MEN of Mental Health Monday - Jim Hill: Managing life with depression and surviving suicide.

Monday, August 6th

Depression can be a monster, and managing life with this mental illness is not an easy task - but it CAN be done.  This week we talk to Jim Hill who is a board chair at Mental Health America of Wisconsin, a mental health advocate, and a survivor of suicide.  How has he managed to wrangle over 60 years of depression?  How has he seen the stigma shift on the mental health discussion over the years?  Why was the death of Robin Williams so impactful to him?  What went through his mind while he almost made the unthinkable decision to end his own life?  A fascinating conversation for this week's Mental Health Monday.   

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

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Mental health Monday hey and I'm rates steady mornings I'm one of three point seven kiss FM with great finale in Milwaukee Wisconsin and a host this weekly rigs off the radio podcast this week on mental health Monday talking depression again last week we talked to a doctor. Doctor Jerry how Robertson from Rogers behavioral health and we kind of broke down depression talked about it. To get down to its roots help people deal with that how you get depression of life with depression so this week instead of talking to a doctor. We're gonna talk to another dude in this a different discussion with another dude. This is Jim Hill who were talking to this week. I was given gene's name by mental health America of Wisconsin it was somebody that I work closely with forties mental health Monday podcasts. Jim Hill is 67 years old. And I immediately looked at his age and I thought it's probably an older guy amateur historian I put him to side and I was gonna talk to Jim. And had all these other people it was going to be that was going to be talking to but I kept circling back to Jim. And I was like how many minutes of what what can I talk to Jim about. How can relate to him and and read his story and GM has lived with depression his entire life. GM is Metallica's attempted suicide back in 1993 was a member of the largest single sub population of individuals most at risk for suicide. We've talked about this before on mental health Monday men between the ages of forty and 64 like working age men are as part of the biggest population for suicides. And that's why I like to talk to man the most for mental Monday because men are terrible at talking about their feelings but GM. Is amazing talking about his feelings he's managed his depression. His entire life and I wanted to see. How he does it I also want this talked to Jim. About how do you mental health stigma has shifted Jim is 67 years old he is seen suicide and mental health. Evolve from this he can't talk about it suicide is a crime tied seeing. Into what it is now it's so it's almost time an epidemic levels suicide so that's why I decided to take the conversation with Jim he's board member from mental health America of Wisconsin and if you listen closely I was listening while I was editing our interview. He sounds like Jeff Bridges tell me you don't hear Jeff Bridges. And Jim hill's voice turns out Jim manages his depression by being incredibly open about it and talking about his mental illness on a public platform this is managing your whole life with depression. This is my conversation with Jim Hill from mental health Monday says he does that say it's not your first and last name does this sound levels checked. Here Jim hills jail I am. Last name HI LL. And metal and not spell and I was just doing its ascension. I intruders a couple of I do feel like this guy can't spell my name and Jim Hill tonight. That was one of my tactics to remember people's names well it's gonna public I didn't know how it's a he's filling in Indian I was trying to think even the other day what actually it was John Rooney because it'd be like my name's Jill I was like I'm in our is that one dollar three has. I wasn't sure. Jim thanks for coming on today I appreciate it a mental Monday Byrd thanks very much for him. Appreciate course now you're on the opposite end of the spectrum now. And it just put it bluntly talked to some younger people so you're on the other end you're on the list thank you coming here you're pushing seventy now which is awesome you look great by the way thank you I appreciate that. You click here in good spirits I'm I'm I'm getting there rice. Any you're now on the board of directors for mental health America Wisconsin corrects that's hurt what else should do leading up to that coming in your work right. Done a variety of things jurors had a period for your career in government the ground working and every level. Mean there is in the legislative and executive branch is okay and most recently. On the past fifteen years and I. The director for the mental health system for Milwaukee County again. The director of housing for more. It counted as well known as. I worked for time for them or concern for independence. Every years for them but my experience has been very. I. Agencies and programs who apartments I've worked with legislators and a work in the congress I worked in the state legislature and worked in city council's cured so. Now it's a depression is something that's affecting