounds quite amusing, believe me I have some good stories for the grandkids, it was absolutely terrifying for my friends and family as nobody had a clue what was going on inside my mind.
Never in a million years did I think I’d end up suffering from a mental health issue of any kind, let alone one quite this serious.
Not only had I made a mockery of myself all over social media, but I was forced to leave university and come back home to Leicestershire to start recovering from the ordeal.
For the last 4-5 months I have been introduced to the darker side of life, where words like depression and anxiety have become all too familiar. It feels like you are living out a nightmare, with no light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve felt things and had thoughts that I never believed possible to have …. often going to bed hoping to never wake up again.
Luckily for me, I have a truly remarkable network of friends and family who have blown me away over this past year with their patience & kindness. Quite literally a life support system. They have managed to get me back feeling somewhat like my old self again and I’m determined to get back to 100% sooner rather than later.
Some of you may be wondering the following…
“I thought he was just trying to sell a few t shirts, why is he getting all deep out here?”
I guess the point that I’m trying to get across is that mental health illnesses do not discriminate… They can affect anyone at any time.
It’s okay to be struggling.
Whilst I may not have a cure for any of these problems, I feel like I owe it to everyone out there who is suffering or has suffered in the past to share my story.
The CBT in our name stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - and mental health is one of our key themes that we want to raise awareness for.
It is for this reason that we have decided to donate 10% of all future sales to the suicide prevention charity CALM, in the hope that we can have a positive impact on those who deserve a voice.
If you made it this far, congratulations I salute you!
Stay safe out there people