Cover image of long exposure of man with sparkler

"Persevere. See it as fight. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. "

About Trevor:

In the summer of 2013, I lost my older brother to suicide. At the time of his passing, he was 34 and I was 32. He had experienced some significant difficulties over the last 5 years of life and during this time he was not himself.  There had been times in the past when we felt suicide was a concern, however, he always pulled through.

My brother was a fighter in every sense, yet the one challenge he was not ready to face was asking for help. He hid his problems from his family and friends, and for the most part suffered in silence. As a family, we tried to intervene and support him in getting help for his issues, but he was not ready. On two occasions he was very close to consenting for clinical support, but at the last minute he changed his mind.  He convinced himself he could do it on his own.

Sadly, our greatest fear became reality. I was woken by a phone call from my Dad telling me he has sad news, “Spencer is dead”.  I rushed to VGH be with my parents and see my brother on life support. The odd thing about being in shock is, you don’t know you’re in shock.  Everything was surprisingly calm and surreal. However, over the next few days, it began to sink in that my physical journey with Spencer was over, and a new chapter dealing with his loss was just beginning.

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

In the wake of my brother’s passing, I noticed myself overwhelmed with strong waves of grief.  I would find myself feeling angry, ashamed, and guilty, but most of all I felt alone. Spencer was an ally. He was a person I admired and had the most in common with. We had an understanding of one another I will never have again. Most of all though, I felt sad. Sad that a person I loved felt so hopeless and was in so much anguish he ended his life. These were some big feelings swimming in my head. I needed help sorting them out.

Based on the recommendation of a family friend, I began scheduling appointments with a grief counsellor. By seeking help from a counsellor, I was able to work through the complex feelings I was experiencing, in particular guilt. She helped me by asking, what was my commitment to Spencer? What would he want me to do? Who would he like to see me be?

These questions prompted me to take a look at the person I wanted to be moving forward. I decided to further develop my passion in music and use it as tool to work out these feeling while helping myself and others. (Watch Trevor’s newest music video “Right Arm” below)

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

Some of the things that really help me maintain a healthy and happy mind are:

  • Staying connected to my community
  • Making an effort to socialize with friends
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

Persevere.  See it as fight. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  

  • Do the little things, like making your bed in the morning
  • Do at least 30-minutes of physical activity every day
  • Minimize sugar and alcohol intake
  • Maintain close contact with friends and family
  • Write your goals in a visible place, in living space
  • Maintain positive self-talk

– Trevor Mills, storyteller, musician, and teacher, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Find about more about Trevor’s music and advocacy on his website, Evidence of a Struggle. Check out Trevor’s new music video “Right Arm“:

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