To Those Who Are Left Behind

Today is the last day of September and today is also the last day of “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” which is a month long campaign used to raise awareness on this very stigmatized and still very taboo topic. 

Although it may only be a month long campaign it doesn’t mean that it ends today. The conversation needs to continue each and every day. 

We MUST continue to keep the conversation going. 

We MUST continue to give hope to everyone affected by Suicide. 

We MUST continue to educate others.

And we MUST ensure that ALL individuals, families and friends have the same accessibility to the necessary resources available to give us all a better understanding on how to prevent suicide and seek help.

I’m not okay.  

I’m still having very intrusive and very real thoughts of suicide. It consumes me.

I’m reminded each and every day by friends, loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers what life would be like for those I’d leave behind. 

Trust me, I hear you. Your words echo in my head day and night. But sadly for many people suffering with a mental illness or suicidal ideations their pain can still become too much to bare.

One of those many reminders came to me recently by an old friend of mine who reached out to me to chat and I haven’t been able to get our conversation off my mind.

I was so honoured and grateful that she chose to share her overwhelming and very raw emotions with me as she tries to come to terms with the heart-wrenching grief and despair she’s been living with for months now after losing a loved one to suicide. 

I could feel her disbelief, her numbness, her shock, her anger, her confusion, her rejection and her guilt all wrapped together as she desperately tries to begin her journey toward healing and acceptance.

The aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide and finding ways to cope with the sadness, the feelings of helplessness and the overwhelming consumption of what ifs or what more could I have done can be very triggering and both mentally and physically exhausting.

Just know that you are not alone. 

Surround yourself with people who want to listen when you need to talk or who offer a shoulder to lean on when you just need to sit in silence. 

Remember there is no “proper” way to grieve any loss, especially ones which are so sudden and without closure. Let healing happen at your own pace and in your own time.

Seek out others who may be experiencing similar grief. Sharing your story with people who truly understand your pain can often help bring strength to your healing process. 

And lastly, find a mental health professional to guide you through your grief and help you adjust to life after suicide.

Yes, today may be the last day of September and the last day of “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” but today can not be the end to the conversation surrounding the many complexities of suicide.

Lets all make a promise to band together with more compassion and support to those who wake up each and every day battling very intrusive and very real thoughts of suicide, show kindness and empathy to those who are left behind after a suicide occurs and help them in any way you can to honour the memory of their loved one who has lost their battle.

*visit the Mayo Clinic website for more information.

*Suicide Prevention Helpline* 1.833.456.4566

#youarenotalone #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #asilentkiller #keeptheconversationgoing #yourmentalhealthmatters #tothosewhoareleftbehind #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #mentalillness #mentalhealth

Sincerely “The Facebook Team”

Yesterday I posted a blog where I spoke openly and honestly on the topic of eating disorders and body shaming and how it has affected me at different stages of my life since I was in my late teens. (https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/07/12/body-shaming-yourself/).

Shortly after posting it on Facebook I received this email (see pics) which was signed “The Facebook Team”.

I have made 100’s (and 100’s) of posts on Facebook to date and as you all know I very often speak from my heart about my own personal vulnerbilities, struggles and suicidal thoughts so I just found this email was very interesting and wanted to share it with you as this was a first for me amongst 100’s of such posts.

It could’ve been spam for all I know but I was also happy to learn that by clicking on the “Help Centre” button attached in the email, Facebook takes you to a safe space for individuals or loved ones in crisis to reach out for help in countries all across the Globe.

#thefacebookteam #crisis #hotlines #suicideawareness #suicideprevention #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #youarenotalone #bigbrotherisalwayswatchingyou #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #endthestigmatogether #itsoktonotbeok #youmatter #speakyourtruth

First Shipment

The first shipment of my “Class of 2021” Graduation lawn signs have just arrived and I couldn’t wait to install the very first one on my own front lawn and show off how proud I am of my “Awesome Grad”.

And thanks to the incredible generosity and support of so many families and friends in the community (and beyond) I have sold close to 200 signs thus far and I am looking forward to delivering each and every one of them to so many other “Awesome Graduates” and proud family and friends. Just knowing that we are all working together to achieve the same goal of helping all children and adolescents in the GTHA have better access to more affordable and attainable Mental Health services and supports that they so deserve warms my heart. 

It also just so happens that today is “National Child and Youth Mental Health Day” (May 7, 2021) so what better way to celebrate today than to help brighten up our neighborhoods, start some caring, stigma-free conversations in the community and let young people everywhere feel seen, heard and supported. 

If you would like to honour a very deserving “Class of 2021” Graduate in your life or help make a difference in the lives of so many other young people who may be feeling vulnerable and alone right now please email me at: youthareenough@gmail.com. 

