Permission to Torque

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“The bolt of lightning is a traditional symbol of sudden illumination and the destruction of ignorance”

Permission to Torque is a community-driven organisation within the automotive sector that has been created simply to show people it’s good to talk about mental health. Through our various communities we will display a symbol which simply says “I understand”. That’s often enough for someone to feel better, to feel they are not alone and maybe even enough to spark a simple conversation with a stranger who has been there or at the very least, wants to simply show it’s ok and normal to feel shitty sometimes. No judgement.

So many people struggle to approach the subject from both the person struggling and the supporter sides. The struggler may feel embarrassed or awkward – or even that they are having a good day and simply don’t want to bring it up as it brings them down.

It’s very difficult for friends or family to even identify that their loved ones and mates are so deep in a depressive or anxious hole. The strugglers have become experts at masking their dark thoughts and hiding how they really feel.

From experience, I would rarely open up to someone asking “so, how are you?” – the default responses would always come out “fine mate, you?” etc. Because at that moment, I probably wasn’t in the depths of hell trying to escape my own mind.

However, when there was a conversation already in flow, or a friend had told me that they were struggling, I would nearly always contribute and open up my own mind and feelings. Or if there was an opening to say at a bike meet or something “hey man, nice sticker” pointing at the Torque lighting logo – that’s the start of a good chat, and at worst, a friendly nod that you both connect, and understand.

I believe the above is a better approach because I felt I had permission to talk about it, rather than being directly confronted with it. It’s a bit like when you get a crap hair-cut and the barber shows you in the mirror – “how’s this sir?” and you say “it’s great thanks!”, even though it’s utterly shit and you hate it.

I believe that once you show people they have permission to talk about their issues, they will.

This is why Permission to Torque exists. So stick it on your car, bike, van, truck, horse – whatever, It is a symbol to show anyone who needs to know – they are not alone.

There will be more designs coming – all involve the lightning bolt – that is really the symbol I want to promote. I want to arrive at a design which suits as many people as possible so please let me know colours, sizes and vibe that you feel is best for you.

This idea is in its infancy and we want you to be involved so please feel free to air your thoughts and how you think we can make life better. I believe you can comment below here on this page.

Big love to everyone who has even just clicked the link to come here and read this – that’s a start already. Grab your stickers here

Chris, Al and Boothy xxx

P.s. and yes, the website will be coming once I figure out how wordpress works!

51 Responses

  1. Outstanding idea chaps. Im in balls deep send me a sticker please we all need that extra help. Stay strong Chris. (Don’t look back mate your not going that way )

  2. Hey Chaps, I’m walking 117 miles across Devon (Two Moors Way) in 5 days starting on the 2nd of June. I’ll be drawing up some sort of charity/donation this weekend – I’d love to promote Permission to Torque. Apologies if I’ve missed it but is there anywhere I can donate the cash to?

  3. This is a hard thing for guys to deal with, huge kudos to you all (esp. Chris) for being willing to hang yourself out there. Once the sticker is out I’ll buy a couple.

    Dave K – NY-USA

  4. Brilliant! What a great idea and thank you for coming up with this… Chris, Al and Boothy, you are all great! Chris, you have made me laugh out loud from your BVG vids and 44 Teeth. Let me know if I can help, as a lifelong biker and a NHS worker

  5. hi, I have just watched the Motorcycling and Mental Health YT video. Chris’s conversation about what he experienced was a great help. The Permission to Torque idea is brilliant. It was mentioned that this might evolve into some meetups with Chris around Britain. I have a suggestion to further this idea some more: local informal meetups could be arranged throughout the year on the basis that those nearby can turn up and be with people who know the score. It would give people something to look forward to and would make it easier for people who are finding it difficult to even go out at all, to have some social connection. There is an organisation called “Just Be” which arranges lunches and dinners for people who were getting through the bereavement process and want to start socializing again. The principle of “Just Be” was to go and just be who you are and how you are and you don’t have to justify anything (like why you don’t want to talk about certain things or that you look like you’ve been crying all day or are agitated or suddenly get overwhelmed etc). Similar to this principle and to what is outlined in the above blog Permission to Torque meetups could be arranged as a social gathering where people are respectful that mental hardship/illness is an issue for some. They would be an opportunity where people can go and enjoy socialising (as many people are very isolated); to get to know people without having to justify anything; discuss difficulties should they wish to and not if they don’t; for people who might be finding it difficult socialising or even to turning up at all, to feel welcome however much or little they want to engage at that time; where it is ok to turn up even when not feeling great.
    It is all the same as has been suggested for the Permission to Torque sticker, just that the idea can evolve to local meet ups at various pubs/cafes
    Chris- thanks for sharing your experience in the YT video, all I can say is that it was really helpful to hear this discussed – I cant put into words how much I appreciated it. Thanks to all of you for all the excellent content on YT and for this brilliant Permission to Torque endeavour.

  6. Thanks for the community! Years of Baron von Grumble and now the three of you as 44teeth have given me a sense of belonging and something to enjoy and laugh along with. I have ups and downs, but along the way I have become overall better at coping and enjoying this life. Thanks for all your hard work – much appreciated!

