I love the Bell Let’s Talk initiative that shines a light on mental health. Texting, tweeting and sharing Facebook posts all to raise money to help provide care and research, but more importantly, to raise awareness and help end the stigma associated with mental illness.
So, let’s talk!
I began running and continue to run as a tool to treat my own mental health illness. I have been diagnosed with and treated for depression most of my adult life. It is what it is. I have been prescribed medications to help treat the depression during challenging times, especially post partum. Currently, I’m lucky enough to be able to manage the symptoms with exercise and diet.
Depression stopped me from participating in life by finding little ways to prevent me from living the amazing life I had. It made me see the negativity in everything – the glass was always empty. It stopped me from feeling the love and kindness the world had to offer me. It was like a suit of armor that stopped the good yet sucked in the bad. It made me physically hurt. It zapped my energy, stole my purpose and crushed my spirit. Depression is a powerful and debilitating illness.
Currently I’m healthy and strong for the majority of days. I am grateful for that. It was not an easy road to get there and I am still aware that I need to take care of me daily. I am still aware that treatment is ongoing.
I was lucky. I have an amazing partner that held my hand while I battled the disease. He encouraged treatment, saw the depression for what it was, and picked me up when it would dig its claws in deep.
I received a diagnosis. I received treatment. I received education that allowed me to understand the disease. I received non-judgemental and committed support from my family. I was lucky.
Many people don’t receive a diagnosis, treatment, or needed information and don’t have a support system. The stigma associated with mental health illnesses prevents it.
Bell Let’s Talk day is a show of courage against the stigma. A step to stop the illnesses from defining people. A step to stop letting the illnesses steal precious moments from beautiful lives. I encourage everyone to text, tweet and share Bell’s Facebook posts today! I encourage you to be courageous the rest of the year and help end the stigma. Change your vocabulary, open your heart, encourage those who need it, and help change the way we look at mental heath.