you your whole life. I went into this when this started very young age you're how far back ago. As. As often reflected on this why you. Do not remember a true. When I. Did you feel depressed at some point. It's been with me all my life you know and I defy you had to put it. They don't and I had to be around five years of it and I was very. The Brooklyn difficult holes told him which. Hope very much depression runs in my family my. In other headed it was. Very few very. Severely depressed very often tell them. Eyewitness good I picked up the genes. My mother my mother had it I'm one oval. My children. The second oldest and many of my siblings. The none of them and I'm aware at any rate has. Wrestles with the main stages that hidden sugars my prayers and is still there. Did you hide it for awhile there's a lot of men hide their depression they don't want they don't open up and say that there week I think the team that first step the admitting that you have a problem that you think you could be surprised. They don't do that what how long did you hide it Allenby and keep that he's. Because you get to in a moment and then to the engines like suicide attempts were really gets you in a moment but how long did you hide it. Server and two great questions. We really know. I remember. I had some I thought it was just how it was more. And you know that when the moon yours or moody hit a cure whatever it is I guess mostly right exactly I tended to be somewhat quiet he. Charest I didn't mix well with the with the classmates in that kind of thing. But I grew from very strict household. Com and there was no such thing as not get. Just I didn't know how I could do registration requirement that would turn on the light at 7 o'clock in the morning and was it clear up let's go ahead and let's go. And at this and at that time. No one talked about depression no one gave it and name some you know. Some people. Talk about being. Moody now my mother always used to refer to my father is you know whenever he was in a state of depression as being in in one of his moves in. But as as difficult as it was to get. Was very young and going through these cycles. There was no you know. There was no saying I just you know I just don't feel good today. I'm sand iron. I didn't know what I. I don't express and they tell you name and so basically got the second out and deal with that right you got to move on July check. Oceanside which is awful wreck and then then. My particular it's the. Experienced. It was who I was and it was a difficult experience growing up. But it was all sold. Very difficult being outside because I was when I went to school I was able. Yeah so you know my hasn't helped my father was. Or is it it's very strict disciplinarian. Who. Military background I don't know any know it's a matter are peace studies could be Catholic priest alone. From a very he was an only child can offer from a very strict background and he used physical punishment and regular. And of all my siblings. Most of the rest of my siblings were observed. Me. Most of the physical punishment so and I it was a fuel and imagine though for your 789. Year old kid. It wasn't safe at home. And it wasn't safe to go out now. It was just it was it was off but somebody didn't that sounds like a lot of Wear and probably made it worse I was thinking right right this is throughout the years. Exactly distressing for you what we what we know about it brings science now. Is just phenomenal we know what and we know what the chemistry of marine. How it operates we know its effects on other systems yeah. We know there were effects on new levels of what levels of stress do to. Heart conditions and you're all doing all manner of other. Health conditions. Although the thing about health issues is if you had a bad when he would talk to your doctor if you had if you had something wrong with your kidneys we take medication people take heart medication all the time play and then as the stigma about it I takes on the for my brain and doing so I'm wrong. Shouldn't be doing that. And that was that was really quite prevalent in fact my. I anecdotally my father would refuse to. CS aid psychiatrist right back then not only for the stigma associated with that but because he actually operated on. Plea for many years the only had to do was just. Snap out of it. How did. What was this stigma around suicide back and it's a stigma about it now what was it like when you are going up when a suicide happens. I just did it was at one point it was a crime I don't know if that was still it was down was a crime. Which is really Cairo it's an odd thing to you know this is a terrible scene motherly under wraps yeah. Right exactly makes no sense is absurd and if you think about it but it's yeah I was considered a crime. What I I don't directly Agricole. Experiences with other families because he's had occurred in some other family nobody on and I knew it and that's it it there yep person in some. And the family or hurt the friend. Had a family member who died suddenly it was you know something. They had some pretty real sure target at heart attack heart attack. Never called it suicide. You never acknowledged that suicide could possibly do. Hum because. It was it was considered normal here crime but you worked for Catholics who struggle that