2017-01-25 Posted By Jenna
When you think of the word “strength”, what immediately comes to mind? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Sylvester Stallone? What about Carrie Fisher? Patty Duke? Howie Mandel? Although we’re doing a little better as a society at recognizing the strength it takes to live with mental health challenges, we very rarely see it being the reason we consider someone strong. That’s a scary thought, because living and thriving through the depths of mental health challenges ain’t for the weak!
In fact, is there a way to distinguish between mental health challenges and physical challenges? When you break your leg at the beginning of summer and you’re stuck in a cast, don’t you get depressed? Doesn’t that depression manifest in exhaustion, lack of appetite etc.? What about when you’re having a bad day and you go to the gym to feel “strong” and all of the sudden you can’t do what you normally do because your mind is filled with doubt? It’s very hard to be dealing with mental health challenges without it affecting your physical health and vice versa.
Like we heard from Hillary Clinton - women’s rights are human rights - mental health challenges are just as valid as physical challenges.
Growing up with Spina Bifida, I’ve learned that there is a large majority of kids, who around the age of 10, get diagnosed with depression. This was was the case for me. At 10 years old I was diagnosed with off-the-charts depression. At 10, I had to start learning that I had to take care of myself from a mental health perspective. At 10, I started to learn that taking care of myself from a mental health perspective could come in the form of: medication; therapy; meditation; making time to do things that I liked to do, being with the people I wanted to be with; getting exercise and/or being alone to sort through my thoughts to try and make sense of what I was feeling. All of these approaches mattered, all of these approaches were valid.
As an adult, I am actually glad that I had to dive head first into the world of mental health early on because it has continued to serve me. My ego doesn’t get in the way as much when approaching my mental health as it might’ve if I had to make decisions now about whether or not to take medication or go to therapy - it’s just part of my day.
Why am I telling you this? Well, today is #BellLetsTalk Day and if you: text, make mobile and long distance calls, tweet using #BellLetsTalk, post to Instagram using #BellLetsTalk, view the Bell Let’s Talk video on Facebook, or snapchat using the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter and you’re with Bell, Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health initiatives! Also, when you come to sheTalks on Saturday, you’ll see how much more I’ve been thinking about the idea of strength and how it’s affected my life over the years in pretty unexpected ways.
Thanks for reading!