Today I am delighted to welcome Tim Grayburn to the blog.
Tim Grayburn is a former advertising executive turned performance artist, actor and writer. He co-wrote and performed in his debut theatre show “Fake it til You Make it’ which focused on his own experience of depression. It went on to win ‘Best Theatre’ award at Perth & Adelaide 2015 Fringe festivals. The tour continued with further success in a sold out 4 week run during the Edinburgh 2015 Fringe winning the Herald Angel ‘Best Theatre’ award. He is the author of – ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ an autobiographical tale and exploration into the world of mental health and what it takes to be a ‘Real Man’.
How to find peace.
How many of your mates do you reckon would tell you if they were depressed?
I don’t mean just using the word as a way of saying that they’re bored because it’s January.
I mean, how many do you think would sit you down and tell you that they have been diagnosed by a pro doc to have a clinical illness?
Not many I bet.
I’m an exception, I have loads of people talking to me about their mental health, at least one person every month. But that’s because I quit my job and toured a theatre show all about my own experience of what it means to be a MAN having an illness that I didn’t feel like I could talk about.
For the 7 years before then it felt like my signature was on a non-disclosure agreement held by Mr Stigma.
Luckily for me, I had the help of a loud mouth, successful performance artist to break the barriers down. I just crawled through them. It was quite a journey, we broke into Mr Stigma’s office, trashed it, found the agreement, tore it up and kicked him in his suffocating nuts.
What followed were two years of a personal therapy session, an experience where my only task was to be completely and 100% honest with who I am and what my brain does sometimes.
This began the conversation for me, it allowed my mates to talk to me about their own mental health problems and concerns too. I had a very close mate just ask me yesterday, “How did you know you had depression? I can’t get my head right”.
If I hadn’t have made the show he never would have asked me that and the conversation that followed would never have happened.
With this particular mate I don’t think he does have depression, and he would agree. I think he’s just curious because he’s having a tough time with others issues. But, maybe the chat we had together, about what happens when you fall into depression without personal care or help from others, may save him from spiralling down there.
Maybe the tools I have learnt along the way about how to avoid Destination D may steer him clear of visiting that dark, cold, country of hopelessness. I believe it is a place that can be avoided with compassion and care from others. You just need to make the first step and let those close to you know how you feel.
What stops us from telling the world that we’re struggling?
The ego perhaps?
The mud that we’ll be buried in (or scattered across) doesn’t care about our ego, it cares about how nourished our souls are.
My family and friends give my soul nourishment through conversation and my soul gives the world a heartbeat. We need to nourish our limited time above the mud for the good of all of us. How can new souls grow in undernourished soil? They can’t. Or they will, but they won’t be as beautiful.
I used to constantly try and figure out what was wrong with me, what was wrong with the world.
Now I focus on what’s right with me and what’s right with the world and it’s working.
I feel more human.
I know I’m a MAN (whatever that means) but I now know I can fart in someone’s pint glass and also cry at Downtown Abbey if I feel like it. I’ve travelled the full length of my emotional spectrum and I feel like I can access any part of it now and not be ashamed anymore.
I urge everyone who finds themselves in a tough time to just be honest with themselves and their nearest.
Multiply honesty with love and you get… peace.
If you want to read more from Tim Grayburn, and learn more about men and depression, I can heartily recommend his book Boys Don’t Cry, available here and from all good bookstores.