I encountered my own depression for the first time in my life when I was thirty-five years old. I didn’t believe that depression was “a thing.” And yet I was almost completely paralyzed by it. So began my journey into an on-again-off-again cycling in and out of depression. It was a world—and piece of myself—that I did not understand, did not want, and was deeply ashamed of and confused by. The confusion was that there didn’t seem to be a way out.
The bottom of my depression was in the Summer of 2013 when I attempted suicide. I tried to process my experience by writing about it, and a friend convinced me to publish it anonymously at The Good Men Project. She said it would help many men because so many were going through that exact same thing. It was the first time I’d heard of The Good Men Project. My piece was called Intro to Alone. And it felt good to get it out there. (And—oh look—it’s not anonymous anymore…)
Over these past years, I’ve gone from writing anonymously on the topic (see: Depression. A Part of the Human Condition) to writing and speaking my truth on my own byline to connecting with others in the mental health space and running a Social Interest Group on Men’s Mental Health at The Good Men Project. That didn’t happen because I’m particularly brave or special. I’m not. It happened because I had a welcoming community of friends who showed me: (i) that everybody has something they struggle with; (ii) that there is no shame in that; and (iii) that strength, connection and, for some, even healing come from being open and authentic about mental health issues, just as there is with any other personal or health issue. It took, as they say, “a village.” I owe a debt of thanks to my entire family and to people like Lisa Duggan, Lisa Hickey, Shawn Henfling, Mark Greene, and so many others.
That is what we are trying to help people seeing our Men’s Mental Health group by producing and sharing our #NotWeakJustHuman PSA video.
Below is my own video clip from that effort. After you watch and listen to my video below, then go check out and share our full-length #NotWeakJustHuman video.
There is no shame in mental illness. We are not weak. Just human. And we are stronger together.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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Photo credit: YouTube/The Good Men Project