It's been a long time since I sat down with a deck of cards and tried to build a house. You know the kind...with multiple layers or one where you dig the middle out to park your Hot Wheels car? You know how delicate it is...so very delicate.
Today is Bell's Let's Talk Day. I support this as I can with my words, experiences and many many tears and much anguish. Perhaps you have read some of my story from past years. This is about Mental Illness, The Stigma and Life, my life. I wanted to share a new story with you one about me and how MY house of cards fell down.
If you have read my Let's Talk Posts from previous years (you totally should they are here) then you know that mental illness is something that I grew up NOT talking about. NO ONE spoke ONE word about it. And even now, unless a lot of my friends read this they might not know that it is something that I am affected by, it is something that is part of my life EVERY DAY.
When I finished University and started working it was a shock. Gone were the days of having a community to call upon. Gone were the days of being occupied 24hrs/day 7days/week. Now I worked 8am-5pm. After that? Gym? Supper? TV? I was at a loss. Being accustomed to what seemed like endless options and heading into my first winter as a working woman I was lost. Did you know that winter is one of the hardest times for many people? I am solar powered. Many of us are and some more than others.
I was lucky enough to be living with my best friend but it was a hard winter none the less. I don't know how she endured my ever-changing moods and my feeling of loss. I didn't know it at the time but I was slowly losing grip. I am not the person who can't get out of bed. I am not the person who mopes in public. I am the person who is strong, driven and gets what she wants. I worked and I didn't. I don't remember much else.
I know I was rash, I was highly dependent on my roommate and needed her to need me too and I am sure I was moody. I can't think of a story that I would like to share...but there were a few things that helped me get out of where I was
1. I started seeing a health professional. I saw him for almost a year I think. And he wouldn't be the last one. But when he discharged me from his care I was a lot better. What did he do? He listened mostly. He reflected my thoughts and feelings back at me. He held my hand (figuratively).
2. I started biking. I lived quite a distance from work. It took me an hour but I would bike to work a couple times a week. I like the freedom, the high of being outside and moving.
3. Then it really started...my roommate was part of a Masters Swim Team leaving me alone so I thought...what can I do? I joined a cycling club.
It was that club and the social worker that really helped me turn around. Then there was one last bit...
Then I met the love of my life and a new chapter began. Thank goodness.
But it's not all as simple as I've made it sound today. Sometimes it's harder to find help, sometimes you can't do it with just words and finding a place to belong...sometimes you need more. I have struggled since and I will again. My biggest challenge is in feeling like I belong. I have always been different. I often feel like I stand on the outside looking in but I see more now...I see that I am not meant to fit into any one place or time. I feel that I am an ever changing piece in a puzzle and where I fit can change from moment to moment. I like that, I like having many places to fit, many hats to wear but sometimes...I just need to know that there is ONE place I will always belong.
I have been told that being that ever changing person is my gift. Perhaps it is.
What is your gift?
I know this is late getting posted but Let's Talk.