Double exposure image of a man

"The power of peer support changed my life."

About Addison:

I am a conscious creator and connector – an intentional multi-hyphenate. I show up in the world as a Writer/Producer, a Lived Experience Expert and Mental Health Spokesperson and most recently as a partner, VP of Brand & Impact for the tethr app (a mobile, peer enabled mental health and well-being platform for men).

More personally, as someone who lost my brother to cancer, found my father after his suicide and then was in a fatal accident killing a dear friend and leaving me relearning to walk, love, operate and make sense of the world – I encourage everyone to seek a support system with attention to their wellbeing before a life event deems it necessary.

Addison’s Story

Portrait of AddisonWHAT WAS THE MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION?

I tried so many treatment opportunities to work through the depression that stemmed from my compounded grief process and the PTSD from two traumatic events. I am often heard saying that what worked – was everyone and everything. A combination of having a mentor, professional medical help, meditation, holistic modalities but when things truly started to change was when I joined peer support programs.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

Having a Mentor

  • In a chance encounter I met my mentor and excellence coach, Jenifer Merifield, on a plane. (No joke, after I surrendered told the universe I needed help and headed for my hometown)
  • On a 5 hour flight I realized that I had been operating from a victim consciousness and that at best I was trying to survive, but not aligning with the elements of life that would allow me to thrive. Two years later, I continue to learn and apply mindset work to my daily life.

The Power of Peer Support

  • After my father’s suicide, I felt the least isolated when I joined an 8 week program where I was paired with a suicide loss facilitator and peer, who had also been through losing someone to a traumatic death.
  • After the accident, I joined a men’s excellence group and series of online forums that provided safe spaces for men to show up fully in relation to their mental health. I reconnected during this time with tethr co-founder, Matt Zerker, an old high school acquaintance.

Finding Purpose and Looking for ways to Support Other Men

  • Matt and I began peer supporting each other, much like men do on the tethr app now. Messages, check-ins and even peer coaching calls during crisis moments before and after seeking professional help.

Letting Go

  • Stop trying to control how the healing process is supposed to go, how the physical or emotional pain is “supposed to” show up or disappear. Talk to your team (professionals, trusted peers, mentors) and decide what is the best next step as you are taking it.
  • I said I would never take medicine. When I became suicidally depressed due to chronic pain and PTSD symptoms, I let go of my judgements, talked with my doctors and figured out a way forward guided by my heart and science.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

Find one person you can talk to about your mental wellbeing. The power of peer support changed my life. Create a safe space where you can talk about your mental health journey that doesn’t only consist of discussing and championing the harder moments, but also the tiny breakthroughs.

My biggest advice whether it comes to grief, depression or PTSD is “honour the journey.” Whatever you are feeling, whenever you are feeling it – honour it – name it, feel it, chat about it, normalize the fact that you are a fully feeling human being that is designed to heal one day at a time.

– Addison Brasil, Writer/Producer, Lived Experience Expert, Mental Health Spokesperson, partner and VP of Brand & Impact tethr, Los Angeles, CA, USA insta Twitter logo Download Tethr on App Store