“I’m done hiding this”

The brief summary that I read from Jason Kander, the Kansas City mayoral candidate who recently withdrew from the race, had left me with a great sense of empathy. While I am a very empathic individual, what he has said has remained with me the last few days.

See his note to the public here

“Instead of dealing with these issues, I’ve always tried to find a way around them. Most recently, I thought that if I could come home and work for the city I love so much as its mayor, I could finally solve my problems. I thought if I focused exclusively on service to my neighbors in my hometown, that I could fill the hole inside of me. But it’s just getting worse.
So after 11 years of trying to outrun depression and PTSD symptoms, I have finally concluded that it’s faster than me. That I have to stop running, turn around, and confront it.”

I admire his courage, his strength, and his honesty. His story is yet another about how taking care of our own mental health cannot be avoided. A band-aid does not just simply do the trick.

flag america patriotic veteran
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Even though it must be upsetting to those around him who advocated for his candidacy, he chose to make a decision that will help what he has been struggling with for so long. The amount of disappointment he felt in making this decision is not something that I can fathom.

He took advantage of his publicity as a mayoral candidate and had the courage to share the extremely personal reason as to why he withdrew his candidacy. We need more people in the public eye who are struggling with their mental health [silently] to come forward. We cannot struggle silently, and we shouldn’t, for that is one of the reasons for suicidal ideation: because we feel alone.

While Jason’s story is unique in his own personal way, it is a subject of many stories that we still often choose to ignore. We chalk it up to “not being tough enough” or “being too sensitive”, or as Jason stated:

“So many men and women who served our country did so much more than me and were in so much more danger than I was on my four-month tour. I can’t have PTSD, I told myself, because I didn’t earn it.”

To me, those two sentences were quite powerful. I, too, am guilty of processing my feelings this way, not with PTSD about tours in Iraq, but about depression and the traumatic things that I have yet to overcome. It feels even worse when someone tells you, “so many people have it so much harder than you. Just suck it up.”

Jason, I want you to know that you are not alone. You have gained so much support since you took your story public. From other veterans with PTSD to young adults who struggle with a variety of mental illnesses, your story has impacted many people. I am just another supporter who was especially touched by your courage to share your story. All the way from California, I wish you the best.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
*Veterans press 1

Jason’s Twitter
Jason’s Facebook
Jason’s Instagram



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