The Mailman's Survival Guide
the Mailman's Blog
Welcome back dear readers, it has been quite some time since ol' Big D has posted a blog. So, today I have a few things I would like to discuss, including my state of mind for the last few weeks, my thoughts on this past year, why I've decided to continue the podcast, and my goals for the future.
Now, after the last episode, I fell into a pretty deep depression. I was in a place mentally that I haven't been for a very long time. I closed myself off emotionally from my wife and my children, and began to doubt everything I am doing or have ever done in my life. I guess I started wondering why. Why do I do the cast? Why do I try to be nice? Why do I attempt to do what's right? What have I gotten for my efforts? And, why should I continue on the path I am on?
So how did I get to that dark place? What pushed me to the edge? And, what brought me back from the brink?
Let me start by saying my depression wasn't caused by just one thing, It was a multitude of issues all occuring in such a way that it became a perfect storm. A storm so powerful, I didn't believe I could weather it, and yet here I am. All the tragedies of 2016 worked to break me both mentally and physically, and yet here I stand. Here I stand against the tide of the coming year with hope and purpose, not because its easy, but because its hard. It's easy to get discouraged, and wrapped up in your own personal strife. Its hard to have hope...
Now, I'm going to take you back to the beginning of this year. My mother was fighting breast cancer and my father-in-law was fighting brain cancer. While my mother officially won her fight in November of this year, my father-in-law did not. This was the first of many heart aches to come.
Antonio Marie Jr. passed away in February, and left a gaping hole in the hearts and minds of all of us who loved him. Tony was a retired Master Seargent in The U.S. Army, a father, a grandfather, and a great grandfather. He loved his family and his country, and he is missed and thought of every day.
After his death, we moved in with my Mother-in-law as a way of trying to help her in this transition period. Little did we know what was coming down the pipe. In March, the second of 2016's misfortunes occured. That was when I was told by my eye doctor that I could no longer drive, and that my vision was going to continue to decline; and decline rapidly it has. This came as a heavy blow. As a postal carrier, the inability to drive meant the inability to do my job.
As a man who has worked for more than 25 years, this was a hard one to handle. I will be the first to admit that I am a prideful man, and the thought of not working, and needing people to help me with things I have done myself for years has torn at me since the initial diagnosis. I've refused to use my walking stick, I hate that people now have to hold my hand when we walk through places I don't know, and I ridiculed the idea of going to a support group for people who are going or have gone blind; and for what? The sake of my ego?
We move forward to May and tragedy rears its ugly head again. You see, the lady I thought of as my second mother for most of my life was taken from this world. Marie Richardson was one of the kindest people I have ever met. She saw potential in me, even when I did not, and she was always proud to tell people about what I was doing even when I thought what I was doing was meaningless. I will always love and miss her, and the void she left will never be filled.
Fast Forward to July of this year and 2016's tentacles of misfortune strike again. My family lost another member as Charles Thomas passed away. Charlie was a character. He always welcomed you in, tried to feed you too much, and make you feel at home. He loved his family, and he loved my son like he was his own grand child. For that, I will be forever thankful.
For a few months after that, things seemed like they were starting to turn around a bit, and I started to become more hopeful. Yes, my vision was continuing to decline and I was starting to have pain in my legs at night, but the prospect of accomplishing the dream of putting out a comic book was starting to become a reality. Plus, I had filed for disability, and how could they ever decline a guy who has worked all his life and gone blind, right?
In early November, all of that changed as during a doctor's visit, I was diagnosed with the same condition my mother suffers from. This was the cause of my ever growing leg pain that had kept me up for several nights over the past 6 months. It wasn't that I felt sorry for myself after the diagnosis, its that I felt guilty, and sorry for my wife. She had married a man that was literally falling apart. Not only am I going blind, but will eventually be in a wheel chair due to this new condition. Because of this, I really started to push her away. I felt like she would be better off without me, and if I emotionally shut down, she would eventually feel the same way.
All of this, along with being denied disablity, and the massive decline in listeners of the cast sent me spiraling out of control. I was ready to quit doing the podcast, give up on my relationship with my wife, and give up on life. I was ready to burn it all down. That's when a chain of events began that helped me refocus and reinstill belief that what I was doing mattered.
The first thing that occured was a good verbal butt kicking from my wife. She let me know I was not allowed to push her away and that no matter what we went through, we were going through it together. While at times she can frustrate me, she is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I am proud to be her husband.
