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Showing posts from January, 2014

"Let's Talk at Work"

What do legendary politician Winston Churchill, Olympian Clara Hughes, and me (sixth grade Summit Elementary Citizenship Award winner) have in common? We all chose to tell a story, our own personal story. That story? Of depression.

In my last post I spoke about how difficult it can be to open up and speak about illnesses that remain, for the most part, shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding. It's uncomfortable to talk about mental illness, both for the majority of people who have one and certainly for those who don't.

For the most part people have been kind and empathetic towards me. They have wanted to understand what my journey is and they have wanted to provide comfort. But they often felt so uncomfortable with the idea of saying the wrong thing and upsetting me, that they didn't say or do anything at all. I understand that - absolutely. But we will never truly conquer stigma if we don't make ourselves just a little bit uncomfortable. And when I say 'we', …

"The Power of Words"



January is an important month for mental health advocates in Canada. Well, every month, every day in fact, is important for us - but January is special. Three years ago Bell Canada established the Let's Talk campaign. Bell isn't asking you or me for money - they'll look after that part themselves; they are well on their way to their $50 million dollar commitment. Bell is asking us to do something really simple: talk.

Is talking about mental illness simple? For me, it's pretty easy. But I have been talking about depression and anxiety for a long time. I have had a lot of practice at it. For others it's not so easy. It's not simple at all.

I have seen a shift in the perception and understanding of mental illness in the 20 or so years since I was first diagnosed. When I first began to struggle with depression I knew of a family member who had been diagnosed and perhaps a family friend or two. But that was about it. I certainly had no idea if any of my friends or…

"To Infinity and Beyond"

 

Do you ask for things in life? Do you understand and recognize your value? Do you set limitations and see imaginary boundaries in front of you?

It's very easy to fall into a rut in life. Driving the same route to work every day, planning the same vacations with the same friends, reading the same type of book over and over again. Eating chicken on Tuesdays and sushi on Fridays. Are you living life in your comfort zone? That's OK. It's called a comfort zone for a reason - comfort feels nice. But do you want more from your life? Do you even think that there is more to life? Do you think you deserve more?

Here's the truly great thing about experiencing severe depression (yes, I said truly great) - it brings with it lessons and messages. The catch is that you need to be open to them, have the courage to listen to them. That's often a hard thing. I speak from experience.

One of the big lessons that I have learned in the past three years of living with depression ha…