MY STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH

This will undoubtedly be the hardest blog/article I will ever have to write. At times this is going to be painful. It will dredge up memories which I have long since buried. And I am sure at some point I will cry, or at least find myself on the cusp of shedding a few. It is a very personal and sensitive subject. Both for me and my family. In the past I have pondered with the idea of writing this but have remained hesitant. I have to be aware that people who read this article, will not only judge me, but my family as well. That is the harsh reality of it. But I feel the timing is right. And I hope people will read this and be kind. 

I wish to very quickly start off by thanking the rock in my life. The constant positive influence, without whom I would have surely fallen right the way down the rabbit hole by now. I thank you with all my heart for being there as a shining beacon of reality, when that alternate universe threatens to take over. I will be forever in your debt. You know who you are. 

So, why now?. It’s a valid question. I’ve had the opportunity to do this many times over the years and chose not to. It has been a hard decision. Firstly, in all honesty, I was quite simply ashamed. You may think it sounds stupid, but it is the absolute truth. I felt different, I felt weak, I felt broken. And I did not want people to know. I thought they would think less of me, and that did not sit with me well. I just wanted to be normal and loved. 

From a very young age, correctly or incorrectly, I was taught that I needed to be tough. If I were to survive in this world, I needed to be strong. Not show any sign of weakness and the world needed to believe I was of good stock. It was a very old school way of thinking, very common in that generation, but in hindsight it didn’t work for me. In fact, not only did it not work, I think it also had a totally negative effect on the way I handled my problems in life. Stuff them deep down inside and pretend that they don’t exist. 

Why else? Well, I am finally at the point in my life where I feel the culmination of my experiences may actually have the ability to help others. I am not trying to save the world here mind you. But, if my story can help even just one person understand that they are not abnormal, not alone and that there is a way forward, then it will all be entirely worth it. I hope it helps more than one person if I am honest, but just one will be enough. The worst thing about suffering with mental health issues is that it is a very lonely disease. I am here to tell all that it doesn’t have to be that way. 

So where did it all start? For as long as I can remember, I always felt something was there, sometimes lurking in the background, sometimes occupying every part of my being. It was always around. I did not have what one might refer to as nice family upbringing. From my earliest memories my family life included alcohol, lots of alcohol, verbal and psychological abuse and a constant state of fear and worry. I just want to say at this juncture, I am not going to single out family members here. The intention of the article is to try and give people an understanding of my struggle with mental health and how it all developed. Not to throw my family members under the bus. I don’t wish to do that. But it is clear to say that living at home throughout my childhood was no fun at all…

TO BE CONTINUED…

As it would be impossible for me to put this culmination of my experiences in short form, I have decided to write a series of blogs over time. I understand that in peoples every day busy lives, time does not permit one sitting down for an hour to read a blog post. So I will break up my experiences in a series. I hope that it give you a chance to understand me a little better, and for those who suffer from similar issues, it gives you the courage to help find what you need to progress forward in your lives.

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Discussion

  1. Darren Cassar

    Big love brother….this is NOT going to be easy….but you can do it…

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you mate.

  2. Reuben

    Thanks for sharing your story with us all x I am sure it’s gonna be a lot of help and comfort to other ppl going through some rough patches

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you for commenting. That is my hope.

  3. Charles

    Thanks for sharing your story with us all. It’s of great help. Many go through tough times especially on these times and especially during the holidays

    1. davidoziborg

      My pleasure. I will be sharing more over time.

  4. Twan

    You are a strong person for sharing these thoughts. Many face the same issues and your comments will be a big help to all. Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. davidoziborg

      My pleasure and thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

  5. Gerard

    My respect for you has gone up a few notches!

    Well done!

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you.

  6. Kris

    Good on ya mate…takes big balls to share something so up close and personal. I really hope that this helps you and others suffering to come to terms with it all.

    All the best to you and your family for the holidays.

    1. davidoziborg

      Thanks for your comments and i wish you and your family all the best.

  7. Jeremy

    Thanks for sharing, many people do not open up due to stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems. Looking forward for the rest. Takes a lot of courage.

    Respect.

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you. Xxxooo

  8. emanuellewis57

    Looking forward to the rest of the blog! Takes guts and open up!
    safe to say, on this topic ONLY, YNWA!

