Thursday, May 01, 2014

My Own Breakfast of Champions

Over the years, I have sat down numerous times to write about something that I am sure has affected many of you. Mental Illness…Yup, you read that right.

Today I was at the Breakfast of Champions for the CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Assoc.).  I have been going for a couple of years now and it has always been an inspiring experience.  There are usually 5-10 nominations for the Champion of Mental Health Awards, the nominee can be for an individual person or groups of people who have contributed to promoting mental health awareness, have raised funds, or have helped those struggling and for those who struggle themselves.  In my eyes, all of the nominees are winners. 

The breakfast ends with a speaker, someone who has been affected by mental illness. Last year was Clara Hughes (Canadian Olympian), and this year it was Chantal Kreviazuk (singer/songwriter/performer).  Hard to compare the two, both were equally interesting to hear how mental health has affected them.

While listening to Chantal speak about how mental health has played a role in her life, I realized I didn't need to tell my story completely.  I just needed to put it out there that “everyone is dealing with something”.  We can all be our own Champion.  It’s up to us to decide the role it’s going to play in our lives

If we are honest with ourselves, in some way we are all affected by mental illness.  So when you really think about it, there is a good chance that the person walking by you on the sidewalk may be dealing with their own struggles, or know someone who has.  It certainly makes you look at everyone differently.  Most likely, they are having the same thoughts about it as you – it makes you feel "not so alone".

Everyone has a story - just know that I have been affected, been in pain and feel the heartache.  But at the same time I am so grateful for this learning experience and what wonderful things all of these people have brought into my life