Mental Health Conferece: Day 1

On the weekend of February 3rd and 4th I had immense pleasure of attending a Mental Health Conference at York University that was organized by one of my friends with Project Heal. This was the very first Mental Health Conference I have ever been to, however I know that it won’t be my last as it was such an inspiring experience. Not only was I able to attend but I was also able to assist in running the conference over the weekend.

Day one began with a welcome address presented by Alicia Pinelli, who then introduced the first keynote speaker Charles Hargobind. Charles spoke about Mindfulness in the 21st Century and his talk was very relatable. He focused on calming one’s mind and body through mindfulness practices and the benefits such practices have on everyday life. He spoke about his own life experiences and how he has used mindfulness practices to calm his mind and body.

Once the keynote speaker had finished there was a break to allow for everyone to mingle as well as check out some of the displays and vendors. These included Scared Queerless and NEDIC both of which I was able to talk to. Scared Queerless is a nonprofit organization started by a group of individuals who are aiming to combat violence in and towards the LGBT+ Community. NEDIC is an organization that focuses on awareness and prevention of eating disorders, food and weight preoccupation, and disordered eating by promoting critical thinking skills and a healthy, balanced-lifestyle.

Next everyone had a chance to attend one of four workshops all of which were very well done as I had the pleasure of attending bits of all four. The first was presented by Alan Faigal and was titled Mindful Movement. He focused on using movement and self-care, including moving creatively to gain vitality and self-awareness. Everyone involved in the workshop was able to find news and creative ways to move their bodies to release some of the daily stressors and replenish their energy. This was a very fun workshop. The second workshop was presented by Alyia Chan and focused on Supporting Loved Ones Experiencing Mental Health. She focused on being able to support loved ones and other’s we work with who are experiencing mental health. She taught how to facilitate conversations, identify changes in mental health, and other ways of support beyond the medical model. Her workshop was very informative and something I think I will be able to use.

The third workshop was presented by Cameron Algie and was titled Overcoming Anxiety Through Play. He spoke about using Improv and play to help with anxiety. He introduced different forms of improv to allow someone to connect with their body, let go of judgement, make mistakes and laugh. This was a very fun and helpful workshop as I live with anxiety. It was nice to be able to let go, just be myself without worry. The final workshop was presented by Alicia Pinelli and was titled Reclaiming Your Awesomeness. Alicia spoke about the awesomeness we had as children and what has made us lose that sense. How society has shaped who we are and what we can do to get back what we had as children. This workshop was very inspirational and is something that really makes someone stop and think.

Once the workshops were finished lunch was provided and NEDIC did a presentation that was truly powerful. Everyone was then able to go to a second workshop of the four that were presented. Finally everyone came together for the last keynote speaker of the day Janna Morrison. Janna spoke about her experience with an eating disorder in a talk titled The Chaos Within: The Healing Process. She shared her journey with an eating disorder as well as her experience with the healing process. Her talk left very wet eyes in the audience, it was very moving and inspirational as well as emotional and very real.

Overall the day was a success and by the end of it I was ready for day two to begin. Stay tuned for Day 2 as well as an overview of the weekend.

Talk Soon

Lyndsay

Spread the Word

Growing up in a small town meant that there were a lot of things that weren’t talked about, a lot of things that “didn’t exist.” In fact I didn’t meet anyone who was not of Caucasian decent until I entered high school, and even then it was exchange students and not families who lived in my small town. I also didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t “straight” until high school, because everyone who identified as something other than straight had to hide who they were. Mental health was something else that was hidden, something we didn’t talk about. This meant that everyone seemed to be the same, which in turn caused something that made someone different to be considered bad. This went for everything from being good at school to someone’s sexual orientation to mental health. Due to the fact it was considered bad many people didn’t talk about it, there were so many things considered to be taboo, so many things that people kept hidden as much as they could.

As I got older things began getting talked about, however most of the time this was in a negative way, things that made someone different were still considered to be bad. There were still many things that people didn’t talk about. This was not a conducive way to grow up, it didn’t help anything, in fact it made life harder. I was already hiding something and now I was going to have to hide so many other things just to make sure I fit into the cookie cutter image of my small town. Let’s start with the first lie I ever told about myself; that I wasn’t smart. I actually was pretty smart and yet I hid it from everyone because it made me different. This meant instead of celebrating my uniqueness I spent all my time and energy on hiding it. This made my biggest secret that much worse. The biggest thing I hid from all those people in my small town was my mental health.

