It is safe to say that most all of us have had our brush with depression; have seen a family member or friend struggle, and felt helpless. The shame associated with feeling weak is so private and so lonely.
Reminders are needed: “you are not alone”, “we can talk”, “the darkness is temporary”.
A personal story:
In the summer of 2011, a dear friend of mind — a happy-go-lucky, witty, kind, hilarious, life-of-the-party friend — committed suicide. I was among the first to find out, minutes after he was found. It changed me. I think of him daily and feel as helpless today as I did when my phone rang 6 years ago, “if only he’d called, if only I could have been there, if only I could have had a chance to TALK to him, he might still be alive.”
I’ve learned, through this loss, that often the brightest light in the room is also the darkest. Depression comes in many forms.
My dear friend, Michael Landsberg, has been very public about his struggles with depression and he started SickNotWeak.com. It is a great resource, an incredible community. Sometimes it’s simply knowing that you are not alone in your struggle, that depression isn’t a weakness and there are treatments, to know that there is light to be had.
Media is a cutthroat business. The margins to make profit live in the “branding”. Everyone wants to be top-of-mind or first-out-of-the-gate when it comes to news and current affairs.
I’ve worked for all of the big media companies in Canada. Started at BCTV (now Global/Corus), then was at CTV (Bell), then Rogers (Sportsnet and City), CBC and then back to Rogers before a return, now, to Corus. I always moved along to the next job and left on happy terms. These are all companies with hardworking, driven and committed people, and we all cross paths socially and laugh together at our collective work challenges and social dynamics. We also speak of the stress of “the job”.
On air and online it’s it’s all business. Except for today. Today we are ONE.
Today, Bell Let’s Talk Day, is a truce day. This is an incredibly successful initiative, by Bell Globe Media the parent company of CTV/TSN, that’s all about putting an end to the stigma surrounding mental health struggles — opening the conversation about the battle – with a big dose of positivity.
Every “interaction” with the #BellLetsTalk hashtag sees Bell Globe Media put 5 cents into their Community fund. Since 2011, Bell Let’s Talk has raised $6 million…. 5 cents at a time.
I love to see media friends, from all companies, tweet/post and share this hashtag in the name of lifting the veil of shame surrounding mental health issues. Take a moment to share this with the #BellLetsTalk hashtag. It’s easy and it helps.
If you are feeling dark, alone, scared, anxious or at your wits end — reach out. Let’s Talk. Today, tomorrow, the other 363 days of the year……..there is always a reason to reach out and allow a loved one the opportunity to bring you back into the light.