Talking about mental health is scary

My name is Eric Rhodes – I’m married*, live in California, am in the middle of a career transition, have a dog, I love baseball, and have depression and anxiety.

This is my story:

I’ve been meaning to share my mental health story for a while but I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it. Then serendipity stepped in when my personal life and my professional life intersected in a way that makes me feel safe about sharing.

So, here I go…

Last year I had a prolonged and progressively worsening mental breakdown that went unchecked until late June. For about six months I was in a near-constant state of depression and anxiety. It was awful and wreaked havoc in my personal and professional life. I eventually got the therapeutic and medicinal help I needed and recovery has been slow, but I am better for it. Lately, my therapists have recommended (more than a few times) that I should start exercising again to help cope with anxiety and depression. But I have been reluctant because exercise is a known trigger that reminds me of how much I don’t like my body.

However, what’s different this time around is that I’m not going through it alone for the first time in my life.

My professional life is also in a state of recovery and transition. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be giving a fireside chat at a fitness studio. I’ll be talking about how people can use design thinking methodologies and techniques to achieve their fitness goals and dreams.

And this is where the professional life and personal life have intersected.

I don’t want to walk in and tell people what to do. I want to show them how I personally use these techniques. Then share those techniques with them.

So for the next two weeks, I am using design thinking, tactical decision making, and empathy-focused techniques to achieve my exercise goal.
I’ll be sharing updates about my progress on IG and Twitter.

*Originally posted on Instagram, Feb. 10, 2020. 19 days later, my ex-wife and I decided to separate and divorce.

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