Morning my lovelies. How are we all doing today? I’ve got two posts for you today! First up, I’m on the blog tour for Second Chance at First Love: Love’s Bloom; and am delighted to welcome author Zoe Allison on to the blog with a guest post about Men’s Mental Well-being – an important topic that should be talked about more. First up though, here’s all you need to know about the book……
About second chance at first love: Love’s bloom
Eva Mathers is a successful woman, except for when it comes to matters of the heart. When she returns home to Yorkshire as a pending divorcee, she realises her childhood friend and first love Damon Evans is also newly single. It’s a pity he’s never noticed her romantically and had no idea that she was in love with him at school. But at least they can support each other as friends again.
Damon is attempting to adjust to life sharing the kids with his ex. His reconnection with Eva is strong, but she was always too good for him and made her indifference clear after they drifted apart during their younger years. In any case, she still seems to be hung up on her charismatic ex-husband. Eva is hiding things from Damon, secrets from her past. He wants to be there for her, so why can’t she let him in?
Eva is dealing with trauma, but she won’t confide in her loved ones. Can Damon help her break down her walls before it’s too late and they miss their second chance at first love?
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing (6 April 2021)
Men’s Mental Wellbeing by Zoe Allison
In this story Damon’s relationship has recently ended and he is living alone for the first time in years. The break up with his ex doesn’t particularly bother him, because their coupling had effectively been over for a long time with them living separate lives for over a year. However, not living full time with his children is a real struggle for him. He is close with his daughter and son and misses being around them every day. He doesn’t feel able to confide fully in his family for fear of upsetting them, and his friends don’t seem to understand. It’s not until he reconnects with Eva that he finds someone who empathises, and legitimises his feelings.
Men’s mental health is a significant issue because despite being human beings with emotions and struggles there is a societal oppression which gives us the unhealthy notion that men shouldn’t speak up about their feelings or be open with their emotions. This creates dangerous ground with men’s mental wellbeing declining to the point that clinical depression and anxiety disorder can ensue with some men seeing no way out but to take their own lives, because they don’t feel able to ask for help and support. Their emotions can also come out in other unhealthy ways, such as substance abuse or acts of violence and aggression. Society seems to normalise and accept this aggression, and yet not the positive and healthy ways of dealing with psychological and emotional struggles, such as voicing sadness, low mood and anxiety, and seeking support.
In reality the opposite is true; it is not unmanly to ask for help. It’s a brave and healthy path to seek out. Men seeking support with mental wellbeing should receive positive affirmation and praise. Taking that first step is the hardest, but things do get easier from thereon in, something which many will find very soon after they start to discuss their problems. Confiding in someone begins to lift the burden and the path to feeling well again starts to open up to us.
Men’s health charity Movember quotes that, on average, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day. One of their initiates—ALEC—give us the simple tools to reach out to the men in our lives who might be struggling. Ask, Listen, Encourage action and Check in.
Now, more than ever, with the tidal wave of mental health difficulties brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic, we need to look out for each other’s mental health. Especially for the men whose mental wellbeing is oppressed by unhealthy societal attitudes.
Movember’s work and ways to support can be found at uk.movember.com.
About the author
Zoe lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. A medic by day, she started writing in her spare time as a means to counter burn out and found that this was a balm for the soul.
She is a fan of the romantic genre and its ‘happy ever after’ ethos. A sharp contrast to what she can, at times, see in her day job. Zoe is keen for the female lead in romantic fiction to disabuse stereotypes and walk on an equal footing with her male counterparts. She prefers male leads who do not display signs of toxic masculinity and believes that positive masculinity is much more attractive to women and healthier for men.
Follow the tour
Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour, and to Zoe for coming over to chat to us about such an important topic.
I’ll be back soon with my second post of the day!