I needed help...
There I was, a 1o year old boy who had just moved to Minnesota the week before from Nebraska. I had just left my old life and my best friend behind.
Little did I know it would be another 10 years before I would have a good friend.
For a decade of life, a very important decade of life as I was entering young adulthood, I had no one to lean on to develop with. No one.
I've come a long way since that time, but I'm still quite often ignored. More often than I believe a person should be.
Throughout my life, very few individuals have taken the interest, less the time to try and get to know me. Sure, I was very shy until my mid 20s, but that never meant I didn't want friendships, or opportunities.
I can't give an exact percentage to you, but if you were offered a 10% off coupon on an item, that's about the hit rate of success in my life. To me, that isn't very good.
It's also become incredibly cumbersome and irritating to say the least. Pandemic aside, it remains a baffling mystery to me.
As a 40 year old man with a mental illness who just wants a piece of the "pie" that is life, it's inexcusable in my mind.
Two things with my mental illness come to mind:
1) I'm a man
2) I'm 40
First off, let's be honest here. Men's mental health is NOT taken nearly as seriously as women's mental health. What I'm about to say next may not be taken correctly, but I will try my best. While I will probably never fully understand the sexual discrimination towards women in the workplace and in general life, I do believe because of how women communicate to each other and how businesses look at them, they get many chances for options and opportunities. I'm NOT saying inappropriate behavior towards women is acceptable, ever. But I certainly would like some damn opportunities as well! Men are horrible at communication and don't know how to reach out, contrary to women, hence men like myself, get fucked over.
Secondly, age is another thing. At 40, I'm already looked at as stale, old bread. Our society has become infatuated with young children and young adults since the turn of the century. While it's great that we want what's best for those most impressionable, it's gotten a bit out of hand in my opinion. I look at my childhood with little to no assistance in direction and then we now have become (parents my age. I am not a parent) an overcompensating society.
But that's another conversation...
In the time I've been advocating, I've spent a lot of time reading about others who are going through their own mental health journeys. What I have seen that's common, is women between ages 18-30 providing great content. With that content and my previous women/men mental health comments, is a wonderful outpouring of support for the most part. I've also watched certain ones continuously receive opportunities to expand their passion projects/careers within a relatively short amount of time. Now, often these women are what I would consider to be physically attractive as well. Let's be honest though. Companies love hiring/contracting desirability for their business image.
To me, especially in light of all of what has happened in the last year, life's most important thing is experiences. While I'm truly grateful for a lot of things in my life, my career aspirations continue to allude me.
As I've entered the fourth decade of my life, I'm sensing a bit of urgency to get somewhere.
It took until my early 30s to find my life partner and I have her to thank for becoming the man I am today.
I've mentioned in recent months that I want to start a story-telling platform in my community for people with mental illness. Recently, I've been open to thinking, in light of the pandemic, to open story-telling to all people. I believe personal stories will be a huge need in the coming months and years.
With that information in mind, I've reached out to a number of area businesses to get input and make a call for assistance.
I've received very little input and mostly been ignored. It hurts.
Sure I have had people tell me, "hey, that's a great idea" or "good luck", but that's all.
One can have all the ideas and enthusiasm in the world, but without others physical help, it will continue to remain a dream and nothing more.
That's what's so baffling to me. Here I am LITERALLY ASKING for help/resources and no one will help.
I bet if I was a 20 year old college student and had an assignment where I had to reach out to, lets say, three local non-profits and create a mental health story-telling platform within the typical four month semester period, I would be able to have put something together. I'd bet you $500 on that!
To expand on my "asking for help" point above, I have reached out to company's or groups that cover:
- Mental Health
- Low socioeconomic status
- even a city council member
I know that if a story-telling platform ever becomes an actual thing, it will likely cater to a younger crowd. I'm fine with that.
While I don't have really any professional or volunteer experience with young adults, I do want to reach out and learn more about their struggles. As I said at the beginning, I had no one to help me navigate those impressionable years. At 37 I finally accepted that I needed to start making myself more of a priority,
I don't want today's youth to have to reach that age before they finally accept help.
I believe I would make a great Empathetic Leader with creating a story-telling platform.
But I can't do it alone. I need support and the right people who see my worth and vice-versa.
I just wonder when that opportunity will ever come or even if it will even begin fruition.