Today is #letstalk day, raising awareness for, and ending the stigma against mental illness. Though I am personally not a fan of the Bell Corporation, I do strongly believe in this cause. I have a degree in psychology, and myself suffer from depression and anxiety. I am so thankful to have a wonderful support system, including a kind and compassionate family doctor. My mental health is well managed by a combination of tarot, mindfulness meditation, talk therapy, exercise, diet, social support, snuggles from my dog, my connection with nature, my gods and ancestors, and yes, medication. Mental illness is real illness. It’s important to have many tools in my kit to stay healthy. Meds are not “happy pills”. I am neither high nor addicted. My brain eats up the good stuff faster than average, so I take a low dose of an ssri medication to slow that down. I’m the same me that I always was. I still feel a wide range of emotions. I am still able to cry when I am sad, or feel angry at injustice. I am just the me who sleeps 7-8 hours a night. I am the me who can enjoy life and the things I love to do. I’m the me who doesn’t feel compelled to argue about every little stupid thing on the internet. I am the me with a better sense of humour. I am the me who no longer struggles with feelings of suicide. I am a better mother, better friend, better tarot reader, better lover, and overall better human being when I employ these tools in my coping kit.
If you are struggling with mental illness, please know that there are methods to manage your illness, and there is no shame in asking for help. Mental illness is real illness, and in most cases, is treatable. If one method doesn’t work, try another. Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.
Here are some resources if you don’t know where to start. These are local to London, Ontario, but google can give you services closer to you:
-your family doctor. If you do not have a family doctor, google “London Ontario doctors accepting new patients” (or your own city and province). You will get a list of qualified physicians in your area. I wish that all doctors could be as amazing as mine, but I don’t think that she is accepting new patients right now.
-a friend. Sometimes you don’t want to talk to a stranger. But be aware that your friends may have not penciled in your crisis. If one person doesn’t have availability right that second, it’s not personal. Keep trying until you can find someone safe to talk to. You are not alone.
-London Distress Line 519-667-6711
-Crisis Response 519-433-2023
-Sexual Assault Centre 519.438.2272
-Kids help phone 1-800-668-6868 This is for those under 18, but parents sometimes call to ask about their kids
-LGBT youth line 1.800.268.9688
-Daya counselling (offers geared to income) http://dayacounselling.on.ca/
-Therapists in London, Ontario https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/on/london
-cognitive behavioural therapy. There are a wide range of books out there if you can’t get to a counsellor. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be self lead, and includes a lot of homework and journaling.