Ladies and gentlemen,
So, if you live under a social media rock and don’t know what today is, it’s Bell Let’s Talk Day. (Granted if you live under a social media rock, I’m not totally sure how you found my website.) A day to recognise those who struggle with mental health and reduce the stigma. I am very public about my struggles with mental health. My parents have always described me as an “anxious kid” and it’s possible I was always destined to battle my monsters. Nearly four years ago I was diagnosed with social anxiety, among other disorders, but I was having issues long before that
And over time I spoke with many professionals about this. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counsellors have all made appearances in my cycle of trying to find someone to help me. (I do have one consistent person I talk to now and she is an angel.)
Here’s my little disclaimer: Seek out professional help. The remainder of this post is not an excuse for you to not seek professional help if you need it. In the end, mental health professionals are the only people truly and genuinely qualified to help you manage these problems.
And yes, all those people were paid to help me. But, today, I would like to acknowledge all the people who get paid not a dime to help me and don’t waiver in their unconditional support.
I have an army of people in my life to support me. My family and friends are the true evidence that not all heroes wear capes. They take the brunt of my bad moods, panic attacks, depressive episodes, and just straight up intolerable behaviour. Today, I want to recognise them. Because as much as the mental health community suffers, and we do, the people who support us never get charities or 10K runs or fundraisers. They get a pat on the back and continue their day.
The people who truly and genuinely support those in crisis, not for professional reasons, but for love of the individual, are probably the only actual people in this world who get to make it to the pearly gates. Because it’s difficult; supporting someone can take the world out of you. Managing personal, day to day stress is exhausting, and then to tack on the struggles of someone else? Nearly impossible. But everyday these soldiers walk out into the world, bearing pains and battle scars of others
While there are the people who go to battle day in, day out with me – close friends and family members – I also want to recognise those who make small appearances and immeasurable impacts. Sometimes small gestures, small acts of kindness, can change everything. They can pull you out of your bubble and make you realise that all in all, the world is not a horrible place. The strangers who see you crying on a bus and ask if you’re okay. That not-so-close friend who honours your trust when you let them know that you’re struggling. The co-worker who picks up your shift when you can’t make it into work. All these people support the pillars of my mental health, and I bet they support yours as well.
Supporting those in crisis is mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially draining. I will spend the rest of my life trying to pay back the people who have contributed to my life and I don’t think I will ever be able to. How do you thank someone for changing your world? If you figure it out let me know. Because while I have found immeasurable strength on my own this is only to the credit of those who showed me that there was strength to be found.
So today, while we honour those who struggle with mental health, I encourage you to honour the individuals who support you. Let them know you appreciate their kindness, their ability to be strong for you in moments of weakness. Their love and care and consideration. Recognise them because they are worn too. Remember that every time you suit up to take on the world, they suit up beside you. They ride hand in hand into combat with you everyday and that is no easy feat.
So, here’s what I want to say:
Thank you. I am who I am because of you. And I would rather have nothing in this life and have you guys than have anything at all. You reminded me that losing doesn’t mean that there is no winning. You taught me to forgive myself and reminded me that I am worth my own love. Any success I have in my life I share with you. Thank you for long nights and early mornings; for bringing logic back into a world where nothing made sense. This is nowhere near the full appreciation you deserve, but it’s a start. You are incredible and please remember to take care of yourselves with the kindness that you have offered me. Thank you.
From me, with love, to you,
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