By John McFadden
Peterborough – A Peterborough author and mental illness survivor has a message for folks as we approach the annual national Let’s Talk day on January 26. The event was designed in 2011 to help people, young people in particular, cope with mental illness and bring a higher profile to the disease. Wayde Greer said he is all for a specific day to bring awareness to the problem of mental illness but he stressed that the illness is anything but a once a year thing.
“Let’s Talk is just one day. People who have reached out to me have to deal with this every single day, not one day out of 365,” Greer said. “I myself had to cope with it. I have had two suicide attempts and two divorces and a 20-year-old daughter. I deal with those issues daily. After the first divorce I looked to change my life and tackle some dreams. I was living in Minden at the time and sometimes in a small town, it’s difficult to dream big.”
Greer, also a successful entrepreneur, has authored a book called ‘Success or Suicide?’ It is available on Amazon. He said the book offers advice to those who are struggling and explains to them that there should be no shame, no real stigma attached to seeking professional help for mental illness. He said it is a real and raw book that compares the difference in levels of success. It’s financial for some, but not all, he said. Greer added the book details a point in his life where money was his main motivator and it simply was not rewarding. He talked about it on his website – waydegreer.com
“September 2017 to January 2018 was the absolute darkest time of my life. After nearly a decade of entrepreneurship, problem solving, and putting out fire after fire, I finally broke. I can pinpoint the exact month, day, and minute my brain gave out on me. When my mind turned traitor. When the fog appeared. When the light burned out. When the panic set in. When I lost my laughter. When death seemed the only viable option. I was stuck. Stuck in my own head. A head telling me to do bad things, unspeakable things, with a brain that was malfunctioning and in full meltdown mode,” Greer stated. “I never thought this could happen to me; I always thought I could overcome any business problem simply by thinking positive, being creative, and working harder until things got better. Those strategies had always worked for me in the past. But this time was different. Unfortunately, depression is a common condition, especially amongst entrepreneurs. If my message helps even one person, it was worth the effort and vulnerability. Turns out, even the strongest people need to ask for help. There is no shame in it.”
Greer stressed there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s not burned out, it’s just temporarily obscured. Maybe you can’t see it right now, but I promise: it’s there,” he stated. “People look at getting help and think about the movie ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ or a padded room with while walls. It’s not like that at all. I look at it as a vacation from your brain.”
He said people suffering mental illness can really only do one thing and that’s shut their brain down.
“That way the outsider noise is no longer slowly killing you. I would’ve stayed in treatment if they had let me. When you get out of a mental health unit, it’s not just over. You are not healed. They are not there with a magic pill. It’s a process,” Greer said. “There are a lot of reasons people don’t get help. It’s totally misunderstood what help looks like.”
Greer added that it is his experience that counsellors and other mental health professionals do not have all the answers. He added they are there to listen, and to offer an unbiased perspective without judging. Greer said the book also attempts to dispel some of the myths surrounding mental illness. He described it not as a ‘how-to’ book but as a ‘how not to’ book.
“I didn’t write this book to sell books. I am trying to help people. If anyone cannot afford the $9.99 price tag for the book, they can just get a hold of me and I will send them a free copy.