Tuesday, May 21 2013 00:01

The Death of DIVIDED DAD and the Pain of Depression... #ForMarc #MaleDepression

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In this digital world in which we live, it's... strange... to deal with the flesh-and-blood loss of human beings with whom you've only connected through an endless series of zeroes and ones. Sadly, I've experienced this awkwardly hollow feeling more than a few times over the past decade or so, and even more troubling is the fact that my online acquaintances that have died, have not done so by accident or "natural causes," but by their own hand.

Since 2007, I've known at least three people who have killed themselves (confirmed), and have known a couple of others whose deaths have been questionable. Two weeks ago, yet another online "friend" committed suicide. That man, was Marc Block - a fellow "Dad Blogger" known as "Divided Dad," that had reached out to me this past February.

marc block

I did not know Marc personally, nor did I know him "well" in an online sense. He was a member of a Facebook Group for Dad Bloggers, and through that and twitter, we'd connected.

-Marc requested my friendship on February 15, 2013.
-On May 4, I noticed that he'd deactivated his account.
-On May 5, I heard he was missing.
-On May 6, I learned that he was dead. 

I don't know how he finally ended it all, but from the bits and pieces I've heard through the cyberspace grapevine, I know that Marc was suffering from DEPRESSION. I also know that he's left behind two children.

Regardless of what many would like to claim, Depression still carries a stigma... especially among men.

-"It's not manly to be depressed."
-"It's not cool to cry."
-"Grow Up."
-"Let it go..." 

For me, "Let it go" has always been particularly offensive. Why? Because I've been undergoing treatment for Depression for years. And YOU CAN'T "LET IT GO."

For the most part, I try to keep things fairly light here on The Rock Father, and honestly - I had second thoughts about about even bringing this up on my site. But it needed to be done. More people need to be talking about Depression as a real issue. And several others have stepped up and are doing the same using #ForMarc as a social hashtag. Ironically, this is all happening in National Mental Health Awareness Month.

Depression is not something that goes away. It's something that you deal with every day. It can be treated, but you cannot control it. This is something that those who have never experienced it cannot comprehend. When someone says "I understand," or "I know how you're feeling," odds are that they really don't. Depression is a scary thing, and it often comes coupled with other things like anxiety or anger. I know these emotions quite well, and they're all painful as hell.

For the most part, I've been "fine" for quite awhile. I take meds every day, and visit a Doctor a couple of times a year to check-in and make sure that the treatment is keeping things under control. It hasn't always gone this smooth, as proper treatment between medication and discussion (therapy) is sometimes a crapshoot. I've had some good times, and I've had some really, really bad ones. The wrong pills... or a wrong dose... can send your mind into a spiral, and I can think of one weekend where I almost had to check myself into a hospital. Around that same time, another friend of mine did end up hospitalized for a bit. Unfortunately, they're six feet under now.

On my XBOX LIVE account, I have a few "ghosts" that follow me. These are the gamertags of those who have taken their own lives, yet their online personas just sit there for what seems like an eternity. I believe that there's three of them on that particular list, yet I can't justify removing them just yet. I can't really explain why.

I am a parent. You know me as "The Rock Father." To properly care for my children, I have to take care of myself.

Recognizing the problem and seeking treatment is the big step to take... and there's a lot of men out there that are afraid to take that step. There is no good reason not to take it. One of the big reasons still tends to be the "embarrassment" of letting people know that there's a problem. Believe me when I tell you that those who would look down upon you for seeking help are nothing but garbage, and you don't need them. Things can get heavy, but as humans we have to get rid of this thinking that those who suffer from Mental Illness (and it is an illness) are "nuts" or any less of a man for getting back on the right path.

No matter what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn't the answer. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a counselor at a Lifeline crisis center near you, or visit Lifeline online for immediate assistance.

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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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