“Not all trappers wear fur hats” is a favourite saying of one of my closest friends and poker buddies. Generally used when he’s owning the poker table and bluffing himself either into a corner or more likely a very large win. In either scenario he does so with a huge grin on his face and a laugh in his chest.
He’s also having an ongoing battle with depression.
It’s unlikely in meeting him you’d know. Extroverted, confident, intelligent, well-read, articulate, successful and passionate about what he does. A family man who loves his kids and spends time socialising with friends. He’s the guy who walked around a beer festival shouting “Dave! .... Dave! ... Dave! ... Dave!!! Just to see who he could meet and chat to.
I’m pleased to say mental illness is losing its stigma but we all need to be mindful that it’s not like a broken arm, where someone presents at work with a sling. Many will hide their struggles so that only people in their inner circle see the true energy the fight takes...Not all trappers wear fur hats.
In the hope it may help others, our “Trapper” in this instance has given his permission for me to talk about his challenge and pass on a few things that have helped him in his fight. Here are his top 5 mental health / depression management suggestions:
Talk to everyone - Not just friends and the closest of friends but family and colleagues. Chances are everyone has some experience that can help, and you’ll be surprised where support can come from.
Stop caring what people might think - Mental health is a valid issue, people can be healthy and unhealthy. It is what it is, put away self-doubt.
Be selfish - Be selfish and love yourself. You can’t care for others if you don’t look after yourself.
Think about your share price- Nothing goes up in a straight line, the long term trend is key. There will be good days and bad days. All going well, a bad day today will be a better than a bad day a month ago.
Get off the couch - Exercise and fresh air help. The hardest part is likely going to be getting out of the door – focus on that and the rest will most likely follow.
This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on.
Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, "Father, I'm down in this hole; can you help me out?" The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
Then a friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me. Can ya help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, "Are ya stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out."
If you’re reading this and are facing your own mental health battle, don’t feel you’re alone. Because you’re not. Reflect, connect and take small but positive steps, it may not feel like it but they will help!
Oh, and my poker buddy is winning his battle. But on the days he’s not, I’m happy to say he picks up the phone.
Image Credit: Stow-away Book