Like many people during COVID, feelings of loneliness due to isolation intensified, and USAA employee, Will B., found himself battling depression as a result of the pandemic.
“I was a phenomenal actor." That's how USAA emplloyee, William B. describes himself during one of the darkest periods of his life.
Like many people during COVID, feelings of loneliness due to isolation intensified, and Will found himself battling depression as a result of the pandemic.
“Everyone around me thought I was full of joy, but it was all a façade," recalls Will, development product owner. “I began to drink heavily after work to compensate for how I was feeling, but I always tried to be cheerful around my co-workers. I put up a front because I didn't want anyone around me to know I was falling apart."
He remembers one night where everything came to a head and he was in one of the darkest places of his life.
“I was mentally and emotionally exhausted," describes Will. “I no longer desired to run this race. I was ready to see a finish line."
This ideation led Will to a turning point in his life – it was when he realized that change was needed.
“I think my brokenness led to a breakthrough; it opened my eyes to many things," says Will. “I realized I needed to address my mental health. I had to admit to myself that I needed help in order to begin to heal my brokenness."
Over the past year, Will has leaned on his family and friends, taken steps to address his mental and physical health through healthy eating, exercise and leveraging USAA's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). He began meeting with a licensed counselor.
“I want to normalize this conversation. So many of us are struggling right now for any number of reasons," says Will. “There is obviously a direct correlation between mental health and suicide ideation. I want people to know it's okay to be open to those closest to them. It's okay to admit that you are imperfect. It's okay to seek out help. There is healing in being vulnerable."
“You are not alone. No matter what you are facing, there are people who want to run the race with you – you matter and you are loved," says Will. “Keep running your race. It's not over."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 911 immediately, go to your local emergency room, or call the National Suicide hotline at 800-273-8255. Veterans can then press 1 to be redirected to the Veterans Crisis Line. Find more information or chat online with a counselor at the Veterans Crisis Line website.