Today Is Mental Health Awareness Day; And So Is Tomorrow; And The Next Day
I decided to take part in Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk day, yesterday. As part of my contribution, I shared something about myself that not very many people know about and had a very hard time hitting the “Publish” button. The response to that post has been overwhelming to say the least and I appreciated all the kind messages I received, both publicly and privately.
I went into the day not knowing how I felt about the corporate tag being attached to the concept of speaking out about mental health and I wasn’t alone. I saw a lot of discussion surrounding the issue, some reasonable and some just bashing for the sake of bashing, but I wanted to add my thoughts to the discussion. The reason I decided to share my story on this particular day was because I knew that I would be able to generate more discussion than if I posted it on any other day. It wasn’t about the page views; it was about starting a dialogue. And it worked.
For me, the day changed from a corporate marketing event to the real deal when I received this comment from a complete stranger, “After reading your story I now feel that there may be light at the end of this and it’s as easy as talking to your family doctor. Thank you again”. It may not be as easy as going to a family doctor but it’s a better start than doing nothing. Either way, the thought of someone reacting to something I had written in that way, was eye opening.
That comment made me realize that there are so many people suffering in silence and that inspired me to reach out even further. So, I put out an offer for people to email me if they needed to talk, not thinking anyone would actually do it, and to my surprise I received two emails during the day. I read the emails, without judgment, and welcomed them to write me anytime they wanted. I don’t know if it helped them to send me their story but it certainly couldn’t have hurt. I also made sure to point out that I am not even close to “professional” help.
I want to stop here for a minute because as I write this, I can’t help but feel like this is sounding a lot like a “Look at me!” post, and I want to assure you that it is not. A lot of things have changed about me since I have been blogging and the biggest one is the realization that this voice I have created is useless if it is not used to do some good. It also means that if there needs to be a corporate tag attached to an event to get people talking, then so be it. If we’re being completely honest, fear of failure and crickets is why I wouldn’t have started a movement like this by myself, so I’m glad a corporation took the initiative. Maybe I’ll get there someday.
All that said; my offer still stands. If you are having a rough go and need to just share your story with anybody, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly lend an ear. I am no counselor, so I can’t offer anything but an ear but maybe it’s a start. You don’t have to suffer alone, please remember that.
I guess the main thing I learned by participating yesterday is that we need to be supportive of each other. Everybody has a story to tell and it’s not always easy for them to share it. Yesterday was a great start. I saw so many posts on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, of people sharing their struggles with anxiety and depression, and I hope we can keep the conversation going outside of just that one day. It’s an important discussion and one that deserves a high amount of attention.
Until we meet again, thanks for listening!