When the comments about depression are depressing

Hey let’s talk Bernard Tomic and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here for a second..
*gets out soapbox to stand on
I made the mistake of breaching rule 57 ( never read the comments) and read the comments on a few articles about Tomic’s early departure from I’m a Celebrity, sharing that he’s experiencing depression and poor mental health right now, admitting the decision to do the show was not a great one for where he is at. I have also seen a few comments on Facey labelling him as an attention seeking cry baby who just needs to man up, stop whingeing, change his life and not sign up to TV shows for a bit of cash and publicity.
Some are also criticising Channel 10 and the show for either giving him air time or capitalising on his pain and circumstances for ratings…or suspecting that the whole thing is a PR stunt to increase awareness, viewing and ratings, media attention and talk for both the show and Tomic ( which if it is, is an expertly executed one that has definitely achieved it’s goals)
So here’s the thing……
If you’re interested in understanding the complexities and challenges that come with mental health and depression, organisations like Beyond Blue, SANE Australia, Black Dog Institute, Suicide Prevention Australia, and of course R U OK? have some great educational resources.. They’re valuable for both people living with these things and for those who aren’t but want to help, support or at least understand the experiences that friends and family may be going through; and why rational decision making ( like signing contracts and agreeing to take on a TV show that you probably shouldn’t) isn’t always in play.. to be fair though, no one makes perfectly rational decisions or the “right” choices 100% of the time, no matter how healthy or unhealthy they are.
If you’re not interested, then.. come chat to me sometime, when you’re ready to anyway.
It’s almost impossible to describe depression to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but we all have the opportunity to educate ourselves and break down the stigma, negative stereotypes and misconceptions about mental health, like the simplicity of labelling people as attention seeking cry babies who just need to swap the fruit loops they’re eating for a cup of concrete and toughen the fuck up. 👍🏻
These attitudes create shame, isolation and prevent people from seeking help, so we need to challenge and change them.
Changing his life and his perceptions of himself certainly sounds like what Tomic is trying to do, so maybe some perspective and empathy is needed instead..
I also think both he and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here have done something quite powerful here. Admitting and exposing our vulnerability is extremely difficult, and Channel 10 could easily have not aired the discussions they did, or edited them in another way to tell a different story.. Instead they’ve stimulated what is a necessary and valuable conversation by showing the reality of what poor mental health, and the pressure we ( and others) put ourselves under, can do to us.
Tomic’s deeply emotional and raw discussions were uncomfortable to watch because it’s heartbreaking to see anyone drowning in pain. We’re also told that we always have to step up and “never let them see you bleed”, because vulnerability is a weakness. That belief is inside out though, vulnerability is actually a super power, and we should embrace and use it more. Brene Brown is a psychologist, researcher and storyteller who has a built her career researching the role shame plays, and impact it has, in our lives. Her TED talks on Why Vulnerability is a Super Power  and Listening to Shame offer new and fascinating perspectives on embracing our imperfections wholeheartedly, and they may influence or yours too.
On average, around 1 in 6 women and 1 in 8 men will experience some level of depression at least once, some time in their lives.. around 65,000 people attempt suicide each year, and around 3,000 of those succeed. That’s an average of 8 people a day.  Some of us have a lifetime pass to ride the roller coaster of depression, other just have short season one, or single ticket. No matter how long the ride, empathy, understanding, a bit of support and friendly faces standing by is the thing we need to get through it. ( I’ll pass on the cup of concrete, thanks though. It’s just going to weigh me down even more.)
We all have the opportunity and the power to educate ourselves and others and contribute to breaking down the stigma, negative stereotypes and misconceptions about depression, anxiety and mental health, and learn different ways and strategies for helping ourselves, and our mates when they need i. So let’s get out there and do it!

There are great organisations who offer a lot of different and valuable mental health support services and resources when you need it, including:

QLife Australia ( an LGBTQI specific service similar to Lifeline)

beyondblue‘s wingman project ( a mental health resource specifically for gay men) https://www.beyondblue.org.au/…/wingman-for-gay-guys-by-gay…

For young people, headspace and ReachOut.com Australia are really valuable.

For immediate help call Lifeline and the Suicide Call Back Service

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