There are many references to “silent killers,” whether someone is referring to cholesterol, high blood pressure, or repeated behavior that slowly wreaks havoc on a person’s well-being over time. For decades, one disease has always been picked last and gone unnoticed by the public. The disease has been able to camouflage itself from the public eye while embedding itself deeply into the social fabric of countless people across the nation and around the globe.
Mental illness is the culprit, which is notorious more for its stigma and prejudice of both the general public as a whole as well as infecting the ego’s of those suffering from it before their diagnosis. Mental illness has recently been brought to the world stage, as was the case with Simon Biles, where she acknowledged her psychological condition could have jeopardized her physical health, increasing the likelihood of physical injury during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
In the past, Kevin Kearns has gained immense notoriety by training 15 top UFC athletes and being named one of the top five UFC coaches. However, even with these accolades he still is not a stranger to mental illness.
In ‘There’s Light In the Tunnel: How to Survive & Thrive with Depression’, he provides positive advice based on his own experiences of deep human vulnerability and depression, as well as an examination of how one can face their own demons despite limitations imposed by mental illness and how to progress to levels previously unachievable. As of recent, alarming statistics show nearly 37%of NCAA athletes experienced severe anxiety or depression as they returned to campuses during the fall 2020 semester amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
A significant part of Kevin’s work, in addition to being a renowned MMA coach, is speaking for corporations, law enforcement agencies, and the military. Historically, speakers in this context exude confidence, which is reflected back to the audience, thus growing one’s ego.
In the book’s early chapters, he discusses the connection between human ego and mental illness, explaining that he was also guilty of stigmatizing mental illness before he was diagnosed with severe depression. Through the (ECT) treatment, he was able to overcome the stigma surrounding mental illness.
It was necessary for me to release my ego that was associated with being a master coach and reflect on some of the times in my life where the disease was exhibited. I remember being so anxious that I couldn’t eat, so I rewired my hard drive to consume food by watching movies and TV. The cause of this could have been suppressed memory or buried pain uncovered from my subconscious, but at that point I was facing my reality.”
Kearns explained that most people live in fear and are afraid. He reveals the Covid-19 death of his mother in a heartbreaking admission. He explains, “I was exposed to it, my mother died of it. I held her hand for 11 hours straight and she died of it. I got tested the next day and I got tested the next month and I didnt have it. Are you going to live in fear?”
Additionally, Kevin discusses the night that led up to his suicide attempt which was the darkest night of his life, in which he was consumed by fear and anxiety. Before that night, his personal life was in disarray, and all hope was replaced by anxiety and fear. Two of his children had moved out of the house, his long-term marriage had broken down because of the deterioration of the relationship resulting in divorce which caused enormous anguish and suffering on his physical, mental and spiritual wellness.
Kearns commented,“ There is a duality about suicide, as it is widely accepted by many that suicide is the most selfish act that a human can commit, but there is the other side of the story which people do not realize – that suicide is the darkest place a human can exist in, it’s another level, which is dismissed by society, even though many people are driven to suicide as a result of personal difficulties.”
Kevin drew on his experiences of being bullied throughout his childhood, being adopted, and undiagnosed years of mental illness to fuel his performance for coaching martial arts and exercise.
Despite popular opinion to keep these skeletons in the closet, Kevin believes revealing his demons to readers in his latest book will inspire the sick who are afflicted with mental illness to seek treatment and control their lives.
Along with controlling their lives, he seeks to elevate those toward a positive trajectory by focusing on fundamentals that have been forgotten over time. One lesson he explained “Maybe it’s a learning process. You’re fallible, not infallible, the only perfection is nature. The grass is going to grow, the rivers are going to flow, the sun’s going to go up and the sun’s going to go down. That’s perfection but you can’t be perfect, okay? There is no perfect.”
Perhaps that is one of the greatest lessons in life to understand that the “Why,” in many cases can not be rationalized, nor should we attempt to, but to accept that it just “Is”.
Kevin Kearns has lived by this belief for many years, making it clear to his clients, audiences throughout the United States, and anyone else in need of assistance suffering from emotional impulses and mental illness, that the first step is to seek out help. In the event his struggles detailed in his recent novel can be used for good, that is the only satisfaction that he feels he has been able to provide.
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