Ben Bidwell, 37, London, UK

ben“I grew up wearing a mask that portrayed me as strong, brave, tough and manly, in an effort to be perceived as a real man. In doing so, I shut off my emotions and buried things such as kindness and compassion – they didn’t fit in with me being the person society showed me to be.
On the outside It appeared as though I was living a decent life with that mask on, there were girls, reasonable money, parties, muscles – I was ticking a lot of the stereotypically masculine boxes. However, wearing a mask and trying to be things that, deep down, I wasn’t, is hard work, it felt heavy and I didn’t feel free to express my real truth. Life looked good on the outside but it felt empty on the inside.
I believe our bodies talk to us in different ways, anxiety, depression, a sense of emptiness or feeling stuck, they all show up for a reason. For me my body responded to me wearing a mask through how it experienced sex – I struggled to orgasm. In blocking out my emotions I had stopped feeling anything, whilst that blocked out the pain it also blocked out the euphoria and I stopped feeling, even during sex.
If my body didn’t talk to me I would have stayed the same, mask on, boxes ticked, I would have kept living a shiny life on the outside but an empty one on the inside. However, I opened my eyes to change and in wanting to move on from the issues I had around sex, a life coach came into my life and I started working with her. She showed me how my lack of emotions were stopping me from being and getting what I wanted, and taught me the value of showing up and being vulnerable. Together we rewired the way I thought, my life became a more inspired place to be, I started to love myself and slowly but surely embrace my emotions.
Having gone through the significant changes, the next period of my life became about wanting to help others, I trained to be a coach myself. If I could become more of who I wanted to be then I could help show others do the same.
I now live a life that feels more and thinks less, I don’t tick the boxes society tells me is success, instead I look for success within, I live to inspire myself every day. Its a very different way of living but one that I love, I have never felt more alive. My blog is a vulnerable expression of my learnings and the journey I have been on. I use imagery that reflects the new me, masks off, Im now baring my soul, not hiding who I am. I can feel it helping others, its something i’m very proud of.
I believe men are shown an unemotional, closed off way to life to be accepted in amongst the stereotypical masculine energy. Sadly, whilst men may feel validated living this way, I don’t feel like it serves them well. We, as Human Beings, need to feel, burying emotions shuts us off from so much, it ultimately will stop us from living a life that lets us feel alive.
Mental health challenges come in many different forms, my story is a unique one, I believe many others have their own version. Having gone on the journey myself, I’m here to help others make the changes that will help them feel alive, we all deserve that.
You can find me on my Instagram, Blog and Podcast.”

We are so excited for our segment called Meet Mental Health Professionals! Happening every fourth Tuesday we will share a story from a Mental Health Professional, where you’ll hear about their journey and how they got to where they are now.
As well as this, we will have an Instagram Stories Takeover in the week of when their story goes up, with each professional where you will be able to ASK your mental health questions and get answers from professionals and generally, find out more about them, what they do and tips/advice they have for maintaining good mental health.

Ben @thenakedprofessor is doing an Instagram Story Takeover on the 13th of August on our Instagram account, so make sure to tune into our stories that day – and if you miss it, you will be able to catch up with it in our Highlights on Instagram.


Check out our, ethically made, from 100% organic cotton – merchandise to help raise mental health awareness;

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