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How to Become a Male Underwear Model in Five Easy Steps. Wednesday February 4, 2015

1. Join the US Marines; get posted to Afghanistan.

2. Drive your Humvee over a IED. Get your jaw broken in four places, your arm torn to shreds and your right leg blown off at the knee.

3. Spend 47 days in a coma, and seventeen months in hospital recovering.

4. Descend into alcoholism and deep depression. Get three DUIs in a month.

5. Sober up, join a gym, get noticed by a photographer… and find yourself famous!

That's what happened to Alex Minsky. Go on, Google him. The tag line on his web page is "When one door closes, another opens." He would like to use his story to give other people hope.

But it's not the fact that he is a good looking and photogenic young man, with the body art that seems to be essential fashion-wear these days that has allowed him to become famous. Oh, and if you haven't heard of him, it's probably because you're in the UK, or don't make a habit of watching male underwear ads. Apparently the reason why everyone wants to work with Alex Minsky is that he's fun, he's not a prima donna and he doesn't make a big thing about the leg.

He recently posted on his Facebook page, next to a photo of a sign saying "PLEASE – No acting!" "I love this. A sign posted up in a workshop I attend which reminds me that it's not about acting or pretending or being something I never was. It's about being MYSELF. Always. Using my own experiences to overcome obstacles"

So everyone in California loves Alex Minsky. It seems as if even Alex Minsky loves Alex Minsky, which is just as well.

Now, that is.

When he was drunk every day of the week and deeply depressed I guess his mother still loved him, but the world didn't and couldn't; he wasn't engaging with the world.

I have no idea how hard it is to come back from alcoholism. I know it's pretty tough coming back from depression, to choose every day to engage as much as you can – which some days is not at all.

But people like Alex show us that there is an alternative to despair. I don't think that I will ever become a famous underwear model (definitely just as well), but I like to think that a few of you enjoy these blogs, that a few more will enjoy my novel (and the future ones) when they're published. That's the result of my choice to engage with the world, even when it's the hardest thing in the world to get out of bed, come downstairs and apply fingers to keyboard.

Alex has a tattoo at the base of his abdomen. It says "DON'T LAUGH" and you can't help but giggle at that, can you?

And if you're giggling, it's hard to despair.

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 7:11am

Good morning Marydoll, I'm scared to google as I might fall a little bit in love with him and I just can't keep falling in love with everyone! My dark days just keep coming at the mo but your blog has made me smile and that is a new beginning, much love from the room above the garage x.

Hopeful One Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 8:22am

Hi Mary-Thanks for showing how an inspiring figure can help us focus on something other than ourselves.We have a local hero(I have no doubt there are numerous others) called Tom Neathway 27 yrs at the time , a member of the Parachute Regiment who lost both lower limbs and part of the left arm from an IED in Afghanistan..His inspiring story was published in the Times on 29th January 2011 for those who might want to google it.His sense of humour is fantastic as his picture shows him neatly turned out in his Para Uniform and red beret with his tea mug sitting on the upturned sole of his right artificial foot.When asked to if he wanted to talk about his accident.,he said "s*** happens,at the end of the day I am a triple amputee.And when his pals pile him with drinks at the pub he said"When I go to the pub with my friends,I never have to buy a drink .And my legs stay sober,even when I 'm not." Its relevance to me? He showed me a way out when I was flat on my back in the valley of depression at that time.

Anonymous Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 8:44am

Wowee! What an inspiring story! It is good to have these examples of just how people deal with terrible situations. Puts into perspective our own adversity somewhat. Not that I am belittling. Depression is a really disabling condition. Stripping someone of all enjoyment in life. So cruel.

Julia Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 9:03am

This is such an interesting blog Mary. Pretending to be someone we are not when we are depressed is so difficult but then so is just being who we are. I have every admiration for wounded war veterans and firmly believe they should get all the help the state, anyone can give them. They should not be abandoned to fend for themselves But those soldiers returning from war zones who have not been physically injured but bear the emotional scars from battle also need as much attention and help. They are often ignored and integrate less well than those who have been injured. I guess I have chosen to focus in your blog on the outward signs of injury as opposed to the mental injury which is not so obvious.

Anonymous Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 11:30am

So sorry you are still at the lower end of the scale, ratg. It's so very hard being all the way down there - it's like someone has removed the rungs of the escape ladder! I think I am on the way up but its too easy to stay hidden away from everything and just get the bare minimum done....then I see a wonderful blog like Mary's...and hear of an incredible story of someone so brave and wonder how I can be so silly and selfish...but deep down I know I am being too hard on myself. Hang on to that smile today...go for a walk if you out the snowdrops to cheer you. Feel well soon, Karen :)

Anonymous Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 11:35am

Hi Mary, you have found an incredible person to share with us, thank you. Great does probably make most Moodscopers wonder why we are so depressed when someone like Alex can cope with everything that has happened to him - but sense prevails and I remember that I cannot always control what happens in my head, but just try to cope with it one day at a time. And as much as I might like the nice underwear, there'd be an eclipse across Wales if I undressed to model any! Lol! Karen :)

PWD Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 12:33pm

Hi Mary a very inspiring post today do you have any female models for the men folk here. Joking aside I was in hospital last year I was feeling sorry for myself as I was pretty low I have a heart condition called brugada syndrome which is scary. But I was in hospital after collapsing they found out my bladder is not working so I have to use catheters 4 times a day indefinitely. Just before I was being discharged the nurse pushed a chap near me in a wheelchair. When I looked at him I noticed he had a catheter in then I looked further I noticed he only had one leg. I tried to make eye contact with him but then realised he was blind. He was also hard of hearing but suddenly starting singing a love song. I was amazed and suddenly felt as though my problems were small compared to this amazing man.
Kind regards

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 12:33pm

Hello Julia, Yes, many veterans have invisible scars (how could they not). Alex had visible and invisible scars. That's why he suffered from depression and became an alcoholic. His journey back is more about that than about his journey with the leg. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 12:39pm

Hello Karen, thank you for your comment. If there is an eclipse in Wales I will know that you have really emerged with a vengeance! I do want to make the point though, that Alex couldn't cope initially and did suffer with depression and alcoholism. But somehow, he has come back. For many of us it is a daily decision, as you describe, to do as much as we can, to deal with things, to cope. I wish you well as you cope one day at a time. (and as a fellow girlie - pretty undies do make us feel better, don't they? I feel another blog coming on....)

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 12:40pm

Paul, what a heartwarming and amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 12:44pm

Ah, RATG - you are going to fall a little more in love with him when I tell you that, when I emailed Alex to ask his permission to run this blog about him he emailed back with his blessing. OK - so his exact words were "Hi looks good ma'am. Thank you so much. Love you ??", but I was surprised and delighted that he'd taken the time to reply. So obviously a very nice and well brought up young man. Even if his "ma'am" made me feel 100 years old!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 12:45pm

And so sorry to hear that it's gloomy where you are just now. Have a big virtual hug and I hope the sun shines again soon.

Julia Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 1:04pm

You ddi make it clear Mary! Just me today.

Bunnykins Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 3:28pm

Thank you for this story Mary, I enjoy reading all the replies to your blogs & find them very helpful xx Angela

Anonymous Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 5:55pm

Well, Mary, it is probably dark in Wales now as its nearly six o'clock...but I have nothing to do with it...honest! :)

Anonymous Wed, Feb 4th 2015 @ 9:46pm

Thanks so much girls, love ratg xx.

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