For the entire month of March Modern Therapy will be highlighting real mental health stories across our social media channels (@modernonsocial) to help reduce stigma. To help us with our goal, share your own story with a picture using our hashtag: #realmentalhealth. Make sure you tag us @modernonsocial for a chance to be featured on our page!
Here are 5 real stories from inspirational men fighting to remove stigma surrounding mental health.
“On February 6th, 2017, I ran out of my philosophy class because I had a severe panic attack. That week I had at least one major panic attack a day, which were only quelled by some leftover Xanax I was prescribed because of my generalized anxiety. With the help of a psychiatrist, I was able to get through the week. Afterwards, I sat in my living room with my family in tears because I felt there was no way I return to school in this condition. But with their love and support, I found the last ounce of strength I had to trust the medication I was prescribed and went back to school. Fast forward a year, I tried 3 other medications but none made me feel “normal” again. My expectations for these antidepressants were far too high, and Klonopin was the only drug that allowed me to function. This led to my physical and emotional dependence on this medication. On April 7th, 2018, I told myself that was the last pill I would ever take. My psychiatrist, family, and friends all told me this was a mistake. I had tried to quit Klonopin once before but was grossly unsuccessful, so they all recommended I should wait until after I graduated college. But I couldn’t follow their advice. I turned to CBD Hemp Oil to get me through the horrible withdrawal. Even with the sleepless nights, physical agony, and continuing all of my responsibilities, I was able to beat the demon that is drug dependence and graduate on-time. I am so thankful for these experiences. They taught me I am powerful beyond measure and how to keep going when my world was crashing down. They taught me we have no idea what others are going through, so we must empathize, be vulnerable with one another, and support others in any and every way we can. To everyone who’s struggling, I promise there is always light at the end of the tunnel. You are strong. You are beautiful in every way. You are powerful beyond measure.”
“In 2018 I was given a diagnosis of N.E.A.D (Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder) which is a form of non-epileptic seizure. This was a frightening time for both me and my close family and friends, but I was fortunate to get a diagnosis fairly quickly. In my case, N.E.A.D was the result of an incredible amount of change in a very short space of time and putting my body under an insane amount of stress. As a result, I developed very high (and at times) unbearable levels of anxiety. I have worked hard over the recent months on myself, seen a psychologist, and maintained a healthy lifestyle. I recently started back at work and am in the process of finding my independence and confidence again. I’ve started my “A Fit Mind” social media channels to promote N.E.A.D and other mental health conditions, help remove some stigma around mental health (particularly in Men) and promote the benefits living an active and healthy lifestyle can have on both your physical and mental wellbeing.”
“My Bipolar Disorder has been the greatest teacher to me. I get the pain and the struggle, but that enabled me to also see the sun shine brighter than most people do. I stopped questioning it and began to accept it. I’m a far better person than the one pre-diagnosis and I’ll be a better person again tomorrow with every waking day and opportunity. I am not a burden, there is no burden, because I won't hang around them.”
Matt’s passion and drive for mental health advocacy is even further propelled by the loss of six close friends to suicide.
“I just want to teach people what I wish I would have known growing up. I know if I would have been this knowledgeable not only about mental health & suicide prevention, but about equipping myself with strategies and disciplines for well-being, I could have potentially still been able to share laughs and memories with those mates I’ve lost. I know personally that my life would have been a lot different, and now I have the opportunity to ensure that the next generation doesn’t walk in the unknown like I did.”
“My battle with mental health has been a constant back and forth for a period of 8 years. The specific problems I deal with are depression, anxiety, dermatillomania (skin picking disorder) and body dysmorphia. To begin with, it took me 2 years to actually become aware of my problems as I originally just assumed this was all part of growing up and it would pass with time. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and although my problems have grown stronger it’s also made me grow stronger as a person. I know I still have a long journey ahead of me but the improvements I’ve made already are a strong enough incentive to keep me going. I’m now in a position where instead of hiding my problems away I’m able to completely express myself online in hope that I’m able to help others along the way.”
“I’ve struggled with mental illness since surviving child sexual abuse at the age of nine. I was later diagnosed with schizophrenia after I began practicing medicine as a physician assistant. After spending a month in a psychiatric unit, I lost my job and much of my identity. I no longer practice medicine, but I am finding myself by renovating a 1910 farmhouse. Never give up.”