This photo appeared in my timeline, interestingly enough when this photo was taken I was only just beginning my battle with depression.

It’s crazy to think back that this battle began over 12 years ago or roughly 40% of my time spent on Earth.

I wish I could say I was on the other side of it, but I’m not. It still has days where it drags me deep within myself and that repressed happy version of myself is pummeled with a bludgeon to a deeper and more secluded place.

Over the years I’ve become far more accepting of the things I don’t understand and cannot change, at least at this time in my life.

My personal view of myself has changed, while I have days of self-loathing and self-hate, I do have days where I see the good that I have accomplished and the lives that I have touched.

My support system has grown substantially, which has made a huge difference, as each one is able to help in different ways. Sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, sometimes I need to vent, and sometimes I just need a bro night over a pint or a pour of a delicious bourbon.

My coping mechanisms have changed, while they used to be incredibly self-destructive - copious amounts of exercise to the point of over-exertion or doing my best to find the answer in the bottom of a fifth. While today it’s video games, Netflix, and working on changing others’ lives.

My demons have progressed and knock harder than they once have, at times to nearly crippling repetition, but still I stand and fight. I once saw my life as worthless but after 12 years I finally see a purpose.

The old, ‘who will care if I’m gone?’ has been replaced by the names of plenty of people who care deeply.

I’m not perfect. I have flaws and make questionable decisions at times, but I do so with the best of intentions. I once tried to hold myself to an unrealistic standard, which just led to more self-hate but now I understand this life we live is a process, a constant battle of give and take.

My name is Brandon LaVack and I suffer from depression. I no longer fear it, but I’m not saying I don’t battle with it. There is a light on the other side and I will continue this battle.

Don’t fear to ask for help. I’ve been there, on the edge, moments away from ending my life and I can tell you, grass may appear greener on the other side but it’s not. Life is always the answer. If you need help, take a moment and reach out to someone. If you have nobody you can always call The Suicide Prevention Hotline. tel:1-800-273-8255