Tom, 27, has overcome his depression and now wants to break taboos around mental health

Empty your “mental poison cup” and then help others. Tom de Vos, who grew up in Koges aan de Zaan, has been suffering from psychological problems for a long time, but on June 21 – in 16 hours – he will travel 400 km through all provinces of the country. Along with his “good mate” Sjors Brand, he’s raising money for the MIND Foundation, but he believes one thing is more important: Mental health needs to be discussed more.

Tom is now 27 and doing better, but things were different a few years ago. “My lowest point was at the age of 21. My private life was completely upside down. A difficult home situation and problems within my own relationship made a toxic cocktail. Instead of talking about it, I shut myself down completely. No one knew I felt bad. My girlfriend wasn’t into it.” time, not my parents and certainly not my friends.”

This, according to Tom, is the problem. Groups of friends, often men, who don’t dare talk about feelings with each other. “Men are often quite macho among themselves. They make jokes, flirt here and there, but never show emotion. I was equally involved in that myself. When things went wrong, I didn’t tell anyone. No, ignore and carry on. Work hard and get to the bottle.” I drank a lot of alcohol and worked seven days a week. Everything to hide this feeling as deeply as possible.

His mental problems worsened. “I thought several times:” I can also put an end to this. Then I won’t suffer from this shit anymore. ” I walked with these thoughts for half a year. I still didn’t let anyone in: I had to do it myself. “

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turning point

The turning point came when Tom sat down with his mother at the dinner table. She asked me, how are you?

His friends were still forgotten for a long time. Only last week Tom told them about his mental problems from years ago. “It wasn’t their fault, but I didn’t feel understood at the time. It was sometimes quite lonely. Telling them that now is liberating. I now feel the relationship I have with them is valid on a different level. One thing is clear: It’s good to ask for help.”

to unite forces

By telling his story and cycling 400km for charity, he now hopes to help others. On the longest day of the year, June 21, they will go for a cross-county bike ride together. This is all for the MIND Foundation, where young people with mental health issues can go to get help.

Sjors and Tom hope to get as much support as possible. “People can help us by donating money, cycling or cheering us on. If someone bikes in front of you, it will block the wind. This makes it easier for us to continue the long journey. The entire route and live broadcast can be found through Our Location.

The two start early in the morning in Zeeland and expect to drive across the province via Amersfoort and Het Gooi around 3am.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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