Depression and other Traumas Should Not Ruin or Define Your Life
Guest Blog Post: John Callas
“Depression and other Traumas should not ruin or define your life.”
Mental health is a challenging subject to talk about, and we need to. I’m John Callas—mental health expert who survived childhood trauma, abandonment, and abuse. I am a member of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) and the DGA (Directors Guild of America).
Today I enjoy being a successful director/writer/producer with eight award productions, including an Emmy nomination. And I found happiness. Success took time to come.
I was three when my dad died, and it started a lifelong journey of depression, anxiety, and feelings of abandonment. I hated the world and was sure no one cared about me or understood my condition.
By the time I was twelve, I had developed behavior problems that led my mom and stepdad to decide to send me to a military academy.
The harsh environment of a military academy made things worse. I didn’t get better, and at 15, I attempted suicide by jumping into an icy lake.
As my lungs filled with water, I thought, "This was a bad decision, and I didn’t want to die.” The message was clear—I wanted a better life for myself.
Mental challenges can be learned to be dealt with and overcome. My mission is to reach those suffering and help them uncover the problematic situations they face, discover the truth about that situation and recover by finding ways to move forward to heal.
The future for those suffering can be fulfilling, healthy mentally, and successful in their life’s journey, but only when that person asks for help.
During hours of therapy, I was told about mentors. I became willing to talk and listen until I finally understood my situation was not unique. Exposing my pain was the most challenging part, but I discovered others were suffering, and often tortured souls hid behind smiles.
I uncovered depression can become the only point of reference. It will remove you from the world, demand you be alone, and insist it knows the “true” answers if only you will listen.
The ubiquitous term “you are not alone” must stop being said. A depressed person IS Alone, and when they hear that term, they may be triggered, thinking – BS, I am alone, and what do they know about me?
Some organizations set out to help people and (in my opinion) have lost sight of the individual and have come up with "cures" that become ineffective until a mentally challenged person is ready for help.
For example, I was on social media one day and saw a post from a woman stating, "I need help." I immediately responded, told her I was there, gave her my number to call, and suggested to please give me her number, and I would call her.
One of the largest organizations posted, "If you need help, here is a link." I thought, WHAT? A LINK? What if this woman was about to jump off a bridge or building? Is she to stop and follow the link? They failed her because they are busy running a business and often lose sight of the individual.
I also discovered depression promises a haven away from the world where no one can hurt your emotions. My recovery is built on acceptance, forgiveness, reaching out for help, and being willing to talk. My desire to help others and a willingness to be open about my issues led me to write my memoir, When The Rain Stops.
So how did I learn to cope and deal with my trauma? I created a 3-step life-changing program called Uncover, Discover, and Recover.
UNCOVER – Any problematic situation you face.
DISCOVER – Whether or not your perception is the truth or is there another truth? RECOVER – Take the necessary steps to move forward.
When implemented, it has helped many people improve their situation by learning to navigate and overcome anxiety and stress. Depression and other traumas should not ruin or define a person's life. It wants you to be alone; I want you to come into the world.
We will do this together, and no one gets left behind. I know what it's like to be mentally crippled. I have gone through what you are suffering, and I am a living witness that life can and will get better. You decide to have a happy and healthy life.
Together we can do miraculous things.
E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.
And so, we came forth and once again beheld the stars.
Join us Tuesday, May 16th at 6:30 pm