January 27th, 2016

Today is Let’s Talk Day, started by Bell Canada to talk about mental health across Canada. By re-posting various items and hashtags on social media they raised (are still raising actually since it’s ongoing until 12am PST) money for mental health awareness, a very laudable goal.

For my part, I’m fortunate to have had good mental health throughout my life. There have been times when I’ve had to speak to people in the past, however, which is hard to talk about without getting into the ‘w’ word I promised myself I wouldn’t use here from Day 1. That’s an omnipresent challenge in my line of work, but I’m very lucky that we have a plethora of resources at our disposal. Both the Legal Aid organization and our provincial Bar association have programs in place to help those who need them.

I’ve not had to avail of them with my current job, but I have used them through previous positions of employment and it was a great help in dealing with things. Not everyone is as lucky to have those resources at their disposal, and I’m both grateful and thankful for them.

While I don’t suffer from any mental illness, that’s not to say that I haven’t had my own issues with which to deal. There are many days that start and/or end with me berating myself internally – I should have done X today, or I did Y wrong, and I’m an idiot, I suck, I don’t know what I’m doing, etc. That happens probably more that I’d like, and it’s honestly been happening a bit lately since I signed up for this short story challenge and I’ve not written nearly as much as I’d like.

I know those things aren’t true, at least not to that severe degree – sometime I really should have done certain things, for example, but that doesn’t make me useless if I don’t – but it does still bug me from time to time. It’s something to be aware of, and if it does get worse or ends up affecting me more I know I’ll have to address it. My awareness of that comes partly from seeing others going through similar situations, from my aforementioned awesome employee’s assistance programs, and from events such as Let’s Talk that bring these kinds of things out into the open.

I hope if anyone out there has issues with mental health that they are able to get the help they need, and if there’s ever anything I could do to help someone who’s reading this, please, just say the word. I’m far from an expert to say the least but I’m more than willing to help, even if I could only be an ear for someone to vent to or ask for an opinion.

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