Welcome to the Road To Mental Wellness, a blog that I created to tell my story – a story
You see, doing nothing about my illnesses wasn’t and still isn’t an option for me. If it’s do or die, I’m going to choose to “do,” every time. The idea for this blog came to me after I began to write a book on my own struggles with mental illness
With that in mind, I put my energy into this book project as an attempt at a therapeutic intervention, while at the same time seeking many other avenues to wellness. Equally important, it gave me purpose while I waited to hear from a mental-health professional.
It was while authoring this book that
Frustrated by the way mental health is handled, I began sharing pieces of the book with even more people, looking for feedback. This was to see if I was accurately communicating what I wanted my blog’s message to be. More than that, I wanted to gauge just how large the problem really is.
Even though my intent was to gauge how people felt about mental illness, what I discovered during the feedback sessions was this: other people were more than willing to open up about their own journeys. As long as they felt safe to do so.
Furthermore, they also told me they felt like the book could help many others because it is a first-hand account, not by a professional with a clinical background in mental illness. The readers felt that it could potentially be more relatable, more real, and thus help more people.
As the “sample readers” with their own mental-health challenges bravely opened up to me, I started to see commonalities within their stories. And upon learning of their struggles, I set out to talk with many others about my own challenges with mental health. I thought “I might as well tell more people if it would help others tell their stories.” In doing so, it quickly became apparent to me that I wasn’t the only one who needed a voice in this silent epidemic.
Sadly, most of those I talked to who are suffering from mental illness described feeling fearful, lonely, isolated and dis-empowered.
A good example of what perpetuates one’s fear of speaking out is losing one’s job. Unfortunately, if people were to be honest about their illness, this could happen – a risk they don’t want to take. Therefore, they remain silent. A sad truth, one that I became emboldened to battle.
So… Being that my lifelong passion has been in helping others, I felt compelled by this mission. I am fuelled by the commonalities of the sufferers’ fears, coupled with being just plain tired of feeling the same myself.
I decided that it was go time – time to face my own fears – fears that were echoed by many and to say F**k it! For all these reasons, I started to chronicle my ups and downs, on Facebook in the form of pictures and videos.
They display my good and my bad days. My hope is that those who sit in the shadows can see that they are but one of many.
“LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER!”
The very act of making my story public wasn’t and still isn’t an easy one. I take no joy in “putting it out there.” It tends to “feel wrong,” and my mental health tends to hate it too. Nonetheless, knowing that so many are quietly eroding in the storms of their own illnesses, I find that my genuine desire to help others pushes me onward.
In doing so, the results of this social media adventure have been nothing short of amazing. I was totally taken back and inspired by the outpouring of support I received for myself…
But mostly, I was and continue to be inspired by the number of people who so courageously reached out and wanted to tell me their stories. Furthermore, I am very honoured that they choose to talk to me about their everyday battles.
So here we are, blogging in an attempt to reach even more people, not just the sick but also those who are well.
Those seeking to better understand the plight of those who suffer day in and day out. I hope that we can bridge the gap, erode the stigma
If you are struggling, please go here for help: Crisis Services Canada
t’s difficult to say when my dance with the mental illness devil began. I think back to being around four years old, when I had this thing about holding the doors
open for people. It was almost like a contest with myself to see how much I could do it and how helpful I could be. “I will, I will!” But now I’m wondering if I was opening the door to something terrible, dark and unseen, something that would almost destroy my life – and certainly change it forever.
And it was invisible. I’m sure that had I been able to see it, I would have slammed the door shut, even at four years old. If it had claws, a long scaly tail, terrible teeth, angry eyes, mouth breathing stinking fire…yes, I like to think that even at that tender age, my instinct would have been to stop it coming in.