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Our Contributors
Amanda Kavanagh
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allinyourhead
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General

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Explaining Mental Illness to Children

Children of all ages are naturally curious and constantly asking questions. We, as adults, need to be attentive and take the time to listen. The generation now, is exposed to the awareness of mental illness, more than previous generations.

It’s our responsibility to help educate our children about the world around them. Continue reading

Doug Smith – Interview for Bell Let’s Talk

doug smithdougDoug Smith is a Canadian retired former professional ice hockey player who played for the Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins over the course of his career.

At 18 years old, Doug was drafted 2nd overall into the NHL to play for the Los Angeles Kings as their youngest player ever. Continue reading

Ron Ellis – Interview for Bell Let’s Talk

Ellis_RonRon Ellis started out as a professional hockey player to speaker, now speaks about his personal experience with depression.

Ron Ellis is remembered for his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and member of the Team Canada hockey team.

During his 15 years as a professional player, he assisted in bringing the Stanley Cup home for the Leafs in 1967 and won against the Russians with Team Canada in the World Hockey Summit Series in 1972. Continue reading

Mental Illness Portrayed in the Media

girl interruptedChances are the majority of knowledge of mental health comes from the media. Researchers have suggested that most portrayals in the media are stereotypical, negative and incorrect. Stigma towards mental health has been in the media as far back as the 1800’s; “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”; dissociative identity disorder, formerly called a split personality disorder or multiple personality disorder. Inaccurate portrayals of people with mental illness has created negative stereotypes in all types of media; internet, television and print material such as magazines and newspapers. Continue reading

Joanie Malarchuk – Interview

Joanie ClintJoanie Malarchuk is wife of former NHL hockey player Clint Malarchuk.

28 years ago the then 27-year-old ice hockey goaltender, of the Buffalo Sabres, suffered one of the most gruesome injuries ever seen in professional sport.

His throat cut by a stray skate, he survived thanks to his team’s trainer reaching into his neck to pinch shut the severed artery that would later need 300 stitches. Continue reading

How Do I Cope With This ?!

What do you do when a situation is the most positive of experiences, but your not equipped to deal with spot light or praise?
I’ve mentally beat myself up for so many years now that I don’t know any different.
I recently attended an awards ceremony where I was one of three nominees for an award that evening.

When I got the call I was happy, but not overly joyed, some friends and family said I should have been ‘overjoyed’ ‘ecstatic’ ‘over the moon’ etc.. but really, itwas just ‘OK’.
I put the phone down , told my fiancée who was very pleased and carried on with what I was doing. That was normal for me, don’t get to happy, don’t get too down… Try to stay level. If I get excited, I’ll panic if I get sad, I’ll think and panic. So my place has been in the middle which kind of makes me wonder: Am I boring? Am I really living? Or just getting by? Does my fiancée think these things bout me?! She has recently mentioned that I seem very grumpy and quiet .. Ohh Fuck!!! Not what you really want to hear, but accepted and I’m working on it. It really isn’t meant.
Anyway, I took my best mate to the awards evening as my fiancée was stuck at work. To explain a little, my mate is a positive person, he’s like a real life Peter Pan, he will never ever go a day without laughter! And will do his best to brighten up the darkest of situations, a good man and a dear friend.

So, a black tie event. I’ve never been to one of them ever, so my mate and I rocked up in navy and grey suits respectively ……… As we got to the entrance I could see a very large amount of eyeballs looking directly at us! Ohh shit! That’s when my mate said to me. ‘don’t worry pal, people do not like different. I’ve been to a few of these events and at the end of the day, if you were wearing a tracksuit, they’d still applaud, because they have not done what you have done, wise up and come on!’ That’s where the old ‘Sheep’ theory came into play. I smiled and headed straight to the bar.
I am not a big drinker, but needed something to take the edge off this feeling I still had, the clothes didn’t bother me. It was the thought of winning!! I was sweating, nervous, couldn’t think straight.I needed a bit of tranquillity.
So I downed about three pints of Guinness and a couple of shots in about half hour. That was crazy for me!! But still the anxiety was crippling me. By this time we were sat at our designated table and my mate could see straight through me. I really didn’t want to be there and as the awards gradually came to mine the intention of running out of the hotel became bigger!
My category. Videos were shown of each nominee before hand and the host spoke of what we had done etc… So I knew I had fifteen minutes and ordered another drink, that was gone in seconds. Still , not calm!! Ohh shit!! I have never felt an anxiety like this before. I wasn’t dying, a little palpitations but for obvious reasons so I was not bothered . It was an unknown anxiety, maybe unconfident, just didn’t feel I deserved to be there. I kept my head down and hoped I’d lose. Very odd ey???!!!
I won! What the f……!!!
My mate jumped up, grabbed hold of me kisses my head and said ‘now get up there, because you deserve it!’
I walked up to the stage and was shaking from head to toe! All I kept saying to myself was ‘don’t crack, don’t crack!!!’. I got up there, shook hands with everyone etc and raced back to my seat where people came over and congratulated me. It was only then that the alcohol had hit me…. And quietly got on with our evening, also calm knowing that I would be up for no more awards 🙂
Then the realisation of what was achieved made me stop and accept praise 🙂 we are all the same, no matter what we do in life, or the clothes we wear !!!

The Impact of One Brave Night-CAMH

Imagine having the same thoughts in your head or seeing the same visions in your head, over and over again. Now imagine experiencing this when you’re supposed to be sleeping. This happens to many people who live with mental illness and happened to me.

I remember always having to sleep with the radio on or I would have nightmares. The radio always “tuned” our my parents’ arguments and I could sleep. Not realizing I may have developed PTSD, I still had to sleep with the radio on even after I moved out of the house or I would have the same dreams over and over again. This was the case for 9 years after moving out. Continue reading

Fight The Stigma – CAMH One Brave Night

Dear Friends,

For those of you who aren’t aware, I am VERY PASSIONATE about Mental Health Awareness. This year I am proud to be participating in CAMH’s fundraiser to fight the stigma against mental illness, while on the #sicknotweak Team. This year, for One Brave Night for Mental Health, I’ll be staying awake all night on May 13 to inspire hope for the one in five people who experience mental illness in their lifetime. Continue reading

Being a Mental Health Advocate

Written by Anita Levesque

The mental health community was in shock yesterday, March 29, 2016.  Patty Duke passed away at 69.  She was a very well known actress but she was best known for her mental health advocacy work since her bipolar diagnoses in 1982.

It was in the late 1980’s and I remember my grandmother talking about my father going to psychiatrists and counselors when he was a teenager, because she knew there was something not right, she called it a chemical imbalance.

When I was younger, I knew there was something wrong with my father and tried to be patient with him. There were days he didn’t want to see or talk to anyone and would be in his room for weeks a time.  Once he comes out, he’s happy, ready to go places, buy whatever we wanted.  Other days he was so angry at the world, violently angry, veins growing on his neck and face beet red angry, he would take it out on anyone who was around him; family and/or friends.  He lost a lot of friends and some family didn’t want anything to do with him. Continue reading

Love vs. Love

Us caregiver’s take on the role of care-giving because we have to, because we want to, but most of all because we love someone who needs us to fulfill this role.

I’m going to dive right in and state that sometimes I want to bang my head on the keyboard when I see or hear another reference to ‘tough love’ like it is something to be shunned and ashamed of. The idea that by practicing ‘tough love’, one is not practicing ‘unconditional love’.

Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection.
Continue reading

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