January 25th is an important day for Canadians from coast-to-coast. #BellLetsTalk is a day to realize that it is time to end the stigma surrounding mental health. It’s also the day that I stopped and realized that I might not be okay. I like to think I am a strong person, but admitting that I need help is in fact one of the strongest things I have ever done. So let’s talk about what I am dealing with in an open and honest way.
I owe a lot of people a lot of apologies. That’s how I would like to start this blog post. I think for a long time, in light of some of the most difficult moments of my life, I tried to be okay. I tried to avoid my sorrow and anxiety with my work, and in doing so… I got lost. I took on a mountain of work and now and trying my best to get a hold on everything I owe my colleagues and partners. Deadlines have come and gone, and I’m sitting in a room trying to just get caught up. I’m not sleeping and I’ve become emotionally unstable in the process. Deep down, I know that something is different with me.
Maybe I jumped back into it all too fast. Maybe I am faced with an inevitable juncture in my career where decisions must be made and I have to be okay with the reality that I can’t do it all. Maybe I’m just feeling overwhelmed in a very busy life I have fought so hard to achieve. I am a self made man. I have created something exceptional in this dream I turned into a career. But what does that mean when the events end, when doors are closed, and when I am left to my own thoughts. I am my most vulnerable in a condo that feels both full of things but void of comfort when I now need it most.
Running a business is one of the most amazing and stressful things I have ever done. And to those of you I still owe emails and phone calls and content while I try to maintain appearances online, I am truly sorry. At the minute, I have a fairly large number of outstanding messages and calls to return, so I am starting to work on that. However, I’m aware that my customer service is not as good as it could be. That’s why I’m working with Julio, Catherine, and the team to put into place a support system to make sure that I can get back to everyone. I’ve also been advised to look into customer service examples at Qualtrics (read here) to try and improve mine in the future. That was good advice, I definitely need to improve my customer service. I promise that 2017 will be different because I am ready to admit that I need help now.
What I do know is that it is so important to talk about it. To let these waves of emotion flow out of me. Because if I don’t, I am scared that they will crash back into my soul and drown me altogether. Like the waves I chase around the world while we travel, they are wild. Simultaneously life giving and destructive. That’s how I like to look at my inspiration to write. Something so much bigger than me. And maybe, if nothing else, I can add to a discussion that needs to be had.
I emailed my therapist today to ask her to take me back for regular appointments. I haven’t seen her almost seven months. That’s horrible to admit. I was introduced to her almost a year ago in one of my darkest moments, and she helped me find the stability I needed. But of course, like many of you, life got in the way. I was “too busy” or I just didn’t have the extra money. But I know how important it is to get back to me with her professional help.
For a long time I think I believed that admitting I was human was a flaw. Of course I could manage the blog, the accounting, the legalities, the social media, the team, the meetings, the phone calls, the content, being a husband, being a son, being a brother, being fit, being positive at all hours of the day…. But maybe now it’s time I realized this vulnerability is in fact my strength. I don’t think I’m okay.
Last night, thinking about #BellLetsTalk and everything I have had to face, I turned to Julio and said six of the most difficult words I have said in a long time.
“I think I might be depressed.”
That’s not an easy thing to admit. But today, of all days, it is something I have to admit to myself and the universe. This anxiety is getting worse. But I know that admitting this to the world is the first step in asking the universe to illuminate the path I need to take. I am taking each day one day at a time.
Unfortunately, going through marital issues and infidelity is nothing new. I am not the only one. Loosing a parent unexpectedly is devastating. I am not the only one. Becoming overwhelmed by goals that are too ambitious is normal. I am not the only one. And I want you to know that you are not alone either. The world has become an incredibly busy place and it is okay to not be okay. We need to learn that in life, it’s more important to support one another instead of trying to drag each other down.
I’m tired and I’m sad. I’ve lost something I can’t explain and I want to find it again.
But I know that it’s important to share. So that we all can not feel alone. So that you can know you are not alone and you are not the only one.
For every #BellLetsTalk text, call, tweet and Instagram post, Facebook video view and use of Snapchat geofilter, Bell will contribute 5 ¢ more to mental health initiatives. So let’s work together to create a stigma-free Canada. I hope that you read this and feel strong enough to share your story with us all. We are here for one another. Not only today, but all year long. I truly believe that and hope that today inspires you to feel the same way.
Be kind to one another. You never know the battle that someone faces behind closed doors.
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Photos: Amanda Hayden Photography & Daniel Reyes
* Mobile photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge