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Joel’s story

“Remember on the tough days that life will have meaning again.”

What kind of stigma did you experience/observe?

Mental health, esp. for men, is of keen interest to me. I have contended with anxiety/depression for much of my adult life. The stigma I have experienced as a result of my illness has been primarily self-imposed. Low self-esteem, a failed marriage and minimum wage employment despite having a Master’s Degree have all contributed to seeing myself as a loser for many years. The most painful part has been as a father to my daughter.

How did you overcome this experience?

By participating in various men’s support groups I have learned I am not alone in dealing with mental health issues. These groups have given me an opportunity to be supportive by telling my story, actively listening to other people’s experiences, and share the humor and horror of our journey as people with mental illness. Add in the daily use of anti-depressants and the unconditional support of family/ friends and I am grateful that I’ve weathered more than one dark night.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

My experience of depression is that it’s a cycle. Remember on the tough days that life will have meaning again. And on the easy days be grateful for the synchronicity you’re experiencing. You will be a stronger, more empathetic and compassionate person as a result of your seeking balance.

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