  7. Kudos for bringing this up. Sometimes I look at the diverse biking community and I realise that we are connected by the freedom we feel when we are riding. The question is- freedom from what? A lot of the time it is stress, mental health issues, ptsd, depresssion etc. When we feel the daily struggle get too much- we ride!!

  8. Great idea. As a guy who shares very similar struggles to Chris, I can’t over emphasise the importance of these opportunities to normalise and open up about these issues. Too many suffer in silence. Sticker ordered and will be worn with absolute pride

  9. This is a great idea. I work in the NHS and mental health provision is not what it should be.

  10. This is a brilliant idea me and my wife will be putting these on our bike and car, Thankyou for opening up and expressing what your going through, your not alone x

  11. Huge respect for this. As a fellow sufferer of ADD due to utter rubbishness that occurs in life, this is a lovely idea and I hope it grows and saves lives.

  12. Guys you are the best. Chris we are happy to see you again, I hope you keep getting better, and if you organize that thing for your bithday, I will really try to go there.

    best regards from Germany,

    Víctor
    (2017 1290 SDR)

  13. I think this is a great idea, I have suffered mental health and addiction problems since I was 12, I am now 51. I think it would be great if there where torque events that would have a different philosophy from normal bike events. for example a torque track day, but instead of focussing on being the fastest have it focussing on helping another rider being faster. that will get people who struggle to talk or being in such a bullish environment to connect with a stranger about bikes, and then over the day that will help someone open up who needs to. have no tyre warmers allowed, have a pit garage that teaches basic bike maintenance, again an experienced person helping someone without experience, connecting and allowing them to talk if they need to. you could do torque ride outs…post a place to meet and ride together for a day, with focus on helping another rider. its trust.to get a man to speak about how they are feeling is hard, and I don’t trust, but if someone is helping me on track or with bike maintenance I will feel more at ease to be vulnerable if I need to. when my mental health is in a dark period, the only thing that pulls me out of it is when I am helping others. I wish you well. D

  14. Stickers ordered!!!!… love the idea. It’s good to know others are struggling too even if you don’t talk about it’s good to know it’s normal to feel down and unmotivated.

  15. Well done for bringing such an important health issue to the fore. It takes courage to discuss it and from experience making that first step is the most difficult one. Permission to Torque is a great idea, here’s to making it a great success

  16. Message for Chris and others!

    I hope this message reaches Chris since despite being 29… I am a caveman with social media!

    What you did takes courage Chris, truly. I cannot express enough in words how much I admire you for opening up.. I really can’t.

    I’m going to do my bit by opening up too, I lost both parents before I was 2 years old (my father had bipolar and we believe he took his own life).

    My upbringing was difficult to say the least and about 4 years ago I had a complete mental breakdown… I was lucky in that I got some help before the NHS became so burdened as it is now (as you described). It got me on the right medication.

    I still suffer a lifelong ongoing battle with myself… depression is all too familiar.

    One thing you said really struck me and made me shed a tear but to avoid making this an essay, I won’t go into it here.

    Like you said.. we’re not alone.

    God I love 44 Teeth, you guys are the best & hope to meet one day… !

    Sticker ordered!

  17. Great thing to be shedding light on I myself have been here and it’s a hard talking point and thing to open up about.
    A good support network and that conversation with good mates helps alot deffinetly getting behind this!

  18. This is a wonderful initiative and one that I am completely behind. I’ll wear my lightening bolt with pride.

    I have a good job, a wonderful wife, amazing family, fast cars and fast bikes. And I’ve suffered terribly with depression for 12 years now (I’m 33). Last year, I made a serious plan to end my own life.

    Talking works, and I wish everyone struggling with similar anguish the courage and the fight to keep going. You’re loved.

  19. What you have just done for the followers is intensely human and inclusive, even though it was obviously not easy or comfortable for you. Thank you. Mental health is my area of interest and what you have just offered people will save lots of people years of faffing about in their own heads. Maybe if we all keep up this way of being, talking about mental health will be as easy as the nonsense we put up with for small talk. Good job.

  20. Watching the latest episode of the News I was struck by both how open and honest Chris was, and secondly, Al’s comments about not knowing if he would be here when he returned from a test.
    Thank you both for sharing your perspective from both sides of the coin.
    I try to speak to as many guys as possible about mental health, if I can save one person going as far down the rabbit hole as I went then that’s pretty much turning a frown upside down.

  21. Thank you so much for talking about this issue and coming up with a rad solution. I think the stigma that sometimes comes with mental health needs to go, and this is a fantastic initiative for our community 🙂

  22. Kudos to you guys, and best of luck for everything this movement does. To all you sufferers out there, temporary or permanent, short or long term – we’re here to listen. You’re not alone and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    Cheers and all the best

  23. hope this is okay chris i help run a group on you tube for the subject of mental health we do a live every sunday night , great to see others trying to help in this way if you want to no what we do search the vaping misfits out much love to all you guys

  24. sticker ordered, along with a hoodie to help with the costs 🙂 Might be worth setting up a donation page? happy to throw in a few quid.

