Month: January 2015

Let’s Talk (And Not Use the “S” Word)

Today is #BellLetsTalk day, where each year on January 28th Bell donates 5c for every tweet/text/whatever while using their network to support mental health initiatives. While I have no issue with the overall concept (get free advertising for your brand and do some good in the process), the utter crap that has filled up my Twitter and Facebook feed because of this day has caused me to post this.

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So in advance, I apologize. But here it is.

I don’t like this day. I never have. You understand that when a survivor of major mental health issues can say they don’t appreciate a day that is designed to make money to help them in case they ever relapse, they are pretty serious about it. It’s not that I don’t want mental health to be funded better in ALL provinces across the country. It’s not even that I think people should have to work harder to achieve results (because even though I did it the hard way, I can understand that for some people that will never work). It’s actually, ironically, how Bell has chosen to spread the word.

Their campaign is called Let’s Talk. You know the one thing that they won’t donate money for? Actual voice-to-voice phone calls.

None of this other crap is “talking”.

I don’t talk to you when I tweet. I carefully decide what I’m going to say before I put my name on something public.

I don’t talk to you when I text. I can craft very uplifting sentences even when I’m sobbing.

I don’t even have to use my own words when I share a Facebook photo. I can just press a button and be done with it.

NONE OF THIS IS ACTUALLY TALKING, PEOPLE.

The key component of my therapy was actual, honest-to-goodness talking. I met with five different psychiatrists/psychologists for hours on end each week and TALKED ABOUT WHAT WAS BOTHERING ME. I’d like to point out that I am now completely drug-free and able to manage my PTSD on my own with the coping mechanisms that these sessions gave me.

Again, I recognize that it takes a long time in this country to see someone qualified that is also funded by our health care, and that people don’t often have the money to spend on private sessions. I certainly didn’t. But I’ll tell you something else: the most qualified people are the people who love you. Currently in Alberta there is an 8-10 month waiting list to be seen by someone working in a Community Mental Health Clinic, and even when you get in to see them there is a learning curve, as many of the employed counsellors have more experience with addictions than with other illnesses. That doesn’t give anyone permission to just give up trying. But do yourself a favour and unplug from the Internet for a while, because you will either self-diagnose (a terrible habit of people in this country) or you will lose what little of yourself you have left reading about “the stigma” of mental health and get so depressed that something terrible will happen.

HERE’S MY POINT: There is no “stigma” about mental health if you are talking to someone who cares. You know who created the “stigma”? People talking about mental health on the Internet. That’s it. The “stigma” only exists in the media and on the World Wide Web. NOWHERE ELSE.

To pass me on the street, you would never know I hate cars. To talk to me at a party, you’d never guess that the loud noise was putting me on edge. And even if you did say, “Hey, you look uncomfortable”, you know what I’d say? “Yeah, the noise gets to me some times.” Done and done. No stigma here.

If you need help, reach out. Friends, family, your neighbour… whomever. But do it in person. Because we are all people, and when we finally unplug and remember that, the stigma will truly die.

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#100DaysOfHappy

In an effort to be more Facebook interactive and generate some blog post ideas, I’ve decided to start the #100daysofhappy challenge here at Flat-Out. Every day I’ll post something on my social media that has made me smile.

Arbitrarily (just because I came up with it this weekend), Day 1 was yesterday: Jan 19, 2015. While most of the day didn’t exactly go my way, there were two things that made me joyful:

First, I got carded at the liquor store buying a 6 pack of PBR. I kid you not. (Ha ha, suckers! I’m twice the legal age in this province!)

Second, my stepdaughter joined Facebook on her 13th birthday and chose to list me as her mother! I was over the moon with happiness. Being a stepmum is, as you know, one of the best and most challenging things about my life, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything.

Bored? Wanna be happy too? Positive thoughts and deeds bring positive changes into your life, so you should all totally join me in my #100daysofhappy challenge. Just use the hashtag in your Facebook or Twitter posts and I’ll share them with my readers.

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Be happy like this baby!

Hi Hiatus, How’s Things?

Sorry for the radio silence the last few months, folks, but it’s been a very busy time. MiniSir was away all of November on course across the country. My mum came to visit while he was gone, and then friends from our last posting came up, and then he was home for a week and we celebrated our first Christmas with Grunt and then it was off to Ontario for the holidays… Whew. When we got home, all of us were sick, and these last two weeks have been recovery-focused. This week, though, FINALLY, I have some time to post.

If Grunt sits still long enough.

The past two weeks, while we have all been full of mucus and fighting all our grossness, he decided that he was going to crawl. And walk. The baby gates went up in a rush. The remotes have been hidden cleverly. And he has just figured out how to eject a disc from the blue-ray player so I guess I’m gonna have to watch that. The best is that when he does something he’s particularly proud of, he fake laughs at his cleverness. This morning he found me in the bathroom while I was using the toilet. He must have laugh-coughed for 5 minutes, he was so clever.

And don’t get me started on when he crawls over to the cat so he can pet him.

Luckily, we are all feeling better now so I can keep up with this increase in movement. And he still loves sitting in his playpen with his toys, so I’ve got that going for me too.

Now if only he’d sleep in his own bed. But more on that later.