From the outside looking in you’d say “wow, look at this guy… he’s got it all!” “He’s always so happy”…
I mean, why wouldn’t I be happy? I’ve had so much success professionally and not too many people in my industry can say that but it’s what happens when the lights go down and screaming fans are not there… that’s when you are tested the most.
Despite what everyone thinks, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows … Imagine not really knowing if people liked you because you were you or because you were someone famous and all they wanted was to be around that. Imagine having critics chew you up and spit you out because they didn’t think your work was good. Imagine having people on your team that you trusted for years to only have them disappear off the face of the earth with tens of thousands of dollars of your money. Imagine after having so much success being told by your record company that they’re “going in a new direction” or having family members repeatedly struggle with addiction… These things can really mess with someone mentally and I fell into a bit of a dark place.
My career started when I was very young and I was brought up in a home full of love but we weren’t the “come home and tell me what you’re feeling” type of family… If you were sad, you dealt with it… If you were mad, you dealt with it… Problem with that is when you’ve held in so much over so many years, you’re setting yourself up for a nuclear bomb of emotions to explode. The other problem I was facing was that because of my upbringing, I wasn’t comfortable talking about my feelings. “I’m a man and I should just deal with it myself” or “I’ll figure it out” but I came to realize that is not healthy and I wasn’t gonna figure it out. Well I mean my wife really helped me realize that as it really started to take a toll on our relationship so I needed to make a decision… Go and get help or be unhappy and keep making the people around me unhappy. Well… I decided to go and get some help and it was the best decision I ever made.
In 2019 I started seeing a therapist once a week. To be honest, the first time was kind of weird… You’re thinking that this person is judging you because you’re a bit of a screw up, “Why are you here?”, “What is your biggest problem you think?”, “What do you wanna work on?”…
Umm how about EVERYTHING! Haha! The more he spoke and the more I spoke I became really comfortable talking and realized he was not judging me, he was listening. I think that’s a huge part of it for men, we just want someone to listen to us, support us and not judge us. Atleast for me that was a huge part of it. Every time I left there I felt lighter and felt like I took something away from the session that I could use everyday at home with my wife and my kids. I’ll never forget this one exercise we did that REALLY hit home for me…
My therapist picked up a piece of paper, rolled it up and asked me to grab one end as he held the other end and said “I am the bad thoughts you think of, The fear of what your wife is gonna say to you when you open up to her , the fear of talking about your feelings, all of that stuff and right in front of you is this dark hole and I’m going to pull you into it… what are you going to do Shawn?” At first I thought to myself “I don’t know what this guy is trying to teach me here, it feels kind of dumb playing tug of war in his office, this is what I’m paying for?” He asked me again “Shawn, I’m your thoughts, fears and I’m pulling you into this black hole, what are you gonna do Shawn?” to which I answered “I have no idea what you want me to say” then he answered “Just let go” so I let go and said “WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!” I didn’t expect that” So deep yet so simple! It’s crazy how that moment has stuck with me for 2yrs and anytime I feel embarrassed about saying something, expressing my feelings or feeling depressed in someway I just say to myself “Shawn, Just let it go and say it!
This whole idea of a man felling like less of a man in terms of seeking help is so backwards to me now… I believe it takes a real man to realize he needs help and not be embarrassed about that. Sure maybe 30 years ago this wasn’t a thing but in times like we are living in right now, it is more important than ever to seek the help you need and deserve. Since going public with my struggles, the amount of support and other men who have told me they’ve experienced something similar has been so inspiring. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not perfect (my wife will tell you that herself…haha) and I’m still a work in progress but I continue to work on it everyday.
I’m not sure there is one answer on what makes you happy in love and in life but I hope my story can help someone feeling like there’s no answer get the help they need to at least find their answer.
Stay safe & much love
I'm Maddi and Im a full time student (studying Child and Youth Work), Here I have my blog and my shop, I hope you enjoy!