Throughout October 2016, we will be fundraising to Keep HeadsUpGuys Going and sharing stories of recovery and practical tips from men who have fought and overcome depression.
"Since I was 13, I have been sharing my story about overcoming my battle with HIV and depression."
About Brryan Jackson:
I am from Saint Louis, Missouri and I am 25 years of age. Since I was 13, I have been sharing my story about overcoming my battle with HIV and depression. When I was 11-months-old, my father intentionally injected me with HIV-tainted blood, hoping to end my life so that he would never have to pay child support.
My family didn’t discover this until 1996, when I went from being a playful, energetic 5-year-old to a vomiting, feverish sick kid, given just months to live. My father was later charged and is still serving a life sentence in prison. Meanwhile, I was left in a different prison, having to deal with a virus that restrains me mentally, emotional, physically and socially while I was growing up. It still affects me today.
Because of the problems I have faced, I now work to spread my story to try and help others who may be struggling with issues in their own lives.
(Learn more about Brian’s story in this BBC Interview).
Growing up most people were uneducated about HIV/AIDS – I was constantly bullied in school, wasn’t included in common kids activities (birthday parties, sports, etc.) and had a difficult time fitting in. Being an outsider and being repeatedly told I was going to end up a statistic, I had to switch the script and change my own self-talk. I firmly believe in having hope and that we can create our own story, rather than letting others determine it. This shift in perspective was really what got me through my most troubling times.
I realized that I didn’t want to be an angry kid anymore and I wanted to make a difference in my life and in others. These few things really helped:
Being hopeful is vital
Asking the right questions, shifting the perspective
Forgiving and letting go of the past
Trusting you have everything you need to overcome
Starting the conversation
Talk about your feelings and struggles! It does no good to deal with anything alone. Alone is a lie! There is a true strength and self-value to admitting struggles in life. People love to wear masks and pretend rather than be honest and find solutions. Know that you matter and that hope is what reminds us that everything is going to be ok.
I wish there was an abracadabra moment in life to make all of our problems go away, but the truth is everything we go through has a reason; whether it’s for us or somebody else. You matter and have a purpose, put on a good fight and show the world your passion and story.
– Brryan Jackson, international motivational speaker, from St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States
Help us better understand men's attitudes and experiences related to mental health concerns.
Eligible participants (men 18+) can enter a draw to win $250 CAD after completing the survey.
Complete optional follow-up surveys at 3- and 6-month intervals, and be entered into draws for $350 and $500 CAD, respectfully.