Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Reach out to others, defeat stigma of mental illness

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I have images haunting me.
Two babies, left for dead in a bathtub.
A father falling to his knees out of grief once learning his babies are dead and his wife is missing.
The one image that haunts me in particular is that of a smiling mom, pretty, and happy.
Happy? We can’t know this from a photo, can we? A smile is just that, a smile; it says nothing about our state of mind, nothing at all.
If you are a parent, you know parenting is a hard job. One of the most difficult jobs you will have in your life. You have a human being for whom you are responsible, every single day of your life. That’s so much pressure. Some parents manage effortlessly, while others struggle. All of us likely have  moments of extreme exhaustion, doubt, overwhelming frustration and sadness.
But it would not have been such a moment that made this woman do what she did.
It was much more. She had recently been diagnosed with post partum depression, which some have surmised may have become post partum psychosis.
And there you have it — mental illness.
Do most of us know how to help? Do we see signs and think it’s none of our business? Do you think to that if people needed or wanted your help, they would ask?
The first thing you should know is that the majority of people who suffer with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, can’t ask for help. Often they don’t know how, and often they don’t even know something is wrong.
Here is the thing though:
If you have been diagnosed as suffering from anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or another illness, you could make a difference or save someone just by telling another person  "I have it, too".
It might help just one person feel connected, less alienated, and less abnormal.
If, by saying "I have it, too", you knew a life could be saved, would you do it?
Let me start by saying: "Hi, my name is Tannis, I have PTSD anxiety, so yeah, I guess I have it, too."
You too can reach out, and you too can help someone.

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