This is by far one of the most difficult posts I have ever written. But my heart is telling me it’s time. Passion Squared is about truth. The truth about our lives and our businesses. When I saw that my friend, hairdresser, photographer and film maker Damien Laliberte started the Inside My Reality documentary project, I knew it was time to share one of my darkest secrets.
A little over 6 years ago, I almost took my own life. I have suffered from mental illness since I was a child, but did not know the depths of my condition till it was almost too late. I was one of the lucky ones. There is so much more to be done. I still struggle every day of my life. But I am alive and can do my part to help the millions of others that suffer as I do.
This is my buddy Damien. I sat down with him to learn more about his project. This is his story.
Tell me a little bit about Inside My Reality.
It’s an independent film project voicing the every day reality so many of living under the shadow of mental illness feel. It’s not happy, it’s not sad, it’s just honest life.
Why are you so passionate about this topic?
I suffer from a mental illness, a lot of friends and family do, and there have recently been a string of suicides in my small rural town that has really made me realize that something is wrong with how we’re handling these topics.
The materials and education (if any) we give to young adults on these topics is so often laughably bad – my favorite example is to reference the anti-marijuana movies from the 50’s and 60’s, like Reefer Madness. That’s how off the mark the stuff we’re giving kids today is, and they KNOW it. So of COURSE it’s not helping.
Why should I support this project?
Unlike a charity, I’m not out to endlessly raise money. I’m not trying to raise awareness, sell ribbons, sell t-shirts – I am making something. Something that once made, will exist and be available and will not come back asking for donations next year to fund more ribbon and t-shirt sales.
How are you using the social + digital space to fuel this project?
This project is almost entirely fueled by the social networks I travel in over the Internet! I’m a big Twitter guy, but my YouTube video first got attention by being shared around town. Then came a website, which got too much traffic, so it was replaced with a Facebook page which is almost up to 800 likes as of writing this.
It’s how I communicate with people about this project, it’s how people reach me, it’s how teens and people who want to be part of the project reach me, it’s how my project material is disseminated into the world. It’s how I’ve been reached for interviews and professional connections. None of this would have been possible without the extreme power of having networked connections online.
“I think it’s time to start listening to them.” Damien Laliberte, Inside My Reality
Thank you Damien, for your friendship, your courage and your commitment to making a difference. I love you. Infinity and beyond.
To be part of helping our future generations who suffer from mental illness like Damien and I do, visit Inside My Reality, make a donation and share if you feel inspired. You can also keep up with Damien and Inside My Reality on Facebook and Twitter.