Today, here in Canada, it is Bell Let’s Talk Day!
That means that every time you talk, tweet, or regram, Bell (the telecommunications company) will donate $0.05 to mental health initiatives! That means for every single text (not iMessage) and mobile and long-distance call made on the Bell network, $0.05; every time you Tweet or post on Instagram using #BellLetsTalk, $0.05; every time you watch the video on Facebook, 5 more cents!! So get on it!! Add the # to everything you post and comment / reply today, play the Facebook video over and over; get on Snapchat and use the geofilter!! I have no what that means, because I don’t have Snapchat, but whatever it is – USE IT!
From Bell: “In September 2010, Bell Let’s Talk began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health. At that time, most people were not talking about mental illness. But the numbers spoke volumes about the urgent need for action. Millions of Canadians, including leading personalities engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas and hope for those who struggle, with numbers growing every year.
As a result, institutions and organizations large and small in every region received new funding for access, care and research, from Bell Let’s Talk and from governments and corporations that have joined the cause. Bell’s total donation to mental health programs now stands at $79,919,178.55 and we are well on our way to donating at least $100 million through 2020.”
In recognition of this day, I would like to share my story with you, and tell each and every one of you lovely people:
I am here if you EVER need someone.
You are not doing this alone. You will never be a burden or a bother to me.
When I was 16 years old, I was taken to a local hospital by my high school guidance counselor, after knowledge of my latest suicide attempt made it to his office. This was my first experience with mental health professionals, and the beginning of a very long journey towards understanding who I am, what I have, and how to live WITH mental health. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder; these diagnoses were confirmed when I was twenty, and again when I was twenty-three by doctors and therapists.
At twenty-three I began taking antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs and they changed my life! Now, do not get my wrong, I am not saying that drugs are for everyone; I am ONLY saying that for me, in my experience, with my diagnosis, SSRI and SNRI drugs are exactly what I required, along with talk therapy.
I did not know, before twenty-three, what life was supposed to actually feel like! I had no idea that what I felt, and how I dealt with things, was not even close to the “normal” human experience. Even after four years, when my medication is unbalanced, I still find myself falling backwards into that deep darkness of depression and anxiety. I still have days when my emotions are totally off, with or without antidepressants, and a little voice says “wait, no, this isn’t how it should be,” but I feel it anyway. I have trouble sleeping; I have trouble waking up; I become lethargic and too anxious to even pick up the phone or leave the house; I stop being able to recognize the person in the mirror.
Those days are lesser now, my depression is manageable 9/10 times, and even though my anxiety is getting worse, and leaving the house seems to be getting harder, I am still more able to deal with that now than I was even two years ago.
I am one of the lucky ones. I survived. I got the help I needed. I am getting the help I need, I have support, and I’ve built a life that works with my mental health issues, instead of working against it.
My scars are still here with me, literally and metaphorically, and I know now that my disorders are not curable, that they are part of who I am, and I am able to accept that and talk about my past, present, and future with openness, honesty, and hope. It is thanks to programs like Bell Let’s Talk, Autralia’s R U Ok? Day, and the ever growing understanding of my fellow humans that I am where I am.
So today, Wednesday, Junuary 25, please, please, make a point of sending as many texts as you can (my dad texts one word at a time on every Let’s Talk day), use #BellLetsTalk every time you post, comment, or reply to anything on Twitter and Instagram – feel free just to spam me with # usage – and jump on Facebook to watch / share the video over and over, and over again!!
You may not be in Canada, but you can be in on the conversation!
Last, and most importantly: Please, if you are not okay today, or any other day, reach out.
Reach out to me, reach out to Genesis, reach out to a friend, to family, or one of the many help and support lines now readily available (in Canada, http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/get-help/ ).
Thank you for reading.
With 💜 from Spencer and Amanda.
Latte Nights Readers:
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