My Plea

I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t suffering from some mental illness. That’s right, even when I was a child and my family could afford to see a psychologist, i was always told I was anxious and depressed, even before I knew what those words really meant.

It’s a battle where the weight on my shoulders is almost far too much to bare. I have a difficult time with interpersonal relationships, my mood and self-care. I have a tendency to over analyze or improperly react. Forget about reading people, that’s definitely not something i’m even remotely versed in.

I’m reading statistics on the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website (http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/#.WWLga8bMyT8) and some of them are just startling.

Did you know that 49 percent of people who have suffered anxiety or depression have never seen a doctor about this problem? That is a shocking stat. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen doctors, and yet it’s almost impossible to get any kind of help. You need special referrals, you need to ‘jump’ through hoops JUST to get help. Psychologists aren’t covered by MSP, but psychiatrists are. I’ve been referred to a psych, but who knows how long it will really take before i get an appointment.

Workplaces aren’t equipped to deal mood swings or mental breakdowns. There NEEDS to be better understanding, better support in place and some mandatory training. I would also like to see some kind of rules or regulation that would protect those who are fighting an invisible battle, to be able to retain their jobs, have a leave of absence if they DESPERATELY need help–and have quick, immediate access to mental healthcare. There is NO excuse for an employer to dismiss an employee if they are dealing with health and mental challenges. Did you know if you are on a medical EI leave, that you’re not protected from dismissal? It’s not fair and things need to change, things need to be updated and revised.

I frequently wonder if the money raised by large companies actually go to help mental illness initiatives because each and EVERY time i’ve gone to a psych ward for some assistance, i’m always reminded of how underfunded they are. I even had a nurse definitely agree with me, and i could see the disdain in her eyes.

This needs to be made a priority, too many of us are suffering in silence, feeling like no one is listening or feeling like support systems at our places of employment are just going to vanish in one fell swoop.

Disclosure is a whole other issue. Personally, i’m very forthcoming with my struggles. Sadly, what goes around comes around and that’s exactly what happened to me. I thought that authority figures, or leaders in the workplace understood and were compassionate, but as I gradually found out, I was very wrong.

If you can’t talk to those around you and you can’t express the pain and struggles you feel, how are you supposed to feel like you’re a valuable person who has a lot to offer?

We need a better way, we need to learn to understand, we need regulation in place, we need to raise awareness and end the stigma.

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