It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day and as a former Bell employee working at CTV - I always feel compelled to take part. Over the years I’ve heard so many touching stories, brave individuals stepping up to share their experiences and struggles with mental health in hopes of crushing a stigma that too often silences those affected. We must band together and start the conversation to move forward, increase access and support services for those who desperately need it and blast through all the misconceptions about individuals who are impacted by mental illness.
Throughout my life I’ve always tried to remain in touch with my own mental well-being, seeking help when I needed it through therapy, meditation and self-care but after the birth of my first baby, my more wholistic approach just wasn't cutting it. I developed Postpartum Depression and for the entire first year of my daughters life I needed to be on anti-depressant medication. The journey for me was frightening at first with many questions - Would I now need to depend on medication for the rest of my life? Because I couldn't manage on my own does that make me a weak person? Am I going crazy? Am I still a good mom? All of these fears, questions and damaging language were really just manifestations of stigmas I had unconsciously picked up in my own life. Ideas about what being on medication said about me as a person, when all it was really doing was helping to support my body and my mind during a time when I was healing and my hormones were stabilizing after birth.
Under the supervision of health care professionals, I was able to wean off a year later and haven’t needed to medicate since, but for others I know this isn’t the case and that’s okay too. I recognize there may come a time in my life when I need medication again and that’s also okay. We would never scoff at someone receiving chemo treatments for cancer so why should we make any judgements about others or even ourselves if we need to treat mental illness with medication? Be kind to yourself, be understanding of others and educate yourself on ways to seek support and support others who might be struggling.
One thing I’ve found super helpful in my own mental health journey is to remind myself about what is truly important. When a work problem crops up that might frustrate me, or a misunderstanding happens with a friend - I take a moment to remind myself about “My Family, My Body and My Heart.” At the end of the day it will always by my two daughters and my husband that I can rely on to fill me up, my body and my health are going to be with me always carrying me through life’s adventures and honouring myself, my heart and my passions will keep me centred and fulfilled. Anything else outside of that doesn't deserve the power i’m giving it by letting it in, letting it frustrate me or letting it get me down. So I do my best to let it go and focus that attention back on my family, my health and my heart. It sounds super cheesy I know - but it’s helped my let go a lot of negative energy over the years and helps me to feel super grateful for the these pillars and gifts in my life. It reminds me that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have such a beautiful, loving family, their health to keep them going and passions that fill their heart.
Anyways, those are just my own thoughts and musings on all of it haha. Please use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk - watch their videos and maybe even share a bit of your own story. <3