Wednesday, January 31, 2018


It's been some time since I've been around these parts of the interweb, but I'm here today to talk about something very important and to raise awareness. In Canada, today is known as #BellLetsTalk day. A day dedicated to creating conversation and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. Back in 2010, Bell began this campaign not only to raise money, but more so to raise awareness about how many people suffer from various forms of mental illnesses. One if five Canadians will suffer from some form of mental illness in their lifetime and a big hurdle for anyone suffering from it, is overcoming the stigma attached to it. I know for years I was embarrassed and ashamed of the constant feelings from anxiety and depression that I had to deal with and didn't want to talk about it because I was scared of what people would think. This initiative gives a much needed voice to those who didn't or don't quite know how to speak up about it and helps to break down that stigma.

I struggle with anxiety and depression. Something I'm not always vocal about or open to discussing. Growing up, I lived and suffered in silence because I didn't know how to talk about it, and the stigma that was attached to mental illness was so negative and made me feel terrible about myself. However, #BellLetsTalk made it easier for me to come forward about what I go through, and talk to people about it. It opened my eyes to the fact that I'm not alone in what I go through, and I no longer needed to suffer in silence. Every year around this time I'm reminded why it's so important to talk about this kind of thing, and it serves as a constant reminder throughout the year that it's OK to talk about mental health. Although it can be heavy for others around you to deal with, it's nothing compared to what you personally have to deal with and talking about it makes it that much easier. I wanted to open up and talk more about what I go through, because like I said, I know I'm not alone and the time is now to create change and break down the stigma. 

I'm not perfect. No one is. I have my good days, and I have my really shitty, terrible, bad days. There are times when my anxiety is so crippling I find it difficult to leave the house and do normal, day to day tasks like getting in the car to go to work or leaving my front door to go downstairs for the mail. There are days when I'm laughing and creating positive memories with family and friends, and days where I find myself bursting into tears for no known reasons except that I'm feeling overwhelmed, emotional and beyond anything else: anxious. There are days that are so bright and I'm optimistic about what the future holds, and then there days that are so dark I'm unsure if I can carry on. Although sometimes my anxiety and depression can get the best of me, I feel as though it's important to talk about it with those around me, so I don't have to feel so alone and can make a change to better myself. 

Talking about mental illness is the first step towards lasting change. You can never be sure of what someone is dealing with in their lives, unless you ask them. Whatever battle you may be fighting, know that it's okay to talk about it. Talk to someone who you trust, someone you love, someone who's willing to lend an ear and listen to you. If you're looking for help, they will help you find it and together we can end the stigma. If you're feeling alone and not sure who to talk to, there are multiple services available that can and will help you, such as Kids Help PhoneCMHA and more ways to find help linked here. Reach out to a friend or loved one and ask them how they are doing, be there for them and show that you care and that they matter. 

The sun will shine brighter when we care for each other and end the stigma. 

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