Today is Bell’s “Let’s Talk” day.
Today is a day to talk about mental health.
It’s not “the” day, because mental health should be talked about whenever…where ever…and repeatedly, where necessary.
The world as I see it, ain’t all purple painted ponies pooping butterflies jacked up on SugarSmacks. I shit you not. True story.
I know many things about mental health, and I’m making a choice to talk to you about it in the hopes that it might enable you to start a conversation with someone – either for yourself, or to help a loved one.
I’ve endeavored to overcome my battles with anxiety and depression since I first realized I suffered from both, often concurrently.
Said realization occurred when I was 15 years old and sliced my arm 15 times with a twin-blade razor. Thing is, physical pain alters your brain circuitry and thus allows oneself to *not* feel like…well…like I did. I know this from years of therapy. And testing. I’m a true Sheldon Cooper…gifted with a touch of bat-shit crazy. My mother did have me tested.
Being quite smart, I also figured out the patterns in the testing, thus allowing me to modify my answers so that I would be more like “normal”. Who wants to be labelled “mentally unstable” or qualify under the category of “mental illness”???
2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection. ~ Canadian Medical Association
Worst. Thing. I. Have. Ever. Done.
I don’t regret much in my life.
That is the highlight of my few regrets.
But wait! There’s more!
I missed my frosh week at Carleton University attending to my mentally ill mother I had to have admitted to the psych floor of the Ottawa General Hospital because my father was away on military business…in AFRICA.
While my friends were out partying and trying to cop a feel, I was slamming a syringe down on a nurse’s desk asking what would compel him to think leaving it beside someone so “out of sorts” was a good idea?
Less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research. ~Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health
End the stigma.
1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life. ~Canadian Institute of Health Research
Go down your friends lists on all of your social media.
1 in 5. I’m one.
I’ve required the use of pharmaceutical medications to reboot my chemical balances in my brain.
I’ve used meditation. I suck at meditation.
I’ve then used visualization.
One day last year I posted an image to my Facebook wall that was brimming with colour. And I liked it.
Liked it SO much, in fact…I quickly posted another.
Thing is…this was totally for “Me.”
Thing is…this took off like a leaf in a wind storm.
People see colourful items, images or whatnot…and they share it with me. I can put a call out for “Colour!!” STAT! when I’m having a less-than-stellar day and…there it is.
27 images of colour posted. And I felt an immediate kind of escapism from the shitastic episode of my made-for-tv-movie kind’o’life.
It’s a little thing. It’s a BIG thing. It’s a thing that I had to take the time and effort to find in order that my Black Dog would just…y’know…not be a Black Dog. (for an excellent source of information regarding depression, bipolar disorder, etc…I do recommend the Black Dog Institute and it’s corresponding Youtube video…)
Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year-olds and 16% among 25-44 year-olds. ~ CMHA
Let’s totally go there.
It’s about a Candid Conversation…a post I’d made earlier regarding depression and mental health, and how I struggle with it. Daily. I wrote it because often, people struggle not only talk about their Black Dog, but friends and family, honestly, just simply do not know what to say.
Only 49% of Canadians said they would socialize with a friend who has a serious mental illness. ~ Canadian Medical Association
Almost half of Canadians.
Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities. ~ CMHA
Imagine, then…a world where recognition leads to a marked difference in the lives of not only those who suffer from mental health disorders, but to their family and friends, by extension.
That, my friends, is a WIN-WIN.
Enter, The #gladitude project.
It’s my concept of training yourself to find little, seemingly insignificant “goings on” during your days to remind yourself that no matter the storm…there are bits of awesome all ’round us. It also helps to enforce “living in the moment”…because you are more aware of finding those little things, you’re much more apt to notice: LIFE. 😉
How is this effective?
1) It never, EVER, invalidates the suckage that occurs during our daily lives, and;
2) It is a way to learn to recognize just what makes us, “Us.” It permits us the awareness of feeling like a big bag of suck, thus allowing us to pro-actively take the steps necessary to alleviate those feelings. In time, I hope it grants the confidence to take it that one step further and…
TALK ABOUT IT.