Over the eight years I’ve been publishing my blog, I’ve had only a handful of guest writers. I suppose it’s inherent to my A-type personality; I have a hard time giving up the controls, opting to simply do things myself rather than depend on others.
(And, to be honest, I really do think I can do a better job. See! I’m not a martyr, I’m a snob.)
However, today I’m shaking things up. Did you know that in any given week, at least 500,000 Canadians will miss work due to a mental health issue? And one in eight women will develop depression at some point in their lives? Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
It happens, we know that. But four in ten Canadian women say that they are too embarrassed to admit to mental health issues, and they have never sought medical help. Adding to the frustration, more than one third (38 per cent) of Canadians agree that if a friend or family member had a mental health issue, they would not know how to support them.
And that needs to change.
To put a spotlight on mental illness, I’m handing over the reigns to my husband; he’ll be giving me a much-deserved break today from my busy schedule as a mom and business woman so that I can have a moment for my own mental health. Everyone, please meet Michael Almeida!
Hi everyone, I’m Michael, Lena’s husband. I know it was really difficult for her to let me guest write on her blog (she’ll probably edit my submission for grammar) but today she’ll be able to sit in the backyard with her e-reader while I try to keep up the writing standards on this blog!
Almost 10 years to the day I proposed to this beautiful girl. It was love at first sight for me and from the moment I met her I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She was always so happy and so positive and so sweet.
About six months before we were married I found her crying in our bedroom. I thought she was stressed out about her job or our wedding but when I asked her what was wrong she said she was crying because she was sad. I didn’t know how to respond or how to comfort her especially because she couldn’t tell me what she was sad about. She just cried until she felt better and then told me that she was a very anxious person and sometimes her nerves got to her.
I was actually really surprised because until then she hid it really well. I had no idea she had anxiety but wasn’t worried about it because I knew I would always be there for her. Since that day I think she let her guard down because now she always tells me when she’s feeling anxious or scared. We go through this exercise where I ask her what is bothering her and then we keep asking “why?” until we get to the root of the problem. Most of the time she’s scared something will happen to her and she won’t be here for the boys. Maybe one day she’ll want to see someone or talk to someone, but until then we just do a lot of talking and I do a lot of listening.
She’ll say she’s lucky to have me but it’s the other way around. She takes care of our boys and our home and a successful business so I feel that she definitely deserves to have a break to concentrate on her mental health. That’s why it was an honour to take over her blog today. Thanks for reading and now I want to know: how does she write so much all the time without running out of ideas? This took me two hours to put together!
… and THAT’s my husband! Thanks for the break, hun – I managed four chapters of my latest chick lit and had a little siesta, too!
If you know of someone struggling with mental health issues, you can always lend an ear (sometimes just a friendly face and listening ear is all someone needs to feel supported); encourage them to get active (exercise can be just as effective as medication for mild to moderate depression) or of course, seek professional support.
On Saturday, June 11th 2016, women, family members, colleagues and friends from Toronto will be taking part in the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women. Shoppers Drug Mart is a proud champion of putting women’s health first and organizes the annual Run for Women to raise funds for programs dedicated to helping women with mental health issues.
• All proceeds from the Toronto run taking place on June 11th benefit the Women’s College Hospital, Women’s Mental Health Program.
• The Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women is Canada’s first and only womens’ and girls’ running race series, benefiting women’s health initiatives across the country.
• The run is organized in partnership with The Running Room.
• For more information or to find a run close to you visit: www.runforwomen.ca
I’m lucky to have a network of loving, supportive family and friends. We need to continue the conversation surrounding mental health because although awareness is growing, more attention is needed. Please help to spread the word.