It’s that time of the year again, Bell Let’s Talk, the campaign that brings awareness to mental health and helps break the stigma surrounding mental health. Every time you text and join in the conversation on social media, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.
This yearly event is important because mental health is more prominent for this generation, many people are affected but at the same time they are reluctant to share their struggles. Bell Let’s Talk encourages people to talk about mental health because in order to get better, it begins with a conversation. When we are physically hurt it is easily treatable and doctors are more willing to help. However, mental illness is invisible, it is an emotional pain that affects so many people of all ages. We need to take a stand recognize the problem and help people, instead of ridiculing them.
Depression is not a joke.
OCD is not a joke
Anxiety is not a joke.
Hypochondria is not a joke.
Mental health is not a joke.
Stop making a joke of something that affects people so much to point where they cannot function in their daily life. If you feel ashamed of dealing with mental illness, don’t! Get out there and open up because you have nothing to be ashamed about. I’ll open up about past or current struggles I’ve had with this.
I am a 27 (almost 28) year old female, I have been through my fair share of hardships in life. When I was sixteen years old, I used to have depression, anxiety and panic attacks. They were caused by the bullying I had to go through in middle school and high school, whch was a very rough period of my life. I wasn’t diagnosed fully because I was at a mild stage. I have a very strong will and I managed to get through it without medication, instead I applied cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of psychotherapy where the individual applies technique to change their thinking patterns. I didn’t want to give in to it and let it control me. Not many people are like me and in some circumstances medication is the answer. Seeking therapy to simply vent about your worries is not a bad thing. Counseling or therapy is good for you to express yourself, in addition, it’s good to explain to your family what you are going through because they might not understand. Be prepared, bring some reading material so they can educate themselves and understand why you are depressed, why you are anxious and so on.
You may ask me, why am I telling you this about myself? It’s simple, I am not afraid of sharing a weakness I had that made me stronger. However, there is something that still affects me and it is SAD, Seasonal Depressive Disorder. Winter is very gloomy and it affects my mood greatly, I have to deal with this every winter but I talk about it and ask my family doctor about coping strategies. It helps greatly to speak to someone! Also, even though my anxiety is not what it was when I was teenager, I still get anxious about stressful events. The difference between then and now is that I am more open to talk about it with my friends and family. Never be ashamed of who you are, life has obstacles and sometimes we need help to overcome the challenges. Do not think you are alone, there is always someone who will be there to listen to you. I’ve been open with my family doctor about having hypochondria, fear of having a life threatening disease. Any symptom that seems out of the ordinary triggers those thoughts, but luckily I have a family doctor that is understanding and helps me. You see I am very open about these things, if it was before I would’ve been ashamed. I have nothing to be ashamed about, because I have overcome and still overcoming these obstacles.
So today, let’s start a conversation to lead to a better world where we are not afraid to seek help and talk about mental illness. Bringing awareness to mental illness also starts with societal change. Implementing programs to help people who suffer and have workshops to educate people about the effects of mental illness. Everyone has it, if someone say they don’t, then they are very good at hiding it.
If you feel brave, please share below how you are battling mental illness. Let’s end the stigma and create change!
Thank you for reading and see you soon!