*Proceeds to be donated to Youth Mental Health programs*

#nationalchildandyouthmentalhealthday #childrensmentalhealthawarenessweek #mentalhealthawarenessmonth #strongertogether #payitforward #mygraduate #middlechild #proudmama #classof2021 #ouryouthmatter #endthestigmatogether  #graduationday #youareenough #staysafe #empowerment #empathy #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #suicideprevention  #suicideawareness #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones

ALWAYS TRUST YOUR MAMA AND PAPA BEAR INSTINCTS 

It’s no secret that the pandemic has caused serious disruptions and added stress to all of our lives since it began a year ago which has also led to an even bigger mental health crisis, especially among our youth.

Between dealing with the constant disruptions in their routine, being isolated from their friends, fearing that they or someone they love will get sick and the added financial stressors that many families are now facing, it is quite understandable. 

These concerns (and many others)  that our youth are facing right now is making them more vulnerable than ever before to Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Addiction and Suicidal Ideations.

Kids who have never exhibited signs of a mental health disorder or mental distress prior to Covid-19 are taking their own lives at alarming rates and many of them sadly choose to stay silent, most likely feeling alone and scared that their life will never get better.  

Communication and connection are critical for our young people. Parents need to be even more vigilant than ever when it comes to their children’s mental health. We know our kids best.

Talk to them. Ask them how they are doing, and then keep asking them. Check in with them, check in with them often and then listen. If something feels off, always trust your Mama and Papa Bear instincts because not everyone who thinks about Suicide will willingly want to talk about it.

Signs to look out for:

Making suicidal statements.

Being preoccupied with death.

Giving away belongings.

Having aggressive or hostile behaviour.

Neglecting personal appearance.

A change in personality.

Intense sadness and/or hopelessness.

Not caring about activities that used to matter.

Social withdrawal from family, friends, sports, social activities.

Substance abuse.

Sleep disturbances.

Risky behavior.

Inability to think clearly/concentration problems.

Declining school performance.

Increased irritability.

Changes in appetite.

***Boston’s Children’s Hospital***

If you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate help please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.833.456.4566 or Kids Help Phone at 1.800.668.6868

#youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #depression #anxiety #suicide #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #talktoyourkids

The Corona Silver Linings Anthology

I am so excited to finally receive my very own copy today of the book I was so honoured to be published in a few months ago.

It’s a compilation of stories, poems and images from individuals around the world.

“The Corona Silver Linings Anthology” captures real life experiences, raw emotions, meaningful issues and life lessons that we have all been challenged by or have had to face in one way or another during this past year while looking for those silver linings.

“The Lifewrite Project” is a non-profit initiative which publishes anthologies “encouraging people to tap into their power to write and share their unique stories” while collaborating with different charities related to the topic at hand and raising funds for many initiatives in the process.

The proceeds from this book are being donated to a variety of charities including “The First Responders Children’s Foundation”.

Check out their website for details on any of their upcoming projects. After all there’s an inner writer somewhere inside of us all just waiting to share our own unique story with the world.

#thecoronasilverliningsanthology #thelifewriteproject #author #writer #blogger #advocate #wheredidmommyssmilego #youareenough #silverlinings #grads #covid19 #coronavirus #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters #kidshelpphone #lawnsigns #initiative #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #amazondotcom

Four Million Reasons Why

I read an article the other day whose title immediately caught my eye. It read:

4 million cries for help: Calls to Kids Help Phone soar amid pandemic.

As I continued on to read the body of the article my heart sank further. 

Since the onset of the Pandemic last March, Kids Help Phone has seen an upsurge in calls from young people. Statistics show that calls, texts and their many other online resources have more than doubled since the previous year and they are now receiving over 800 calls, texts etc. every day from all across Canada (with Ontario making up for approximately half of those calls received each day).

Callers have been as young as 5 years old with a good majority of the calls coming in between midnight and 4 am. Many of these call are related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, self/body image, virtual learning, missed milestones and an overall deterioration of their mental health. And of all the calls received by their large team of trained counsellors per day, there is at minimum, 10 calls where police are being dispatched for “active suicide rescues”. 

These stats are truly heartbreaking but I am so thankful at the same time that our youth have a safe place like Kids Help Phone to reach out to in order to help them survive a Pandemic. Knowing just how many of our young people have become so withdrawn, angry, frustrated, anxious and sad (and rightfully so) is beyond scary. 

I hear from speaking with so many concerned parents in my community (and beyond) how their kids are staying up all night gaming with friends online just to feel some sort of connection and how so many more have completely checked out from their daily routines, especially online learning. The concerns over the emotional and financial impacts that isolation and lockdowns are having on our youth are growing more and more concerning by the day and suicides among our youth are increasing at alarming rates. 

