“Over the past ten years, I’ve been living two different lives,” begins Doug Leddin’s brave and candid short film about his battle with depression.
The video, which has gone viral on Facebook since Leddin posted it yesterday evening, sees the 27-year old Irishman explain that what the mentally ill fear most is being misunderstood by their peers, employers and close friends.
“If you asked my family or friends what they thought about me,” says Leddin, “they’d probably tell you that I’m a happy-go-lucky, positive, hard-working and confident guy.
“But all that’s a bit of a lie. You see, I’m living a completely different life inside. I’m living the life of someone who suffers immensely with depression. And this is so hard for me to talk about, but it’s not just me.”
Leddin, who works as a marketing manager for an Irish advertising firm, says he made the film to break down the stigma that still surrounds mental health. Last year, he says, 550 people took their own lives in Ireland due to depression – more than the number killed in road traffic accidents – yet still safe driving campaigns are more prevalent than those who suffer mental health issues.
“We all need to start talking about depression,” Leddin continues. “We need to open up. I pushed myself into a dark place, a dark corner with only one way out. And I thought about that way every day for ten years – and you shouldn’t think like that. But I was alone, in my own mind, even though I could never be alone.
“I had to open up, but I couldn’t,” says the 27-year old, holding back tears. “And I can’t try to help others if I can’t even help myself.”
Leddin says that he hopes his video encourages other sufferers of depression to talk about their issues, and that even if he helps “just one person,” that posting the film will be worth it. He ends the video by thanking the viewer, and once again asking people to “speak up” if they think they may be in trouble.
The Irishman, who admits that “possibly the most nerve wrecking thing I have ever done is writing this and clicking ‘post’,” also lists several charities and local bodies that help those with depression cope with their condition, including Console Ireland, Reach Out and Aware.