#BellLetsTalk? Well, Let’s Talk

Hello there,

I haven’t been here in a little while, how have you been?

Seasonal depression naps have been taking over my life, and if I don’t regain some semblance of control, I would run the risk of ruining the rest of this semester – and essentially the program – due to pure lack of productivity. I’m not even joking here.

It also means this is possibly the closest you would get from me in terms of me writing as someone in an episode of depression. I say “closest” because: 1. S.A.D. is mild in comparison; 2. this writing is somewhat constrained, as I have no desire to turn this blog into a real-time therapy session that’s disguised as a diary.

A few days ago – Jan. 31st – was the Bell Let’s Talk Day, an annual mental health awareness day in Canada that has been going on for the past 7 years. Any post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk would result in a donation of $0.05 from Bell Canada to various mental health programs. This year, the total amount was more than $6 million. As much as I would rather the conversation around mental health and mental illness to be something that’s ongoing, and not simply yet another once-a-year occurrence, I am glad that it contributes to more people tackling the issue head-on.

As the saying goes, awareness is the first step.

Increasing that awareness was also why I agreed to appear as a guest on my school’s radio show a couple of days ago. I suppose the things I have written on this blog so far have been well-received, although it’s still awkward for me to listen to my own voice on a sound system. It was a great experience, just sitting there, exchanging anecdotes of triumphs and tribulations without fear of judgment. I think I will always appreciate those stories, because they illustrate, simultaneously, just how fragile and resilient the human health can be.

I see those stories everyday.

I know fellow students in my program who have been struggling with anxiety and/or depression, among other illnesses; I have friends on Twitter (excluding current classmates) who have been struggling with anxiety and/or depression and/or bipolar disorder, to name a few; when I went to check Facebook earlier – a rarity these days if you exclude Facebook Messenger and specific private, school-related Facebook groups – I discovered that a friend attempted to commit suicide on Feb. 1st (yup, the day after Bell Let’s Talk Day) due to profound sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

The prevalence of those stories is part of the reason as to why I wish we paid more attention to the issue of mental health, and that as grateful as I am of the increased awareness that result from initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk, I am also frustrated because so many people are in need of life-saving resources, so much so that a donation of $6 million is almost insignificant in comparison. A part of me also want to touch on the irony hidden behind Bell Let’s Talk, but I suppose that can wait.

Herein lies what arguably constitutes as one of the main pillars of my love-hate relationship with social media as someone who experiences mental illness: social media can be triggering – and often exacerbate existing symptoms – in so many ways, yet at the same time, social media has helped broadening the conversation on mental health and thus giving voices to those who were under the impression that they wouldn’t be heard.

Am I rambling? A little bit? Well, since the Grammys happened a week ago, and given the topic, I’ll conclude the post with Logic’s performance of 1-800-273-8255, with help from Canada’s own Alessia Cara:

Until then, don’t forget to unplug, we’ll randezvous again.

 

R.L.

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