As spring quickly approaches, (at least according to Wiarton Willie, the adorable little Groundhog that is, who just yesterday predicted an early spring, yay), I had recently been giving a great deal of thought to starting another Graduation Initiative again this year for the Class of 2021. 

I will afterall in just two short months have another Graduate in my home, who as of yesterday received the disappointing news in an email from her University informing her (what we already knew in our hearts) that they will be postponing her Spring Convocation Ceremony until such time when large public gatherings can once again take place safely. 

I know how much disappointment, anger and sadness this reality caused my other daughter last spring when both her Prom and Graduation ceremony were cancelled, along with millions of other young people’s around the world but after reading the article and taking note of the imminent crisis our young people are facing due to the Pandemic I felt a great sense of pride knowing that the 10k that I along with the help of 100’s of incredibly generous and kindhearted people in and around my community helped raise and donate to Kids Help Phone last spring, that the money went to a very worthwhile cause.

I now feel as though I have at least 4 million more reasons to take on this initiative once again and who knows, maybe with the help of my amazing community we could double the amount of proceeds we raised last spring.

Services like Kids Help Phone are needed more than ever before and even though it may only be a stepping stone toward other resources or long term services for some, our young people deserve a fighting chance and are going to need all the help they can get long after the Pandemic is over because although many of the imminent issues at hand may one day dissipate, the lingering effects and fallout from the Pandemic are sadly going to affect much of our younger generations for many years to come.

If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to start please call Kids Help Phone at: 1.800.668.6868 or text: 686868

#kidshelpphone #ouryouthmatter #helplines #lifelines #classof2021 #graduationday  #grads #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #yourmentalhealthmatters #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence 

Reaching Out For Help

**Update: here is the link to my interview** https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2021/01/29/telephone-counselling-set-up-due-to-pandemic-mental-health-issues

*Warning: May Be Triggering To Some*

I’m struggling more than usual right now and it almost feels like it’s beyond repair. 

My tears have all but dried up at this point and I feel as though I have nothing left to give of myself. My safe place no longer feels safe and I find myself looking for desperate ways to escape from these painful thoughts and feelings. 

I wish there was such a thing as a magic pill that I could swallow which would stop these desperate thoughts and feelings from taking control of me instead of wanting to end my life forever.  

I haven’t been able to shake these desperate thoughts and feelings for the better part of a week now. I’ve tried escaping them by going for walks at unreasonable hours, writing and most importantly trying to lean on others for support, including my Therapist, but I feel like such a burden right now which has made it that much more difficult to do.  

But I also know that reaching out for help is so important, especially as I desperately try to hold on in order to survive right now. This feeling is also why when I was approached to do an interview today with City TV News I knew it was maybe a sign. 

The interview was about a new telephone Helpline being set up in York Region to provide counselling for those suffering, specifically through Covid related issues due to restrictions, isolation etc. I knew it was something I needed to do for both myself and the many others who are feeling desperate and scared right now. I knew I needed to continue to be that voice and let others like me find hope and strength in knowing that reaching out for support is more than okay, in fact it’s beyond okay. 

I had put the link to this new service (which is free) on a blog the other day titled “Going To Therapy is Cool” @https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/going-to-therapy-is-cool and feel free to check out my Interview on City TV at 5 or 6pm tonight. 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”~Maya Angelou 

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021

Today is the 11th Annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. To date Bell’s Mental Health initiatives have raised more than 25 million dollars towards various programs and research projects by contributing 5 cents every time someone in Canada sends a text message, makes a phone call (Bell users only), tweets #BellLetsTalk or creates a Tik Tok video using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, views one of their videos on any of their social media platforms or uses Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and Snapchat filter today.

Their message this year in the wake of Covid-19 is simple; “When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.” 

So if you can take a moment today to talk, text or tweet (etc) #BellLetsTalk it really could make a difference in someone’s life and remember that every action taken is one step closer toward ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Our words matter, our actions matter and our mental health matters more than ever before and by simply showing a kind gesture to a friend or loved one who is feeling depressed today or by listening to a child who may be feeling super anxious and unsure right now or by asking a coworker or neighbor how you can help them because they are feeling extra stressed are just a few of the many ways that you can let someone know that they are not and that it’s okay to not be okay.  

**If you would like more information on how to get a copy of my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” please feel free to message me directly. All proceeds from any book sales made between today and Sunday will be donated to #BellLetsTalkDay initiatives. And for more helpful tips and tools on mental health and self-care practices or to learn how Bell Let’s Talk initiatives have been impacting groups and communities all across Canada for the past 10 + years please check out their website @ https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives. 

❤Thank you❤

#BellLetsTalkDay #bellletstalk #wordsmatter #youmatter #everyactioncounts #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation kindnessmatters #ohcanada  #endthestigmatogether #wheredidmommyssmilego #author #blogger

Going to Therapy is Cool

It’s no secret that there has been a sharp decline in many people’s mental health (probably millions by now) over the past year due to Covid-19, both in children and adults alike. 