    Great initiative guys, if it helps one person its worth it.

  25. I’ve always said that motorcycles are my meditation. Riding is a moment to focus on staying alive, and not a lot else. For me that tends to focus the mind away from the other dark shit that might be swirling around in it. Recognising that bikes have the same important role in other people’s lives, without making the whole thing about wallowing in each others sorrow is a breath of fresh air. Nice one, nice one, nice one.

  26. Ordered a sticker (and a 44 teeth one for good measure). This hit a nerve for me. Brilliant idea. Thanks

  27. That’s a great thing you’ve done. I hope things carry on improving for you. I was lucky to get some NHS CBT before they turned to mush etc. It was a turning point, not because it’s a magic cure but it just started me thinking in a different way about things.
    I can’t
    describe the elation when I first realised there was a way out, it’s the best
    point in my life to date (and I’m old). For me I could suddenly see things with
    a different perspective and clarity. I was irritatingly happy!!
    I
    genuinely wish anyone who is battling with this the best of luck, it really is
    tough.
    I’m no
    expert but am happy to talk to anybody about anxiety and depression, the worst
    thing is trying to battle it alone.

  28. Hey Chris, sitting in a mine site in PNG in Melanesia, acting as the Conveyor Specialist for a gold mine. Just watched your video, nodding my head in silence, feeling like you are in my head. Your video really spoke to me, and yes I am a BVG and 44Teeth fan, and I have your Jizz Machine decals on my helmet (Funny as Fuck). Have been wondering were you have been, but totally understand as I avoide situations that make me uncomfortable, “Mild Anxiety”. Life just seems to go too fucking fast for me sometimes, FFS is bloddy May already. Anyway, I like your sticker idea, and wish I could help you, but as we both know you can only help yourself in the end.

  29. Brilliant idea and as a parent of a son whom has had several suicide attempts, I am always ready to “torque” about this.

  30. My partner is in to bikes and follows your channel. I happened to walk past the lounge a few months back when he was watching your Budget Bike Battle and stopped to watch it with him (and I loved it by the way). Then I happened to catch your episode where you were talking about mental health …. and now here I am checking out your site 🙂 I have had my own struggles with the black dog over the years and admire your honesty for opening up about your own struggles. I have personally never been in to cars or bikes. For me they are just a tool to get from A to B (sorry guys and bike people). However, what you are doing here with your Permission to Torque is very admirable, and I wish you every success.

  31. Just got my stickers through, many thanks this is a great idea and having had a few episodes on and off over the years it’s good to not feel like your on your own with this.

  32. Thank you Chris, just watched the mental health posts on 44 teeth and Baron Von Grumble. Very brave of you to raise awareness and I will wear the sticker in support and understanding.

  33. Thanks for your honest emotional opening in your Vid – not only we share the love for Bikes, also I feel connect with you guys.

  34. Hi Guys .. as a survivor of severe mental health starting with depression & ending in a complete breakdown, I became servearly alcohol dependant.. at times I was in locked wards and in all under the mental health service & addiction services for years.. however the news is good. I was discharged from both services in Jan 2017 and have remained abstinent from alcohol (and any other illegal drugs) and apart from odd bouts of depression I’m as good as I have ever been.. Recovery is possible is my saying and I believe with the right help and being extremely honest you can become the person you alway new you were (& I have a 2020 Factory Tuono)

  35. Just want to help, I have deliberately decided my glass will be half full, instead of half empty. That life is good. People warm to me now and seek out my company, as I’m always positive. Hopefully the sticker will let strangers approach me with confidence, if they are feeling down. A few kind words and a bit of positiveness can go a long way.

  36. Been watching Chris/44 Teeth for a long time, from the time he used to ride to work and rant, up until this amazing team was formed. I’ve had my own experiences throughout and hearing Chris speak about his experiences just shows the balls he has to do that. Thanks you Chris and the 44 Teeth team for helping me get through tough times even though you didn’t know you guys were doing so! Thanks for starting this amazing initiative and breaking the ice on what is quite a “macho” scene. Can’t wait until more stickers are available so I can don it proudly. Well done!

  37. Ex military and have suffered with PTSD and depression ever since I left the military 2004. Some days are great some days are ok some days are a shit show. Got my GS which has really helped me deal with the bad days. Would love a sticker when they become available please.
    Keep up the good work
    It does help

  38. Just managed to watch the news where you openly talk about mental health. Fair play, you’ve a hell of set of balls to tell the world about things which are obviously painful and personal. We have issues with our daughter who suffers, so struggles etc are understood. Thanks for bringing it to a more mainstream and probably very male biased platform. For the bigger biking community have you thought of sharing this with other Youtubers. I see Chopsy has responded but there are others who could maybe give this plug for you (Missenden Flyer, Teapot, Richy Vida, etc) There is a time and a place for individual channels, but there also a time and a place for the biking community to come together for everyone.

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