Who am I? And why should you care?
If I were to answer this question based on how I perceive myself, the answer would be “I’m nobody and you shouldn’t care”. So let’s start and end the blog there. Thanks for your time and have a great day!
In a way that answer has summed up one of the many reasons as to why I’ve decided to start this blog, but we’ll get to that another time. To answer the original question, my name is Dave, a 28 year old guy living in London with clinical depression.
In terms of why you should care, I believe wholeheartedly that everybody should care about the subject of mental health. Granted, it’s going to be more relevant in some people's lives than it will others, but everybody should have some basic knowledge in the world of mental health so that they at least don’t say the entirely wrong thing to somebody suffering.
If you think that you’ve never been directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues, then either you are extremely lucky or there are people around that are dealing with it in silence. According to mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year in England. So it's highly likely that at some point in your life you will encounter such a person. It could be a friend, a family member, a colleague or even your future child and you owe it to them to be able to empathise and be there for them if they do come knocking at your door asking for help.
Or if you are the one who knocks, you would surely want the person answering to know enough to be able to understand you. (Maybe try not to open the conversation like Walter White though...)
Why have I started this blog now though?
For the around 15 years I’ve been experiencing varying degrees of depression and anxiety, I’ve only been open with that fact for less than a year. In that year since I revealed my true self to the world, I’ve had some incredible support and amazing conversations with people who are going through similar things to me.
Finding out about how many people around me have been dealing with this has been unbelievably bittersweet. On one hand, it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one and that people around me can understand what I’m going through and by opening up I am able to be there for them the same way they are for me. On the other hand, knowing that so many people have dealt with similar things to me is soul destroying as I would never want anyone to go through what I have gone through over the years.
Mental health battles are as varied as the individuals who face those battles every single day. I am not even an expert of my own depression and I’ve had it for over half of my life. But since I’ve started discussing it and shedding the shame I felt towards myself, I’ve made exponential improvements. Which is why I wanted to start this blog.
In July 2020, I launched the UnopenedMale Instagram page, where I shared stories from my past and tips I’ve picked up along the way on things I’ve done to improve my mental health position. But since starting the page, I’ve learnt that I’m more of a writer than a photographer and while I’m going to continue the page, I needed an outlet to discuss things in more of a long form setting without constantly worrying about having to take yet another selfie to fit the topic of that post.
What are my goals for this blog?
Like many people, I really struggle to dedicate tangible time to understanding my mental health, what my triggers might be and what steps I need to take in the long road to recovery. This blog will be my way of committing to actually giving myself the time that I need to ask myself tough questions and improve as a person.
I don’t think I’ll be able to be the best friend, boyfriend, brother, son or person I have the potential to be until I’m able to understand myself better and what makes my mental health tick.
Living with depression in silence felt as though I was living a double life. The image I projected onto the world was not a true reflection of the person I am, meaning during the years where people defined their characteristics, I was too busy trying to show people a person they might want to be around rather than finding out who I actually am.
It’s made me feel like a passive entity in my own life. For extended periods of time, the depression has taken over me and I’ve been unable to get out of it’s grasp. Cumulatively, there are years of my life I’ll never be able to get back that were spent in bed or in a position where I was too depressed to function as a “normal” human. I don’t want to be a secondary character in my life any longer, while the depression holds the top spot.
While the perfectionist in me will never allow this blog to be too raw, I really want this blog to be the unfiltered journey of somebody with depression through the highs and the lows that self discovery and recovery brings. I want to be able to read this back in a year's time, 5 years time, 20 year’s time and allow myself to be proud of the journey I’ve gone on in becoming the person I want to be.
I want to be a creator of something for a change and give my life meaning in a way it’s never had before. I want UnopenedMale and this blog to be my legacy, the thing that propelled me to shine a light on the dark world of depression.
In shining this light, I hope that other people will feel the courage to step forward and join me in this road of recovery. Because if nothing else, if this page helps one single person with their mental health, then it will be a success. But I will not stop until I have reached and helped as many people as I can.
Here goes nothing and thank you!
To those that have read through this whole post, I thank you. The gratitude I feel towards the fact that of all the things you could have done, you have chosen to spend your time reading through my ramblings is tough to put into words. So I'm going to let Tina Tuna do it for me.
Until we speak again, keep hanging in there.