Hi there, my name is Conrad Schwellnus, and I suffer from depression. I was formally diagnosed with depression and am working through it daily, that is. You’d think it would be a little easier to say, but in modern times we are still crippled by the stigma attached to the word, and people don’t even dare utter the words “mental health” without worrying about whether they’ll be locked away somewhere far, far away.
This blog aims to change that. I’m on an exciting new journey as a mental health advocate and I invite you to join me along the way. A little over a week before my 30th birthday, on June 18th 2018, I decided that enough was enough, and that I had been living in misery for too long. Too many weekends had been spent paralysed in bed. Too many ‘small’ morning struggles (can I get up to open the curtains this morning?) had compounded into one monumental mountain and it became impossible for me to see the other side. Too many forced smiles in public. Too much sadness. A complete loss of interest in hobbies and spending time with friends and family. I struggled to see past my 30th birthday and this was a turning point for me; a self professed high achieving type A personality, who has a successful career as a marketer with a global company and someone who runs his own consulting business on the side. You’d think I’d feel proud of that saying, but depression doesn’t grant you that liberty. I got up, saw a doctor, reached out to a therapist, started taking anti-depressants, talked to my family, friends and colleagues and started what is a brand new chapter of learning to navigate this disease and taking better care of myself in all aspects of my life.
Conrad was here. is my journey, my story, and my way of connecting with others who suffer from the debilitating disease. The term “Conrad was here” has many meanings which I will address in the blog, but most of which, if you see a new post that is signed off with the saying, you know that I got up that morning – no matter if it took two and a half hours just to get up and take a shower – and I decided to continue the good fight against depression that day. It’s my way of giving depression the middle finger. You tried to snuff me out, you tried to take away my light, but I got up, you piece of garbage.
Lastly, if you’re suffering with depression, or worried that a family member may be going through the same, please take proactive steps to reach out. Let’s start an honest conversation – there is no judgement from my side, regardless of your situation. We need to start talking about mental health, as by 2030, depression related illness will be the leading cause of death around the world. Please let that statement sink in for a little bit and do help spread the word about it in your local community so people can become more aware of the problem.
Mental health is serious. Suicide is serious and preventable. You don’t have to fight this alone, you can get the help you need. No matter what, I’m in your corner. Let’s do this!
Conrad was here.