It is because of our community who supports our work that we are able to be there for those like Brett who finally reached out for help despite his own hesitancy.
“I guess it’s because I’m a man, but I think I was socialized or trained not to talk about my feelings or even self-examine my emotions. Reaching out for therapy was a huge undertaking for me. Admitting I needed help was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I thought I should be ‘man enough’ or ‘tough enough’ to get through and solve our family problems. Macho men don’t go to counseling was what my mind kept playing in my head. It was embarrassing. My family was a successful family. I had a good job, my kids were smart and did well, we went to church every week. What was wrong with us? What was wrong with me? This is just a rough patch, I’d say in my head. It will pass and everything will go back to being ‘normal’ to the way things were. I was humiliated, shamed, and absolutely mortified to air our dirty laundry. I didn’t want our friends and family to know our weaknesses…specifically mine.
I suffered from extremely complex trauma (I learned later, from my Shield Bearer counselor) and serious clinical depression. I felt like a horrible father and that I had let my children down and my wife. Understanding that my depression was largely chemical and not due to my weaknesses, failures, or just bad parenting was an enormous relief.
After some time with my individual therapist, I began attending group therapy. It’s amazing the transformation in my life. Sometimes as a dad, you get so wrapped up in taking care of things you forget to take care of yourself. Working in my group has given me an opportunity to connect with others and learn skills to navigate various situations and challenges that are a part of everyday life. I know I’m not alone and I know I’m doing the work to be the best father, husband, and person I can be. ” – Brett