By Nathan B • April 25, 2023
Note: This post talks about depression and suicidal ideation. Please use your discretion.
I grew up as the only male in my household. Growing up, I always felt overlooked -- and truthfully, I was. Regardless of how hard I tried, I always seemed to fall behind my peers. Oftentimes, this was attributed to my physical impairment. But, deep within me, I always knew there was more to it.
It went on like this for a while. And, I truly felt like no one saw, no one listened,
and no one really understood how much I was struggling.
This came to a head about 8 years ago, when I entered into a depressive state, at the age of 16. For the four years that followed, I felt like ending it all -- taking myself out of the picture. I felt like I couldn't be vulnerable in my own space. I am Christian, but in my moment of despair, I felt like other Christians couldn't or wouldn't comprehend what I was going through.
My physical health also plummeted, during this period. I was ill, underweight, and in so much physical and mental pain. It was unbearable. Everyone's advice?: "Just pray."
One day, I had finally had enough of carrying this load alone. I cried and cried, until there were no tears left. And, I made a decision there and then to open up to a friend, in a way that I never had before. This was so critical and life-changing for me, because that friend had their own share of mental health challenges. And, I think their lived experience helped them to truly listen to me.
I have never felt more vulnerable. But, I also never felt so heard and understood.
Shortly after that, I sought help through therapy. I got better. And, I began to understand myself in ways I never thought I could. All of this, because someone took the time to listen to me, to understand me, and to encourage me to seek help.
Now, I can confidently say I am healthier. And, I have a new outlook on life.
If there's anything that I want people to take away from my story, it's that...
We all need someone we can be open, honest, and vulnerable with.
For me, I found that person in a moment when my world felt like it was ending. And, that single interaction, changed the trajectory of my life.
I close with this special call to the young men reading: Don't neglect your wellbeing. It's okay to speak up. It's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to seek help!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan is a 24 year old from Barbados. He has a passion for drawing, and is also a lover of all things physical fitness.
In a moment of despair, we could all use a little help and support. If you're going through a rough patch, and/or dealing with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out to one of these Caribbean Mental Health Hotlines. You can also find some other resources compiled by Let's Unpack It here. Help is just one click or one phone call away.
We all have a mental health story. And, when we are open enough to share it, we can build hope, dismantle stigma, and help others to know that they're not alone. So, if you're comfortable, take a moment to share your lived experience here. #CareToShare