Jun 05, 2022
3 mins read
Some very serious and unfortunate events have happened in my life recently that have made me realize … that I've been doing something very wrong. Something I know better than to do, and yet shame and embarrassment have kept me doing it.
I'm talking about mental health.
Now here's the thing … I'll bet I just lost half of you when I said that. Either because you adhere to the belief that mental health isn't real health. That's it's just weak people making excuses.
Or perhaps that it's a subject you feel should be kept to oneself. Because you don't air dirty laundry like that in public, right?
Both of these mentalities seem to be how most Americans deal with the subject.
Let me give you an example. Say someone were to be diagnosed with a serious disease. Everyone brings over a casserole and asks what can they do to help.
"If there's anything I can do …"
Now picture that same scene where you hear instead that your neighbor has started having an anxiety disorder or has experienced a "nervous breakdown". Are you still making that casserole?
The reason I am talking about this now is because … I'm living it. Only I'm the patient and I'm trying like hell to not feel guilt and shame about my "health" and how it's impacting others.
There are some unfortunate events happening with my family back home. Things that on a normal day I would just fly back and address. Because after all … I'm just "out traveling".
Only … I'm not.
When I quit my career and decided to leave the states, I told my folks that I was retiring early. Because they could never understand my real reasons. I told others that I was taking a sabbatical and "wandering the world" because I wanted to try another career. Both of which were partially true, but neither of which were the truth.
I had a mental breakdown and I kept it hidden from everyone. Not an "I feel depressed so someone give me some valium" kind of breakdown, but one in which I was seriously considering committing myself into an institution. Or worse. Because I couldn't handle one more day.
The prolonged lockdown exacerbated things that had been lying in my shadows. So when my eventual crisis came I had no choice but to abandon everything, including any sense of financial security, all of my friends, and everything else … to try and unscrew my head.
To distance myself from what was harming me and what could distract me … and to try and get well.
Mental health is something we don't take as seriously as say a broken leg. Just shake it off, we utter. It's all in your head.
Well, I'm sick. And I'm trying to get better.
The good news is that my healing is slowly working. Taking my therapy and meds like a good lad and making myself face my demons. But honestly … I have a long way to go. I know I seem peppy and happy making my videos, but cameras only show what you want them to, now don't they?
Here's the thing. Even if only a thousand people read this post, according to Johns Hopkins about 260 of you are suffering from some form of mental illness. 26%. And for many, you may be the only person who knows about it. You hide your illness out of fear or ridicule. Or you don't get help because of shame or pride.
But I want to show you another way.
So yea … I have mental health issues. And honestly … I'm tired of feeling guilty for simply being sick.
If you or someone you know is silently suffering, please get help if you haven't already done so. There is no shame in having an illness. Society doesn't get to decide if your ailment is worthy of a casserole.
You ARE important. Please believe that.