It is the annual Bell Let’s Talk time. And we all need to be reminded. I find it interesting when I discover how many people have been touched by mental health issues. Just check Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. There is a relative whose son has suffered from depression. There is a friend and colleague that knows all about it. There is a complete stranger that acknowledges the devastation of mental health problems. You turn on the radio. Even a talk show host, who I have very little respect for, has guests that talk about the ongoing issues of depression and anxiety
I have preached it from the pulpit. Okay, that really is an overstatement. My parents could only wish it was from a pulpit. But in presentations, in media interviews, in one on one conversations, and in my weekly ramblings, I talk about “talking” about it. I am a strong believer. It helped me. It helped me lots. It continues to help me.
Sometimes I wonder how tired people must be about hearing this ongoing issue of mental health and talking. I get really tired of it myself, to the point of getting quite angry. Why the hell can’t we just be happy? Why do we need to continuously remind people to talk? And then I sit back, look at my own life, look at my own struggles and I understand. I get it.
Over the years I have talked on many occasions. I have come to the realization that there are so many out there that listen. So many people that do understand. So many that welcome the opportunity to help. From the neighbor who took the time to ask when I was in my darkest moment. From the friend who listened without judgement. From a wife and partner who never gave up on me. From kids who did care even when I thought I was protecting them from the demons of my inner self. To the countless people who approached me when they realized that I, too, was experiencing what they had felt for years.
There is a certain camaraderie out there. As long as we hide behind a façade of happiness, of contentment, of peace, we never find it. But it is there. And it is so helpful. Thank you to all those that have taken the time to listen to me in the past. Thank you to all who have encouraged without judgement. Thank you to all those that stuck with me even when I stumbled and fell. Thank you to all who continue to care. You have no idea how helpful you have been in my journey. A journey that continues and will continue to the day I die.
So, again, the challenge is to talk about it. Although many people experience mental health issues there are many who do not. For those people I can only throw out one challenge. Take the time to listen. The beauty of that is you don’t need to provide any answers. All you need to do is show some interest, be curious, normalize, validate and understand in whatever way you can. That is all many of us need. That is all we ask for. And the more we are able to talk, the more we can be on that road to recovery. A road filled with a true peace and contentment. A road that can provide for a better tomorrow.
Again, thank you to all who have listened to me in the past. Thank you to all who have shared with me. Together we can find a new enjoyment in life. A life we were meant to live. Make it a good one.
“People don’t always need advice. Sometimes all they really need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen, and a heart to understand them.” Unknown