World Mental Health Day - Inspiring stories
For World Mental Health Day, Oct 10th, 2018, I am turning it over to you, to hear some inspiring stories from the brave people who are ready to talk about “How mental health has impacted your life”.
The hashtag #mindthefire will be used on October 10 and the goal of this campaign is to put the spotlight on individuals while providing examples of people in the community to whom individuals can relate to. For every post using #mindthefire Dunnebells will be donating $1.00 to It’s okay not to be okay.
Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20 per cent of Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime and today’s youth are especially susceptible. Unfortunately, only one out of five children who need mental health services receives them.
I have battled with mental health disorders since I was a teenager, mostly an eating disorder but also anxiety and depression. While I refuse to let diagnoses define me, these diagnoses have affected all aspects of my life, and everyday I work towards living a balanced, happy and healthy life.
I don’t exactly remember when it ‘started’ for me. It was a number of years ago, closer to decades ago. Thinking back, I think it all stemmed from a serious void in validation during some very formative years when I was younger. For a long time I sought external validation. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to accept and appreciate that I am enough. My self validation comes from my self care. For me, part of that means proper sleep, nutrition and exercise (specifically CrossFit, running and Laska walks).
Just keep going. One foot in front of the other.
Hope. Love. Sunshine. Smiles.
It has been a daily struggle with my anxiety, ADHD, and sleep issues. But everyday I try and put on a happy face as to not burden those around me, however there are rare moments when I will let my smile down and be absorbed in my thoughts. Everyday it’s a struggle, but everyday I am more and more willing to personalize mental health to help break down the stigma.
At the age of 17, my Dad committed suicide.
It is such a gift to be an adult in a young person’s life, my goal is to be a safe adult to the teens in our community that I didn’t have. Destigmatizing (male) mental health & building a community of mental wellness advocates has become my passion.
World Mental Health Day - 5 things to keep in mind:
1. Mental health isn’t just a topic for people struggling. Like physical health, we all want to keep in “good shape,” so we have to be aware of ways our mental health is negatively affected and what to do if that happens.
2. Having a mental health issue doesn’t make you weak. In fact, accepting it gives you the strength to push back against the stigma in society and to put a face to something that many people know little about.
3. It can be overwhelming for both patients and families to deal with a diagnosis. So be gentle with the way you use and talk about mental illness. Don’t make jokes, instead, provide a safe space for those struggling.
4. A diagnosis doesn’t define what you are capable of doing (or not doing). You are more than a label, and even though you are dealing with some things that can make your day-to-day journey a little bit more difficult, the diagnosis doesn’t determine who you are or your limitations.
5. Find joy and pleasure in little things such as your spiritual life, helping others, art, writing, practicing a sport, reading or taking part in physical exercise. These don’t make symptoms disappear, but it can make things easier to deal with.
Mental Health focus
The focus on this World Mental Health Day campaign is to not only open up the conversation around mental health, but provides easy access to communities and resources of support for those who are struggling.
Use hashtag #mindthefire and lets come together and support one another.
Stay strong. Be the fire.
There are many crisis centres available 24/7. For help, visit this suicide prevention site for your available options.