Sharing stories of recovery and practical tips from men who have fought depression.
"Depression makes you feel so isolated, like this could only happen to you but it's just not true."
Former surfer, turned stand up paddler. I am a supervisor in a successful animation studio. I’m originally from England, lived in Australia for 10 years and am currently living in Canada. I’m passionate about mental health, demystifying and spreading the word. I’m currently embarking on a series of physical challenges to fundraise for mental health.
For me it came in the form of a mental breakdown at work, in Sept 2019. Depression and anxiety, I had been suppressing for several years, finally erupted and I lost all threads of mental armour. It hit hard and all forms of hope and grasp on reality fell away. I found myself standing at the top of a cliff in Sydney harbour considering suicide.
Slumping back from the cliff, I finally saw myself clearly for the first time and what a mess I was in. Suicide would only spread this pain out around my family and friends, and I could not do that. So I reached out for help from counsellors, family, friends, medication, and am hugely grateful and thankful for all of them.
It has been a long road, with several stumbles but I am pleased to say I am stabilizing and growing. I have grown massively from the experience and plan on continuing to do so.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?
Routine of self care
Curiosity of knowledge
First step, is admitting you have a problem. Can’t fix something if you don’t admit it is broken. And it’s OK to be broken. Sometimes it happens to the best of us and there is no shame in reaching out for help, in fact it’s one of the bravest things you can do.
Realize that you are not alone. Depression makes you feel so isolated, like this could only happen to you but it’s just not true. It’s more common than you imagine, probably someone on your street or in your apartment block is experiencing the same thing right now. Reading stories of others’ journeys helped me.
Know that it will get better. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. For some it is further away than others but with some work, everyone gets there. And walking through that pain rather than turning away from it, gets you out into the light rather than remaining trapped in the darkness. And it’s much better in the light!
Take each day as it comes, and just try and make it a little bit better than yesterday.
– Oliver Dunn, supervisor at animation studio, mental health advocate and fundraiser, Vancouver, B.C., Canada