On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
Welcome to Tales That Tethr, a series written by and for the tethr community. If you’d like to share your own story of strength and support, click here. Today we’re honored to share Anthony’s story.
My defining moment was when my wife and I were in the kitchen talking about possible solutions. I had been depressed for months, with the intensity and frequency increasing in the weeks leading up to that moment. My physical posture was beginning to be hunched over, I was moving slower, having a hard time keeping my head up (literally) and I had negative thoughts all day long which festered.
I'd be able to pull it together to make my son laugh and happy but that's about it. It felt like we were stuck and I had been depressed for months. It was my depression that was the challenge but with depression, it definitely is a team game. She carried a great deal of emotional burden for me. Things had felt tough before but this time, I knew she had was hurting herself from carrying so much of my emotional burden for so long. It looked like it was breaking her down.
Many of the same challenges exist however I feel more supported, understood and more equipped to handle the mental and emotional challenges.
The next morning, I registered for Tethr (my wife had given me the Tethr link a few weeks prior). I started taking it all in. Not commenting or connecting with anyone. After absorbing everything for a couple weeks, I put down my first post, and the support I got in return was an incredible experience. A friend who was already a community member reached out to me and gave me advice on ways to participate in the community.
I never looked back from there, making new friends, attending events and sharing my experiences and feelings and supporting others where I could. Now I am in a place where I am starting from a better place. Many of the same challenges exist however I feel more supported, understood and more equipped to handle the mental and emotional challenges.
I wouldn't change anything about my journey. If I were to change something then I wouldn't likely have the people around me that I do in fact have around me today. I may not be the person I am today, or be in a position where I am able to help and have an impact in the way that I can now. Plus, did we not learn anything from 'Back to the Future 2'? Don't screw around with that stuff or your mom might end up married to Biff!
If I could give him advice though, I would tell my younger self to surround himself with people who lift you up. The rest of the details will reveal themselves. The type of support that was and is most helpful for me is places that I know are safe to be vulnerable, open and honest, with no judgement. The place where one thing is always guaranteed, I am accepted as I am, no matter what. From that place I am able to be my true self and the possibilities for growth seem endless.
The best advice I have received is more of a manner of showing up for one another and less about words that I have heard. It is actually what I've described above. Only practicing that with others. This is the place where real relationships are built and grown. Practicing this has paved the way for me to make substantive relationships and friendships. These relationships are rewarding for me in so many ways.
If I could give him advice though, I would tell my younger self to surround himself with people who lift you up.
Sharing my feelings and being honest about how I am feeling, has drastically improved how I feel about my relationships. Check-ins are the one thing that I could point to as the biggest contributor for me remembering to apply what we talk and learn about in my daily life. There are have been many occasions where an honest check-in with a friend has reset my perspective on things and improved my feelings.
I've been able to provide support to others and it feels as though it's contagious. Positivity spreads to our own circles. Knowing that I can contribute and benefit from that positive support is a gift. It seems as though each person I engage with has a slightly different of life circumstances at any given time. They are experiencing different obstacles in their life. However, the emotional manifestation of those obstacles seem to have some similarities no matter what the life circumstance (at least as they are described by others). And so there usually is a place to relate, even if the circumstances are different.
I've been able to provide support to others and it feels as though it's contagious.
My definition of peer support is simply showing up, being there and holding space for others. Being willing to be vulnerable, open and share my own feelings with others. Helping contribute to a space where men can feel safe in sharing too. If I can be helpful in other ways whether it be by sharing my own experience or offering a communication outlet to someone who needs it, then that's great too. Number one is showing up and being open.
Anthony has been a valued member of the tethr community since September.