On April 20th I connected with a Recruitment Leader on LinkedIn. He told me in confidence that he had his own experience of depression and anxiety and that he was still working through telling people. At that point, he'd only told six people - his closest family and friends.
I believe there is great power in sharing our lived experiences and challenges because it gives other permission to do the same, however, I am also aware that quite often, doing so takes a great deal of courage and bravery. Anyone sharing something so personal and intimate also has to factor in whether or not they are in the right space to be so openly vulnerable. It isn’t always a straightforward decision.
On the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, I couldn’t have been happier to see this Recruitment Leader's post pop up in my LinkedIn feed.
I asked him what it was that made him decide to share; he told me he wants people to know how this illness looks and feels. How effortlessly it can take over. He wanted to share the kind of article he wished he could have read a few years ago in the belief it would have spared a lot of pain. He said: "So many people don't realise it is affecting them until it's too late; I had the opportunity to impact that by sharing my experience and the only thing stopping me from doing so was a little bit of fear or personal discomfort. It was the right thing to do."
It’s real, it’s raw and it’s powerful. That sounds like a cliché – it really isn’t. It’s written from his soul and if it resonates with you or helps you support someone you love then it will be worth a few minutes of your time.