#BellLetsTalk

Today's post is in honour of Bell's Let's Talk initiative they have here in Canada. For today, January 25, 2017, Bell will donate ¢5 for every tweet and retweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk to mental health initiatives. This is a big deal for a lot of people and it helps open the dialogue about mental health. My post today is going to focus on that, but I don't want people to feel like they're reading something they're not ready for, or don't want. So keep reading if you want, but I won't be offended if you don't.

When it comes to my depression, this is the thing I’ve been most afraid of talking about. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it, you know?

I’ve been suicidal since I was 13. At first, I just thought about it and wrote about it a lot. I had started keeping a diary then. I just wanted to die: to disappear because it was too painful to even breathe. When I was 14 I considered hanging myself from my banister in my house. The thoughts would come and go for the next 11 years.

I attempted suicide the June before I turned 25.

The first half of 2008 was the darkest, hardest time of my life. There was so much going on: a move to a new province, the deterioration of my romantic relationship, the further disintegration of my familial relationships. I felt worthless, useless, stupid and insignificant.

I downed two packs of sleep aids because I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again.

But I did wake up.

I didn’t get the after-care I needed and I’ve only started seeing a counsellor a few times in the last two years. It’s been a struggle, that’s for sure.

I had to be informed in the fall of last year that I was having suicidal thoughts again.

I got help. I’m working with my doctor on alternative options for managing my depression instead of just taking anti-depressants. So far it’s going well. I feel good again.

I am tired, but I’m not tired like I was. I’m don’t feel as hopeless as I did where getting out of bed and going to work was hard.

There is so much that can be said about mental health and mental illness and how it affects everyone in this world. We need to remember that underneath our skin, we are all the same. We need to stop stigmatizing mental illness and treating people who are open about it like they’re some exotic animal or a creature to be feared.

I don’t want pity, I don’t want sympathy. I want understanding. I want people to be able to talk to me like they usually would and I want people to stop telling me what to do.

If someone you know suffers from a mental illness or mental health issue, you have no idea how comforting it is to have someone just sit and listen. Don’t try to ‘fix’ them, don’t try to ‘sort them out’. Listen to them. Support them.

That’s all we want.

Posted by Sarah Jayne

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