Usually, I don’t have any trouble talking. In fact, I can be a real chatterbox. The life of the party. The girl you wanna hang out with it. The wife, I’m sure, my husband wishes would. just. stop. talking. The mother who, well, you know, talks a lot, just ask my boys.
All that changes when my assholey depression and anxiety rears its ugly head. I lose my words, my creativity, my motivation, my sense of humour, my sense of self. I battle my mind and try to ignore the lies my assholey depression tells me. I withdraw. I go numb. I exist but that is it.
Today, however, I am going to step outside of myself and talk. Talk about mental illness. Talk about my depression. Talk. Just talk. It’s been ages since I wrote a post for my blog, a tell tale sign that my assholey depression won’t loosen its ugly grip on my mind, my body, my soul, my very being. It is relentless and hateful. But today is too important of a day to let go by. Today is Bell’s “Let’s Talk”.
Six years ago, Bell launched “Let’s Talk”, a wide-reaching, multi-year program designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health all across Canada. For every text, call, tweet and Instagram post, Facebook video view and use of Snapchat geofilter, Bell will contribute 5 ¢ more to mental health initiatives.
This is important, extremely import, and I urge you to participate in at least one form of social media today, using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians will develop a mental illness at some time in their lives. I am one of those 5. My mother is one, as was my father. I have watched friends and other extended members of my family battle their own mental health demons and, because of that, because of being surrounded by mental illness my entire life, I know how real mental illness is. It sucks. It hurts. It robs people of their brilliance, their quality of life. It has the strength, the power and the will to tear apart and destroy families, relationships, lives. Mental illness is real. It is serious. Mental illness can kill.
But there is help. Back in November, I hit an all time low. I was beginning to feel like I was becoming a burden to my family and friends. Thankfully, I understood how serious and dangerous this kind of thinking can be. So, I decided to talk. First to my husband, then to my family doctor and finally to my therapist. While I have a long road ahead of me in terms of understanding and developing more effective coping mechanisms for dealing with my depression, I am fortunate that my experiences with mental health issues up to this point in my life have provided me the self awareness to recognize when I am heading into dangerous territory and the importance of reaching out and talking to somebody. Not everyone is so lucky.
So, what can be done?
First off, let’s talk today. Text. Instagram. Snapchat. Hashtag the living daylights out of #BellLetsTalk to raise money for mental health initiatives. There’s still time; it’s not too late in the day to participate.
After that, educate yourself. Google. Visit a library. Contact your local mental health organization. Learn more. Ask questions. Tell a loved one you love them. Extend a hug. Reach out. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Show compassion. Be there. Encourage people to tell their stories. Let others know they are not alone. Anything is better than nothing.
Trust me, I know.
I’m talking and so can you.