The second thing that occured was that I happened to chat with one of the hosts of another podcast on twitter. After talking to her a bit, she decided to check out the cast. She wrote me a really nice message thanking me for what I do, and told me about a friend she wished had heard the show. I really appreciated her sharing that with me, and it started to make me re-think shutting down the show.
Then, over the holidays, a miraculous thing happened. One of my nephews, who is ex-military, came up to me, hugged me, and thanked me for doing the show. He said he had been going through a really tough time in his life, and because of the cast he started going to counseling. I thanked him at the time, and later cried like a baby as I rejoiced in knowing that he was taking steps to help himself, and that I was a small part of that.
This chain of events re-instilled purpose and hope in my life. You see, the thing I had forgotten was that going through these tragedies, making these podcasts, and continuing this journey isn't just about me. It affects my loved ones, it involves my friends, and it impacts my listeners. If one person can be saved or have a better life because of the things I've endured and was willing to discuss, its all worth while.
For a long time now, I've been struggling with an issue. That issue is this, how do you help someone who won't help themselves?
As a parent, spouse, or friend, this can be one of the hardest problems we ever face. I think for me, part of my psyche has always lent itself to being the "problem solver". You know...that white knight that swoops in when trouble abounds to save the day. Always championing the underdog, and looking for ways to help. And, if I'm honest, it makes me feel good when I am able to help, but the question I ask myself is, what do you do when a person you know needs the help either isn't ready, or willing to get it?
You can't force a person to get help. The more pressure you put on someone, the more they are going to resist it. Its a horrible catch 22. Over the years, I've tried to do what I thought was right, always rushing in to solve the problem, defending them, when really they were indefensible, and putting off or ignoring issues in my own life and relationships to worry about, or fix things in their life.
I've often pointed to other influences in this person's life, and said that they were bad. I couldn't count the number of times I have wanted to take them out of their situation and bring them into my home to keep them safe. In my mind, it would give them stability, guidance, and a better chance at a future, but have all my good intentions just backfired?
And so, I sit here and wonder...Am I part of the problem? Has me putting on undue pressure just made the situation worse? Am I just enabling their actions?
What do I mean by enabling ? Enabling is offering help that perpetuates the problem.
Its a fine line we often walk between helping and enabling. We want to see people in our family, or our friends succeed in what they do. If someone is really struggling with an issue, and they are doing their best to resolve it, and you are able to do something about it, that's helping. But, if a person is repeatedly getting themselves in the same situation, makes no attempt to change their actions, and you continue to bail them out, or make excuses for them, that's enabling.
Often times we do these things without realizing we are doing them, and they come from a genuine desire to help. So how can you determine if you are an enabler? Here are some questions I found on Psychology Today to ask yourself when considering whether you are an enabler:
Do you often ignore unacceptable behavior?
Do you find yourself resenting the responsibilities you take on?
Do you consistently put your own needs and desires aside in order to help someone else?
Do you have trouble expressing your own emotions?
Do you ever feel fearful that not doing something will cause a blowup, make the person leave you, or even result in violence?
Do you ever lie to cover for someone else’s mistakes?
Do you consistently assign blame for problems to other people rather than the one who is really responsible?
Do you continue to offer help when it is never appreciated or acknowledged?
Honestly, after I read these questions, I realize how much of an enabler I have been in the past. A lot of my good intentions, and a lot of my desires to "fix the problem", have literally just continued to feed the beast. So, I have to ask myself, what can I do to stop being an enabler, and how do I really help the person I am enabling?
First, don't let the good relationships you have in your life break down because you are so focused on the one in need. Even if its a family member or very close friend. Destroying the good relationships you have will only cause you misery in the long run.
Next, and this is one I need to pay special attention to, It doesn't matter how tough their childhood was, whether they were bullied, or mistreated, making excuses does them no good. Instead, encourage them to break the cycle, but whether they do that is their choice. continuing to enable them is yours.
Third, Don't just tell people it's fine. That person's situation is not fine, and it will take time to fix. But the fixing is no longer your issue. You have to allow them to struggle and come to the decision to get real help on their own.
Also, Stop cleaning up their mess. Its theirs, and theirs alone. Stop taking care of their responsibilities, and take care of your own. Hopefully, if they see you doing this, it will set an example they will be willing to follow.
Next, Stop giving them advice. By now, you have probably made your point and given them all the advice they need or want, and arguing about it will on cause more hard feelings. Just distance yourself from the situation. When they are ready to get the help they really need, then be there for them.