    1. davidoziborg

      Haha. Thanks mate.

  9. Mark

    Thanks and well done for sharing mate. I happen to come from the ‘exact’ same ‘problem’ as you, alcohol in the family an’all. I’m 50 nowadays, and somehow always managed to carry the ‘scar’ with me, albeit a bit hidden away. But whenever the conversation brought the subject up, I was never shy to tell all, after all it’s not a problem we created. I used to be one of the top students at college, and ended up a ‘drop-out’, doing a mundane job for life. I just took it in my stride, like others who are physically ‘challenged’ have to, or the sexually abused by someone from their own family have to. Mark my words mate, everyone has a secret he has to carry for life. By the way, I’m a big fan of yours on the radio, so keep it up mate, unlike your other ‘so full of himself’ half ! (just joking)!

    1. davidoziborg

      Thanks a lot Mark for your comments and sharing some if your own experiences. Together perhaps we can finally break through this wall.

      Oh and I’ll pass on your message to Jay. Lol.

  10. G Cam

    Dear sir,

    Well done for speaking out. Maybe this STIGMA of not speaking up and showing your true self = being a man, will start to die out bit by bit. Mental health is very important and it affects everybody: men, women, children, even animals! it takes courage to speak up, which can only be gained once you know that out there there are people who care and are willing lend you their ears!

    Keep strong and discuss your problems. Love the people around you and support them as they support. <3

    1. davidoziborg

      Really appreciate your comments and support. Thank you.

  11. Claire Borg

    big thumbs up to you Dave. I am sure that your personal experience will be encouraging to many who are struggling with mental health. This is not something to be ashamed of, to be honest, I think it takes a person with a strong character to speak openly on such matters. This also makes us realize that even though a person might be outgoing, bubbly and funny on the outside, the inside might portray a totally different picture. Looking forward to hearing your story and once again, thumbs up !

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you very much for your comments. Yes the shame aspect is a difficult, it is nothing to be ashamed of, yet the shame is still there. With time and bringing it to the forefront, hopefully we can make that disappear.

  12. John Bundy

    Hi Oz,
    You are great.

    These series of experiences will
    help a lot of people.

    Thanks for sharing, keep them coming.

    Regards

    1. davidoziborg

      Thanks buddy.

  13. Sarah

    Thank you Oz.

    When you can relate your personal experience to someone’s who you admire, it makes you feel more human and as if it is really ‘OK’.

    You, Oz, bring joy in people’s lives by what you do and who you are, yet you have had your own struggles to fight. I am sure this blog will help many, in many different ways.

    Respect to you and Thank you once again.

    1. davidoziborg

      Many thanks for your comments and support. Greatly appreciated.

  14. Louise parretti

    This 💛 Thank you for sharing your experience, just lately I happened to experience mental health issues with some close ones which is quite painful to watch not knowing how to be of help. Am learning a lot about it myself too now, I also happened to hear you mentioning something on air once, very brief but was very helpful for me …. so stay assured that you are going to help out not just ONE person! Ever so grateful you started this Oz. Xxx

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences too. I hope that the ones close to you can find a positive path forward.

  15. Mireille

    Thank you for the courage to share your story and be one of several people who are being open about their struggles and helping to break the stigma of mental health problems. The truth is that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in their lives and the numbers are rising. I am a professional who works with adults who suffer such problems (we once shared a desk at a careers day at school) and several of my clients have chosen to open up publicly and I am so proud of you all. I came into this line of work due to my own struggles with severe anxiety and after receiving professional help, I decided I wanted to help others. There is help and support out there in many forms and people should not feel afraid to seek help. Some of my clients think they are weak for having to seek psychological help but I quickly dispell that idea – it takes great courage and strength to walk into a Therapist’s room and face your struggles and work through your suffering – but it is also very healing and there is always hope that things can get better, as no doubt your story will reveal. Thanks once again for sharing and I am sure you will receive heartfelt appreciation from many for doing so. No one should feel ashamed and we all need to keep working hard at breaking the stigma. My utmost respect and gratitude to you Oz.

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you very much for sharing. I am sure your comments will also be helpful to many. I share your sentiments. Never be afraid to seek help. I will discuss these in more details later on in the series of blogs.

