It is Bell Let’s Talk day, and although I do not promote free advertising for major corporations, I do support humanity and anyone needing love and assistance. So, you won’t see me change my facebook profile picture or sending you inboxes. I am participating in the conversation in a way that feels good to me <3 (and totally no problem with them coming to me! It is all love <3 )
I have been interacting with mental health issues my entire life. I have done the dance of tiptoeing to not elicit a reaction, I have wondered “who will she/he be” today and I have felt powerless in how to help. I grew up far sooner than any child should have to. It was all part of what inspired me to go in to social work, and I have dedicated much time, energy and love to supporting others with their mental health, including addiction issues. There are people that I love so much that are struggling every day with mental health and addictions…often caused by self medicating due to lack of support, understanding and resources. And although I have moved from social work to coaching and healing, I still encounter similar stories daily. I know that each of you reading this has had a similar experience, even if just once.
I was an observer of mental health for 36 years. Then my world shattered in 2013 when I was hit by an impaired driver, high on methadone. Although I am loving the life that I am creating each day, I now can say that I have experienced what it is like to have struggled with deep depression and suicidal thoughts. I now know what it feels like to believe, even if just for a moment, that my family would have been better off if I had died. I don’t share that often, but it is relevant to the conversation. Did you know that brain injury survivors often have major depression? I had no clue, even as a social worker and a teacher, until it happened to me. It has been a journey, and a lot of lessons around acceptance and self love and surrender. We are all one event away from having a similar experience. Mental health issues are not a choice. Yet, there is so much stigma, lack of education and shame around it. There is a lot that we can do to shift this perception every day, and not just one day a year. It starts with listening instead of judging, with approaching what scares us with love, and creating our own tool kits for self care.
Part of my healing journey has been in recognizing the signs and shifting my energy and mindset. Here are my top 5 things (I could go on forever) that I do to manage depression when it hits…
1. I visit my gratitude journal and review all of the amazing people, places and things in my life. Sometimes I write paragraphs and other times, it is simply a word or two.
2. I watch and listen to uplifting and inspirational podcasts, music, books and videos. Wayne Dyer and Hay House in general are my favourites.
3. I connect with someone who inspires me. That might be a friend, one of my kids or grandkids, a colleague or even a stranger.
4. I get outside, in nature, often with my dog, Rosie, who is medicine all in herself. I might go hiking, I might just sit at the beach or under a tree…but I breathe and remind myself that I am part of something much bigger in this universe of ours.
5. I do some mirror work and think about what a blessing it is that I am even here in the first place.
What do you do? How do you build your self care to work for you? Let’s have these conversations everyday! And Bell, although I am not “playing” along today, I am grateful to whoever started this campaign and this conversation in a way to reach so many through social media. If you are called to financially help, please know that you can also donate your dollars directly to the organization of your choice or create a fun fundraiser and donate the money that way.
If you live in Niagara, here are some places that you can reach out to for help:
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