‘I’m not OK, but I am better’: man talks emotional journey with depression, breaking the stigma

Click to play video '‘You become numb to this feeling’: man opens up with heartbreaking message on depression, living two lives' ‘You become numb to this feeling’: man opens up with heartbreaking message on depression, living two lives
WATCH ABOVE: A 27-year-old man from Ireland opened up about dealing with depression for 10 years and wanting to break the stigma associated with the mental health – Apr 14, 2016

A 27-year-old man from Ireland opened up on social media and to Global News about dealing with depression for the past 10 years and “living two different lives.”

Doug Leddin, a marketing PR consultant from Dublin, posted a heart-wrenching Facebook video about living with depression and breaking the stigma associated with the mental illness.

He told Global News why he decided to make the video.

“I wanted to do it for myself. I hadn’t told anyone [about my depression], not even my closest friends. It was the quickest way to tell everyone,” Leddin said. “I contacted my friend and asked if he was going to be around. Originally I had a script…but he told me to speak from my heart – to just talk.”

Courtesy: Doug Leddin.

In the April 13 post, Leddin reveals he has been suffering “immensely with depression” for a decade and that the Doug Leddin his family and friends knew and saw was different from the Doug Leddin he actually was.

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“Over the past 10 years I’ve been living two different lives. The life that my family, my friends, my colleagues, my teammates see.  But then there’s the life that I see, that I live and that I feel,” Leddin said in the video.

Leddin admits that during some of his more difficult times he had thoughts that scared him.

“I’ve had bad days, there’s no beating around the bush. I didn’t want to be here anymore,” Leddin said. “The feeling drains you, it numbs you. You just get used to it and that’s what scared me. You’re trying to go about your day but can’t get out of bed. Then you’re trying to make excuses why you’re not going to work…”

But Leddin said he wants to grow from his experience, break the stigma associated with mental illness and hopefully help others overcome their situations.

Courtesy: Doug Leddin.
“I can’t try and help others if I can’t even help myself…. I want to achieve from this, to try and encourage just one other person,” he said in the video. “You see, the stigma we believe exists inside other sufferers of depression is that we’ll be judged [but] the first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. So how can we expect to find an answer when we’re still afraid of the question?”
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According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 20 per cent of Canadians will experience a form of mental illness, including anxiety, schizophrenia and eating disorders, during their lifetime, with about eight per cent of adults experiencing “major depression.”

CMHA also states that depression accounts for 24 per cent “of all deaths among 15-24 year olds” and 16 per cent “among 25-44 year olds.”

Courtesy: Doug Leddin.

And even though Leddin is still on his own personal journey of overcoming depression, he said he’s in a better place.

“I’m still on anti-depressants and I think it’s important for people to know I’m not okay. But I am better than I was yesterday… and I’ll be better tomorrow,” he said. “Every day is getting better for me.”

Since the video has been posted, it’s garnered nearly 712,000 views, 16,000 shares, 29,000 likes and 1,000 comments as of Thursday.

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“The feedback has been 99.99 per cent positive, which is incredible. You’re always going to get people who are going to put you down…but it’s been good.”

All-in-all, Leddin calls posting the video a milestone.

“My friends know now. I have a great group of people who support me. It’s such a great sense of relief. I’ve hidden this demon for 10 years.”

Courtesy: Doug Leddin.

Leddin encourages others who are dealing with mental illness to talk to someone.

“If you have a friend or family member to talk to then talk to them…there are plenty of organizations – pick up the phone.”

CMHA, Kids Help Phone and Depression Hurts all offer ways for getting help if you, or someone you know, is suffering from mental health issues.

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You can watch Leddin’s full four-minute video here.