Bell’s Let’s Talk Day is… today! Let’s end stigma around mental illness.
Only 49% of Canadian say they would socialize with a friend who has a serious mental illness. – Canadian Medical Association
If you had what you thought was a horrifying secret and people jokingly poked fun, would you come forward to get help? Would you address the issue at hand? Or would you keep it to your self until you snap?
After having Scarlett, I for the first time experienced anxiety. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had just brought Scarlett home from the hospital, she was sleeping in her room. It was the first time I had not been in the same room with her since she was born.
She was 3 days old.
1 in 5 Canadian will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life – Canadian Institute of Health Research
I sat out on the deck with my husband. I was enjoying the sweet breeze, then like a wave out of no where, my body tensed up. I felt like I had no control over anything. I had this horrible knot in my stomach. I felt like I was trapped in my own body and I couldn’t get out. I panicked. I was responsible for another human. I was a Mum. I was scared and my body reacted the only way it knew how. Panic.
My thoughts were racing. i was having trouble calming down long enough to come up with a solution. I had to constantly keep moving. Cleaning this. Make sure I had a months supply of this and that so I would never run out. I was worried to the point I would feel ill. For awhile I couldn’t sleep. I would lay awake, waiting for Scarlett to wake up. Worst of all, I was too scared to ask for help. I was a new Mum and I did not want to be judged. I had convinced myself that if I admitted I was scared someone would take Scarlett away from me.
All these thoughts happened in maybe a 2 minute period, every time i felt scared, I would have an anxiety attack.
Finally I talked to my husband. He said that I was overwhelmed because my body was going through changes (I did just have a baby). Couple weeks passed and it wasn’t as bad but still wasn’t myself either. He suggested I talk to the doctor. So I did. She politely smiled, ask me a series of questions. Then she ran me through all my options.
- Self Treatment – stress management, relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise, warm baths and resting in a dark room
- Counseling – talk to your doctor and see who they can recommend for you to fit your needs.
2 out of 3 people suffer in silence, fearing judgement and rejection – Canadian Medical Association
I went home, explained these option to my husband. Now, if you know me at all, you will find that I don’t like pills, I would rather find a natural way out of the situation. My mind got me into it, my mind can get me out of it.
I started keeping a journal. Any time I started to feel panic, I would write it down and to my amazement, it really helped. I fell in love with yoga and my anxiety almost disappeared. I didn’t realize how much it helped until I didn’t go to class for a while. The benefits of yoga are amazing. When I don’t have my journal and I can’t practice yoga, I call my Mum. She is very patient with me and has time for me.
I have my anxiety under control now. I can identify the signs and I take the necessary steps to prevent an attack from coming on.
I will be honest, for the first while I was very ashamed and embarrassed that I had anxiety attacks. I didn’t want to tell anyone, but now I am OK with it because I know I am not the only one. I am not the first person to have a child and go though huge changes and get anxiety in the process.
Talking about it helps, I’m not as embarrassed about it.
Here are 5 ways to help end the stigma around mental illness.
- Language Matters
- Educate Yourself
- Be Kind
- Listen and Ask
- Talk About It
Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them o get back to their regular activities. -CMHA
Visit Bell’s Let’s Talk. For every #BellsLetsTalk, text message, twitter, Facebook share, Bell will donate 5cents towards mental illness awareness.