Today, I would like to invite all members of Guiding, to talk about the realness of Mental Health.
I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. I have been fortunate to have found reassurance in attending my Pathfinder meetings and comfort in sharing in the sisterhood of Guiding. For a long time, I denied that I had an illness, telling myself to ‘just smile’ or ‘suck it up’, too embarrassed to even talk to my doctor about my inner suffering. My illness affected my day-to-day life – from my job to my relationship with those closest to me, especially my husband.
Coming to terms with my illness has not been easy. I have heard several painful comments, that add to the reason so many people go without seeking help, from “Just grow a thicker skin” to “Just pull yourself together”. Dealing with the negative stigmas associated with my illness has set my healing back. Fortunately, I have been surrounded by amazing friends, many who I gained through Guiding, and an incredibly patient and loving husband, who has taken the time to learn about mental illness and get support for himself – as dealing with my illness has been far from easy.
Many people have commented that if I had cancer they would know how to help me. But I don’t have cancer. I have depression. And just like a person suffering from any illness, I just need those close to me to love me and support me and be there for me – even when it isn’t easy and it isn’t pretty. That’s all the help I need from you.
So I invite you, to talk to your girl members, talk to your sisters in Guiding and especially talk to someone who you might suspect is suffering in silence. And if you need someone to talk to, I’m here.
Some statistics from the Canadian Medical Association taken from www.letstalk.bell.ca
- 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer some form of mental illness in their lives.
- 2 in 3 suffer in silence, fearing rejection or judgement
- Only 49% of Canadians said they would socialize with friends who has a serious mental illness
- At any given time, almost 3 million Canadians have serious depression
- For those who seek help and get treatment, a difference is made in 80% of people with depression, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
By guest blogger Amber Wiegand. Amber is an active and passionate member of Guiding. She works with Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers. She is currently a District Commissioner and Area Program and International Advisor. She just received a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from Girl Guides of Canada.
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