East Meets West: Let’s Talk- A Conversation About Mental Health, Grieving, and Healing

In January 2011, Bell Media launched Bells Let’s Talk Day.  Let’s Talk operates on four pillars: de-stigmatizing, provide funding for care and access, research, and workplace health in the mental health field.  On January 30, 2019, the eighth annual Let’s Talk Day, Bell projects that over $100 Million dollars will be raised total toward the cause, in conjunction with private/public donations and 5¢ donated from Bell for every text/call.

I am not exempt: I am included in the 1-in-5 Canadians who have been challenged by depression resulting in a raging, decade-spanning case of anorexia/anorexia that caused the depression.

I don’t want to say that I’m “cured”; I still have my bad days, yet, the good outweigh them. I now have the mindfulness to recognize the pain, contain it, transform it; wisdom.

So, I’m talking- things that worked for me/didn’t, my agony, my becoming, and my the catharsis.

This column has been undulating inside for a while, and yes, typing has got my stomach in knots. However, I adopted the ethos “it’s scary, I should do it” long ago, and if my small act of bravery can help someone, I’m there like a dirty sock.

A love letter to myself, from myself…

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Always a taller/larger girl for your age, beginning in kindergarten, you will be taunted and called fat. You will ingest this hatred, shame, and otherness, internalize it as something that you did wrong, something you should be ashamed of- you will nurture this worthlessness and base your capabilities, your downfalls and your missteps on your size, with no redemption save to diminish your weight for the next few decades.

You will eventually become so entrenched in stress and depression that your throat will constrict. You will be shamed and be imparted with quick fixes from a general practitioner who didn’t even give the courtesy of learning your name properly while doling out a quick fix.

You will briefly turn to alcohol in an attempts to anesthetize the visions self-judgments that are on loop in your head, but instead, turn to social media and streaming services because it’s even more efficient and less expensive.

You will break your heart a thousand ways and blame others for it. You will continually push others away, you will push yourself away.

And then one day you’ll choose yourself. You will decide that you know longer want to be a land in which pain, disappointment, and victimhood are permitted to germinate and swell. You will be your own vulnerable champion and seek methodologies and mentors to aid in your healing.

You will realize that you are more resilient, loving, and worthy than you ever thought you could be. You’ll cultivate and those gems, though still in the rough will be diamonds nonetheless.

You will realize that you are not alone.

Your healing will be far from linear. You will rise and stumble, scrape your knees on rock bottom an innumerable amount of times. You’ll rise each time.

You will explore means of healing you didn’t know existed; Traditional Chinese Medicine will teach you about the collaboration, and wholeness of your body. You will seek out energy healing in the forms of Reiki and cranial sacral treatments, understanding that the unseen has great potency.

You will diligently commit yourself to yoga, integrating disciplines of the mind, integrating strength and release of the body to delve deeper into hearing what your soul needs.

You will cry. A lot. You will cry enough to sink Atlantis, and you still won’t be empty, but that won’t stop you from moving forward.

You will release the anorexia that you blamed for crippling your life for the past 20 years, no longer robbing you of the heart and intellect you possess in spades.

The unthinkable will become a cardinal truth; you will love yourself. You will love your quick mind, your generous compassionate heart, and you will love your body. You will celebrate the uniqueness, the capability, the tenacity and the malleability of the aforementioned and realize the dependency and harmony of all three, and of the oneness.

You will forgive others.

You will forgive yourself.

You will step into the magnificent of becoming, with a small grin on your lips knowing that the Velvet Underground got it right: “What comes is better than what came before”

Gratefully.


Resources

Bell Let’s Talk (includes information for kids, teens, seniors, adults and a multitude of assets of support).

Crisis Services Canada: Canada Suicide Prevention Services

National Eating Disorder Information Centre

Reiki 

Craniosacral Therapy