TRIGGER WARNING: This post mentions suicide
Goran and I just published the eleventh episode of our podcast and, to be honest, it might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Appropriately titled ‘Mindfuck’, the episode is about our battles with mental illness, our scars from navigating our way through this mad world.
To make your most personal stories so very public, as we have been doing for the past year and a bit, is daunting, but this episode affected me more than any other.
I accept I suffer from mental illness, a psychologist has confirmed to me that I have depression.
But does the world need to know about it, too?
After publishing the episode, I experienced a whole other mindfuck as I began to worry I had overshared my anxieties.
What is the benefit of telling the world you once felt suicidal? Why didn’t I just make an anodyne, blanket statement like: I have suffered with mental illness?
I guess the writer in me knows that, without context, such messages can appear flippant, will be met with cynicism (check your privilege, what have you got to complain about?)
I have read memoirs, been to art exhibitions, watched films, which have all explored mental health in starker, more confronting ways than I could have ever done.
But the connection we share with our listeners is such an important one that, at the front of our mind, we always worry about our brothers. The last thing we want is to hurt them.
So when I sat down to write my story, I thought back to frank conversations I’d had with others about wanting to die and how hearing their stories, heartbreaking as they could be, helped me to realise I hadn’t been the only one to struggle with life.
As we said in the introduction, the point of the episode was not to subject anyone to trauma porn, but to be honest about what we’d gone through.
Our stories are heavy – very heavy – they carry the weight of an elephant army; this is what happens when too 30-something men who don’t fit the gay ideal come together.
But the best thing of all is that it’s our voice that is reading them. Those stories are the past, this is now. We made it through, and in this sense there is light: if we are here to tell our stories, then you can too.
And if I have any real regret, it’s that copyright and a lack of money prevented us from including this amazing song as a soundtrack to our episode: