My journey started with a personal struggle. For eight years, I have suffered from severe anxiety, panic attacks, periods of depression and substance abuse. All this drove me to almost complete self-destruction and being close to suicide. Like many men with mental health challenges, I chose to suffer in silence and use alcohol to “cure” my problems.
During all that time I became a master at hiding my struggle. Nobody knew what I was really going through, including my family, closest friends, and the girl I was dating at the time. All these years I have pretended that everything was great and that I was happy with how my life was going, but on the inside, I was riddled with anxiety, fear, and worry.
I felt too embarrassed and ashamed to talk to anyone about what I was really going through. I didn’t feel like I could ask for help; I didn’t feel like I deserved help or that anyone really cared. All the stereotypes about how men should be didn’t help either; they only made me feel weaker and more hopeless.
The turning point came when I smashed my face on the proverbial rock bottom. A heavy
drinking binge that ended up with a trip to A&E and a visit to the psych ward. No, I didn’t
have an accident while I was drunk. I realised that after a few days of heavy drinking, I was not able to stop, and I was totally unable to function without alcohol. At that point, I knew that I had to do something about my situation, or it would not end well for me. So, I chose to go to the hospital and ask for help; it was one of the most difficult things I have done in my life.
After that experience, I made a promise to myself that I will do everything that I can to never find myself in the same situation again.
It took me close to a year to recover from drinking, battle anxiety and start creating a
different path. Significant changes to every area of my life were necessary for me to move
forward and start looking after myself better. It was the most challenging thing that I have
done in my life, but it has brought me to the best experiences and to the most amazing people that I have met.
Through my struggle, I have learned that you don’t need to suffer in silence and pretend.
There are a lot of people who are willing to support you. Talking about your problems and
asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage.
If you are going through something challenging, don’t stop, don’t give up; life can get better for you. Sometimes your darkest days and most challenging experiences will lead you to the best moments of your life.
You are important! Your life matters! You deserve support! You deserve a better life!