#GETLOUD

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week here in Canada, and CMHA is suggesting we #GETLOUD for mental health. As I’m always happy to further conversation on the topic, here I am, getting loud. Or at least speaking at a moderate level ;)

Over the past year I’ve been volunteering with a local children’s mental health organization, and it has opened my eyes to the great strides our country has made when it comes to talking to young people about mental illness. Part of my volunteer role involves running information booths at mental health fairs and events held in secondary schools around the region. And every time I go it never ceases to amaze me how informed and engaged young people are about mental health issues.

I can’t help but feel a little envious.

I often wonder if I’d had all this information, would I have been a little more prepared when mental illness took a hold of me? When it started during my second year of university I didn’t have a clue about what mental illness was, that it affected 1 in 4 people, or that it was most often triggered during post-secondary. I didn’t understand what was happening to me or why, and I was certain that I’d never be okay again. I would go to sleep wishing that I’d never wake up because the confusion and pain felt unbearable.

I didn’t know that I could go and seek help. I didn’t know about counselling or medication or crisis lines. I didn’t know about all the resources that were offered through the university to help me get better, or that this was something that thousands of other students were dealing with at the same time. I didn’t know any of this. I didn’t know any of this because no one had ever told me.

But this generation does know. They know signs and symptoms to look for in themselves or in their friends. They know who to call and where to go if they need help. They know that there’s no shame in mental illness, and are active in making sure that the stigma is gone. And while I know that this knowledge won’t lesson the occurrence of mental illness for them,  I’m hopeful it will make the lives of those who deal with it down the road just a little bit more bearable.

So, I’m going to #GETLOUD for all those like me who just didn’t know. Mental illness affects everyone, and we should all be talking about it.

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Random Roundup

I have a few things I’ve been meaning to post about, and thought I might as well do it all in one go:

1. I went to NYC and had a great time. Saw lots of friends, did lots of wandering, and ate lots of good food. My 3 favourite things!

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12063845_10100121342706764_8052982763288268484_nWashington Heights

2. Still no luck on the job front. I’m starting to feel really disheartened. Like, what do I do with my life if I can’t find a job in the field I want?

3. I thought I’d been kicked out of my outpatient anxiety program for being a flake, but it turns out I wasn’t. Apparently vanishing during your first 6 weeks isn’t all that uncommon. I start back on Tuesday, and hopefully this time goes better.

4. I’ve become obsessed with adult colouring books.

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5. I joined an online creative writing club. I’d heard about it through some friends, and I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been partnered up with someone in Ottawa for a couple of projects, so it’s been a pretty cool experience. I haven’t really done creative writing before, so it’s nice to have someone to bounce everything off of.

6. I got quite frustrated with my Panic Project and put it on the back burner a couple of months ago, but I think it’s time to get it going again. I just need to figure out where to start! The creative writing project has made me realize how helpful having a partner for it would be. Sigh. Maybe one day!

I think that’s it. My life is pretty boring! How are you doing?

 

 

 

Things Are Looking Up

What’s that? A positive title? What is going on?

It’s been a pretty good month, I must admit. It started off rocky when I went off a medication and had some pretty severe withdrawal symptoms, but it was all up hill from there. My Panic People Project is continuing to gain traction with a local newspaper article, work is going well, things are happening on the career path, I won Alumnus of the Week from my grad school, and in 2 weeks I will be starting The Week Of Awesome (Idina Menzel, Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper, Hayley Atwell, I can’t even!)

Oh, and my amazing g@wd daughter turned 4!

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Alumnus of the Week

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Niagara This Week

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I still have no clue what the future holds, but I’m trying to stay positive. My ‘What Would You Do?’ panic has morphed into an answer of ‘ANYTHING!’ And I’m going to hold onto that attitude for as long as I can.