A one-man flashmob. I am a gay, wheelchair-using amputee and suicide survivor discussing depression, disability, psychology, sexuality, faith, society and culture. Mysterious as the dark side of the moon.
Being depressed is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes the greatest courage a man can show is to admit he needs help. Talking about problems is a sign of strength, not of weakness.
After losing my legs in my suicide attempt in 2013, the only thing that gave me the hope and power to move forward was the love and support of my friends, family and practitioners like my psychiatrist, psychologist and physiotherapist. I spent six hours in the gym every day with Lauren, my physio, who became my constant cheerleader and best friend during that time.
Depression robs you of your self-confidence and self-esteem. It makes you feel like an inadequate failure. Being open about our struggles and feelings enabled my loved ones and I to take back our power and build each other up with encouragement. Now I am proud to be a Man of More Words and part of Movember South Africa’s campaign.
Three out of every four suicides are men. Encourage every man in your life to become a Man of More Words.
Whoever you are, you’re not alone. There are people who care. Talk to someone.
When you live with depression, you become very good at hiding your feelings and wearing a mask. Depression doesn’t have a face.
Sometimes you try hard to overcompensate with exaggerated optimism. At other times you can’t get the energy up to socialise at all and you withdraw completely for a few weeks.
But things will change. You’re not alone. No matter who you are, there are people who care. You will get through the lows, but it’s easier with people supporting you. In the meantime, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to admit you need help. You’re human.
If you need to talk to someone, call the South African Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837.
Today I turn 30 years old and I feel better about myself than ever before. For the first time in my life, I’m comfortable with who and what I am, in a way I never imagined possible. I am so grateful to all the friends and family who have generously loved, supported, and accepted me. Thank you for being a part of my life.