I’ve never been a fan of rollercoasters—and I can see why after recent ups and downs as I deal with depression.

Just like the real rollercoaster, the ones I have had happen lately have you enjoying things one moment, then not really wanting to be near people, but just alone. For some people, the later leads to dark, and awful thoughts.

I may appear to be smiling and happy go lucky at any of the assignments you see me at, but it’s what you don’t see that people need to know about so we can talk about mental health and depression more. We need to make it not such a bad thing to talk about.

Take for example one day last month I had three assignments scheduled. I was looking forward to them. But the day of the assignments, it took all my power to get myself out of the apartment to be able to go do them and cover them as if there wasn’t anything wrong. To give my 110 per cent effort.

Now those involved with the assignments may not have seen or got the vibe of what I had to go through to get myself there, but it was tough. And I hate it for happening, but it’s something that I can’t control and is just a part of this struggle with depression.

I have good days and then I have bad days. Not like bad days where I just am not in the mood. But bad days as in I don’t want to go out, but rather just stay inside. Heck, Asha my cat seems to know when I am having bad days as she spends them around me more than she normally does. Almost like she knows and is trying to help me cope.

However, lately with a change in my work habits—I am doing more work from home and work on the road than I did in the past at various locations in the community—I am coping better I would say. I am accepting of this avenue for work, something I think my editor Abby Cameron has been trying to get me to do more of, but I was reluctant. Not anymore.

Being presented honours such as the Canada150 pin where I was one of 20 recipients to receive one from MP Darrell Samson, means a lot and helps to counteract the depression and make me feel good—even if it was for just a few hours.

Too many—especially our youth—are finding suicide as the only way to beat depression or their mental health issue. It’s not. So parents, I just ask you to keep an eye on your kids. Talk to them. Make sure they are okay and if they have problems, seek the help available.

It’s not easy, and my battle is really still at the start, but you can win. You just need to talk. I am thankful I have great supports.

And I plan to be one of those winners, even if it means many more unlikable rollercoaster rides.

Pat Healey