Kieran B. Drachenberg
Kieran’s first signs of depression began when he was around ten years old. Already aware of certain mental health issues, his mother has bipolar disorder, he knew that it was not normal to feel tired and sad all the time or to have suicidal thoughts. But what he didn’t know was how to talk about it. Over the years, depression would take a physical toll on Kieran, prompting him to make an appointment with his family doctor. After describing his migraine and joint pains, he used his time alone with his doctor as an opportunity to tell him about his dark thoughts. He was referred to a specialist, who diagnosed him with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Just being able to put a name to his condition and symptoms was a relief. Kieran still needed some time to get his head above water. To get there, he was able to count on the unconditional support of his family, his friends, and a trusted team of professionals.
Kieran is proud of how far he has come. Although he still has to deal with the effects of his illness every day, he can affirm that he is in a much better mental and physical state than before. He is also aware that his physical pain is considerably reduced when he is doing better psychologically. Kieran sees his illness as a part of him. It has forced him to grow up quickly and develop human qualities such as compassion, empathy and a willingness to help others. Because it has shaped his personality, he is not ashamed to talk about his condition and would like others to be able to speak up about mental illness without fear of being judged. After all, mental illness is also part of society.