Today is World Mental Health Day.
Premier Rachel Notley issued the following statement on World Mental Health Day:
“Mental illness is as devastating as any disease of the body. All over Alberta, people from every imaginable walk of life suffer in silence. Many may show no outward symptoms, but the pain is still there beneath the surface.
“World Mental Health Day is a reminder not to turn away from this illness or those struggling with it. We have to stop the stigma. We have to fill the silence.
“I’m proud that the Government of Alberta is doing that. Together with AHS and community organizations, we’re leading over 150 initiatives as we move forward with the Valuing Mental Health: Next Steps action plan.
“They include more resources for students in school and post-secondary institutions, expanded community treatment options and improved training for front line workers like police officers and caregivers.
“All of this makes a difference. But the healing process depends just as much on family, friends and co-workers.
“We all know or have known someone close to us who is dealing with the isolation and despair of mental illness. I encourage everyone to reach out and offer love, care and understanding to that person.
“Let them know they are not alone. Let’s end the shame of mental illness and make Alberta a kinder, more accepting place.”
She is right. I have suffered. After having my daughter my world fell apart. I lost my job, which to me is part of who I am and my life changed forever. I fake smiled and got through the day, by focusing on taking care of my baby girl. I felt like a failure at life and as a mom, so I over compensated with trying to be the best mom I could and over analyzing everything. Nobody can be perfect so any slip up and I was right back to being a failure. First time moms can attest, it's a learning curve and you can't be perfect. A bad cycle I couldn't get out of. What I didn't know at the time, is that I was suffering from post par-tum depression. I didn't want to show it, I put on my radio mask and smiled at doctors, filled out the questionnaires and said I was fine. I wasn't. I was always tired, I struggled to just do my everyday tasks and sleep was my only solace. But eventually I wasn't scared to open up, eventually I talked to doctors and friends.
I got a job in my field again and that fixed a small part of me. But it took years of struggling, therapy and eventually medication to make me feel right and fully happy again. My life, like everyone's has never been perfect, still isn't, so I still have to manage my stress and feelings but I have been taught how to cope, I have learned my triggers, I know when to just stop and breathe and let things go, that I can't change. I walked away from a toxic marriage, which I couldn't have done if I hadn't gotten help and found myself again, and I have found me again. Not an exact version but a new and better me, a more knowledgeable me, a more informed me.
You are not alone. I know how hard it is to admit what you are going through, to talk about it, to get help. People use your struggles against you, they mock you for it, call you crazy. Well that's what World Mental Health Day is all about. To get rid of those stigmas. To help the uninformed, evolve and learn that while it can be hard and be a struggle, it doesn't make you weak or a bad person any more than a broken arm does. It's a disease. It requires treatment and the world needs to talk about it, open up the dialogue and stop treating people like it's wrong or that there is something wrong with them. They are people and have a problem but there are so many. Everyone is touched by it it some way. But it can be helped.
If you are struggling, please reach out. I am here, your teachers are here, your co-workers, family and friends are here. If you know someone struggling, don't mock or tell them it's in their head or their fault, help them!
Plus in Airdrie we have some great organizations to help you;
Among others. Click a link, make a call, whatever works for you but please reach out. I did and you can be better, trust me.
Plus support causes that raise funds and awareness for these issues like this Saturday (October 13th 2018). Airdrie's 4th Annual Unmask Mental Health Fundraiser is at Nosecreek Park from 10am-4pm.There is tons of fun for the whole family. So show up, show support and have a great time doing it.