Having supported people struggling with mental health for 15 years, I realize there is so much in life we can take for granted. Although many of us have had “down” or “off days”, for the lucky ones, we are able to bounce back fairly quickly. But can you imagine going through life happy and healthy then BAM – being knocked out by a physical illness or loss of a loved one or being in an unhealthy relationship at home or work? Or can you imagine always struggling with mental health and seeing these same struggles in a parent or sibling?
Can you imagine waking up with the weight of the world bearing down on you or feeling paralyzed by fear? Can you imagine feeling physically and mentally exhausted or consumed by sadness with no warning of when this uninvited guest will show up or how long he will stay. Can you imagine feeling like everything you do or say is wrong or stupid and that all eyes are on you? Can you imagine feeling naked, exposed and totally inadequate? Can you imagine this tormentor refusing to leave, robbing you of your confidence, your concentration and your joy?
Imagine how hard it would be to get out of bed, how each step forward would feel like trudging through quick sand. Imagine how much easier it would be to hide under the covers and wait, pleading for the light to return.
Mental illness does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone. Chances are, you or someone you know might be suffering in silence because of fear of judgement or exclusion. What if together, we imagined a world where people with mental health struggles were supported instead of stigmatized and included rather than isolated?
We celebrate the strength it takes to reach out and aim to replace judgement with understanding and despair with hope. Our weekly walk-in counselling clinic is a safe place to share your story and gain valuable tools. We know the winter can be an especially tough time. Join me on Sat Jan 30, 2015 at 2pm at the Queen Square Library where I will be talking about self-care and healthy coping. Registration has begun for the “Creative Coping” group for women which starts Feb 8, 2016. We also have a weekly men’s group that is offered through out the year. We know validation and healing can happen with knowing you are not alone and learning practices to soothe the body and calm the mind.
Learn more at Bell Let’s Talk.ca and tweet, talk, text and share on Wed Jan 27/16 – this year’s Bell Let’s Talk day.
Nicole, Jan, 2016