My name is Matt and I am a certified fraud examiner. I’m married and have two amazing children, nine and six years old. When I’m not busy working or spending time with my family, I enjoy photography, technology, bowling, softball, and my true passion: cycling.
Fifteen years ago I suffered from depression-like symptoms, which impacted me in many profound ways. It nearly cost me my marriage. I was driving my wife Anne away from me, because I was turning completely inward and isolating myself from everyone, her included. We were two lost souls physically living together, but really drifting further and further apart, and not connecting with each other at all.
My wife sort of forced me to go to marriage counseling. I won’t ever forget the first session, when the therapist made me sit and listen to Anne talk about everything on her mind, without being able to get defensive, interrupt and plead for my own side of the story. It was so hard to do, but was also one of the first times I had truly listened to her in a long, long time. Only then did I start to realize just how bad things had become.
In addition to the challenges in my marriage, I was struggling with my career and daily life in general. While it wasn’t a severe depression, it was bad enough that I had a hard time getting out of my “funk.” I felt completely alone with my struggle and fight, especially as a man, therefore I didn’t really engage anyone, with the exception of my therapist. Some of my closest friends knew something was up, but it just wasn’t something that you talk about with your buddies.
After years of therapy and coming out of my “funk” with a more complete sense of self, my marriage intact and the birth of my first child, I now know that my story is something that, while deeply personal, needs to be shared with others, especially men.
I have worked hard to share my story so that other men know that they’re not alone in what they’re going through, even though nearly every guy feels that way. Depression isn’t something you conquer—it can be a life-long struggle. But if you have some tools to help you work through the tough times, and other people (especially guys) to talk with openly and freely, you not only can survive it, but thrive in spite of it all.
I first found out about Face It by following Mark and Bill on their cross-country bike tour in 2011, and they have since become my close friends. I wish I had known about Face It when I was working through my issues, but now that I do know Mark and Bill, I try to help them in any way possible. I wholeheartedly believe in what they are trying to accomplish and I have seen firsthand how the work of Face It has helped others.
After a year of marriage counseling (back when Anne and I were struggling), I began my own individual work and journey with the same therapist. If I hadn’t gone to that first marriage session, I’m pretty certain Anne would have left me, and very certain my depression would have gotten much, much worse. We were hanging on by a thread, and thankfully the fire had not gone completely out. There were still a few embers left, and by the grace of God we were able to rekindle our marriage throughout the process, and make it even stronger.
Today, I am in a much better place than I was 15 years ago. I truly believe that you need to find something physically active to do that you love. For me, it’s cycling. Whenever I’m feeling down or low in energy, I get on that saddle and hit the road. It’s therapeutic for me, as well as helpful for managing my weight and staying active. I also rely heavily on key friendships, including many people at my church that I see regularly.
As a certified fraud examiner, I always talk about the fact that I don’t believe you can prevent fraud—it’s something that is always going to be around. But, much like depression, there are things that you can do to limit the damage and try to deter it from rearing its ugly head again in the future.
If you’re a man struggling with depression, it’s important to know that you’re not alone, even though every fiber in your being tells you that you are. And know that it is ok (and absolutely necessary) to talk about how you’re doing and feeling, especially with guys like myself and Mark and Bill at Face It who have an idea of what you’re going through. This can make a huge difference.
Learn about the support offerings that have helped Matt and many other men recover from depression.