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Featured Advocate: Jeff Johnston

Jeff Johnston has been writing poetry for a number of years. Most of his writing is done in the moment as opposed to manufacturing an idea. It is about the strong emotions felt at any given time, when the emotion prevails over the logical, and it must escape onto the written page. Much of his writing is therapy, as he releases the demons inside. This led him to write his book YES YOU CAN HELP BUT NOT THAT WAY! A short book to help the loved ones of those suffering Depression maybe understand a bit more. He has been addressing his own Depression and Anxiety for the last eight years and has written this book not from a doctor's point of view, but from a survivor's. His poetry has been compared to Rod McKuen and Allen Ginsberg in his style of writing, Jeff Johnston has introduced us to "PoextS". PoextS are eight-line poems that have been texted to an audience for his therapy and their response. In this day and age of texting, Twitter, and other means of "quick communication", he has captured the moment with his own insightful commentary and received much feedback that he is speaking for a very wide audience...a society constantly searching for their own way. His website is:

What excites you?

Growth. An individual’s growth from whatever Point A they are at to a better, whatever that means to them individually, Point B.

What matters to you?

1. The awareness of what so many are going through mentally

2. The awareness of how so many “hide” this away for fear of consequences

3. The awareness of society to attempt understanding to a situation they have never encountered before

4. The awareness of society to recognize the ever-increasing suicidal rates of teenagers and how this may be addressed

What drives you?

My acceptance to survive. If I do not survive my mental struggles, how will I help those who currently exist and those who will surely follow.

What do you stand for?

To love oneself. I feel as I wrote the following that we are a society that does not know we do not love ourselves, and we therefore take it out on all those around us.

What are some lessons have you learned from your own journey that you would like to share with others?

The number one lesson I learned in the second week of psych lock down is this:


A young man, perhaps 20, was in lockdown for a 3rd time. I asked why. He said he was failing Calculus. I was about to respond something like, “are you fucking kidding me” when I realized the above statement.

How does your art and advocating for others go hand in hand? Do you want others to feel less alone through your devotion to your own art and your freedom of expression?

Less alone…YES x 10!

In my 9-year battle, and it is a battle, with depression, this is the best video I ever saw describing depression:

My family did not understand what I had been through or was going through, though I did try to share with them. Then a few years later, my brother called to say his partner’s son had announced he was going to kill himself, and all the information I had sent him which he never looked at, could I help now. I sent this video to him. His girlfriend showed it to her son. He said that was exactly how he felt. My response to my brother was as follows:

1. Good. Now he knows he is not alone

2. Good. Now you guys have an idea how he feels

3. Good. There are ways to get help

4. Sorry, he feels this way

What causes are special to your heart?

1. How to understand the mechanics of depression and Panic Attacks…reliving a past traumatic event over and over, letting the body control the mind versus “I control my mind….My mind controls my body…Be present…I’m present”

2. How to understand the mechanics of Anxiety…the fear of a future event or nonevent.

What's the difference you want to make?

Awareness and understanding of the mental, physical and spiritual struggle depression represent to an individual and their loved ones.

If there's one message you want to leave readers with, what would it be?

Honestly…do you love yourself? You can only love another as much as you love yourself.

This is not selfish…it is selfless.

FOLLOW HIM ON: poexts...............Facebook @poexts............Twitter poexts_by_jeff....Instagram

Are you ready to love yourself?

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