…and so it begins

12 Feb

It started on a lazy Sunday.

I was feeling overwhelmed after a particularly difficult week at work.  It was one of those weeks where nothing seemed to be going right.  I had been exposed to a number of very sad stories.  Then on February 4, Saturday, when the Senators played the Maple Leafs the parents of Daron Richardson and Clara Hughes dropped the puck for the game to promote the “Do It For Daron” campaign and the “Bell Let’s Talk” campaign both which aim to raise awareness and discussion about youth suicide, depression and mental illness.  It was a 30 second puck drop, and I cried for the parents who lost their daughter and the athlete who has been fearless about sharing her struggles with depression.

On Sunday I was feeling like I had “heavy boots”.  I felt a pull to think of a way I could feel empowered to do something about the sad stories I had heard the week before.  I started to think about how I could get the word out about mental health services in our community.  How could I start a dialogue about “checking yourself before your wreck yourself” and taking care of our mental health just as we do our physical health?

I think we’ve all struggled with being down at one time in our lives, but for some of us, it comes on like a wave.  Before you know it you’re completely submerged and you feel like you’re drowning in feelings or sadness and despair, exhaustion, and confusion .  These thoughts and feelings become so overwhelming that its impossible to shake it off and keep going with life’s daily activities, make decisions, or even get out of bed.  I always say “its not a problem until its a problem”.  Depression is a lot like that: it sneaks up on you and before you know it its sitting heavy on your chest.

Even though depression – whether it be one short episode or a recurrent issue – affects so many of us it seems so difficult to talk about.  To b e “out” about mental illness at work or with people we don’t know very well is scary: will we be judged, or limited by the stigma associated with it?  Even though stories about mental illness are in papers weekly and ads for antidepressants are in magazines and on our televisions I think there are some of us who feel we should still be able to simply “shake it off”.   For every person that believes that happiness is a choice and that someone who is depressed is merely wallowing or lazy, there is one more saying “don’t you think if I could simply choose to be happy I would?”

For some dealing with depression (or other mental health issues) becomes too much that there seems like there is only one way out.  This is absolutely the worst ending to any struggle.

What could I one lowly public servant do to make a difference, to start a few few conversations, and raise some money? Maybe something conjunction with Canadian Mental Health Awareness week (http://www.cmha.ca/bins/index.asp)?  I started to think about the possibilities if I could get a bunch of really great friends and colleagues, in the right venue, drinks, music and sell tickets with money going to charity.

On Sunday night I sent a few e-mails to my pals about this idea of getting people together for an event.  On Monday I sent a few more to local businesses and venues that might be willing to partner for said event.  On Wednesday I talked to Tracey and Stephanie at the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation about organizing an event in support of the ROH.  And yesterday, Friday, I booked a venue.

May 11, 2012.  The Elmdale Tavern.

All this to say, I have this idea.  And now this venue.  I don’t know exactly how it will all shape up yet, but there is a space I need to feel with great people and music and somewhere in there I need to raise some cash.

So, if you’ve made it this far and through my terrible writing I will now tell you that this will be the space where I will talk about how the event is taking shape and how you can get involved if you’re so inclined.

To be continued!

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6 Responses to “…and so it begins”

  1. Bethany February 12, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    I love this, not like this. So proud of you sugarbean!!

  2. Andrea Davidge February 12, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Go for it! An auction is always fun!

  3. Francine February 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    It’ll be amazing cause you’re putting your whole heart in it! We’ll make this happen everyone together! 🙂 xo

  4. Linsey Hammond February 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Well done my darling! Let me know what I can do to help . . .

  5. Gisele Evans March 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    This will be great!!! Looking forward to it!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Check Check One Two Check « Friends… With benefits - March 16, 2012

    […] event that could”.  Every day it seems like this small seed of an idea that came to me late one sunday night is growing bigger and more […]

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