This is just a reminder to everyone mental health is a daily battle. It was, is and always will be for me. Despite my Christian up brining, moral influences and standards, I was hit hard.

If you ask most anyone who knows me, they will tell you I am a happy person, always smiling, laughing and joking around. Needless to say, for many many years, I was a very good actor. From high school into adult hood, I struggled daily with getting out of bed, and finding a positive reason to keep my eyes open. I struggled dearly with depression, anxiety, very low self worth and at times suicide.

This sent me down a very painful path of faking emotions, being a chameleon in social settings and not being who I am to try and fit in. I began trying to keep people close by substituting material goods for genuine connection, because I didn’t think anyone would truly want to be friends with who I am. This was a never ending cycle of doubts, fake relationships and surface happiness. No matter where I was, I was never truly happy.

I met a lot of great friends, but could never keep anyone close. This took me into a world of chasing money thinking it would buy me happiness. This proved to be the worst move I could have made. I ended up working in a highly destructive world of industrial trades. Don’t get me wrong, I met and have a lot of great friendships through it, but it destroyed me. At my height, I was making 6 figures, with 6 figures of debt and nothing to show for it. I lived in complete denial hoping to put up a wall of material goods to hide the pain I lived with every day, and I could somehow become happy.

But, this slowly began to change. I was able to find/fall in love with axe throwing and this was my release. This was my escape. This was my happy place. I was not judged, not stressed and could just let go. This led to a career change where I took a massive leap of faith, with a 50% pay cut. But, I had realized that money was the mask I thought I needed. This was never shown to be more false than the coming months would prove. In 10 short months I went from being the most angry, jaded person I have ever been, to a genuinely happy person. I now have a career I love, amazing woman in my life and something of value to my name.

Don’t get me wrong, I still battle with negative influences and thoughts daily, but they don’t have nearly the same hold on my life. I am able to wake up, get out of bed looking at the world with a true smile on my face. I am eager to see what each day brings, and I can’t thank those who have held on through these massively hard times without even realizing the impact you have had on me.

This being said, don’t stop talking, because no one knows the extent of the battle you are fighting, and no one ever will. If you can read this, you will never have to be alone. Reach out and I will never turn away from a conversation from someone hurting.

DANNY RITZ