The One Year Mark

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It’s been one year since that fateful day where I decided to seek help for what I was struggling with. It’s scary to realize how fast time flies and how much has changed in that one year. I’ve begun to find that happy place where I was once and have gotten back to being passionate about many things I was once passionate about.  I have reached a much better place than where I was last year at this time and it’s largely thanks to those who stuck by me during those dark times. I now have control over my life and have been able to live my life to the fullest over the past twelve months. Now when I have one bad day, they are still better than my best days combined before I sought treatment.

Although I can happily say that I am in a much better place now, I am not afraid to admit that I still have my struggles. Even though I have many more happy days, I still see some dark days. It’s still an odd feeling to me, it’s almost like feeling devoid of emotion, empty of feelings that you feel sad to not be able to feel. I’ve been able to love again, love all the people who have come into my life and made an effort to be there. But I have also learned how to mourn again, seeing some people walk in and out of my life or sadly pass away. Let it be known that antidepressants, self-talking, and months of therapy have helped to get me to where I am today. Therapy has been a wonderful component of my journey of recovering and it has allowed me to gan a different perspective, after being so lost in my own thoughts and despair.

This year has seen some pretty notable people brining attention to the realm of mental health, particularly those struggling with a major depressive disorder. Starting off with the death of Robin Williams in August, highlighting the prevalence of depression and the importance of seeking treatments. It was almost a wake up call in the sense, showcasing the hold depression has on people, regardless of their age, socio-economic boundary or even colour. Mental health disorders affects everyone and it’s sad to think that there’s still stigma around a disorder that affects so many people. On a more positive note, there way Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes riding across Canada to bring awareness in local communities about the effects of mental health and helping Bell’s Let’s Talk” campaign. It’s heartwarming to see someone who has struggled through something so dark, being able to shed positivity and inspire all Canadians to erase stigma. Erasing stigma is possible  but it will take each and every one of us to accomplish this goal.

Its a scary thought to think that by 2030, the World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the world’s leading cause of death and disability- outpacing cancer, stroke, war, and accidents. What’s even more eye opening is that fact that 1 in 5 Canadians are estimated to be struggling with mental illness.

I appreciate all those who came up to me with their own stories of having gone through their own struggles and messages that in time things will get better. I also appreciate those who have come up to me over time and confided in my with their current struggles, know that you are never alone. I hope that through our talks I have somehow helped you all find your way with getting to that happy place. For those people still battling in silence, I know your pain and know that there are people that love and care about you. Have compassion in yourself, and believe that things will be better, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that they will. Find the courage to open up to someone you trust, this battle isn’t meant to be fought alone  and know that it is completely controllable. Know that help starts with you, it’s starts with acceptance of knowing something doesn’t feel right and that you need help to feel strong again. For those of you looking to open up, know that I am here for you and I hope I can help guide you in a direction where I can help remove some of the stigma you may feel and help you seek help with all that is available to treat it.

Having depression doesn’t make me weak, it makes me strong. It’s something i’m constantly working on and it’s something I want to share with others because I know I am never alone in this battle. I now know that I didn’t elect to get into this situation, and I should never have to feel that way about what I went through and still go through. Depression is NOT okay, but know that it’s okay to go out and get help either from a confidant or a professional.

It’s been a constant journey and I appreciate each and everyone of you that have come along for my journey of healing. For those just entering my life, I welcome you to join me in helping to end the stigma surround mental health. All of our voice combined can hopefully lead this change to see a “stigma-free” Canada for those suffering from mental health.

For those of you who haven’t gone through the struggles of mental health, it’s hard to comprehend exactly what depression feels like. There’s no resource that could show you the despair and sorrow depression has on a person, but perhaps this blog can give you a glimpse of what it is like: