Since I have informed people that I have been diagnosed with and am struggling with depression, the reaction has been much different than I expected.
I had expected a different reaction, one that contained the stigma that comes with mental illness, one that people would see me in a different light. Instead, people have applauded me, and even have come up to me with their own stories, since I first did my editorial about suffering with depression.
The support has made me feel better, and inside know that I did the right thing letting the readers I tell stories too monthly what I am going through. As I write this, I am tearing up thinking of the support that has helped me through the past couple of months as I seek treatment with a counsellor.
It definitely hasn’t been easy.
There have been more than a few times that I have toughed it out, and took advice of a local acupuncturist and my counsellor at Colchester-East Hants Mental Health, taking deep breaths, some even before I get out of my car as I head to an assignment or event.
I felt like I was in a good place and work was going good. But then, an unexpected change happened in our newsroom and we went from three reporters to two—myself and editor Abby Cameron. I immediately thought this was the last thing I needed given what I am going through, figuring this would only add to the pressure I was feeling.
Instead, in the five weeks since, and thanks to great editor management from my editor Abby Cameron, things have not become overwhelming and I have dealt with it fairly well. I am not overdoing it. I am not getting to all the stuff I would like to.
I am taking more me time—even turning off my cellphone and limiting social media time—on days off (that might be why I don’t answer you). Before all of this that would be a rarity, and it would be like pulling teeth to get me to do it. But realizing what I am going through has opened my eyes.
But while my struggle is minor compared to many others in the province, the message to keep talking, break the stigma with mental health issues, is never more clear.
That’s evident with the fact that in recent weeks several young people with mental health issues have decided the only way out of their problem was to take their own lives. This should show our politicians of all stripes—that the status quo is not going to hold water, and that more needs to be done now, not down the road. Those who need help can’t wait.
– Pat Healey