The One Secret You're NOT Meant to Keep...
No more hiding!
Somewhere early on in my 58 years of life, I learned how to hide
(and not in a playful HIDE N SEEK kinda way...)
I learned to hide my powerful emotions...
"GO to your room and don't come out until you're agreeable"
I learned to hide behind dressing well...
"No sense being poor and looking poor"
I learned to hide behind a smile...
Even though on the inside I was not smiling.
We recently had the pleasure of being invited to Cameco's STEP UP for Mental Health Dinner. I wasn't totally sure what to expect for the evening but had spent that morning listening to the cheers and my dog barking, as 2000 runners and walkers cruised past our house for the STEP UP for Mental Health Race. What a positive showing for our community!
That evening we arrived at Prairieland Park and were treated to amazing performances by Serena Ryder, Paul Brandt and local band, One Bad Son! I could leave the description of the evening there but it would be a huge disservice to the cause... MENTAL HEALTH.
Everyone who stepped up to the mic, including the MC's, shared their stories of living with mental health issues...
Some Mental Health facts from the Canadian Mental Health Association:
Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.
Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
When I wrote about hiding in the first paragraph, I wanted to talk about the stigma of shame that prevents many from sharing their own story of mental health struggles.
Many of the speakers talked about not liking their jobs, having no joy in their life, being anxious about "performing", wondering what their purpose was in life — to feeling inadequate, to being ashamed of their behaviour. It requires bravery and vulnerability to open up about your own experience.
That has led me to sharing and being open about my story to do my part in normalizing this human experience. I, too, suffer from depression and will likely be on medication for the remainder of my lifetime. I am not a believer in taking pills to mask our problems, but when it helps to take you out of that dark place and to function in society, it's a welcome relief.
My dive into spirituality has really helped me, more than medication and counselling ever could.
Learning to connect with my spirit and my heart... instead of living in my head.
That my emotions are my GPS System for navigating life.
And that THAT is normal!
Tackling my demons, my shame, and my shadow side has shown me that my fears are no match for my self-love.