Let’s Talk About Mental Illness

help 80%Today is a bonus post because, here in Canada, an event that I’m passionate about it happening – Bell Let’s Talk Day. It is put on by the telecommunications company Bell and it’s meant to bring light to mental illnesses. It’s premise is to get people talking about mental illnesses and strives to end the stigma around mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses are real and are not just in a person’s head. The phrase “it’s all in your head” is very damaging to people who have mental illnesses because you’re brushing off what is very real for them and they feel like a failure because they are not able to “shake it off”.

less than 4% I watched a TEDTalk a couple of months ago about someone who had a mental illness. At one point he said that if he stood up there and told people he had cancer, they would feel sympathy for him but if he told people he had a mental illness, people wouldn’t talk him seriously, say it was all just in his head, or possibly even be scared of him.

It is true. When it comes to illnesses of the brain/mind, we are less likely to sympathize with them than if they had a illness of the body.

fearfulI think part of the reason we respond differently is because people are unaware of how it affects the person with the illness and because of the media.

Just the other day, I had a friend text me about a guy who had asked her out who was on meds for depression and anxiety and someone told her that they thought he had schizophrenia as well. She was still willing to go out with him but she didn’t know much about schizophrenia. I have someone close to me who has schizophrenia and I told her that if he was like them, he would be aware of his symptoms and know when to take extra meds.socialize

Another thing she said was that she would not have known he was on medication for mental illnesses if he had not told her. I think that is one thing people often don’t realize. People with mental illnesses can live normal lives when they’re getting treatment.

One stat that always astounds me is how many people say they would not socialize with a friend who has a serious mental illness. Do people not realize how many people around them suffer from mental illnesses? Considering that 1 in 5 people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their life, you’ve probably socialized with many people who have mental illnesses. How would you respond if you knew about their mental illness?

1 in 5 canadiansThe stigma around mental illnesses stop people from getting help. I know when I was going through my struggles of my own mental health, for many years I didn’t tell anyone about them because I thought they would think of me differently and I was ashamed of my struggles.

We also have a tendency to label people with their illnesses. We make it part of their identity. Someone doesn’t have schizophrenia, they are schizophrenic. Someone doesn’t have bipolar depression or manic depression, they are bipolar.

suffer in silenceThe same is not true of other illnesses. We don’t go around saying someone is cancer, someone is high blood pressure, someone is diabetes. No, we say they have cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes. We don’t throw comments around like “Oh, he’s just cancer” or “She’s just diabetes.” But we do it for mental illnesses. “He’s just schizophrenic.” “She’s just depressed.”

We need to change the way we speak about mental illnesses and become aware and more knowledgeable about them.

The only time we really hear about mental illnesses in the media is when someone with one kills someone. We need to change the perception that people with mental illnesses are to be feared and are dangerous.1 out of 5 children

They are ordinary people who have illnesses that can be treated and they need our support. Be part of the conversation. Start talking about mental illnesses today and every day.

For more stats and to find out how you can help go to letstalk.bell.ca

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Hidden Agenda – Book Review

This is the third book in Lisa Harris’ series Southern Crimes. The first two books are Dangerous Passage and Fatal Exchange. It continues with the story of the Hunt family – this time with Michael Hunt, who his family thinks is dead. Michael has been working undercover in the cartel under Antonio Valez. His cover is blown but he can’t turn to the authorities because of corruption within the Atlanta police department and he’s been accused of being a mole in the police department. He’s being hunted by both the cartel and the police and his only hope is Olivia Hamilton, the daughter of Antonio Valez, and the woman he is falling for.

The intricate web of lies and deceit on many different levels in this book keeps you on the edge of your seat. As Michael and Olivia try to stay one step ahead of those chasing them, you are drawn into the storyline. If you’ve read the first two books in the series, knowing that Michael is alive and did not die in an explosion as his family was led to believe, will compel you to find out if he is ever going to be reunited with his family with the price on his head.

