Whenever #BellLetsTalk Day comes around, my posting and tweeting finger gets ready. That’s because with every view of the video in the link below, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives.
I applaud Bell for initiating so many conversations about mental health and the stigma surrounding it.
My own journey with mental health has been an ongoing one, and it’s something I work at every day. I first experienced some hardship after the birth of my first son. I didn’t notice it coming on, but knew I was being plagued by dark thoughts and horrible nightmares. For quite some time, life continued. I thought I was okay, just tired and adjusting to having a baby. If anyone had told me I was suffering from post-partum depression, I would have scoffed. “Me? I’m not depressed. I’d know if I was depressed.”
But here’s the thing. You aren’t always the first one to realize it.
My husband pulled me aside one day and told me he thought there was a problem, that I wasn’t myself. In truth, I wasn’t. He was gentle and patient as he explained the things he’d seen, the things he’d heard me say. And then he suggested we visit our family doctor together.
As it turned out, I did have post-partum depression. The knowledge shocked and saddened me. How did I not feel it coming on? Shouldn’t I have seen the red flags in myself? Our doctor explained it was perfectly normal for me not to notice it in myself. It wasn’t a failing. It didn’t mean I was “broken” or “wrong.” I just needed help.
I sought treatment and am so glad I did. Since that day, our family has battled other mental health related issues as well. We’ve always been fortunate in that any stigma we’ve experienced has been minor and mostly self-inflicted. Of course, we were fortunate. So many others encounter horrible reactions and lack of support.
When your mental health is suffering, it is so easy to think there’s something wrong with you. However, the fact is our society needs to be better educated on mental health awareness. We need to learn to support each other better, which is why #BellLetsTalk Day means so much to me and so many others.
We talk openly about mental health in our family now. We have all struggled with it. We have all seen doctors and have had to have difficult conversations with each other. And I’m happy we did. If I saw someone suffering, as my husband did with me, I would have no problem counseling them to get professional help. The world can be a lonely place, and we are constantly surrounded by difficult imagery and messages. I know I still have to work hard to maintain good mental health, especially in the current political climate.
I sincerely hope today’s efforts will help everyone to open up dialogues in their homes and workplaces, so that we can build better support systems and help those who need it. No one should have to suffer alone in silence. Let’s talk.