Double exposure image of a man

"Finding my 'why' was the biggest thing that helped me to turn around my life."

About Justin:

I am a Mental Health Advocate, Inspirational Speaker and Certified Professional Coach. I am also a server, as I just started my journey on the road to recovery and speaking. I have a personal development program called “The Stronger You Project”, a mental health presentation and a signature talk that I perform for people!

Justin’s Story

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

I hospitalized myself on January 4th, 2019, with alcoholism and suicidality. I had gotten to the point where I was suicidal every day for six straight years, wondering if I would make it to see the next day and my son would grow up without his biological father. On that day, I made a choice. The choice to live, the choice to get better for my son, the choice to get better for me.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

  • Finding my ‘why’ was the biggest thing that helped me to turn around my life. There was a time I thought my son deserved better than what I could give him, but I turned that around to what if I got better for him, then I could get better for me, then I could help other people get better.
  • Asking for help was a huge part of my recovery. I finally committed to my counselling appointments, taking medications, and seeing my doctor once a month to ensure I was staying on track and my old feelings weren’t coming back. The trick, though, was to be honest and open and tell them your truth.
  • Having a good support network of people who build you up, have your back, and lend you an ear to listen without judgement is a great way to master your recovery.
  • Exercise and eating healthy. Hitting the gym and unloading from the world really helped me because when I go to the gym I listen to motivational speaking, music, or a good audible that will help me grow. Also, listening to podcasts of guys like me, who struggled, allowed me to realize that the MAN UP STIGMA has no place in my life. I like to call it the learn and grow.
  • Journaling and gratitude lists were a big part of my life. Getting my feelings out on paper and reminding myself of the good things that I had in my life gave me a different perspective from what my mind would see when I felt down.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

Find your ‘why’, grab hold of it, and take it with you everywhere. Sometimes, the road is going to feel dark, and it’s going to feel lonely. Still, I can tell you this: The sun always shines after the rain, and when you see no light at the end of the tunnel, you keep walking because eventually, you will get to the other side.

The biggest piece of advice that I could give is to get rid of the MAN UP STIGMA; it has no place in your life. It takes a strong man to show his vulnerability and admit what he’s going through. For years I lived by ‘manning up’, and it almost took my life. I beat myself up, and I tore myself apart word-by-word telling myself lies until I believed them.

I want you to remember that you are stronger than you think. There is help out there and you are not alone. However, you have to start. Try by starting small, make one phone call, ask for help and commit to yourself because you deserve happiness.

Justin Brien, Inspirational Speaker and Certified Professional Coach, Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada