Michael Landsberg: Depression, sports and me
Michael Landsberg, Special to cp24.com
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2012 8:23AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:23AM EDT
How does one convey how thankful he is for the last thing he ever wanted? And how can I tell you that my illness has become my salvation?
Today at 7 p.m., CTV will broadcast a documentary called Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me, I hope some will watch and feel less alone. I hope some will watch and reconsider how they have seen depression. I will watch and remind myself how lucky I am to have suffered the way I did. Today, I consider what a gift it is to have the chance to take your worst day and use it to make someone else's day better.
For me, depression was a good news / bad news story all along. I just didn't know it. I got the bad news around 15 years ago when I was diagnosed with depression. The diagnosis came from the only person in the world that can see what's in my head. I knew with total certainty that's what was wrong. And the bad news travelled fast. My brain had told every cell in my body and they all revolted. They all turned on me. That's depression. It's the mental illness that doesn't know it's supposed to "all be in your head."
I called a psychiatrist (who I still see to this day) and begged her to see me. I walked in and asked for help. She gave it.
Skip forward to 2008. The bad news got worse. In the fall I fell into the deepest darkest hole of my life. What I didn't know was that when I climbed out of the hole and back into the light I would have learned a lesson - you don't know how good mental health feels unless you've been mentally ill.
On October 15, 2009 my life changed again. I was researching a guest for my show on TSN "Off The Record." Nothing out of the ordinary I do that everyday. I read that Stéphane Richer had suffered from depression. I thought it might be interesting for me to ask him about it. When he showed up I took him aside. I didn't know that his answer would change my life and the lives of others. Minutes after we had our brief chat on-air a few dozen people emailed the show. Their letters shocked me. People had instantly felt less lonely and men in particular who had never told a soul about their depression felt empowered to do so.
So the good news / bad news? Bad news -- a lifetime of battling depression. Good news -- my depression has given me the story to share and my job had given me the platform to share it.
I hope you will tune in to CTV tonight, Wednesday, February 8 at 7 p.m. And more than that – I hope you spread the word to as many people as you can. And do it with "you need to watch" importance.
Please watch. If you're in the darkness maybe you'll feel some hope. If you've never felt the darkness, maybe you'll understand it better. Together we can change the stigma that surrounds depression, and often prevents people from getting the help they need.
In the past, my sharing has prompted others to share their story with me. And I welcome that. You can reach me at DarknessandHope@bellmedia.ca. I may not be able to respond to you right away – but I want you to know that I read every email I receive.