  16. Louise Parretti

    By the way…. You Rock !!!!

  17. Stephen Camilleri

    Wow… I really admire your courage in doing this. Very slowly but surely, the way society looks at mental health is coming out of the dark ages and will start being treated like you would treat any other illness. There is a lot of ignorance out there, but it’s shining lights like you that will drive the change. I listen to you on the radio very often, but now you have my full RESPECT. Please continue!

    1. davidoziborg

      I really appreciate you very positive comments. Thank you very much. I will keep trying to shed light on the subject as much as possible. Hopefully it will help in some way.

  18. Ian Scicluna Laiviera

    Bravery is not in the absence of fear but rather, the courage to face your demons despite it all. Well wishes and Support.

    1. davidoziborg

      Many thanks.

  19. Becky

    Thanks for sharing, and thank you for finding the courage to reach out and help others 🙂 super respect!

    1. davidoziborg

      Many thanks.

  20. Marija

    When well know persons speak up about certain sensitive issues they (YOU in the case) make a bigger effect. It is not a topic anyone discusses easily. So well done for starting! Mental heath is something which should create much much much more awareness about. Please keep it going! xxx BIG Well DONE!!

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you very much for your kind words and support…

  21. Ruth Bajada

    Really wanted to first of all commend you for finding the strength to share your experiences and feelings. As a person who has been working in the field of mental health for some time I believe there is a need for people like you to speak up. It is only that way that all of us shall become aware that there is nothing shameful or scary when it comes to mental health and yes it is ok to ask for help.

    Again a huge thumbs up! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you Ruth. And I agree 100%. I will be doing my best to spread the right message.

  22. Kyle

    Thanks for sharing, I cannot relate to the start of this story but it helps me appreciate much more the good memories I have of my childhood and to keep in mind that it wasn’t all the same for everyone.

    1. davidoziborg

      Good to hear mate. Always kind to try and understand others. TC.

  23. JP

    Mate, was reading this blog with great interest… We just helped Caritas and the Faculty of Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta produce the following documentary… It’s in Maltese (Eng subs are in progress) but I’m sure you’ll understand every word in it! I don’t only think it’s interesting but very helpful too… not trying to promote anything here.. just trying to help out! Check it out it’s only 23 minutes! Best regards and keep it up bro…;)

    https://youtu.be/o4yMYB95tq4

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you very much for this. I will definitely give it a watch.

  24. Christine

    Thanks oz… opening up has helped alot of understand this condition. It is not easy, but talking about it helps to relise alot of anger. Some of us might judge but deep down all we need is to listen… and a big hug and cuddle can go along way 🙂

    Keep it up man! And well done!

    1. davidoziborg

      Many thanks.

  25. Claude

    Looking forward to reading mate. Well done to you. Tyson Fury just did the same and I’m sure it is heloing others. On a joking note and to keep up with tradition I’m sure SAF had some influence also.

    Will read the series buddy… 🙂

    1. davidoziborg

      Thanks Buddy.

  26. jaybeegee

    Hugs <3

  27. Guzeppi

    Big well done Oz! We all have our stories but not everyone has the balls to do what you did. There is noting to be ashamed of and speaking about it is already a good phase of the therapy process. I know what I am saying … have it in my own family too. Keep strong … respect and all the best for the new year!

    1. davidoziborg

      Many thanks.

  28. Rosa

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s an example and inspiration for others.

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you Rosa. It is my pleasure. I really truly hope it makes a difference to others. Messages like yours convince me it does..

  29. Erika

    Well done for coming out in the open and thus help doing away with the stigma related to mental health and even more importantly giving courage, strength and hope to all those dealing with some form of mental health issue. Thank you and Prosit 😊

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you very much Erika. I will continue to do so as well. I want this stigma around it to disappear. It shouldn’t be there in this day and age.

  30. Goran

    I read your blog and i just wanted to say that i found myself in your words so much-that it was amazing experience. What is more interesting, i literaly grown up on the opposite side of the world.Yet, my experience is very similar to yours. Thank you for publishing sometning like this-it is very important-because everybody know you well from XFM

    1. davidoziborg

      Thank you Goran. I really appreciate your kind message. Keep looking out for new blogs.. There is more to come.

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