It’s been a year since I started wearing a #BellLetsTalk bracelet. I got it from my friend’s brother, and he probably didn’t think twice about it. He happened to have extras, and I got one. I put it on and now haven’t taken it off for a year.
Originally, the bracelet was just for me. A reminder of my own mental health struggles. A reminder to strive to recognize them and challenge myself to work on taking care of myself. In the words of Aziz Ansari: a reminder to treat yo’ self.
I love #BellLetsTalk day. The energy, the tweets, the social media posts. The best part might be seeing everyone talk about mental health and the importance of those conversations. The real conversations about how we perceive, treat, and understand mental health in our every day life.
Typically I tweet A LOT on this day. Because tweeting and puns and raising money all seem like a wonderful combination that I can do pretty well. Each year, people more well versed than me in mental health have the same refrain coming out of this day:
Keep the conversation going.
While I have some people in my life that I would regularly go to for conversations around mental health (and I am SO thankful for them), something new happened. The bracelet provided a conversation starter with people that I don’t think I would have been able to previously.
My stepdad asked me about the bracelet, which led to a conversation about how much mental health has changed since his time growing up. He was taught to “suck it up” and that showing emotion was weakness. It made me more thankful for the way I was raised by my mom, where it was okay to not be okay.
I had a conversation with some military personnel recently. They brought up an area of mental health I didn’t frequently think of: PTSD. Seeing others suffer from it, they were nervous to feel the same effects potentially down the line.
Other students, staff, and friends that I would not think to have conversations with around mental health reached out. The conversations kept happening, and it was tremendous.
This year, I’m working on being more authentic. This blog is part of that, and speaking more openly about when I’m not doing okay is also a part of it. That’s why I’ll keep the bracelet on, keep the conversations going, and keep learning. The more I can learn and understand myself, the better I can support those around me.
Another reference. High School Musical – We’re all in this together. *cue the dance break*
If you’re reading this and ever want to chat, drop me a line. I’d love to listen.
Bell Let’s Talk page – http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/
Canadian Mental Health Association – http://www.cmha.ca