"As hard as it is in the dark times, remember that you can get through this."

About Ryan Martin:

My name is Ryan Martin and I’m 24 years old. I have a long track record of mental struggles – anxiety, depression, and most recently bipolar type II. I spent the summer of 2018 cycling across Canada raising awareness and funds for mental health ($125K). Currently, I work at the Canadian Mental Health Association as the National Lead of Youth Advocacy and Philanthropy. My personal advocacy work can be followed at mindcycle.ca and on @mindcycle_canada on Instagram.

Ryan’s Story

WHAT WAS THE MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION?

I wouldn’t say that I have fully recovered from my struggles. But, the biggest thing that has changed is my approach to managing them, which has made me healthier and smarter. Accepting that this is my reality, was crucial and a very long process. After that, I started focusing on how I can become the master of managing all this.

I continuously strive to expand my toolbox of strategies so that I can be proactive and get through all mental health situations.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

Acceptance

  • This meant no more ignoring what’s happening, and it meant the start of creating my support network and growing my toolbox

It’s not one tool

  • I’m a firm believer that it won’t be one that will make you healthier. It’s more of a toolbox. I want the biggest toolbox possible, so that I have strategies for every single mental situation. This gives me confidence that I can get through anything and bounce back sooner.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

As hard as it is in the dark times, remember that you can get through this. Suicidal thoughts may promise a way out, but do not take an irreversible action when you’re at your lowest – things will get better.  My struggles may return, but it’s the impact I create in my community and the people around me that keep me motivated to press on. Take it one day at a time.

In the thick of it, I always try to think, “What’s one thing that will make me just a little happier today?”. Keep doing those things, keep talking, and keep using your tools and eventually you will bounce back. Be patient.

– Ryan Martin, National Lead of Youth Advocacy and Philanthropy for the Canadian Mental Health Association and mental health advocate, Toronto, Ontario, Canada HeadsUpGuys Instagram

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