Here at Jesus Wired we don’t just want to interview artists, media personalities, professional speakers etc, we also want to interview the people who are just starting out on their ‘journey’. Here’s a quick interview with budding mental health speaker Matt Davis.
[JW] Please start off by introducing yourself, where you’re from and how you found Christ…
[MD] I am Matt Davis. I am a unorthodox 45 y/o Speaker from Cookeville, TN (Native South Central KY) that has had a life-long struggle with mental health issues. I have not Doctrine, Degree, or Diploma. I have experience. I came to know Christ in 1987 while I was staying in a mental health facility. One particular night was really hard and I remember praying “God take me out of this world or help me with this”. I remember another patient that was there, talking a few days later in group, saying that something was different about me. About a year later at the Amy Grant Lead Me On tour I decided that this is the life for me and there is no turning back.
[JW] You openly put it out there that you suffer from mental health issues, tell us a little about that.
[MD] Since before the age of 8 I started seeing doctors. It was not until age 18 that the doctor discovered and diagnosed me with Tourette Syndrome. The reason it took so long to diagnose was because I did not have the verbal tick of cursing. In those days that was the defining mark for Tourette’s. Tourette’s is not a mental health issue, it is a neurological issue. Mental health issues are a by product of Tourette’s. For me that means depression, obsessive compulsiveness and anxiety. It is not so much that I suffer from mental health issues as I suffer from the stigma placed on me from the school system as a child, the church and society.
[JW] What made you want to try your hand at speaking about it?
[MD] For the last 10 years I have wanted to do something to help others that suffer from the same stigma. I have spoken about it from time to time but, it was not until the end of 2017 that it all has began to come together. This project that I am doing, EHAMIOTAID, is so much more than just speaking.
[JW] You say you’re “standing up to the stigma” – what is the stigma of mental health and how can we stand up to it?
[MD] The stigma comes from society and the negative views it places on someone who is already struggling with mental health issues. Stigma comes from a lack of compassion and understanding. It can often make you feel as if you are less than others, when in fact, mental health is just like any other health issue. Standing up to the stigma for me is to Accept, Acknowledge and Embrace that I have mental health issues, there is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It is also talking about it, to Exploit the stigma and kill the elephant in the room.
[JW] You say that everyone has a mental issue or they are in denial, what do you mean by that?
[MD] EHAMIOTAID which is the acronym for ‘everyone has a mental issue or they are in denial”.
It is a light hearted approach to a very strong statement that comes across with satire. As Steve Taylor once said, “its harder to believe than not to”. We all have or will suffer from things like depression, anger, anxiety and other emotions. We may not all get a diagnosis from a health professional but, we all deal with these things from time to time. I don’t know if there is an explanation for it, maybe it’s meant for interpretation.
[JW] How can God and faith play a part in helping someone with mental health?
[MD] Have you ever heard the serenity prayer? Sometimes life comes down to accepting it is what it is. Knowing who you are in Jesus Christ and having your own personal experiences with Him.
I think it helps to identify with Paul in 2 Cor. 12:8-10 that starts out with Paul pleading three times to God to please take “it” away from him.
[JW] Are there any artists out there you would specifically like to book for an event?
[MD] Any band that can identify with and has a compassion for this and standing up to the stigma…contact me.
[JW] What song or album are you currently loving?
[MD] Some of the artists I am listening to lately are Wovenhand, Welcome Wagon, Kevin Max, Dan Russell and Nyves.
[JW] Are there any bible verses which mean a lot to you?
[MD] Yes, 2 Cor. 12:8-10 and 1 Cor. 1:18-31.
[JW] How can the JesusWired readers be praying for you?
[MD] Definitely pray the following verses: Proverbs 30:8 and Matthew 6:9-13
[JW] Thanks for talking to us today, any final comments?
[MD] I certainly appreciate the opportunity and you taking the time to help get the word out to your readers on this subject.
What it may look like when Matt Davis/EHAMIOTAID comes to your town.
*Going to visit the homeless and taking it to the streets.
*ANY EVENT can include a band or artist playing/performing as well as at any event.
*A Rally in your town. I have a bullhorn. You make the signs.
*Any open mic nights or any other events taking place nearby.
*A small circle of friends in a home or other settings.
*On a stage speaking to a small group at any setting.
*EHAMIOTAID Shirts, Sticker, and Pins.
I want to go to anywhere I can and share my story and the hope I have. I can be as brief or elaborate with time and length of my visit as needed. With my visit to your town I’d like to do a rally to bring more awareness to Mental Health. These events can take different shapes. I do not have a hard line structure for all of this, in other words, I am flexible.