Choosing Freedom

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day in Canada. Bell Let’s Talk day raised over $6.2 million. Just one call, text, tweet, and share at a time, Canadians coast-to-coast helped to break the stigma surrounding mental illness in Canada. I am proud to have participated in this initiative. I believe in it because mental illness has touched my life in many ways. I have lived with depression and anxiety for 28 years, but I didn’t always know what it was. Others in my family have also had bouts with depression or anxiety, but it was never talked about. How can you get better if you never talk about what is wrong? And why must there be shame in the struggles that can’t be seen?

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There is power in numbers, as we saw in the 126 million #BellLetsTalk communications yesterday. But more than that, there is power in voice. It takes just one person to speak up for a ripple effect to begin. Start talking in your family, school, office, or community and see what happens. If you are struggling, isn’t it nice to have someone there to talk to? Well, maybe someone in your life just needs to know you will listen. Open the conversation and see who jumps in.

Earlier today, I read a wonderful article in Chatelaine Magazine. Stephanie Reidy wrote about her 20 year battle with depression, and it really resonated with me – the feelings, the denial, and the ultimate choice of getting help or losing everything. Stephanie’s story is similar to a lot of people; one big difference is that she got help and now tells her story to others in the hopes of connecting with at least one person meant to hear it that day. This is the piece that resonated with me the most. I, too, have told my story of abuse and pain to others in the hopes of making a difference in just one person’s life. I may never know who I may help, but I feel that everything I have gone through in my life will be worth it if just one person hears my story and speaks up about their own.

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I am just one person in a sea of many, but I am ready to start the ripple effect. Who will be the next to tell their story?

As always, it is Passionately Written.

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Wading Through The Darkness

Feel Better

I have mental illness. I fight to see a brighter side to the darkness each day, and sometimes each minute. Laughter, newly fallen snow, and beautiful bright sunny days are the best canvas for me to paint my smile. Writing is my drug of euphoria. My daughter is my daily gift. I have mental illness, but you may not ever see it unless you know me. There is no better way to combat stigma than with education and using your voice. Write it; speak it; whisper it; scream it; sing it; sign it. Any way will work if you just keep the message going. Mental illness sucks; let’s beat it at it’s own game. Don’t be silent! Be proud, be courageous, and be healthy! #BellLetsTalk

Now, shall we start the conversation? Who feels brave enough to say that mental illness has touched their life? It isn’t something to be ashamed about. Saying it will give you the empathy to be there for your loved one, the courage to stand and fight your own battle, or the chance at eradicating the stigma of mental illness in your own community. Stand up and be heard. I’m listening. You aren’t alone.

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Passionately Written by yours truly…

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Journey Into Many Faiths

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Multi-Faith

Welcome to my journey into different faiths and cultures from around the world throughout the 2016 year. I intend to explore a new-to-me faith every month and hopefully share with you this great experience as I go. Through reading, music, movies, discussions, and even some in-person stories, interviews, and field trips into each faith and culture, I hope to bring you some fun posts that you can enjoy, and maybe learn a little while you are here.

The reason I am doing this multi-faith journey is to explore history, learn about food, clothing, and traditions, and try out experiences that have been calling to me for years. I am intrigued by other faiths, what things might mean, or how they work. I am very excited for this experience and I look forward to the adventurous 11 months ahead. Here is a run-down on what I will be exploring each month:

  • February – Buddhism
  • March – Catholicism
  • April – Judaism
  • May – Greek Orthodox
  • June – Muslim
  • July – Mennonite
  • August – Scientology
  • September – Islam
  • October – Wicca
  • November – Hinduism
  • December – Anglican

There are so many more faiths, religions, and cultures to explore, but I deemed it better to give more attention to a few than to barely touch on a lot. I have included certain ones because they have intrigued me for quite some time, and others because I know nothing about them and I felt they deserved my research. If you would like to name other ones that you feel would be good to explore, I may consider extending my faith journey into following years.

Now, I would like to invite you – my readers, friends, and family – to leave me positive comments, resources, webpages, books, names, and more. I am just one person who is starting an inquisitive adventure through an infinite amount of information, and I could really use some of your help.

I hope you will join me on this great pilgrimage I am starting. Maybe we will all learn a little from each other, and gain insight from our brothers and sisters around the world.

It is excitedly explored and Passionately Written.

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