The Bell Let's Talk program is back and in full swing. Last I checked there were almost 28,000,000 interactions leading to millions of dollars in funding for various mental health initiatives nationwide.
More importantly, the campaign sparks conversations nationwide with celebrities, like Mary Walsh, Michael Landsberg, and Clara Hughes, right there at the forefront. This is the time of year when the curtain of stigma is raised just enough that we as a people can open up and talk about what mental illness means to us.
Personally I battle depression and addiction on a daily basis. I have learned over the course of education and my own therapeutic experience how to deal with those things in order to keep friends and family away from my problems. It was only a few years ago that I finally decided to let more people into my war room and it was incredible... one these folks got passed the initial distraction of 'Why didn't you say anything sooner?'... like it's some kind of surprise that people do that.
My weapons in the fight against depression and anxiety are accountability partners. The addiction side of things has been pushed back to sea for almost 10 years but the objects of my temptation are almost unavoidable. Depression is a battle within my own head. It wears out my motivation, stops me from being able to do the things I need to do, wipes my memory, stops me from being able to concentrate, I regularly become irritable, and every now and again I feel an odd sense of hopelessness. When any of these are getting particularly bad I have my wife, other family, and plenty of friends to tell me I need to do something.
Which brings me to what I do: a combination of scheduling, meditation, and exercise. Scheduling my day-to-day activities and having someone know what I should be doing forces me to get off my rear-end and do stuff, particularly stuff I enjoy doing like taking long walks or writing. Meditation is different for everyone but my meditation is a form of mindfulness where I identify the triggers of my depression symptoms and learn to accept that they have taken residence in my head. Exercise is a remarkable tool in the battle against depression, specifically aerobic exercise, because it gets the blood flowing in the body and you're taking in oxygen. Going for a bike ride (including exercise bike in your home or gym) or a walk (outside, treadmill, elliptical) are the simplest and most efficient options. I like going to gyms when I am on vacation and when there is a deal on memberships but otherwise I like the comfort of my own home and as I mentioned earlier in this paragraph I like going for walks. The depression goes back to its war room and we prepare to fight another day.
Just a way to get a few thoughts across outside of the office. In this blog you may even find entries that assist in your healing without needing a session