Carlisle Eden Mind Meets Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury, the heavyweight World Boxing Champion stopped at the Sands Centre in Carlisle over the weekend on the first leg of his Fury Fest After Party victory tour across the UK. Carlisle Eden Mind was invited backstage before the event.

Every time I tried to speak to someone that I knew, no one was having it. They were like ‘Oh… he’s an attention seeker…He’s got everything and he’s still not happy?’ -That’s one of the worst things you can say to a person. Or ‘Man Up, Get over it’.

Typical cliché stuff that you don’t want to hear.

Tyson Fury
Illustration by Adam Doyle

The two time Heavyweight World Boxing Champion has had a huge impact on breaking the stigma surrounding mental health ever since he publicly started talking about his own mental health problems.

Carlisle Eden Mind is a not a medical charity, our concern is with people, not illness. While the diagnosis of mental health problems, and possible treatments are important, our primary concern is the impact on the people affected.

“The day that changed my life. I’ll never forget the 31st October 2017. That’s the day I spun it all around and the day I decided I needed help.” –Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury’s personal story with mental health floods across all types of demographics and by allowing Carlisle Eden Mind an insight into his story we can then hope to share it with our local audience, and and reach someone that can identify their problems and reach out for support. We’re in your corner.

Myself and Tracy Gannon from Carlisle United turned up to the event at the Sands Centre a few hours early on Saturday evening for an arranged meeting with Tyson Fury for Carlisle Eden Mind.

As we walked into the back room we could start to hear Tyson’s voice echoing through the corridors, he was joking and laughing with his family, listening to music and preparing for the nights event, almost like a pre-match warm up. I’m a huge Gypsy King fan so to say I felt nervous was an understatement.

The first thing that struck us was his size. Tyson towered above everyone in the room. 6ft.9” with fists like King Kong. I even pointed out that his can of diet coke looked like one of them mini cans in his hand.

Tyson signing the wall art for the entrance of the Carlisle Eden Mind office on Spencer Street

After saying our hello’s and almost imploding with excitement, I knew we didn’t have long and asked Tyson the most important question that our office could think of. “What helped you the most when you found yourself in your worst crisis?” He smiled and pointed up to the ceiling. I then asked, what about when you felt like you had zero motivation to get out of bed or to train, or even wash or do anything?

Tyson stepped forward to engage more, smiled and said ‘God.’ He then said “I know it’s not for everyone, but God helped me when I needed him most. Others may need to find the one thing that helps them.”

During Saturdays Fury Fest, Tyson talked openly about his battle with depression after he won the world title against Wladimir Klitschko on November 28, 2015.

Tyson said that he found himself in crisis, having suicidal thoughts, panic attacks and a feeling that everyone was out to get him. At the time the media seemed to write unnecessary and stigmatising stories about him every week.

I said to Tyson that it was tough to see the media single him out and criticise him and how that constant scrutiny from the media must have really impacted his mental health.

When you live with mental health problems, it is a priority to yourself and those around you to reduce the noise from negative sources and surround yourself with people and things that have a positive influence on you. Tyson said something about how he never judges someone until he meets them and then something really kind but if I am honest, by this point the super fan in me was coming out, realising I was having a conversation with the real life Rocky Balboa. My auntie Tracy brought me right back to reality, by pointing out that I’d lost my voice. Like a child meeting Santa.

Before we left, I told Tyson that he is doing an amazing job breaking down the stigma associated with Mental Health, and that his emotional literacy on the subject allows many people, young men especially to talk more openly if they are struggling. He was well aware of the current suicide statistics so I pointed out that his work can be seen on a local level in Cumbria. Our social media analytics have shown that anytime we share Tyson Fury mental health content, we get some of our biggest engagements.

Not one to blush, Tyson deflected and said, “How do you think I sold 96,000 tickets at Wembley stadium, people love The Gyspy King!”.

Artwork by Adam Doyle

Regarding his mental health Tyson also said;

“I went to see these psychologists, I didn’t think it was going to be for me, to go in this room with this bloke and tell him all my problems. Because in my mind I’m thinking, this guy is going to go tell all his pals at the pub later.

I come from a fighting family, we don’t talk about weakness. Everyone is like a man’s man, everyone’s a fighter. No one was educated on this matter back then, they are today.

So every time I tried to speak to someone that I knew, no one was having it. They were like ‘Oh he’s an attention seeker, he’s got everything and he’s still not happy?’ -That’s one of the worst things you can say to a person, or ‘Man Up’, ‘Get over it’. Typical cliché stuff that you don’t want to hear.

I was speaking to the doctor, and after going a couple of times a week. I started to look forward to going to the therapy sessions and I thought, I’m going to document all of this and I’m going to tell the world my story because, if the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world can be brought off his pedestal to his knees because of mental health, then I’m telling this this to everybody who will listen because if me talking about it helps one person, then it’s worth it.”

Here’s a clip from the Fury Fest event where Tyson Fury gives the audience his top wellbeing tips:

Goldstar Promotions and IM Events

The Fury Fest tour across the UK is an in depth celebration of Tyson Fury’s boxing career and his battles with mental health. Tyson is an expert by experience. He reflects over his career defining fights. And a lot like his boxing legacy, there is never a dull moment.

We would like to thank Goldstar Promotions and Ian Milburn, owner of the mighty IM Events for this amazing opportunity to raise local mental health awareness and to Tyson himself for letting us into his quiet space before the event. You are doing an amazing job.