A couple of months ago, I reached out to a few friends asking them to tell their stories and/or experiences dealing with mental health issues.
It is a big step for anyone to share and I am grateful they said yes. A few decided to stay anonymous (and that is okay). They are brave, loved, and appreciated.
In honour of Mental Health Week (May 2-8, 2016) - I would like to share a third story.
There was a time years ago, when mental health “issues” to me, came with a label or diagnosis such as Depression, Schizophrenia, or Bi-Polar. And, I thought the easiest way for people to receive the help they needed was perhaps through medications or supplements. I thought once things were “on track,” they would stay on track.
That was until I started to see the struggle with mental illness among loved ones and friends. I quickly learned how vulnerable we all are to mental health issues and how important support is to those suffering. You can’t tell by looking at someone that they have a mental illness. I’ve had loved ones and friends of all walks of life and statuses struggle. And, I’ve met some of the most successful people in the world, who also struggle with mental health issues.
It’s left me with the realization that no matter who you are and what you do, everyone can be touched by mental illness. Whether you’re the person going through it, or the loved one trying to help, it affects us all.
Sadly, I don’t have a magic way to solve it all, but I do know sharing, talking and being there for someone struggling is vital. Offering an environment with no judgement or fear for that person to share can be the difference between a good day and a bad day, progress and regression, or life and death.
Despite how difficult the struggle with mental health can be, I also know there is hope. I know some amazing people who have a mental illness who do amazing things in life.
So no matter who you are or how you struggle, know you are not alone and that everything is going to be ok!
I am a daughter, sister, auntie, wife and friend.