Mo Bro Chris sits casually in a barber chair in a shop in Denver
Mo Bro Chris LombardiImage by: Keena Photo
Mo Bro Chris sits casually in a barber chair in a shop in Denver
20 March 2023

Chris’ story: “It doesn’t matter where you start, but start somewhere.”

Chris Lombardi
4 minutes read time

One of the main things that really appealed to me about Movember when I first got involved in 2018 was that you have people who are doing it more out of awareness and because of personal stories, like me. Fortunately for me, I had the resources to get help. But something that makes Movember stand out is that they focus globally on people who maybe don't have access to the resources to get help or don’t know where to start. And I think that's really important as well.

My whole entire life, I've suffered from some form of anxiety and depression – from very early on. I have such an amazing family and friends who have always supported me my whole life, but it's just always felt like “I should be happy. I'm a happy kid,” and I just never knew what that anxiety and what that depression really meant. Because I was always smiling and a happy person to everybody, it felt harder to share it and I was just very scared to talk about it.

I was fortunate to have my grandfather, who I did talk to about that. He was the closest person to me in my life, and we would have conversations late at night, and I would tell him about the feelings I was having, and we would talk through it.

He unexpectedly passed at an early age for me. I was 20 years old at the time. Just that loss, the passing of him, hit hard from an anxiety and depression side of things. But then I realized I had lost the person that I was able to talk to. I fell into a further depression that I would never want to get back to again, and I finally got to a point where I had to go seek to help.

The biggest thing for me is that mental health sees no creed, right? It doesn't matter who you are, what your background is, what you think should be happy in your life. It can still creep up, and if you don't acknowledge it, it's really going to keep on spiralling downhill from there.

I had always been known as somebody who was an extremely “happy” person, so it scared me to tell other people what my thoughts were that I had bottled inside. What would they think if I told them or I spoke about the anxiety and depression I was feeling? The fear I had of the world and the future. That was my biggest fear about opening up. That it would change their perception of me.

The moment when I had my biggest breakdown, I had the full support of all my family and friends to go get help. They encouraged me to go see somebody, to talk to a therapist, which really started my journey of recovery, and taking my mental health seriously.

I started talking about my experience, sharing my story at work town halls and joining different organizations that really supported mental health. It helped me get better, but it also made me realize how much these conversations are needed in society right now. Mental health is talked about more than ever, but still, there are a lot of resources that aren’t accessible for some people. Sharing stories and starting conversations are things that can still help people. People will come up to me and thank me for sharing my story. Sometimes they ask what or where they can go for support, or for resources that may help. It opened my eyes up – that people do want to hear these stories and that more people are struggling than we know.

It means so much to me if somebody has put that trust and confidence in me to open up. I want to break the stigma, by sharing my story, but I also don’t want people to think they have to share their story in that same way. The main thing is to reach out and get help. If that stays between you and your therapist, you and your close friends, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter where you start, but start somewhere.

Connect with Chris on Instagram.