Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let's talk

Today is an important day if you are a Bell Aliant customer. You should text. A lot. they are donating $0.05 for every text sent today to support mental health.


Why should I care? Why should you care? Because it's important. Take it from the lady who lived in denial of my PPD until one day I saw an airplane crash into my house...right into the baby's bedroom. Kinda hard to keep up the denial when you start seeing things.

photo: Sue Siri
I am lucky to have an incredible support network. People who don't think depression and PPD are afflictions that they can catch or who think that I just need to "get over it".I was over joyed to welcome our son. He was everything we had prayed for and we couldn't imagine how our whole world would change for the better with his arrival. I wasn't prepared for the possibility that I would be one of the up to 20% of women in Canada who experience Postpartum Depression. Up to 20%! At first I couldn't believe that the Canadian Mental Health Association would give a range of 3-20% to describe how many women go through this. But the symptoms are often missed as baby blues that dwell a little too long, mother's who suffer in silence because they are afraid they'll lose their lives as they know it and others still who worry that PPD means they will hurt their children. The scariest thing about mental health issues is that they are so common and people are still afraid to ask for help for fear of being judged. The resources can be difficult to access and the wait is  often long. And it isn't fair. If resources were readily available there wouldn't be a large number of people who can't get the help they need and have their treatments pieced together by well meaning folks doing the best they can.

For me, the fear of being "less than" or of people thinking I was a bad mother held me back from seeking help. I was so afraid that I would be pushed aside and that people wouldn't care about me any more. Asking for help was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I was losing me and I knew it. I remember waking up one morning in the early fall and as if on auto pilot I picked up the phone and made an appt for that day to see my doc. I brought my amazing son with me and poured my heart out to her. With the help of my great doc, husband, family and friends I was able to come through on the other side. I won't say it was easy but it has taught me so much about myself and the people in my life.

photo: Sue Siri
I was much better prepared when we were blessed with our second sweet baby. The great doctors at the IWK refereed me to Reproductive Mental Health and the team there was instrumental in helping me recognize what I needed to be aware of to stay healthy. Most importantly I knew that if I didn't feel right and I spoke up no one would judge me.

I don't exactly wear a sandwich board to declare my struggle to everyone, but I don't shy away from talking about it anymore. I felt so alone so I feel like part of my healing is to help other people and let them know they are not alone. I wish that that people would see that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your teeth. You don't shy away from telling people that you have a dentist appointment, so why is that any different from making an appointment to see a mental health professional.

How can you help? For starters pick up your phone! On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell will donate more to mental health initiatives across Canada more to mental health initiatives across Canada for every:
  1. Text message sent*
  2. Long distance call made*
  3. Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  4. Facebook share of the Bell Let's Talk image
*Bell and Bell Aliant customers

So let's talk...you can help change someone's life.




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