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VIDEO: If you break your arm, it is fixed but what happens when your mind is broken?

Doug Leddin’s powerful video message has been shared thousands of times since he posted it last night.

Doug Leddin

Source: Doug Leddin/YouTube

MY NAME IS Doug Leddin.

I am a 27 year old from Dublin. I feel for the past 10 years I have been living two different lives: the life that you all – my friends, family and peers – see and then there is the life that I feel.

To my friends and family, I am happy-go-lucky hard worker, a smart and confident guy.

But that is a bit of a lie.

There is the life I see and feel: and that’s the life of someone who struggles immensely with depression.

Depression isn’t about just being sad or down momentarily because of something going wrong or having a bad day in work.

Depression for me is when you’re sad when everything in your life seems to be going right but you can’t see or feel that.

And this is hard for me to talk about, but it’s also hard for millions of people to talk about – so we don’t talk about it.

More than 550 people in Ireland died as a cause of depression last year alone. I am not one of those 550 people but I could have been. Thankfully, I am not.

Over the past 10 years, I have suffered from depression, bulimia, have had suicidal thoughts daily, got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, been involved in a very serious car crash which left me suffering from PTSD and so much more….. and all of this has forced me into darkness.

I didn’t see the light under the darkness for years.

We live in a world where if you break your arm everyone wants to help you, sign your cast, ask how it happened. But in this world if your mind is broken, we feel if we opened up everyone would want to run the other way.

Depression isn’t like breaking an arm where you have an operation and it’s fixed. Or chickenpox – you face it once and it’s gone forever, something you will never face it again.

Some people fear spiders, heights or failing but I feared life. I feared myself and that is something you shouldn’t fear.

I forced myself into a dark room, into a corner that only had one way out and I thought about that way every single day.

This feeling after 10 years becomes normal. You become numb to it. This abnormal feeling becomes so so normal and it’s just not right.

I spent 10 years from the age of 16 in and out of doctors and hospitals and the one common thing that came from professionals was that I should try and open up to friends and it sounds easy to do but in reality it’s so difficult.

You learn to deal with it in your own unique way and – for the most part – alone but the fear it causes is the most frightening thing.

But what you fear the most isn’t how you feel, or what you are capable of doing, it’s the stigma that you believe exists inside others.

It’s the comments behind your back, the banter between the lads, the stereotype you think you will be painted with. You hold it in and hide it and it causes you to stay in bed and in a dark corner. Which makes it so much worse… Trust me.

Depression is so well documented but yet it’s not discussed. We hope that if we push it aside and not talk about it, that hopefully it will go away. That’s not going to work, that’s not going to help me or millions of others.

Our government can be ignorant towards this illness and we can’t afford to procrastinate any more on this issue.

We need to recognise this issue we need to find an answer. It’s an answer I don’t have.

But as Kevin Breel said the first step to solving a problem is recognising there is one, so we can’t expect to find an answer when we are still afraid of the question.

This needs to start with me, with you, with everyone else who suffers from depression.

We need to speak up. As sufferers we need to shatter this silence. We need to be brave, take courage, help ourselves and help others to accept each other and ourselves.

We all have felt pain, we all know how important it is to heal, to fix ourselves when we are sick.

In some ways I hated the past 10 years of life going through a dark, dark place, a place I have dragged my family into.

But in other ways I am grateful I have gone through this horrible experience somewhat alone. It has dragged me into darkness only to make me so much stronger than I thought I could be when I started to see the light.

Talking is how we will beat the stigma, that’s how we will help each other and learn to love ourselves.

I was one of the lucky ones. I have an amazing mother and father and equally amazing sister who knew my struggle from day one. But sometimes that just isn’t enough and some people just aren’t as lucky as I was to have such an open family who discuss everything. Without them knowing, I would have suffered in silence and perhaps things would have been different and it now proves to me that speaking to people really does help.

We all need to speak up!

Deciding to share the post

It’s not often I post something too serious on social media and I’m not sure this is the right thing to do. To be honest, I’m nervous as hell writing this but I hope it helps others and I hope you can share this if you think it will help someone.

This will come as a surprise to some of my closest friends who I just couldn’t talk to for fear of losing them or not being accepted.

But after a lot of thought and consideration I decided to make a video to lift this burden off my shoulders and to share my experiences with you.

To my best friends, I have to say sorry. Sorry for not having the courage to do this sooner.

To my family, thank you for the support over the past 10 years.

The past year has been much better and I’m thankfully in a place now that I feel comfortable sharing this and although I wish it didn’t take me this long to open up it did and I can’t change that but hopefully I can encourage a few others to do the same.

I suppose the reason I’m doing this is to try encourage others to speak about their mental health issues with family, friends or even organisations.

If you think this could help someone please feel free to share it.

Together we can beat the stigma associated with mental health, an issue that is on the rise with people of our generation.

Just remember you are not alone!

Doug Leddin’s powerful video message has been shared thousands of times since he posted it last night. We republish it here with his kind permission.

Helplines

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

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About the author:

Doug Leddin

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