Something else, If you tell them you are going to do something as a consequence to their actions, do it. I have been a firm believer and practicioner of this one my whole life. I may be a lot of things, but a liar isn't one of them. I've always prided myself on following through when I told someone I was going to do something, whether that was show praise or provide discipline.
Lastly, Take timeout to work on bettering yourself. By doing this, you are silently showing them by example how to care for themselves. In this way, you aren't shoving it in their face, but instead, allowing them to see how their life could be if they worked on their own issues.
No one says this will be easy, but hopefully by doing these things, and breaking the cycle of enabling, it will inspire those not willing or ready to help themselves, make the changes that are necessary.
Welcome back dear readers. It has been a while since ol' Big D has been able to write a blog. Life has been extremely busy, and the constraints of time have made it nearly impossible for me to finish every task. While overcoming the limitations of time can seem difficult for many people, its the least of obstacles.
This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of England's best young writers, George Bastow. George has battled and overcome so many obstacles in his life, and truly is an inspiration to me, not only as a writer, but as a human being.
You see, George was born with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, a condition which affects all four of his limbs, and leaves him wheel chair bound. Even as difficult as this is to overcome, it still wasn't his greatest obstacle. His greatest obstacle was the "mainstream" school system. A broken system which, in this world of political correctness, loves calling itself "all inclusive", but in reality is far from it.
George's story of being in an educational system ill prepared to handle the needs of children who require specialized attention is one that is all too familiar to me. I worked in Special Education for several years, and the issues that drove me out of education were many. However, the ones that stand out in my mind are the out of touch education board member's unwillingness to allow specialized teaching methods for individual students, budgetary constraints, and quiet honestly, staff members who are not properly trained.
While George lives on the other side of the pond, bureaucracy, it seems, is the same universally, and George's inability to fit in a "one size fits all" educational environment led to his mother pulling him out of that system. She was mocked and harassed by George's paternal side of the family, and a system which concluded that he would never contribute to society without a mainstream education.
So George and his family did the only thing they could, prove the nay sayers wrong! They developed a teaching regime designed for his needs, and they adapted and overcame the challenges that got in their way. Family members took turns, each teaching to their strengths, whether it be the sciences, math, grammar, or the ability to take the mick out of a situation. They provided him with everything the educational system could offer, and so much more, and he developed into a writer that has so much to offer the world.
George really is a triumph of what home education can do, not only for the physically disabled, but any student who does not flourish in a "one size fits all" system.
This week, I decided to try something a bit different. So, instead of writing a blog, I have decided to put up the transcript for episode 32. This is a test of sorts to decide if posting transcripts will be helpful in reaching more people. I hope you enjoy the transcript, and leave a reply in the comments section .
Whether its a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker, We've all had people in our lives that we knew were toxic for us, and sometimes we can unknowingly be the toxic one. So, what are the signs we need to look for to determine if someone is bad for us?
A huge indicator that someone is a toxic person is if they are overly controlling. I'm not talking about someone who likes things neat and clean, but someone who is manipulative. Someone who always seems to be pulling your strings to make you do what they want you too. Whether that's making plans for you and cancelling last minute, or forcing you to do things you don't want by making you feel guilty, its all the same.
Another way to identify a toxic force in your life is by noticing jealousy. These people are jealous of everyone else in your life, whether it be family or friends. Also, they are jealous of your accomplishments, so they will take actions to trivialize them. Its almost a passive aggressive act to bring you down. Have you ever gotten recognized for something and then had someone say, well, everyone gets that....yup, toxic person.
Third, The person frequently lies. It can be big lies or small lies, it doesn't matter. I have a cousin that my parents raised. Growing up, we treated him like, and told everyone, that he was our brother. He was a pathological liar, and a good one. And, over the years, my BS detector became pretty keen, and I can usually tell when I am being lied to. The thing is, just like my cousin, when a toxic person gets caught in a lie, their defense mechanism is to shift the blame to another.
This leads to my next sign, A toxic person always plays the victim. Although these people may be convincing in this role, and you may feel sympathy for them, if someone constantly claims they are the worst affected, and have no culpability for what's occurring in their life, they are not good for you.
Now, another big signal that a person is toxic, is that They Always Come First. These people always feel as though their time is more valuable then yours no matter what. These are people who will ask you for help, but never be willing to return the favor.
The last few signs I am going to lump together because I think one feeds on the other. Toxic people are negative and judgemental, and feel they are always right. Most of the time these people feel as though they are the smartest person in the room, and if something goes wrong they are quick to point a finger and instead of trying to solve the problem, they just complain. Now admittedly, there are times when I am altogether negative in situations, especially if I really didn't want to be in that situation, and thats something that I need to personally work on.