I live with depression and a wide range of anxiety, it is something I have been living with for quite some time. In my small town this wasn’t something that happened, this wasn’t something that people talked about. This meant that finding help was difficult, which in turn meant that help wasn’t something that I looked for. This proved to be rather damaging to myself as well as the way that I viewed myself. My whole life I had grown up believing that I wasn’t good enough and not being able to talk about something that made me who I was only strengthened this thought in my head, this made both my anxiety and depression worse. It was an endless cycle, one I couldn’t seem to break out of.

Now things are different, now I am able to talk about my mental health and I am doing things to be able to help myself. I am on my road of healing and recovery. However in my small town there are so many things that aren’t talked about, so many things that are overlooked and ignored. This is such a harmful thing, and we might not realize the damage it is causing but I can assure you it is causing damage. So many children, teens and even adults are forced to move through there lives not talking about something that is so prevalent in their lives, something that makes them who they are as people. Everyone is unique, everyone has something that makes them unique and yet sometimes these are still the things we avoid talking about. Not talking about something doesn’t make it go away. In fact from my experience it makes it worse.

We need to change the way society views the differences in people, we need to change the way we view the people around us. Now I know this is something that won’t just happen over night, it’s going to take time but we have time and the more we change things the quicker it will be to change more. We need to be able to allow people to feel safe to discuss those things that make up who they are, those things that make them unique. All too much people are forced to try to fit into that cookie cutter image and that is not what people have been designed to do. People were designed to be unique, to be different.

We need to take a look at the way everyone is handling the different aspects of life, not just small towns. Even in the larger cities there are limited resources for mental health and I find that fitting in and being the same is still a large aspect of daily life. Though larger cities are better with having space for people to be unique but there is still a lot of room for improvement. People should not have to walk around afraid to be themselves, instead they should be proud of who they are. It’s such a big deal in the media right now and that’s because before now people have not been allowed to be who they are without ridicule. It’s not just adults who go through all of this it’s children and teens as well, it’s just called something different; bullying.

Why is it that everyone is so against bullying and we have many anti-bullying movements but when it comes to adults it’s not the same? Every day I see anti-bullying commercials, I read anti-bullying articles and as an Early Childhood Educator I teach children to be kind to each other and not to bully their peers. It is very rare that I see commercials about it being okay to be different as adults, that being different isn’t a bad thing. Treating someone differently just because they are different than you are is still bullying no matter what age you are and it needs to be changed. Everyone deserves to be treated the same regardless of gender, sexuality, mental illness, physical differences, disability, and difference in likes and dislikes. We need to start talking about all these things like we would talk about anything else, like you would have a conversation about what you were going to do on the weekend.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, because nothing worth it is ever easy, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end. Not everyone is going to be open to changing and that’s going to have to be okay, because everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions. However we need to start somewhere, we need to start with those people open to changing, we need to make the movement big enough that it makes an impact. It’s something so simple to start, it’s making sure it continues that is the difficult part. As human beings we all need to take a look at ourselves and how we are treating other people. Are we judging other’s based on something that makes them different? In order to get other people to start thinking about how they treat other’s we first must start with ourselves. We can’t change the world if we first don’t change ourselves.

Maybe you are already doing this, maybe you are already open minded and don’t fault people for being different. If that is the case you’re already past step one. The next step is talking about, getting information out there and stopping the stigma. Talk about those topics that have a stigma or taboo around them. Talk about mental health, talk about sexuality and gender. Let people know that it’s okay not to fit into the cookie cutter image of what is seen as “perfect” because the truth is no one is perfect but as long as people are being themselves they are the perfect version of themselves and that’s what is important. Everyone is worth it and everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, everyone deserves to have resources to help them through life.

Change starts with you and with me. We can work together to advocate, we can work together to get the word out there, we can work together to make the world a better place. Don’t fault people for being different, celebrate those differences!

Talk Soon

Lyndsay

 

Photo Credit: http://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/poll-californians-support-health-coverage-for-mental-health/ (Taken from google images)

Bell Let’s Talk Day

Hey Everyone,

So I want to talk about something that a lot of people don’t talk about: Mental Health. I personally have some mental health diagnosis including anxiety but there are some others. I also know a lot of people who also live with mental health. First it is not even close to something that is easy to live with and it is considered taboo to talk about which makes it that much harder to live with. People are afraid to express the things that are going on in fear of the repercussions that come with it. I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who is very supportive and has made herself approachable with topics such as mental health and I am forever grateful for that, however not everyone has that in their lives.

