Feel-Good Corner

Mental Health and Illness Initiative Results

Hi everyone! I would have liked to write something on the day of ‘Bell let’s talk’ but I’ve been really busy. As I mentioned in the previous blog, I was working on an awareness- fundraising campaign for mental health and illness. I didn’t get to write while in progress but now I can share the exciting results!

‘Bell lets’ Talk’ at school:

The biggest event was at school on January 25th. My original goal was a bake sale fundraiser but the support from staff allowed me to take it much further. I ended up creating a fair of sorts with stations including info, activities and show and tell.

I’m extremely grateful for the permission to host such an event, as well as the government funding that reimbursed necessary materials. I can’t afford out of pocket initiatives yet unfortunately. I’m also thankful for all those who participated and contributed. I had some helping hands for the setup too and one of my friends at school was allowed to bring their golden retriever. Sailor and Mia were the stars of the day!

I’ve got to admit, the event was a few stressful weeks in the making. Gearing up for it took serious work and I came close to jeopardizing my own mental health. (What irony!) It was a a funny blend of emotions and mood cycles. The passion and purpose gave me wonderful motivation, determination and productivity (particularly in the hypomania phase). Even the anxiety was a good kind of pressure until it got to be too much and I felt overwhelmed/ready to crack. Partway into the official activity I hit a massive down, I assume triggered by the completion of my mission. My head can be such a vulnerable and unpredictable pain in the …

Despite the usual rollercoaster, I’m extremely happy and grateful for the money we raised, the process, the day, who I got to work with and just so many things – it was 100% worth it!

Many contributed by bringing baked goods and the sale went super well. We raised a record amount of money for a bake sale held at our school… $370!

‘Bell let’s Talk’ at work:

I’ve been really looking forward to showing you a walk through of the fair, held in the cafeteria area and the setup at the pet store Les Moulées du Nord. Check out my Instagram or Facebook for videos but further you’ll see some photos.

The bake sale at work was last Saturday and I’m so happy for the support of my boss, manager and coworkers. In one day we raised $435 for the CMHA!

I also made a wonderful connection with a CISSS worker. She informed me of the ‘éclaireur / pathfinder’ program which started during and as a result of the pandemic. Volunteers are given a certain training and act as a liaison between government health services and the community. They provide intermediary resources to those who require them and aren’t sure of where to go.

The representative agreed after hearing my story that I’d be in a great position to apply. I filled in the form and I can’t wait to hear back from them! Who knows what will happen?

Bake sale at Les Moulées du Nord

More Good News:

I never thought my initiative would bring me here but I feel that many possibilities are opening for me! I’m trying to keep that in mind when I feel depressed and discouraged to the point of hopelessness. I’m tired of the sharp duality in my life. Even knowing that it stems from my head and not so much my circumstances, I feel largely incapable of controlling it.

But before I delve into darkness, it’s my birthday and I want to give myself a gift. I want to acknowledge my 23rd year alive with a gratitude summary.

Just before that, I want to share an unexpected gift: I was called by the Canadian Mental Health Association today and was thanked for the donations. The person was interested in my blog and books and I explained about the initiatives. I had already wanted to apply to the CMHA as a partner, but the person said they would love to have me and is going to send me the info/forms by email. At the same time I asked about employment opportunities within the CMHA and she’s going to send me the coordinates of a Quebec branch for me to get in touch. This – paired with a productive academic guidance counsellor meeting yesterday and the pathfinder opportunity – has made very excited.

23 Year Old Me

This ‘summary’ probably comes across as self-indulgent, but that’s not my intent. Writing is my therapy as well as a source of (hopefully) useful tidbits. So I write this as a personal exercise and as a suggestion for others to take their own moment of self-indulgence. (Spoiler alert: I know you deserve it more than you think!)

Thank you for surviving another year and for the times that shifted from survival to living. I turned 23 with a sense of leaving crisis centres and hospitals behind me. I took up rollerblading and really really enjoyed it. I also worked more hours at the pet store which brought me closer to my coworkers and I met wonderful people there (and elsewhere). My conversational French improved by a degree significant enough to boost my confidence. My independence and responsibility also increased by a certain degree (with the caveat of being largely dependent upon my mental state). Then I over-ambitiously planned some birthdays / special events that put too much on my plate with school and work. Cue ‘crisis mode’ and a preventative crisis centre stay that resulted in a new breed of personal/interpersonal issues. It’s still too painful to get into detail about last summer so I’ll keep it brief. I had an incredible time while more hypomanic than I’d ever previously been. I’ll be thankful for the fun, the rush, the excitement…but I’ll also be grateful for surviving the subsequent crash. The ridiculous flirtation with death and my worst attempt. I’m grateful for how, with the help of those I love and who love me, I was able to put myself together again. I’m grateful for the personal growth, beginning consistent chakra meditation and later, completing the two cegep courses I almost abandoned. I’m thankful to have transitioned back to work at least part-time and to have made it halfway with my chemistry course. I also made new friends there who are amazing. I’m grateful for Karting and driving adventures and the burgeoning passion in that area. Most recently, I’m very grateful for the projects, initiatives and opportunities in mental health and illness endeavours. I almost forgot; I’m also thankful to have quit smoking. And last but not least, as always, I’m eternally grateful for our family!

So, I’m gonna try to be proud of my accomplishments and not let them be overshadowed by the mistakes and ensuing guilt. I will try to make 2023 a meaningfully productive year as I learn to manage my illnesses and carve out a life I can be proud of!

I wish the same for everyone! We all have a birthday, but any day can be one of rebirth.

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