I don’t think depression can be summed up in one image. I think at times it’s a lot of images. I spent some time with my niece a few days after I had felt the lowest I have ever felt. My nieces and nephew mean the world to me. They remind me of the simple joys in life. I had just taken my niece to the park and she was so happy just sitting in a swing and it made me think “Why can’t everyone just feel that happy all the time?”.
Never one to be the quiet or timid type, it would be difficult to find someone who thinks I’m anything other than boisterous and over-confident. Yet behind this male bravado there’s a sensitivity and vulnerability that I have always tried to mask.
As a child I was very curious. I was restless and always fidgeting in class. By the time I was a teenager I began experimenting with different things. I was always looking for a high. I wanted something to make me happy, because most of the time I felt sad.
That’s how I got into high-strength alcohol and started smoking weed. It reached a point of no return and I couldn't work anymore, I could not fit into social circles.
I was subjected to electro convulsion therapy due to a diagnosis of substance-induced psychosis. But in the real sense, I had depression.
Living with a mental illness can be extremely isolating and lonely. The relationship is two-way: others may not reach out as you have been understandably distant due to feeling unwell, and you may not contact others for the same reasons. It’s a vicious cycle.
When I figured out something was wrong it was too late. It consumed me. I was so close to going through with it until someone rang and snapped me out of the way I was feeling. At the time I thought I had no one, no family or friends. I felt like I couldn’t speak to anyone about my mental health.
I had already lost a close friend to suicide. I’d heard about the high suicide rates amongst men which made me think “why is there no help for men to talk about their mental health” - because at the time I didn’t know how or where to get help from.