Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wrestling With Depression: Gentleman Jervis Speaks On Mental Health

As most longtime readers of The Code know, I'm a huge fan of pro wrestling, especially independent pro wrestling. One of the appeals of smaller scale pro wrestling is that fans get the opportunity to be closer to the action. The indie wrestlers themselves are often much more accessible to fans than those in the big leagues of WWE. One of my favorite pro wrestlers is a grappler by the name of Gentleman Jervis, and meeting him 5 years ago was one of my highlights as a fan. Don't believe me? Here's a picture:

One of the qualities that sets Jervis apart from other pro wrestlers is his relentless gentleness and kindness. In the squared circle, Jervis is more likely to use grappling techniques that will make his opponent unable to move instead of fisticuffs. He employs a sleeper hold... in which he rocks the opponent to sleep instead of chocking them out. And he persona of "The World's Sweetest Man" extends to his presence online from Reddit to social media. In an interview last year with EPSN, Jervis said:
"I want to be a beacon of light on the internet, and I feel in order to do that, I must also navigate the dark crevices and bring out the light in the situation. I try to be nice with everything I do and say, and I think that's translated to my physical life, my real life. My digital life and my digital personas are very sweet and kind, and now my physical persona has assumed that form as well. You have to put out the niceness and create the light that you wish to see reflected upon you."
Which is why it might have been surprising to some when he recently announced he had grappled with depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. He recently wrote a blog post about it, entitled "On Sweetness And Suicide". An excerpt:
My mistake was believing that... I could face depression on my own with exercise, healthy eating and positivity. These things are extremely beneficial to one’s health, but sometimes these habits are just not enough. Some depression sufferers like me need medicated assistance as well and that’s okay! ... My outward appearance is a projection of sweetness, friendliness, and understanding. Sometimes, I am not so nice. Sometimes I am downright mean. My self-hate and anger boil over and I become a monster to those around me. A Rottenbelly. Though I am not proud of these moments, I am also not ashamed. Just like anyone else, I can be weak at times. But I can also be strong. Part of being strong is accepting your actions, forgiving yourself for them, apologizing to any parties who may be hurt or offended and correcting your behavior for the future.  
The entire entry is an honest account of the struggles he faced, the thoughts he had, his history with mental health, and the support he received and is an engaging read. Give it a look, won't you?

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