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Mental health advocate lives to 'Support the Intended'

One of the shirt designs Bryce Pazdernik created to help raise awareness, bring hope and raise money for those in need of help in a crisis. Image courtesy Longweekend Sportswear of Perham

Everything happens as intended.

That's the belief of New York Mills native Bryce Pazdernik who suffered through a bout with depression and is now sharing his new found hope with others suffering through mental illness.

Pazdernik, who went to school at Wadena-Deer Creek for about five years, has started a movement called "Support the Intended." It's a phrase he lives his life by now and it basically means everything happens for a reason. So rather than focusing on the negative things of life, he chose to believe that those negatives are setting him up for a positive future. It's positive because he's now focused on helping others believe in themselves.

"When you are feeling like no one else has been through what you've been through, there are others out there thinking that same thought, so just please don't feel alone," Pazdernick said. "Because you are not alone. There are others out there that want to help you, there's people that love you. Believe in yourself."

The negatives in his life could easily outweigh the positives. He recalls going back and forth between his mom and dad as a child. Moving around, struggling to find a place he felt accepted.

"I kind of dealt with it my whole life," Pazdernick said. About four years ago, he fell into a depression, compounded by alcohol.

"I fell into a pretty dark hole," Pazdernick said.

He describes the feeling of depression as walking a rocky cliffside with fog on all sides. There was nowhere to go that seemed right. Nothing seemed to matter. He was stuck in a loop of numbness.

"It's a very gloomy, foggy abyss," he said of depression.

When he needed help, he called around but could not get an appointment immediately, when he was in a crisis. When he did get help from counselors he found in Detroit Lakes, Pazdernick said he began to climb out of the hole. Now at age 25, he's still continuing counseling but is now confident to also counsel others in need.

It didn't take him long to decide he wanted to give back by helping those that are going through the struggles of mental illness. With May being Mental Health Awareness month, he decided to unveil a selection of T-shirts and bracelets he created with the help of Longweekend Sportswear in Perham.

By selling the apparel he plans to give 30 percent of the profits to Wellness in the Woods to go towards the Ladyslipper Respite House planned to be located in Wadena. He came up with the idea after reading an article about another fundraiser to raise money for the respite house this spring.

This Ladyslipper Respite House is planned to be a home away from home that's free for those who need it. It's a place between normal and crisis for those suffering from a mental illness. Users could stay for periods up to five days as help is needed or they can simply use a room to sleep and recover. Wellness in the Woods members hope it can alleviate clogging of emergency rooms with mental health cases, yet still provide immediate help.

There will be a number of certified peer specialists staffing the respite house. These are people who have been through mental illness and are recovering. They will be a voice of experience to those thinking there is no way out. They have received training in being that peer support for those working through mental illness.

Pazdernick is also involved in a series of videos he posts to his Facebook account that he calls "real talks." These inspirational talks have reached hundreds of people and he believes it's getting out a message of hope. He's finding it very fulfilling to help others.

"If you are in a rut just reach out for help, even though that's kind of the worst, hardest thing anybody has to do," Pazdernick said. "But it usually will be the best decision you can make. At least it was for me."

To check out the apparel Pazdernick is selling or to listen to one of his regular talks, visit his Facebook page by searching @BrycePLetsTalk.