submitted by Erin Emiru, Vancouver BC
Imagine you are in a swimming pool - the deep end - and you don't know how to swim. You flail and kick and all your resources are desperate for a gasp of air. You are drowning. But imagine, then, that there is a table placed in the water, one you can climb onto and get your head above the waters. Your life is no longer be focused on bare survival - you can now breathe, and talk, and even sing... you can ask for help, express your needs, and find more to your life than not knowing if you can rise above the deadly depths.
For me, that table is medication. Without it, I drown in my schizophrenia.Read more
submitted by MJ, Vancouver BC
I noticed the beginning of my struggles with mental health as having immense worry and anxiety that bad things were going to happen. The anxiety grew into an increasing fear of contamination that triggered obsessive hand washing and avoidance of places and touching things. Growing up in a family with parents that struggled immensely with their ability to parent, I found myself living my younger years in the wake of adversity. At the time in which I began overeating to find comfort when loneliness and misery would surface, I was not aware that this was a problem. Retrospectively, I see this as the beginning of my eating disorder. I began to be suicidal around the age of thirteen when things in my home had escalated and when my lack of safety became pertinent to me. I left home at the mere age of fifteen seeking a place of security, to later be placed in foster care residing in a group home.Read more
submitted by Susie, Vancouver BC
My name is Susie and I have struggled for years with alcohol addiction. I have had long periods of abstinence and have had some success in Alcoholics Anonymous.
But I have repeatedly relapsed and when I tried to quit cold turkey again, I found the period of agitation, restlessness and sleeplessness afterward so difficult it would interfere with my work. I also beat myself up a lot and so envied others in the group who could proudly share they’d been 10 or 20 years without a drink. It seemed so unattainable to me, it just made me feel worse. The cravings would return and feeling so worthless, I would drink again.Read more
submitted by Holden C., Vancouver BC
“This is not about politics. It’s simply the right thing to do.” - Demi Lovato addressing the DNC on the need for mental health investment and policy change
This system is broken.
There I was again, locked in a seclusion room on the second floor of a psychiatric facility. Trapped in a dilapidated hospital ward. I was a “frequent flyer”. That’s what the nurses called us – the patients unable to break the cycle of repeat hospitalizations. Unable to exit the revolving door. We had fallen through the system’s cracks. We deserved better.Read more
submitted by UBC President Santa J. Ono
Mental health is a significant issue: one in five Canadians will have a mental health problem or illness this year. While conversations about mental health are now happening more frequently, many people are reluctant to talk about mental health, with 4 in 10 Canadian workers saying they would likely ignore or hide a mental illness diagnosis.
That is why I am heartened by the CMHA BC’s b4stage4 campaign, with its focus on prevention, early identification and early intervention.Read more
submitted by Nicole Clarke
On January 25, 2017, beloved son, brother, father, lover, uncle, cousin and friend, Daniel Zorn, passed away. He was 44 years old and left behind a beautiful daughter and a legion of family and friends who remember him not as an addict, but as a source of fun, kindness, and lightheartedness.Read more
submitted by Paula Roumeliotis, Victoria BC
I attended the CMHA b4stage 4 conference in Victoria in November 2016 and it was so encouraging to hear about the focus being on the importance of accessible and early treatment and supports for people living with mental health and substance use issues. You see, I’ve been living with a mental illness for over 35 years and if these options had been available to me when I first started struggling as a teenager, my life could have been completely different.
Now don’t get me wrong - I am grateful for my recovery today and I have realized that living with a mental illness does not limit me and that I am not my diagnosis. I am living a fulfilling life that I never dreamed possible but it was a long time coming.Read more
submitted by Evelyn, Coquitlam BC
If there had been early intervention:
My symptoms of anxiety at age eleven may have been recognized and treated appropriately.
If there had been early intervention:
My adolescent depression might not have turned into a psychotic depressive episode. The horrifying feelings of paranoia, my bizarre delusions, and the loss of control of my own thoughts could have been explained and I may have been helped instead of being abandoned to deal with it on my own -- at the age of fifteen.
My name is Mark Smed. I work with information technology and have had a long successful career. People generally like me, and say I’m hard working and funny. I’m too loud sometimes and I’m emotional often. I love to do creative writing, art, hiking, fishing and some camping. Once I ran for council in my home town. One of the great passions in my life is to sit and have a coffee with a friend. It’s a simple pleasure, but I don’t need huge risk and thrills to be happy.Read more
Submitted by Mary, Salmon Arm BC
Once upon a time, I had a white picket fence. It was adorable and shiny and surrounded my little world : three gorgeous babies, a handsome brief-case carrying husband in a European suit, a home in the suburbs with a minivan in the carport, my own small business, a role on the preschool board of directors, freshly baked cookies cooling on the counter. A sandbox and a swing-set in the backyard. All of that was real, except that white picket fence. It is a metaphor, or is it?Read more