Doom, gloom, darkness, loneliness and the crippling fear that you’ll wake up tomorrow and have to live another day.
This is as far as I am going to refer to the dark days.
I prefer to say Inner strength, triumph, a gladiator was born, with a big set of (figurative) balls, and a rise above adversity.
The latter is how I choose to describe myself, and any other dude who has struggled with mental illness.
I’m mad. Why am I mad? According to beyondblue, even though more women suffer anxiety and depression, out of every 6 daily suicides, men commit 5. beyondblue have done an amazing job at raising awareness of mental illness. They continue to do great work.
Awareness isn’t the issue here. The National Survey of Mental Health Literacy and Stigma 2011 reports whilst the level of awareness has risen, stigmatised attitudes have remained unchanged.
We need to stamp out the stigma attached to men talking about mental illness.
How do we do this? Listen up: we TALK about it! After my own struggle I was so darn proud of the 360 I had achieved I told everyone. Guys I just met, people I barely knew, close friends; for the simple reason that the more it’s spoken about, the easier it becomes for the next person, and the additional person gets educated.
The focus of the story should be on the triumph of overcoming the struggle, not when you were in the dark corner at your weakest. It’s a story about your strength, power and insight. This is how we fight stigma. Tell your story to your fellow bros and I have no doubt you’ll walk away with respect and a pat on the back. Show your support by posting a photo having a beer with a mate and the hashtag #SayItForward on Instagram or post a message of support #SayItForward on the HypeWriter Twitter of Facebook page. Get creative and help move the stigma away.