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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Let’s Talk… About Mental Health

Tomorrow is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Tomorrow Bell Canada and Bell Aliant will donate 5c for every text sent and every cell or long-distance call, if you are one of their customers. However, even if we’re not Bell customers, we can all help by tweeting using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or sharing their Facebook image (I will be sharing this on the Menopause Moi Facebook page), for which they will also donate 5c.

Let's Talk... About Mental Health
Photo courtesy of stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net


This initiative has raised millions of dollars over the years, but more than that, it is raising awareness of mental health issues and trying to reduce the stigma around discussing them. The statistics typically cite that one in five are sufferers of mental illness in Canada.

The annual dollar costs, both to the healthcare system and in lost productivity, are huge. However, they are nothing compared to the personal costs of the sufferers and their loved ones.



The reason this is a big deal to me is that I have been the statistic. I have been the one in five.

I have suffered from depression, some of it major. This post was going to detail that experience. I wanted to share part of what I went through. In terms of how I felt within myself. In terms of how others treated me because of it. To try and help others going through it.

However I can’t. A lot of time has passed since I experienced the depths of my depression, but it is still difficult to put words to. Not because I fear the stigma. I did at the time, but not anymore. It’s that I am unable to adequately articulate those emotions.

Perhaps, as a writer, I will one day be able to find the words. Not only find them, but separate them from the feelings that once again take on a life of their own as I try to commit them to the page.

The most important, and positive thing is that I am now better. I reached out and got help. My GP listened to me, formulated a treatment plan and involved me in the process, immediately giving me back a small sense of control over my own life.

For me, there was medication, in the short term, to help balance things out. Then, because I was unable to be objective, he recommended counselling. This was the key that made all the difference. It was there that I received insight and tools that continue to help me recognize when I am at risk and ways to help myself out.

The only time this did not work for me was when I developed a thyroid condition. I thought I knew what was going on, but did not and endured more than I needed to in the process. Which is another reason why it is so important to ask for help sooner rather than later.

We are all different, so what worked for me will not necessarily work for everyone. But if you need help there is something that will make a difference for you, so please reach out.

And please, please, help Bell Canada with their initiative to raise not only money but awareness. Their website letstalk.bell.ca has a wealth of information and resources for those who are struggling, as well as those who love and care for them.

The stigma of mental illness is less that it was twenty years ago, when I was suffering my worst, but there is still work to do.

So tomorrow, Let’s Talk!




4 comments:

  1. Hello from a fellow Canadian blogger, aspiring novelist, and menopause compatriot. :) And yes, I too, was one of the 1 in 5.

    I know what you mean about writing about it. I've often thought that I should. The stigma is less than it was when I was immersed in it, but there's still a long way to go.

    The social supports are still so sadly lacking and I can still sense that some people have the words "get over it" perched on their lips. It's in their eyes, even has they bite their lip.

    BTW - I hope you guys are okay out East today. Has the blizzard hit your area or will you escape it's path?

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    1. Hello, and thanks for stopping by. You're right, it is difficult to see how much stigma does still exist. The good thing was that I was able to overcome and get help. Sounds like you did too. I'm glad! (And yes, we did get hit by the blizzard - a snow day for all! - but it was not as bad as originally predicted!)

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  2. You will find the words to tell your story when you are ready. In the meantime I'm glad you are ok and this initiative sounds wonderful. Hope it went well!

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    1. Thank you, Cathy. This year Bell Let's Talk Day raised over $6M! Great news indeed! As for me, I thought I had the words... not yet, I guess. Glad to just be in a happier place these days.

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