was essentially it. You see you one way ticket to hell when we might get it on July August time do exactly showed. That layered on top of that you had and at that time. In particular. Men. Men didn't talk. Chain Georgetown. It was listening terrorists and women had a president should win in a movie whenever the mood swings not us for women not guys and if we do have mood swings preachers hell don't tell anybody about them. We don't talk about them trying to get over. He DC in the shifting them all and personally and you and societal goals are great question. I was in fact and fact I was thinking about that on the way down that pipe I do think that seriously. Shift in how old did disease is perceived rights for men in particular. I think. You sadly I think these on the experiences of Robin Williams and others more recently killed men in particular groups who have died by suicide. Our. Sense upon seeing other men who know they're struggling with depression don't know how to. Particularly men who were my. Then work from cool who. Grew up and in a time when it was why you get it inside you know 'cause there's that word so it was taboo to talk. Then you. It was a Robin Williams is at a moment when you either had to shift or when you had your suicide attempts. No I was sick Romans lose very what words after my suicide. It was my. Who's in 1990. But I. Must tell you. What struck me. Others who isn't there. And so many ways. Woods. It's similar to myself I mean I'm not a good actor and the media but the same age and gender and gender suppression right exactly exactly. And everything about the man with the gifts he. Left the house shortly that is not what you missed out by last weekend now like I'm nothing like that yeah exactly and I. News nor I loved his talent and his his finest at its finest movie ironically from from my standpoint. That wasn't it wasn't terribly comedic it was dead poet's society. This and that was an additive is alone what I mean and there is in suicide. Which is really mine was what dreams may come which also Nancy was right in his suicide and his wife took her life. I just and he was trying to get her out of town which the whole movie which is amazing. At his ideas on stand up and I got a I don't know it's you're truly a west com and it is ironic. And and they are very sad sort of way yeah that was the case. His particular suicide because of how I felt about him and how much I admired his. Brilliance passion and his acting career and he it was my heart he could play them serious funny it's everything. Range of human emotion he was able to do it. And yet. Here he carries something which he then became. Too great to period we're in could not. Deal. It is hard to kill some. Look. Is fortunate enough not to have to experience it's it's very difficult to. To describe just. Depression. And and when I think. His you know what depression was doing to him. It. The the apparent disconnect here but others between this man who found something fun to talk about. Get other people laugh about it over and over again his career. Then it's natural they asked the question how could somebody. Delicate question to Alan fine. Being it's being so profoundly. Certain way and you only see one sign of his life linseed behind the curtain. He's a funny guy on staged its animated and over the top you don't see that that is behind the scene when he gets onstage she's tired of the exact. Couple 100000 different directions and can you imagine the demands of the celebrity in this movie was so great now we have to do better with to do a better right. The commandos who wrote those are all those are false dressers and and stressed what the other. Brings them into that stress. Is both product. And he trigger for. Depressive episodes the pain that for me and I. Go for a moment for Robin Williams and her. That the pain is physical you know I mean it's not it is it is these hands. Produce the chemicals are produced in the bringing it do that but the burden. Now is now a man is wonderful life and obviously got more life to living I can tell. Feel a that I certainly know wrestle with and I'm determined. Well we're go back in the year you're seven now you almost seventy pushing that your you've seen the whole span of mental health kind of change and evolve over the years and you're still. Even the manager depression and you deal with this still database again an episode does not too long and a couple weeks ago. What kind of advice would you give to maybe younger men or men in that age now. About dealing with the moving forward with it being open and honest about their depression. What I did the best advice that I can give is to talk about. My depression. Is to talk publicly about plans to use to. Break the silence surrounded silence never solves depressive episode and then never. What I would say the words I would give to it would be you're not alone I and believe me. Rigs when I. I sent that my. Method of choice for my attempted suicide was. Carbon monoxide strict action. And I was sitting in the car in the garage. Late at night my family was in the other on the other side of the house. They're all in there and they were asleep. There was I went over and over in my head. Things that people could say to me and how old they would sound to me and one of them was you're not