So, what kind of effect can these people have on our lives?
The first one is that we tend to talk about these people incessantly, whether its to our spouse or friends, they dominate the discussion and that gives them power over us. When I worked at the local post office where I live, I had a boss who was incredibly toxic for me. I would complain about her to my wife, and anyone else who would listen, but if I had learned to leave those feelings at work, it would have taken away her control.
The second is, you lose your temper frequently. Years ago, I had a co-worker that I would carpool to work with. From the time I piccked her up until the moment we got to work, all she talked about was the problems at work. By the time we got there, I was so worked up that I was ready to pop, and the least little issue would cause my temper to flare. And...eventually I just told her that we couldn't carpool any more because it wasn't good for my emotional health.
Third, These people can cause your self esteem to diminish. Its like the old saying goes, surround yourself with positive people, and positive things will happen, its the same with toxic people. If they are in your life and dominating your thoughts and conversation, only negative things will come from it.
Now,another negative effect they can have is causing you to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. It could be drugs, alcohol, food, or any other vice that we may over indulge in just to try and forget this person, or break their control for just a moment. I'm more than guilty of this one. Often, I have turned to comfort food. I will eat until I am sick to my stomach at times, and its because its something I can control, and I think its the same for a lot of people.
Lastly, Toxic people can affect your relationships. By causing you to lose your temper, or lash out at your children or spouse because you came home in a bad mood, it has a negative impact, and can tear some relationships apart.
So, the big question is, how do we deal with these people.
Well,one way is to set boundaries, You decide when and where you will deal with a toxic person. Often, people with toxic personalities become predictable in their actions, so you can control and limit your interaction with them. You have to make the conscious decision to set these boundaries and stick to them
Another way is to pick and choose your battles. Often times, these people are just looking to cause chaos and disrupt your life, don't be sucked in to every argument or bit of drama they try to pull you into. Know when to take a stand and when to just shake your head and dismiss them.
That leads to my next solution. Rise above them. its often easy to get drawn into an abyss with these people, but don't be willing to play their game. Its often more difficult to take the high road, but... in the end, you will be better for it.
Now, another way to eliminate a toxic person's effect is to focus on solutions, not problems. When toxic people come to you and try to bring you down by only discussing problems, ask them what the solution is to their issues. It will either cause them to quiet down and go somewhere else or focus on coming up with solutions, which inherently turns the conversation into something more positive.
Lastly, if all else fails, sometimes the only solution is to cut them completely out of our lives. Its a harsh choice, and one I would never make lightly. If its someone you love, it can be even more difficult, but sometimes we have to say, I still love you, but I have to love you from a distance until you can change your ways.
Welcome back dear readers, it has been an interesting past couple of weeks for ol' Big D. I want to touch on a couple of things that have occurred recently, and discuss the importance of family and friends in our lives.
As most of my readers and listeners of the podcast know, I am a lifelong sufferer of chronic depression. It is a battle that I fight through medication, therapy, and education. However, everyday is a new battle, and a few weeks ago I almost lost that battle.
A perfect storm of events occurred which spiraled me into a state of depression and absolute hopelessness, and created a longing desire for my lifetime of struggle to come to an end. Fortunately, my family and friends, who make up my support network, were there for me. For you see, no man is an island, and having a supportive network of family and friends can get you through even the toughest of battles.
Having said this, I want to discuss the importance of building and keeping a support network. I know that most of us have either a best friend or spouse who we lean on in tough times, but its important to have more than one person in your network. If you rely too heavily on a single person, you may end up crushing them under the weight of your problems and their own.
So how do we go about creating this circle of support? An important first step is deciding who should be in that network. Don't just go out and make as many friends as possible and think they will all be there for you. This is real life, not Facebook. Choose a handful of family members and close friends who are trustworthy, and will be there for you when times are tough.
Secondly, nurture those relationships. Really get to know the people in your network. If its a family member, don't just assume that you know everything about them. Often times, we may not know that person as well as we think, and if you spend time talking to them, you can build a deep and rewarding relationship.
Third, don't always talk about your problems with those in your network. If you only talk to these people when times are hard, they may start to feel used. Imagine if you had a friend or family member who only wanted to talk to you when they had problems.
