Photo credit: Ed Bowron
After moving back to Cape Breton in 2009 I started to notice some trouble with my mood and positivity. My family, who knew I was upset about the move, assumed it was simply brought on by missing my friends and having a hard time adjusting to school here. I've gone to eight different schools in my life so I knew it wasn't a problem with being able to adjust. When I started coming home from school and spending all of my spare time sleeping, while losing interesting in the things I used to love, they started to worry. Toward the end of my ninth grade year I was diagnosed with depression. As scary as it was to hear, it was a relief to know there was a reason behind the way I was feeling.
Since then I've been learning how to live with depression while balancing a full course load at CBU along with three part time jobs. It's not easy trying to fight with yourself to be feel happiness and joy when you know you have every reason in the world to be happy. This is one of the most horrible parts of dealing with an illness that people can't always see or understand; people will say: "How can you be depressed? You have a family, friends, steady income, and a roof over your head. What do you have to be depressed about?" But depression doesn't care, it doesn't need an invitation.
In the past I haven't been overly vocal about my depression but it's never too late to start if it means that someone might read this and feel less alone. The main reason I wanted to participate in this campaign is to let others know that it is okay to accept yourself completely, even the parts of yourself you may be struggling with. I have friends who cannot bring themselves to speak to a mental health professional because they are embarrassed or feel like there is something wrong with them. This is the stigma that we are trying to end.
One of the best quotes that I've stumbled upon is something a psychiatrist said to a patient; it's something I think about a lot and also share to explain the importance of self care:
"If you look at the fact that you have a roof over your head, food to eat, that you are young and beautiful and live in a peaceful land, then no, you have nothing to be sad about. But the fact is, we are not only a physical body, we have souls too, and sometimes your soul gets sick. If you break a leg you don't just say 'I have no reason to have a broken leg' and ignore it; you seek help. It's the same thing when your soul gets hurt. Don't apologize for being sad."
I hope this campaign helps people to accept themselves and be unafraid to seek the help that could change their lives.