May is Mental Health Awareness month in both Canada and the United States. The company that I work for has been doing regular drop-in sessions for employees this month, providing a safe environment to ask questions and to get information from professionals in the field. The basic message that has been coming through in most of these session is the need to take care of yourself in the best way possible, whatever that looks like for you, as well as starting a social dialogue to help get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health.
Depression has been part of my life for over 20 years. Most of the time it is very much under control and no one would know the difference – my life goes on just like anyone else’s. However, every once in a while I hit a pothole in life. While my struggle with depression is not something that I generally share, on social media or otherwise, I did for the first time in the spring of 2015, and I was astonished by the wonderful response and support that I got from people around me. There were a number of people who reached out to me that I have known for years, who had absolutely no idea that I struggle with depression. There were others who have been there through the good times and the bad times with me over the years.
With Covid and the subsequent lockdown in Canada, it has been a challenge to show up and be “OKAY” every day. The one thing that I know about myself is that I function much better with a structured routine. The pandemic took away every aspect of that and I found myself kind of drifting through life. I was able to work with someone over the summer last year and I restructured my routine, finding a “new” normal, and ultimately changed my mindset! I am not saying that I have everything all figured out, but most days are pretty good. I did hit a rough spot a few weeks ago, but with proper treatment before I slid too far, a bit of downtime, and conversations with some key people in my life, I was easily able to turn things around!
The next time you come into contact with someone having a bad day or a bad week – don’t judge them – ask them how they are doing, be ready to listen, and give them a hug, a smile, or a helping hand. It might be all that they need in order to climb out of the pothole that they have fallen into! Gentleness & compassion go a long way to soothing a person’s soul!
I want to thank everyone who has always been around when I hit these potholes in my life!