I read some stats recently which shocked me. The first was, there are 8 suicides in Australia every day, which I sort of already knew. For every woman, there are 3 men who commit suicide. But what truly shocked me is that for every suicide, there at 30 people who attempt suicide. That is 65,000 people per year. That number did shock me. It made me realize just how deep mental health issues flow through our society.
My name is Brett, and this is my first blog. I have a passion for health and wellbeing, mental health, but more importantly about men’s mental health. I suffered from depression for 25 year and I know how hard it is at times get to get through the day, or sometimes even just get out of bed. I want to impact people’s lives by changing the landscape of how people think about depression, about men being vulnerable and showing their feelings, about how we view what a real man is.
I believe our perception of what a real man is, what he is meant to do, how his is meant to act, how he is meant to be perceived, is killing our fathers, our brothers, our sons…our men.
Now at the age of 50 I look back at where I was and where I am today, and a few of the jigsaw pieces have started to fall into place. Being able to get old enough to obtain some wisdom has been a blessing, and as a result I look back at the younger me and realize just how arrogant (at times), how lucky, how naive and how fortunate I have been.
When in my very early 20’s I remember hearing about someone committing suicide. I remember thinking how selfish they were (me being arrogant and naive). After suffering from my first bout of depression only a few years later I know I changed my perception pretty quickly. I remember thinking, “Oh, I can now understand why they could do that.” Though I never truly contemplated taking my own life, there were some dark times which allowed me to see how people could.
Now that I am a little older and a little wiser and been through the dark times myself, my perception has altered again. Having been in those dark places and know how hard and painful it can be, I can only imagine how much more pain they must have been in to get to the point where they thought there was no light at the end of the tunnel. And I feel sorry for them they didn’t get the chance to see they were the light, they were someone’s light.
I was fortunate to have some many lights help me through my dark days. I was also lucky to be other people’s light, though I didn’t fully understand or even realize it most of the time.
So why is depression, mental illness, suicide so prevalent in our society today. I don’t have the answer. I never will. There are many more people in the world much smarter than me who a tackling that question every day. And due to the complexity of the current world we live in, there is no one answer.
There is definitely one thing I believe all of us can do to help, and that is to connect. Put down the phone or the I-pad, turn off the TV, walk away from the computer and start connecting with each other. Start talking and listening. And really listen, because between the words spoken, you may hear a totally different story.
Please remember each and every of us are a light. You are their light. Continue to be that light and you will help someone to find their way through their darkness.