This week Bell Canada held it’s annual #LetsTalk campaign. They donate money to mental health for every tweet or text with the hashtag #LetsTalk. It is an incredible idea and Bell seems to get it with this campaign. I support it every year…but this year I thought I’d show my support by talking….Ok #LetsTalk.
You’ve heard the statistics over and over. 1 in 5 people will experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime. You know more than five people. You have more than five family or loved ones. A lot of people say it can never happen to me. Until it hits close to home. No one can really know how they will react to different experiences or crisis, or what coping mechanisms they will use. No one plans to get diabetes, and no one plans to have a mental illness.
I believe everyone is capable of having an addiction or mental illness given the wrong circumstances. A crisis that their mind needs a time out to deal with. For one person that could be the death of a loved one, abuse of some kind, a major life crisis. Sometimes people can get away with ignoring it, not acknowledging they never leave the house, or that they feel worthless. For others they throw themselves into their work so they don’t have time to think about their mental health or their feelings. Some people deal with it by partying a lot to numb the pain or feel liked others throw themselves into a hobby, project or relationship. They find other things to concentrate on, it doesn’t take that pain away.
It’s weird how people who are aggressive to others blocking out any feelings in society are considered normal. It is the people who feel their pain or can’t find an escape for it that need to talk about it…and no one will…cause they are too busy going after their dream to worry about someone else’s. I read a thing the other day that said “A man who hoards newspapers and magazines you call crazy and want to lock him up, but the one who hoards money til it’s just a number in the bank you stick on the cover of Fortune magazine and call him brilliant.” If people talked they would understand that talking and concern and attention and encouragement can help so many recoveries and avoid someone falling into a depression or eating disorder in the first place. Parents can do everything right and their child can still have a mental illness because of chemical differences in the brain. If someone had a thyroid problem that didn’t produce the hormones they needed no one would question why they are on medication and it’s all in their head. Sometimes it is the brain not the mind that is causing the difficulty.
Other times it is the mind. A parent after a child is taken away goes through a pain and grief that is incomparable to any other. It is a pain that changes you, there is a hole that was violently ripped away and there is no filling it. It is a pain that physically makes it hard to breath, that makes it impossible to see the world the same ever again, your life will not be the same ever again. People expect you to carry on through life and be yourself, but you are not you, you are only part of you. It can be a place you fall further and further into a greyer, darker place. It will always be there but support helps. People who listen for hours on end or just pass tissue when it’s needed. People to give them something to smile at in the day…
Thoughts are very powerful things and if we are able to make sure positive thoughts are being given so much that the negative ones are drown out. For someone with depression, low self esteem, who is suicidal, or has an eating disorder or face bullying or abuse…the greatest power they have is their thoughts…but they obviously are struggling to keep their thoughts positive on their own. If there are people there to support, love, encourage and teach life coping skills then positive will drown out the negative. Sometimes our brain and mind has had enough for a minute and just can’t cope with what it is focused on. It needs a time out to get the experience into terms it can understand.
It can never be the wrong answer to talk. Half the battle is understanding you are not alone in life and that you have worth. Sometimes the mind needs a lot of other minds to help them realize what their worth is and that they are valued. I was able to overcome my eating disorder when I stopped thinking “I’m not perfect”. As soon as I realized it was okay to be imperfect, I was still loved by my daughter, parents, family and friends that I found the courage to work at recovery. I knew I was worth recovery from my mental illness…who in your life could use a reminder that they are loved and they are worth it? You could save a life. My daughter, parents, family and friends saved mine.
My daughter still loved me even though I was “crazy”, my parents were there for me through years of my struggles, my sister in law flew half way across the country to tell me I was worth it. My best friend put up with me long enough to show me I was worth it. I hope that you will take the time to go to your loved one and say #LetsTalk