alone and I would sit and my response would. My of my response in my own hand was I am all. I mean I am not only physically alone here but there's no one under no one knows what this is his life. There's you know it's. The reason. Best medicine for this it's just. Yeah history is to be able to save to another person who is. In a profoundly depressed or state then you're not alone in its okay. He'll try to talk him. You try to. And get them to talk to get you needed lessons. I think. Your good listener and getting them to talk about. Voice to something that that perhaps the men my age has never talk about them. Mom can be a tremendously. Florida. Experience. And enable them to fuel its slightly overworked word that it's the kids here empowered. To. Do something. With terror and their body. Sticker on your depression and say I'm an old on the potential to depressions that and controlling and controlling me and that anything is possible. And I'm living proof. Literally living proof that. You can survive since they can get better they can get better between now and there are levels of severity. Oppression. Mine happens to be major. Chronic depression yeah I need to. I it was very reluctant to go on medication initially that was another part of looks like here you know this type piece of that you know not only did you not talk about that you didn't admitted to anybody certainly didn't go to C. Our spring now which is can't shrink saved my life or death after a but you also didn't take medicine forward. Because my fear was that if I took. Drugs to picture of this depression that was going on in my bringing. It would paddles my burn. Walk around like zombies and of those things straight night stumble which I know nothing like that does nothing. The only way I was going to know that. Was. To go up to that forbid them the edge of data bits and look. That was your suicide attempt do you remember and that moments. What it was that turned you around that brought you back what was it that was going through your mind it makes you stop and say this is the wrong thing to do. He image I had in Murray. And that caused me at the last possible moment. Two. Well as the image of earlier in the evening when we were at the dinner table my wife my. Two sons and I had been I had adopted. The posture I remember vividly that my father had a with his head in his hands. Like this hearing down and he. Played there was killed in cold that he never touched yeah. And and and highway had been sitting there and I looked up and looked at my sons and they were. Do what I saw on their faces was. They were scared to death. They didn't know what was going down all they knew was that my hands were over my head. They do know what to do their mother didn't know how to explain it. Today I know that you were depressed and they didn't they didn't know because I never talk I never talked to them about it I lived through them. Hmmm I saw them. Employment. And as I was sitting in the car would be I can remember distinctly beat. Did become dizzy and nor office didn't return there indicators that this new. And oxide is making its way through your system and I saw their faces and I. Said. And nowhere came from. But I I must have reached down we'd be down for something that should tell me I can't leave them in this condition. Course their fathers to what you know. He's known to make you pay us a wave barrel could have been your father and is alive and who knows exactly and the signs that stuff right. And I certainly I can't leave them in this condition now because if I do. They will never had there there are questions will never be answered. So you now know obviously is a giant regretted viewers that. Probably just talking about it you may have been able to avoid them all together writing and situation getting your car having that. Exactly close to death exactly I don't know where are the strength came from to do it. But I am grateful for that and I am grateful for the help I finally had the good sense to see yes I am too. His that's it that never talk to somebody that's been that close and I'm I'm glad he's still here and thank you thank you for being thank you for being so open about it thing really appreciate him you love. And help him if that's from America Wisconsin but I know how to spell to else. And said it himself he's a literal living room. Manager depression can manage. Your mental illness if you talk about it if you sit in silence. Here's doing a disservice to yourself and if you think there's no wanted to talk to. I hate to tell you this but you're wrong it's always somebody willing to talk. There's always someone willing to listen. He's tried he's got the national suicide prevention lifeline 1802738255. They're available 24 hours a day or if you don't want to talk he could always taxed. Below the 741741. Crisis Tex lines seminal text back with yet they Trisha can add another mental health Monday can always reach out to me my website as freaks radio dot me. If you enjoyed this week's mental Monday. I encourage you just described in check back and listen to the other ones we're building quite a collection of mental health Monday it's not talk to you next time on race race now in the morning. Have a great day or afternoon or weekend or whatever you do it. And make it like decisions.