Fourth, be willing to listen. Building a support network is a two way street. If these people are willing to be there for you, do the same for them. Also, really listen to them. I know that may seem like an unusual statement, but in this time of cell phones, internet and a million other distractions, its easy to tune out when someone is telling you what's going on in their life. The more apt we are to be there for them, the more likely they are to reciprocate.
Fifth, don't be so quick to burn bridges. In this world of political and socioeconomic divisiveness, I've witnessed relationships destroyed by differing views and opinions. Don't let a difference in ideology destroy your support network. My father, my brother, and I rarely agree on politics or economics. We have been in some arguments that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Sometimes we walk away shaking our heads and wondering what the other is thinking, but we never let it shake our relationship. It's ok for you to have strong opinions. It's ok to stand up for what you believe is right, but be willing to understand that everyone has opinions, and they don't always have to align with our own.
The last thing I want to discuss is the wonderful time I had with my son this last week. While I get to see him every other weekend, having him stay for nine days really did my soul good and it strengthened our bond. As he is 5 years old, he is constantly changing and growing. What he may like today, may not interest him tomorrow and having him here for an extended stay let me enjoy watching these changes.
Another thing I love about having him here is that he often says something unexpected that often makes me laugh. I am so thankful he inherited the "goofy" gene from my side of the family, although I'm sure it drives his mother crazy. Having said this, the other day I saw a different side to him. It was one that astonished me, and let me know that he thinks deeply, and while he can only use the knowledge of a 5 year old, the point he made was pretty wise.
The conversation went like this:
Son: Daddy, what if I had been born a girl?
Me: Well, I would still love you just as much, but I was wishing for a boy.
Son: When I was in my mommy's belly I wished I was a boy, and then I made it happen.
Me: Oh yeah?
Son: Daddy, wishes don't just come true. You have to make them happen.
So, anytime I doubt myself, or what I am trying to achieve, I will hearken back to the wise words that came from a most unlikely source, and maybe you should too.
As many of my listeners know, 2016 has been a difficult year for yours truly. Not only have I lost most of my vision, which forced me to leave my job as a postal carrier, but I also lost three family members whom I loved dearly. All of these things, along with fighting my chronic depression, led me down a path of despair which seemed to have no end.
In my darkest hour, I wrote a letter. I didn't write it to a famous doctor on tv, searching for words of wisdom, or to a star athlete who could give me inspiration. No, instead I wrote a letter to my depression.
You see, the simple act of writing to my depression gave me dominion over it. It allowed me to say, I choose not to succumb to your cold, dark embrace. I choose not to let you control my life, and destroy everything good I have worked so hard to build. And so, I share this letter with you in hopes that it may serve you as well as it served me that terrible day.
You've always been there with me, through good times and bad. Sometimes whispering softly in my ear, sometimes screaming like a lost soul trying to escape the recesses of hell. You have been my one constant companion, loyal and dependable. Always there in my darkest hours, hugging me with a grip that seems inescapable, yet never comforting.
When life is grand and full of hope, you are there. Hiding in the farthest corners of my mind, waiting for an opportunity to once again feel me in your dark embrace. You offer only self doubt and loathing, and yet I am powerless to break your hold. Or, am I?
Why did you choose me? Why must you torture me like some cruel master who derives so much pleasure in punishing his unwilling servant? What did I do to deserve you? Were you always there? As a baby, did you creep into my room and crawl into my crib, give me solace and earn my trust? Or, did I invite you in?
I do not know which is true, but if it is the latter, I invite you to leave. I know you will not leave without a struggle. Like an angry drunkard being removed from a bar room, you will only go kicking and screaming. Like that irritating salesman, your foot will be in the door. I will push with all my might, and your resistance will be almost insurmountable...almost.
I know you will always be there, banging on the door, begging for entrance. I know there will be times when I will want to let you in, but I have grown weary of our relationship. You are my oldest companion, but not my friend. Like a cancer, you must be cut away from my mind, my body, my soul. I have been given the tools to prevent your return, now they must be implemented. So I bid you adieu old man, and ask you to never return.
Your Oldest Companion
I am but one man in a sea of people. One man, with one voice, crying out to the heavens. Every day, hoping and praying to be heard in a world dominated by politicians and 24 hour news channels. Who am I to speak? What do I have to say that is so important that anyone should listen?
This is the way I, and millions of other people around the world feel. We feel alone and ignored, mocked and ostracized, but why? Is it because we simply don’t have the gumption or grit to stand out and achieve great things, or is it something more? Is it because the disease that afflicts us is unseen, and therefore unspeakable?
