3/11/18 Hero: Yuya Matsuda

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Yuya Matsuda (Nearing 4 straight months w/o a repeated story-line. Stress & trauma can come from so many different sources in life – which is why we all experience them at some point. In this case, w Yuya, a big source for him was the lack comfort, support, & love shown to him by his family, bc showing emotion was considered a weakness in their tradition. This is an incredible read, bc you see how much can change from one generation to the next. Of the men whose stories we have featured, Yuya is amongst the most open, emotionally, of the whole group. Thank you for sharing what you’ve gone through, & how you have changed things for the better. Your boys have a great dad.)


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I’d say three thing specifically contributed to some of my mental health hurdles. First, growing up in a traditional Japanese family, talking about & showing emotion was thought to be weak & thus unacceptable. I grew up with a lot of confusion & depression by watching my friends (who weren’t Asian) being loved on by their parents, & even being verbally told, consistently, that they were loved.  To this day the words “I love you” have not been spoken to me by my parents. Second, my mom passed away from cancer. I was the one who watch her take her last breath. At the time my 2 older brothers were already moved out, so there was no support there. My dad was busy working. I was the one who had to call him & tell him his wife had passed, & I was only 15 years old at the time. Third, I went through a divorce, 3 years ago. Going from seeing my 2 boys every day to every other weekend was extremely hard. It’s still not gotten any easier over these 3 years. I miss them a lot. I never knew that kind of hurt until I experienced it. I never knew a heart could break like that.


Those events I’m sure contributed to my state of mind now. My self esteem isn’t the best, & I have to be really good about working to keep my mind positive. I’m a textbook introvert & used to be very socially awkward. I’m better now in social situations, but it took a lot of work for me to get there. I had to force myself into uncomfortable social situations to get used to being more socially comfortable. After my mom’s death, I got super depressed & suicidal ideations started. I made one attempt on my life, but my brother caught me trying & essentially saved me.  From my teenage years to just as recently as a year ago, I went through a lot of rapid cycling. I didn’t know that existed before being diagnosed with Bipolar 2. I thought I was just “crazy” in the literally sense society has traditionally used that term.


I’m a musician (drummer) & used to smoke weed to ‘relax,’ before really admitting to myself that I had a mental health disorder.  On the last gig of last year for my band, I had eaten an edible before the show bc I’d been  feeling anxious. I also had my boys that wknd, so I was feeling bad about leaving them for the night.


After our first set, my wife called me to tell me that one of my boys was throwing up and complaining that his stomach was ‘hot.’ My other son was saying that’s been a regular occurrence at their mom’s house. Nothing to get worked up over right? Well, I had a full on emotional  breakdown…sobbing & all. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the edible, but I also hadn’t taken my meds that day because I had a long night ahead of me, & the meds made me super drowsy. My breakdown hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt this flood of emotions that I’d been holding back for YEARS. It all came at once, & I was reduced to a sobbing ball of pain.  I had to go out to my car to try & compose myself…it took a long time for me to calm down. I never want to feel like that again, & I haven’t touched weed since that day. From that day though, I faced myself & admitted that I had a mental health disorder (I was diagnosed w Bipolar 2 about a week beforehand, but I was still in denial, until that night at the gig).


To work on myself, I did one of the most uncomfortable things that an introvert can do: I decided to come out publicly w my diagnosis on FB to all my family & friends, & started an Instagram page to document my journey with Bipolar Disorder:   mybipolarjourney2


I started my IG page to help me heal through sharing, to find a community of others dealing/living with mental health disorders, & ultimately to help others heal through sharing. If I can help even ONE person who is currently suffering silently, then forcing myself to be uncomfortable & more open than I’ve ever been in my life, will have been worth it.  Besides that, I practice mindfulness, gratitude, patience, & self love. Music (drumming) is also a great outlet for me!


I thought my going public would lead to people judging me & seeing me as that literal sense of “crazy” I referenced before . I was wrong. To my surprise, I was met with overwhelming love & support from friends, family, & even people I didn’t even know!  I’m glad that I took that uncomfortable step into the unknown by sharing, because I’ve found such a supportive community of people living w all types of mental health complications.  Its all love, & support. I couldn’t ask for anything more. #SameHere🤙…share your story! It helps tremendously. And I plan on using #SameHere to get my followers to speak up & share as well.  As an advocate, I’m going to be working more with this group to rally around this consistent messaging that we ALL deal with things.

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