January 28th, 2015 the day where a country comes together to build a better future for those with mental illness, and try to end the stigma surrounding it.
For every call and text from a Bell subscriber, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk Bell donates 5 cents in the fight to help those with mental illness.
This is the third year that I have actively participated by tweeting up a storm and encouraging those around me to do the same. I’m not going to list all the statistics because I’m not an expert and honestly they scare me! But I can say that each year Bell is raising more and more money, more and more awareness and that’s a good thing.
Today I read so many personal stories of people battling with mental illness, learned how some of them overcame all the odds and are working towards recovery. I also read all the sad tweets that showed a loved one, or a friend who wasn’t as lucky, couldn’t get the help and lost their battle.
I have always said that if it wasn’t for my family’s support I probably would have went down those very dark paths. I do have struggles with anxiety, and depression but at a level that is not devastating, where I can recognize it in myself and find ways to cope.
I tweeted earlier today that some days I would rather just stay home and cry, sometimes the though of getting up and going outside is almost too much. Not knowing if there will be stares, if there will be a second look or a look that lasts a little too long. Some days I don’t want to deal with that! Add to that the stress of taking care of an adult parent who cannot look after themselves having that cut you and your sister off from really doing anything together like you used to, it makes me scratch my head and wonder when the next shoe will drop and if that will finally be the thing that pushes me over the edge.
When I read the struggle of one young person today and to see that she struggled and tried to cope all through out her life, I cried. I wanted to find a way to get to her, give her a hug and tell her everything is going to be OK. I know not everyday will be OK for her, she knows this too, she only sought help a little over 2 months ago but the bravery she showed in just letting everyone see what she has gone through shows me that she will be OK.
I can’t help but think of my co-workers son who lost his battle with mental illness late last year, and a co-worker who lost his battle also late last year. It makes me realize that the stigma surrounding mental illness is very much still present. That people who suffer do so in silence and in so much pain it makes what I have been through look like a walk in the park. I know that for some reason I was built in such away that I can keep on taking blow after blow and keep getting up, I’m really not sure for how much longer but I’ve still got lots of fight in me. I want to take on everyone’s hurt, I would change a lot if I could, I would change the world!
#BellLetsTalk campaign which really came from Clara Hughes desire to use her own struggles to start a dialogue and to really help those who are going through what she went through. To prove that those with mental illness can recover, can lead full happy and productive lives. I personal don’t believe that the Government is doing all that it can do to support those with mental illness, I know that there are countless volunteers, doctors, parents, and teachers that are on the front lines who do not have the support they need to be able to help those who come to them. #BellLetsTalk aims to change that, with the money raised they are able to fund initiatives and support organizations through out the year.
It’s never easy dealing with stress, sometimes just life in general seems like it’s going to fall down and crush you. Knowing when you are beyond your limits or when to ask for help is key. Knowing is one thing, actively asking is a whole other issue. Sometimes I have struggled with that, not knowing if and when I should ask for help, I’ve always been the one that my friends come to when they need someone to listen, and I love my friends but sometimes I haven’t felt that I can go to them. Most of my friends have kids or they struggle with their own issues and life that it’s hard to have those conversations. For me it’s also that not a lot of people can understand what it’s like to go out and be stared at, laughed at, or pointed at. I get it, I’m not blaming anyone but society for that, I have to own that I look different, that the way society views people with differences isn’t going to change anytime soon. All I can do is continue to be myself, continue to work hard, continue to use my voice to help others and to continue to love my friends, my family, and my doggies. I’m very lucky because on the days I don’t have enough love for myself I know my friends and family (and doggies) have what I need.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please TALK, please remember that you can recover, that the you need the night to see the beautiful stars. It’s not about someone who is struggling more than you, it’s about YOU and YOU matter. If someone tries to open up about something that is important, please don’t brush them off, it might be that one moment that you won’t be able to change but it could be the one moment that changes everything. Remember that I am here for ALL of you, if you don’t have someone available to listen, please know that I WILL!