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"Find a way to share your story and what you’re going through."

About Nelson Vo:

I am a recent graduate of the Edwards School of Business in Saskatchewan. Prior to graduation I was selected as the Valedictorian for the graduating class as well as the recipient of the Barber and Maher awards for contributing to college life with an emphasis on social activities and involvement in the community. I now work as a Partner Success Manager for Vendasta, a top 50 technology company in Canada that provides a marketing platform and digital solutions to marketing agencies and media companies all over the world.

Nelson’s Story

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What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

A major turning point for me was no matter how much success I obtained or what was happening in my life, nothing made me feel good. I noticed that my actions and behaviour, brought on by my negligence to treat my depression, were severely harming my friendships and relationships that I currently had and would have in the future.

What are some things that really helped?

Letting others in

  • It took the support of others to help push me in the right direction and to ensure me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Your real friends will support you no matter what.

Sharing your story

  • Find a way to share your story and what you’re going through. For many this is through one-on-one therapy, for me this was through a speech I gave about my experiences in an auditorium of 100 people. Don’t be ashamed about what you’ve gone through. I can guarantee you that there is one person out there that desperately needs to hear your story before they can take their first step.

Eliminating barriers to success

  • For me, my depression came out in full force when I drank alcohol. As someone who lived the stereotypical university “frat” lifestyle, this is something I did lots of. In order to get better I knew I would have to eliminate alcohol from my life, and as of October 5th 2016, I have been sober for over one year.

All great things take time

  • This saying is the lock screen on my phone, I see it every time I pick up my phone. It reminds me that this journey isn’t one that is over in a day, month, or year. You will not get better overnight – it’s been a full year since I’ve taken this head on and I still have a long way to go; but any progress is better than no or negative progress.

Recharge your battery

  • I was always a big believer that the only way for me to get better was to make others happy. Whether that be through making them laugh by telling jokes or taking on projects to take something off their plates – I believed that would make me feel good about myself. What I neglected was that I wasn’t making myself feel good or making sure that I was okay. I had to realize that it wasn’t selfish to ignore the world for a day or two and just focus on myself. My secret way to recharge my battery was going to movies by myself – two whole hours of no cellphone, laptop, email, or other external distractions

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

My biggest advice for other guys is that your mental illness is a strength and not a weakness if you choose to take it head on. By admitting that I suffered from depression and letting others help me on this journey, I have become more self-aware, sensitive, and compassionate not only to how I’m feeling but how others are as well.

Another piece of advice I want to give other guys is that it all takes time. You often hear that mental illness controls and dictates what happens in your life. I have a phrase that I tell myself which is “I don’t live with depression, depression lives with me”. For me, this means that of course it will always be present but I have acquired the skills and abilities to know how to control my mental illness and live an amazing life no matter what comes my way.

– Nelson Vo, Partner Success Manager for Vendasta based out of Saskatchewan, Canada. Learn more about Nelson’s story.