Man up! Shake it off! All you want is attention! What’s wrong with you? These are all things I have heard over the years, still ringing in my ears like the residual tones from a shotgun blast.
It’s a funny thing to me. If my arm or leg were broken, would people give me the same advice? How ridiculous would it look for someone to say these things if that were the case? And yet, it’s the most common of responses to someone with a fractured mind.
For years I suffered alone and in silence, thinking that no one could possibly understand what I was going through. Fortunately, I found out I was wrong before it was too late, but thousands do not. Every day, hundreds of people around the world end their suffering the only way they know how.
This is why I speak out. This is why I write. This is why I scream so loudly to the heavens! If I can convince one person to seek counseling, help quell their loneliness or not end their life, it’s all worth it. I may never be a great orator or writer, but I will do my part to raise awareness for the silent majority in the mental health community, but I cannot do it alone. For you see, I am but one man.
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Welcome back dear readers, I write this blog with both a somber tone, and one of celebratory longing. A dichotomy of feelings in a time when the country as a whole is mourning, and yet looking forward to celebrating the upcoming Father’s Day weekend. I will touch on both of these subjects as I try to make my way through this journey we call life.
This past weekend, 50 people lost their lives in a tragic shooting incident in Orlando Florida. It was the single greatest loss of lives in this country since 9/11. As I digest everything that occurred in this event, one thing stands out that both disturbs me mentally and sickens me as a human being, the politicization and propagandizing of the event.
In a time when we as a people and a nation should be consoling the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of the people who lost their life, we are instead arguing, spinning, and using the event to promote agendas. I will neither lend credence to any of the arguments, nor will I detract from them. Instead, I will apologize to the families whose lives have been turned upside down and inside out from grief. I am ashamed of what we allow our media and politicians to get away with. There is a time for discussing policy and voicing our opinions on what occurred, but that time is not now.
So, I will get down from my soapbox and discuss the other matter at hand. Father’s Day is this Sunday, and I must say that I am greatly looking forward to it. My father may be the single greatest influence in my life, and Father’s Day is a way of honoring him. We don’t exchange gifts, nor do we dote, instead we exchange our time, our love, and our laughter, which means more than any trinket wrapped in shiny paper.
On this day, we exchange stories and ideas about what it means to be both father and son. We tell tales, laugh, and discuss serious matters that affect our children and us as fathers. We relay wisdom, and things we’ve learned over the years. It is the essence of what it means to be a father to me.
He has molded and shaped me, both good and bad. He is the voice of my conscience, and my moral compass. He is the one man that I still look to for guidance and aspire to be. Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you.
Hello dear reader, and welcome to my blog. Let me start by introducing myself, giving you some back ground on who I am, what my goals are, and why I feel raising awareness for the mental health community is so important.
My name is Darrell Smith, and I am a writer, pod caster and mental health advocate. I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and sensory processing disorder for most of my life. I am also a former postal worker who has a great interest in both science and science fiction. This explains the silly name of my podcast, The Mailman's Survival Guide To The Galaxy, a cast devoted to raising mental health awareness and letting people who struggle with mental illness know they are not alone.
After years of dealing with my mental illness alone and in silence, I finally found the help I needed through therapy and medication. Because of my inquisitive nature and insatiable "need to know" personality, I decided to educate about myself about my mental illness. While upon this quest for knowledge, I uncovered a shocking and disturbing fact. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people worldwide will suffer from some form of mental illness or neurological disorder throughout their life. Of these, 2/3 will never seek treatment.
This fact, along with the trials and tribulations that I dealt with alone and in silence for so many years, prompted me to take action. I felt that the most effective way for me to raise awareness and educate others was by sharing my story and struggles, and the stories of my guests through pod casting.
I am elated to say that since the inception of the cast, there have been over 10,000 downloads/plays and the numbers continue to grow. While this number truly humbles me (as I wondered if anyone would ever listen), my goal is to reach as many people as possible not only in the U.S. but also across the world. I also would like to travel across the world to do speaking engagements, and be involved in charitable events to raise mental health awareness. I know this seems ambitious, but a guy can dream :)
Well, I will wrap this first blog up by thanking you for taking the time to read this, and asking you to check out the cast. If you enjoy it, feel free to share it with your friends and neighbors. Also you can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mmsurvivalguide, or follow me on twitter @des2v1. If you have any stories, music, things that inspire you, or just want to say hi, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you, and have a good day :)
Big D is a writer and host of The Mailman's Survival Guide Podcast. His goal is to raise awareness for the mental health community through writing, pod casting, and public speaking.