Cover image of long exposure of man with sparkler

"The best thing I did was talk about it out in the open."

About Michael Douglas Medley:

I live on beautiful Vancouver Island with my gal and our two sons. Normally, I work at a mill here as first aid and clean up charge hand. When not spending time with the kids or my wife, I am typically at the Jiu Jitsu club, the gym, or reading anything from comics to books on Spanish history.

Michael’s Story

Portrait of Michael at beachWHAT WAS THE MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION?

I have always associated my self-worth with being physically strong, from sports to rough housing with the kids. A workplace injury in June took me out in a big way, add on a strike and no income, I was really questioning my contribution to the household. I was finding things to get angry at just because it felt good to be angry and that wasn’t working.

A conversation with my wife and saying all this out loud made me wake up to just how unhealthy that mentality was. Reading about injury related depression, mental health, and seeing/listening to interviews with rugby star Ardie Savea and actor Zach Levi about mental health helped me grasp that even with success these issues are real and we are not alone.

From pauper to prince, mental health and depression are issues many have, so why not get together and help each other out?

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

  • Talking about how I feel – to my partner, to my family, to my friends. People can’t help if they don’t know what’s going on.
  • Reading about the topic. Stories, testimonials, research behind it.
  • Finding ways to be proud of all the things I do, regardless of physical ability. I am a good dad/husband/friend.
  • Find things to put energy into that help build myself. Ideally multiple things so I don’t get so dependent on one thing. ie.) Learning a new language, reading books, going back to school.
  • Finding other people that have similar issues and connecting. Human connection is so important.
  • Maintaining my body and mind through SLEEP and modified exercise.
  • If you are physically injured, and that is part of the problem, find a way to stay active in that community.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

You aren’t alone brothers, and I know how easy it is to just internalize it and not talk about it, because you will “figure it out” in time.

The best thing I did was talk about it out in the open. It was scary to say it, but once I did it was like I owned it. So now that I know people are aware, if something is triggering negativity I can say “hey, this isn’t healthy for me, or anyone” and simply step away from the negativity.

It’s also not a quick fix, it’s going to take a lot of work and you need to be willing to do it. Finding something fun to put positive energy into can turn into something great for your development.

Really guys – just talk and you will find you aren’t in this alone. Make the change to move your energy to something that will benefit you and strengthen your relationships.

– Michael Douglas Medley, father and husband, based in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. insta