#BellLetsTalk

Well hello there!


Tomorrow is Bell Let's Talk day, one of the most important days in Canada for mental health awareness. Bell donates 5 cents for every text and call on a Bell network, every Tweet with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk and for every share of a particular image on Facebook to Canadian Mental Health Associations. I decided that today I want to share my history of mental illness with anyone that's willing to read, because you never know when you might be able to help someone.

My story starts a long time ago, back in 2007, right after I had lost my grandmother to lung cancer. I was 12 at the time and as anyone at 12 could imagine, cancer isn't something you can really understand. My grandmother was, and still very much is, one of the most important people in my life. She helped to raise me and taught me a lot about the person I should want to be. She was very much like a mother to me so it was really hard to lose her. I dealt with that pain all through high school where I was a really jaded young girl.

I was a horrible person, I made horrid crude judgements about everyone and often bullied them with my "friends." I couldn't wait to leave high school because I thought everyone was below me and I really just needed to get away from them. My depression followed me to university and this is where it got really bad. I lived in an apartment style dorm with 5 other girls and you can probably imagine the emotional problems. Not to mention there was a group with more than 10 of us girls all trying to deal with the first year of university. Emotions constantly ran high and the fear of uncertainty for my post-secondary school career really affected me.

I didn't like school, I didn't like what I was doing, and I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I had a $20,000 scholarship riding on my shoulders. So I decided to change schools and career paths starting at the end of my first year. I thought it would make me happier. But then some drama came into my life and turned my weekly breakdowns into multiple times a day breakdowns. I'd call my mom at all times of the day saying I didn't want to do this anymore, I couldn't do it, and I just wanted to come home. The end of the year came, I said goodbye to my friends, and went home for the summer to find a place to live for the new life I would be starting. 

But then I realized I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to do anything. All I wanted to do was not exist. I'd spend my mornings hating myself for waking up. My days sleeping and laying in bed. My nights hoping that they would be my last. I told my mom that I wanted to kill myself. I dropped out of school, lost my scholarship and then proceeded to get scrutinized by my family for losing it. I got a job, worked occasionally, all while dealing with this numbness of depression. I switched jobs, worked more and broke down more often.

That summer I experienced a couple of panic attacks. I often left work in tears. And I had developed an eating disorder. But this job is what helped me the most. I worked with 2 incredible people that helped me to realize that I wasn't alone. They helped me realize that there were people who, without knowing my history, were willing to do anything to make me laugh, even just for a few seconds. It sounds ridiculous but it's the simple things that make you realize your life is worth living. 

For over a year I've been better. I still have breakdowns, but only occasionally. I still have bad days, but I do whatever I can to turn them around. But I wake up every day thinking "Today is going to be the best day of my life" and "Today is a whole new day." You can let the past bring you down and have it affect every single one of your days. Or you can learn to accept that it's part of you, but it will never define you.

My goal for this story is not to tell people that it gets better. My goal for this story is not to tell people that you have to have events trigger a mental illness. My goal for this story is to simply to let people know they aren't alone. There will never be a day on Earth that you are alone, there is always someone that is willing to help you. Even if you don't know it. There are people going through the same thing. 

And just so you know, it's okay not to be okay.

Until next time...

CONVERSATION

2 comments:

  1. Well said MacKenzie. From someone who also struggles with depression, I appreciated your story and took away something from your message. You are so correct, we are never alone and never have to fight this battle alone. Look around you folks the help is out there and yours for the asking. And it is okay not to be okay.

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