1. Your name: Michael Noll
2. Tell us a little about yourself. I’m a mental health therapist who 13 years ago decided that I needed to take control of my life, again. I was a computer programmer who was bounced between 5 jobs, over 4 states, in 6 years. So I went back and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, then a Masters in Community Counseling. I’ve got 2 kiddos (15 and 8), wife of nearly 12 years and a terrier/pug mix named Milo. Before becoming a therapist and programmer/analyst, though, I played Bass Guitar – teaching for nearly 7 years and in bands over the course of 23 years. I found my passion for mental health back in high school, though. There I was shy, but friendly, anxiety ridden (although I never really understood it), but that’s a whole ‘nother story altogether. But, in high school I was able to help other students in the SOS (Student’s Offering Support) program, alongside the STOP (Students Taking on Prevention) program. I absolutely loved helping and listening to others issues, and was pretty darn good at it. But, I hated school, so instead I went to work in warehouses, manufacturing jobs, flipping pizza’s (and burgers for a time). Until I hurt my foot (plantar fasciitis) by jumping off a forklift. The blue collar jobs couldn’t be done anymore – so I went back to school for computers.
3. Your social media accounts (URL) https://www.facebook.com/MichaelNollLPC/ https://twitter.com/mnoll_LPC (not using much, yet) and https://www.instagram.com/michaelnollcounseling/ (this isn’t used much at all)
4. Mental health diagnosis? ADD and potentially Generalized Anxiety (but never formally diagnosed).
5. How long have you been diagnosed? Not long, really, probably a year with ADD, but tested 2 years earlier – but I fought it for a long time.
6. How long have you been advocating for? 30 years off/on
7. What made you want to start advocating for mental health? (Please give as much detail as able) Being involved in the SOS group was probably the biggest part. Also just dealing with depression/anxiety throughout my 20’s and early 30’s.
8. What do you feel is your greatest strength as an advocate? In a way I think it’s my title as a therapist (LPC – licensed professional counselor), but if I wasn’t a therapist – known to many, I think it would be my willingness to “sit in the shit” with someone who’s suffering with _________ (fill in the blank). I also choose to NOT see people as their diagnosis…dunno where that came from, but I’ll thank my parents (who adopted me and my brother at age 1 ½ and 3 years of age (he’s older))
9. What more would you like to work on? Greater sense of how I can help people in general. Again, I don’t care about a diagnosis, I just want to be able to help people get to the next level of their existence…and hopefully 2-3 levels higher. I’m currently kicking around a book/e-course or both concept about how the Engligh language sucks, because words no longer hold the meaning they were meant to.
10. What do you feel you have accomplished so far as an advocate? I’ve helped de-stigmatize mental health in my community, and potentially across the globe. I continue to remind people that there’s nothing wrong with being “you.” And, how to be authentic in all situations, and be ok with that.
11. How has the stigma of mental health affected you? My attention issues have been so on-going for so long, that I finally asked my primary doc for meds to help with focus. You see I was moving my office in September 2018, and I was able to paint the new one. So I gave myself a ton of time – 3-4 weeks…well, one example of how my ADD was kicking in was that I painted the ‘W’ on the wall, stood looking at it, then walked away to do something else. I just couldn’t focus, and the painting took 3 weeks!! This is a 19’x10’ room mind you, a little over 200 square feet. So, I finally couldn’t do it anymore. My daughter suffers with depression and social anxiety, which has taken a toll on the family. Many of my friends and family all have un-diagnosed mental illness, from anxiety disorders to depression to the potential of forming BiPolar and Borderline Personality Disorder.
12. What message do you want to share with those who are staying silent about struggling? Be strong, know that help is out there. You’re not alone! Keep advocating for yourself , friends, family and strangers that aren’t able/willing to do it for themselves. I, along with many other therapists, coaches and advocates would love to help you on your journey…in fact, we are honored that you allow us to walk with you.