I had never read the first book in this series so I wasn’t all that interested in the few sections where Avery (Michael’s older sister) was the POV character. I found these sections didn’t bring a whole lot to the story which I might have felt different about if I had read Jackson and Avery’s story.

This book is a Christian romantic suspense novel so Christianity is woven among the romance and suspense.

2014 Year in Review

I wasn’t going to do a “year in review” blog post this year as a tragic event and health issues in the latter part of the year made 2014 a year I wish had never happened. However, I decided it might be best to do a “year in review” to possibly see the good things that happened throughout the year as well as the bad. I’ve decided to organize the year of 2014 into themes instead of doing them chronologically this time. I also tried to keep them short so this post wouldn’t be too long.

Breaking Free finished

Within the first couple of days into 2014, I finished writing the manuscript of Breaking Free. The next several months were spent editing and revising, with the it being released July 1, 2014.

Schooling and Work

I continued my Library & Information Technology program with the summer off. I had two work placements during the second and third semesters of my program – one in April and one in October. During the summer, I worked at my local public library again and probably for the last time.

Sports

A highlight for me of 2014 was attending my first NHL games. The first game I attended was in March and the local NHL team was playing my favorite team. Then in September, I attended two more NHL games but this time they were pre-season games.

Health Issues

In the latter parts of 2013, I went to see a doctor and had a blood test to check my hormones that I never got the results of so I figured everything showed up fine in my blood test. A few months later, probably in February or March, I knew something was wrong with hormones and wanted to talk to the doctor again about it so I phone the clinic but the doctor had gone back to cancer care. I never ended up talking to a doctor about that again until recently.

In March my ankle starting bothering me and I finally went to the doctor about it in July but he said it was probably just tendinitis.

Around September or so, I started having a lot of abdominal pain and intestinal issues that had kind of been off and on for the last several years but it was much worse and more consistent. I finally went to the doctor about it in early December because it had gotten so bad. I was then diagnosed with H. Pylori which had caused an ulcer that I had to take 22 pills a day for seven days over my Christmas holidays because I couldn’t take penicillin.

Brother’s Death

The thing that affected my year the most was my brother drowning on August 9. I will probably never forget that day. Since my brother’s death, I have been to several “ceremonies” or “memorials” for him at hockey games and went to things that I probably wouldn’t have gone to before. My dad, my oldest brother, and I also had a meeting with the Minister of Water Stewardship and Conservation and several other people to see what could be done at the beach that my brother drowned at to stop it from happening to other people.

Dreams vs Reality

Everyone has dreams. It’s part of what makes us human and hopeful for the future. But what happens when our dreams meet reality?

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had three major dreams – two I’ve pretty much given up on because of the reality I’m faced with, and 1/4 of the other dream died this past summer. I’ve been left wondering if I have any dreams anymore and if it’s even worth making dreams if reality always seems to be against them.

How many dreams live in spite of the reality that those dreams are born in? Does the hope brought out by having dreams outweigh the devastation when dreams are shattered?

Oftentimes reality gets in the way of making dreams for me. I like to consider myself a practical and logical person and whenever I think about future plans my brain rules things out because they’re not practical, logical, or realistic.

At one point, a few years ago, I considered working in an orphanage. However, that hasn’t come to fruition and probably never will because it’s not realistic for me to do some of the things to get that far.

I dislike when people ask me what my dreams are because I honestly don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll have dreams but it will have to be in the realm of reality and I’m not sure how that works. I see my reality which currently doesn’t foster dreams.

In the battle of dreams vs. reality, reality is currently winning.

The biggest dream that I have right now would be to impact at least one person’s life for the better but that dream is very hard to know if it was ever achieved so I’ll never know how it fared in the battle between the dream and reality.

What are your dreams? How do they fair against the reality that you live in?

P.S. This year I hope to be more consistent in posting to this blog. I plan to post every Sunday so for those of you who still read my blog, keep me accountable.