In fact many people live in an environment where mental health is seen as having something wrong with you, something you don’t talk about. This is one of the many reasons Bell Let’s Talk Day is a good thing. It promotes talking about mental health and taking away the stigma that is attached to it. I really hope that we can achieve this and make it so that many other people are willing to talk and find the support that they need. My wish is that we some day live in a world where talking about mental health is no longer taboo, where seeking support is easy. A place where everyone can be accepted whether they live with mental health or not.

However of course with the good also comes the bad as with every situation so here it comes. Having one day where people are showing their support isn’t enough. Having one day where people say “I stand with you regardless of mental health” is not enough. This needs to happen each and every day. Furthermore there are those people who will support Bell Let’s Talk Day and then turn around and make mental health taboo. People who will be the first to tell you there is something wrong with you because you suffer from mental health but will also be the first to #bellletstalk . This is the kind of thing that needs to change. If you stand with people living with mental health you have to do it year round, not just one day.

Living with mental health is not an easy thing to do. Nor will it ever be 100% easy but with the correct support and no stigma attached it can be easier. Let’s all do our part in making the world a place where everyone is accepted no matter what. Sometimes it’s as easy as listening to someone needing to talk, sometimes it must go deeper. Regardless on how it happens the important thing is that it happens. “Alone we are all unique but together we create a masterpiece.” -source not known

Talk Soon,

Lyndzey

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 28-30

Day 28: Post five things that make you laugh out loud

  1. A well thought out pun
  2. When the kids at work say something that is pure gold
  3. The pterodactyl joke
  4. Some inside jokes that I have with friends
  5. When Logan is very uncoordinated which is often

Day 29: What are your goals for the next 30 days?

I want to keep blogging and keep up with my YouTube channel. I also want to try something new at least twice in the next month and join a gym.

Day 30: Your highs and lows this month.

Honestly there are way too many to put into a blog post since I’ve had so many ups and downs over the month. It seemed to be a roller coaster this month.

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 23 – 27

Day 23: A letter to someone, anyone

Grandma,

I miss you more than I can put into words. Each and every day I think about you and I hate that you aren’t here anymore. I thought it would get easier with time but it hasn’t and it sucks. I hate not having you to be able to just call on my way home from work like I used to. I hate not being able to drive to see you for dinner before driving the hour home so that I wouldn’t miss work in the morning. I hate not being able to tell you everything.

It isn’t fair that you were taken from us. There are so many bad people in the world and yet you were the one taken. I think about you all the time and miss you even more often. I love you so much and I am going to keep living my life trying to make sure you would be proud of me. You mean so much to me and I will never stop loving you.

Till we meet again,

Lyndsay

Day 24: Write about a lesson you learned the hard way

I have learned a lot of lessons the hard way but the one that comes to mind is not to trust everyone. Sure there are some people in the world that can be trusted but there are also a lot of people who shouldn’t be trusted. I used to trust a lot more easily than I do now even when I had a bad feeling about something but now I know to follow my gut when it’s telling me not to trust.

Day 25: Think of any word and search it on Google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image

Word: Believe

Dreams are a strange but wonderful thing, they come in two rather abstract concepts. Let’s begin with the one most people think about when someone says dream, the ones that happen when you are sleeping. Such a concept to think that our minds can create these images while we are asleep. When all other functions are put on pause we still see those images and they create something we might not understand. Though dreams are our subconscious trying to convey something we want or something we are afraid of happening.

So why is it that the second type of dream is where we set a goal we wish to achieve? Well it is because we are aiming for something that we want and while there may be fears holding us back that goal is still present. I believe that in a way the two concepts intertwine with each other and although we may not know it they each shape the other. Follow your dreams, both kinds and reach for the stars.

Day 26: Write and area in your life that you’d like to improve

This was by far the easiest one for me to do… I want to improve the way I see myself. I want to be able to love myself. I have been through a lot and come out stronger but I still have many many moments where I hate myself and I hate the way I look. I’m working each and every day on loving myself and accepting myself for everything I’ve been through and all the scars that I carry but it is still a difficult road.

Day 27: Write about something that’s kicking ass right now

Last night I went to my first paint night and I think it kicked ass. I loved it and I’ve signed up for the next one. I also have my bullet journal going and it’s allowing me that creative outlet. I believe the creative parts of my life are kicking ass!