And by different I mean seriously different. Nothing like you have seen before. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Earlier this month was the CMHA’s (Canadian Mental Health Association) Mental Health Week (sounds like it’s also Mental Health Month in the States). It is an important week for a lot of people, including myself. You see, I suffer from depression and anxiety. It’s not something I like to make public (which is a bit ironic considering I am posting about it but hey). There is still a stigma attached to having a mental illness. Society, in general, does not like to talk about it too much except on days like Bell Let’s Talk Day. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate efforts like this but it is not nearly enough.
There are a lot of people that know me well that don’t know that fact about me. To be honest, I am scared to tell them. I have lost a lot of friends in the past and that is a big part of the reason why. Understand I am not blaming most of them for this. Unfortunately for me, my actions at times probably did not warrant friendship. The same thing can be said of all other relationships I have had in the past. I can honestly look back and say there are times that I have not been the easiest person to deal with. I became closed off to a lot of people. I still have trust issues. I struggle to make any friends. Financially, I am a bit of a mess. I have estimated I lost about $250K of income due to my disease. Life is still not easy these days.
But I soldier on. I have to. I share custody of my two children. It would not be fair if they suffered due to my disease. So I do everything I can for them. I try to be the best parent I can be. I shelter them from my disease. Soon enough I will have frank discussions with both of them about my disease and what I have gone through. Frankly, I am not looking forward to that day since I don’t know how either of them would react. I know it’s something I have to do though.
Anyway, part of the reason I am doing this is it is a continued part of my healing and healthier lifestyle. I won’t hide behind the fact I have this disease. It’s not something I will tell everyone I meet but I won’t lie about it if it comes up in conversation. It has taken a long time to get to the point where I am truly thinking about my own health. I have always put my health secondary (tertiary? Whatever is after tertiary?) and I can’t do that anymore. I will always have “issues” (for lack of a better term) but I hope to keep these to a minimum.
The other big reason I am doing this post is for others out there who suffer in silence. You don’t need to. This isn’t the previous century where (even in the 90s) talking about mental illness was quasi-taboo. You can get help. You can talk to someone. And a lot of time talking with someone you aren’t friends with or aren’t related to is the best thing to do. These “therapists” (I will use a blanket term here) can be objective which is what you need at this point. You need to know that you are important. It’s worth being concerned with your health and worth it to make your life better. It may not always feel that way but it is true.
There are a lot of resources out there. So if you or someone you know need to talk to someone about this, don’t wait. It’ll be one of the best things you ever do.
And don’t worry. I will be back to college football posts very soon. This was just something I had to do.