three questions. one of you.
Periodically, I will be asking a friend three questions about his or her experience with mental illness. This person might be a guy who deals with mental illness or someone (like my wife) who is a supporter. Over time, the 31U series will show how men of all sorts, with all backgrounds, and of all personalities can be inflicted in a variety of ways and how loved ones can better understand and support them. The hope is that this series will serve as a reminder for those in darkness that we are not alone in this fight, and that it will be a helpful resource for supporters.
This is Tim. I’m incredibly grateful for his story as well as his willingness to participate in 31U. Tim is a corporate pilot for a private company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. On ground, he likes playing Ingress (a GPS based phone game), gardening, and weather watching. Five years from now, he and his wife are hoping to start a family, find a more permanent location to live, and he may even be a stay-at-home Dad. When asked about a favorite quote, Tim replied with these wise words, “Depression is not a sign of weakness… it means you have been strong for far too long.”
What is your experience with mental illness?
My wife and I have both dealt with mental illness for a good portion of our lives but were never diagnosed or treated. She went to a therapist/psychologist in late 2016 and noticed drastic improvements. I did the same a few months ago. For years, I struggled with issues unknown to me, and thankfully, I found some answers as well as ways to cope with what I had been dealing with.
What were some of the major signs and symptoms you noticed?
I had a difficult time letting things go. I agonized over decisions, failures, etc. Moodiness was also a symptom, and, in my case, a kind of anger and aggression towards my wife and pets because of what I was going through.
What have been the most valuable tools, resources, or strategies that have helped you in overcoming?
Medication has made a difference, especially in helping me to not agonize and beat myself up about things. Just understanding my symptoms as an illness and something that can be changed has also been a big help in lowering my anxiety. Lastly, being listened to and accepted, I’ve found is very important.
My advice to others: understand that the way you are feeling is not how you’re supposed to feel. It’s not your fault and you can and should make it a priority to find the resources you need to improve your life.
If you have any questions or comments for Tim, post a comment below. I’ll make sure it gets to him. If you’re interested in participating in the 31U series, contact me, and I’ll give you more information. Your story will remain your story.