I’m on a mission, folks. In fact, I’ve been on a mission most of my life in one way or another – to “find myself.”

Not until I had a nervous breakdown and attempted to kill myself in 2011 did my true calling begin to reveal itself, though it would take another two years before I’d finally “hear” the calling – to speak out about mental health, my ADHD diagnosis (misdiagnosis, actually), suicide prevention, depression, anxiety and personal development in general. What can I say…life happens in  sometimes-mysterious ways. In fact, I just tweeted this on Twitter:

To my teen self: “No matter how lost you might feel, you have MASSIVE strength within you that only going through hard times will reveal.”

 

Obviously that was me speaking to a much younger version of myself, but as I embark upon a journey of reaching out to global organizations in mental health support and awareness, I say that same thing to myself now at the age of forty. Life doesn’t get easier – we get to know ourselves better, and knowing myself as well as I do now, I’m going all-out to build alliances and lend my passion, my fierce desire and my empathy (not to mention my ever-growing social media audience) to those helping others who are struggling with mental health in any way, shape or form.

Frankly, I can’t think of a more touching, humbling and personally satisfying mission.

In a sense, I officially began reaching out yesterday (local to where I live, anyway), visiting a drop-in center and a police division to introduce myself, offering to help in any way I possibly can. As it turns out, I live in the county with the highest suicide rate for young men in all of the entire province of Ontario, Canada. I was shocked to hear that statistic earlier today. God, I know the devastating effects that suicide can have on all involved, having intimately experienced it myself (my Brother Ryan killed himself in 2008 before my 2011 attempt and 2013 committing myself to the local hospital psych ward – seeing the very room that Ryan stayed in after an earlier attempt on his life in early 2008).

Nothing “guts” me like suicide. God, what a colossal waste of human life. We need to save more people from making such a terrible mistake – I’m just lucky that I had the will to get help and that this new “true calling” has ignited my heart and soul like it has. Otherwise, I might not be here today. Who knows.

Join me in my journey to building a global platform/audience and putting my heart and soul out there, won’t you? I’m nearly in tears as I’m typing this, getting emotional with some deeply touching music in my ears to help “pull out” this blog post after a hard swim workout.

My friend: I’m on a mission to reach millions of people with my story and my fierce inner desire to inspire and support. I know I need key partnerships and alliances to make that happen and that we ALL win as a result. After all, my story is not in a vacuum – we ALL either have or know people dealing with challenges in mental health in one way or another, to some degree. We’re all human.

I love you and I miss you so much, Ryan. May 9th would have been his 42nd birthday. This, my friends, is my beloved Brother Ryan:

Something good is coming from all this, Ryan. I feel you cheering me on, and I promise to continue being fierce in my commitment to being a force for good, turning the tragedy and despair into something good that benefits others someway, somehow.

Thank you for reading – I appreciate each and every single one of you. Hugs!

Jeff