Signs of mental illness are manifesting themselves (more than ever before) into symptoms of depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, thoughts of suicide and eating disorders just to name a few. 

Sadly, many people though are still choosing to suffer in silence today due to the stigma attached to mental illness and in many cases, affordability to seek Professional care.

I am a HUGE advocate for therapy and I know firsthand that taking that initial step may be hard. I also know that finding the right fit for you may take many tiresome hours of trial and error. 

Up until six (plus) years ago I had never been to therapy, it was never something that had ever been a part of my vocabulary before but shortly after I became ill in April 2014, my doctor highly recommended I speak to someone immediately and so I obliged. 

The process of finding the right therapy though took me three grueling years of trial and error and left me shaking my head some days and feeling even further defeated on many, many more. 

But I am here to remind you that it takes great strength, vulnerability and a willingness to find that right fit and build a good rapport (which goes both ways) in order to reap the many benefits of therapy, whatever therapy may look like for you.

People seek out therapy for all kinds of different and difficult reasons and although a therapist may not give you all the answers, a good therapist will always help you find them. 

But you also have to be ready to put in the work; you have to be ready to be open and honest with both yourself and a therapist; you have to be ready to commit to setting aside the time and energy needed to invest in therapy and you have to be ready for whatever may come from talking about difficult things.

It’s okay to ask for help and although medication can help to reduce some symptoms of mental health conditions for many, the added benefits of therapy will go alot further in gaining insight into or help you to address some hidden causes of your illness and not just mask them. 

Therapy may also be beneficial in helping you to learn how to create healthy boundaries for yourself and others, it can help you to better process some difficult life events, work through unhealthy relationships or habits, ease feelings of guilt, help you to achieve goals, gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of yourself and it can also be a place to vent your frustrations about the people in your life who won’t go to therapy themselves. 

I see my therapist weekly and it is one of the most important and much needed self-care strategies in my life right now. I know I am safe when I am speaking with my therapist and that I can share anything with her without feeling judged or stigmatized. 

If you are ready to take that next step I would be more than happy to help guide you toward the many available options; including the free and online ones.

Below is one such example that I was asked to share with you. It is a new service being offered through the Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region and South Simcoe Chapter. It’s a free telephone counseling service which operates weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30; there is no referral needed and no wait lists.

https://www.yorkregion.com/community-story/10308811-canadian-mental-health-association-introduces-counselling-telephone-line/

Just remember that no matter what, going to therapy is cool!

#therapy #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #talktherapy #onlinetherapy #therapyiscool #benefitsoftherapy #endthestigmatogether #youmatter

Depression Is Not A One Day Sales Event

Today is “Blue Monday”. Every year the third Monday in January has been labelled as the most “depressing” day of the year. 

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog titled; “Stop Calling It Blue Monday” where I described the many formulas for which “Blue Monday” got its namesake and sure, on paper, today could very well look like it may live up to its name (see blog: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/stop-calling-it-blue-monday) but the campaigns which are associated with “Blue Monday” are commercializing on it (book a tropical getaway now) and therefore further trivializing what is a very serious, debilitating and often life threatening disorder for so many of us, including myself. 

This time of year can undoubtedly be difficult enough for so many of us as the bills start piling up from the holidays, new year’s resolutions are being broken, getting outside for fresh air has become more difficult due to the inclement weather in many parts of the world and for many others there is possibly an overall feeling of gloominess stemming from having less hours of daylight in our day.

But this year we have sadly added a whole other layer to what may be causing so many more individuals to be feeling even more stressed or S.A.D (see blog from February 2018:  https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/im-s-a-d-the-february-blues) this time of year, and even more so than in years past which is now better known as Covid fatigue. 

So when it is suggested to us that we should all feel somewhat depressed on one single day each year feels very belittling and almost condescending, especially this year more than ever. 

But I will give “Blue Monday” kudos for giving a voice to Depression. By talking about “Blue Monday”, by watching it being discussed on all the news channels today and by listening to many experts on the radio giving both advice and important resources available to you for tackling Depression head on is helping to further destigmatize it. It is allowing for many individuals who may be feeling very much alone right now to find the courage to ask for help and it’s letting you know that help is available. And most importantly it’s telling someone who may not know it yet but it’s okay to not be okay; yesterday, today and even tomorrow. 

***There are many free online programs and resources available and here is one that is now available through Shoppers Drug Mart in the Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba (ages 16 plus)*** https://shoppersdrugmart.myicbt.com/home?email=amVubmluZ3MuamFkYUBnbWFpbC5jb20%3D-%20A%20Badge%20-%20CBT-01

#bluemonday #endthestigmatogether #youareenough #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillness #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #mentalhealth