The story of Nitai Weinberg is one that is particularly authentic, touching, and speaks to a larger barrier surrounding mental illness - stopping stigma.
Nitai is currently living in Australia on a working holiday visa after graduating from UBC Sauder School of Business. Beyond traveling and expanding his worldview through global work experiences, he is both a stroke survivor and a mental health advocate.
Nitai has found himself in a position that for most, is unimaginable at 18 years old; In a rehabilitation centre recovering from a stroke.
Beyond the initial fear of surviving a stroke, Nitai would now have to adjust his life to accommodate a new set of barriers. The body he grew to be so comfortable in, no longer functioned in the way he was accustomed to. Every day motor skills became a full-time job. Replying to a text message from a friend was now extremely difficult and time-consuming. The activities he had always enjoyed with his friends were no longer an option for him.
This lead Nitai to feel isolated and exhausted by the idea of socializing. At 18, no one in his life could relate to what he was going through... which only intensified the feelings of isolation.
He began noticing feelings of tightness in his chest, uncontrollable shaking, and racing thoughts. This was Nitai's first experience with anxiety.
As an athlete that was used to running in alpha-male circles, Nitai felt intense shame around what he was experiencing. He was afraid the people closest to him would think of him as weak or less of a man. The stigma surrounding mental illness caused Nitai to resist what he needed most, self-care and the support of the people around him
As time went on, the feelings of misunderstanding, frustration, and depression grew. Nitai found himself having thoughts of suicide. He knew his feelings of depression were becoming too intense to manage on his own. He had to begin taking his mental health more seriously.
Today he is dedicated to working on his mental health with his therapist and is making a continuous effort to shift his mindset. He leans on the people closest to him to lift him up in moments of hardship. Beyond this, Nitai has found immense power in sharing his story and finds healing in the process.
Nitai will be sharing about his recovery and the steps he took to become a happier, healthier person at our Lived-experience webinar on May 10th.
By sharing his path to recovery at this live session, he hopes to inspire other individuals (particularly young men) to be more transparent about what they are struggling with emotionally.