Today is #BellLetsTalk Day. There have been criticisms about the campaign, but overall it gets people talking openly about mental health, and it gets money to mental health services, two things that we desperately need to really help people.
My first mental health crisis came when I was about 15 or 16. I don’t know why or what changed, but I almost dropped out of high school. I always loved school. Hell, I’m almost 34 and I’m back in school again. I would not have been happy spending my life working retail – some people are really good at it, but I am not one of them.
I also had suicidal thoughts. I thought about killing myself when I was 16, again in my early 20s and most recently a few years ago when it really seemed like the kid would be much better off without me in her actual day to day life.
I’ve been on and off anti-depressants for these almost two decades. Different kinds, different doses. I know when the depression is ebbing and flowing. I know because I’ve examined it and realized. I’m lucky that I can do that. I’m very lucky that I now have a husband who is starting to read me as well. If Joe and I are opposites in anything it is our outlook. He is frustratingly optimistic and he would say the same about my pessimism.
Having someone to talk to, someone who might not entirely understand but who really cares, makes all the difference. And in the absence of that one person, I say talk to anyone and everyone. Because so many people will come out and say “hey, me too.”
Now that I have a daughter, I know that losing her would be like having my heart ripped out of my body. So I will talk to her, and I will talk to her friends if they need it, and I will listen and pay attention and fight for her like I’ve learned to fight against myself.
Talk is good.