Mental Illness Doesn’t Have to Be An Illness!

Bell Lets Talk Hope photo

What I learned from attending the Bell Let’s Talk Hope Conference in January

I haven’t written for a while in this space. Over the last number of months, I have taken some time to step back from writing because it became too much. I was attempting to write a new post every day, and my body told me that I couldn’t do that any more. I wasn’t sleeping well because of pressure that I was putting on myself.

Not sleeping well impacted my physical health and my mental well-being.

I have decided to write here again, but to post once per month. Some months I may post a few more, but I will commit myself to one per month. (Some of the formatting bits may look differently… be patient with me, I might be a bit rusty).

Today’s post is about a mental health conference that I attended recently.

___________________

Going to a conference on mental health is a blast, right? Honestly, I find most mental health conferences dry. It’s tough to get motivated to listen to more statistics, medication updates, and nuances about particular disorders. Sure, this stuff is important… but is it fun?

At the end of January I attended the Bell Let’s Talk Hope conference in Edmonton. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The list of speakers made me wonder if I would have to drink 17 cups of coffee to make it through.

The conference completely blew me away. The face of mental illness that was presented had very little to do with illness. Instead, the stories were about courage. Speakers were vulnerable about terrible struggles, and how they made the choice to push back against things like depression, anxiety, bipolar and borderline personality disorders. Many of the speakers were accomplished and professional. Yet, they continue to struggle with their difficult mental health experiences.

I have to say that this was one of the best conferences I have attended for both learning and my own mental health. I could say so much more, but I won’t. Instead, I will let the words of the speakers and participants speak for themselves:

“Mental health is a product of our relationships.”

“Self care is mental health care.”

“Inside of any child’s disruptive behaviors there is a person who can be reached by someone.”

“I am a CEO of a company that I started, we help children who experience sexual abuse. And I have anxiety so bad that I had to take time off work. My mental health is something that I manage. I always, and will always, feel anxious.”

“My mental illness has caused me so much pain but it has also helped me to find my gift.”

“I am someone that people rely on, and I like being this person. But one of the things that I struggle with is asking for help. I am that guy who supports others to find help, but I can’t ask for the help that I need.”

“Helpers need help too. And sometimes they hide behind their professional walls.”

“Healing can be found in facing the darkest part of ourselves.”

“Why do we need to schedule time to play? And why are we so serious when we play? Can you imagine what a bunch of 6 year olds would say about that??”

“I am retired now. A few years before I retired I knew that I wouldn’t make it to retirement unless I had more fun at work. So that’s what I did, I allowed myself to have more fun at work and it made the difference for me.”

Take a moment and add a comment. Did any of these statements resonate with you? What helps you with your own wellness and thriving mental health?

Yours in Recovery!

Keep it Real

Me and Zombie 4

(I’m not the mummy, I’m the other guy in the photo)

 


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