I grew up in a refugee camp to begin with, and since my parents didn't speak German, I was not able to pick up the language very quickly, so I went to kindergarten and was picked on for not knowing German. Not just by fellow kids, but also the teachers, who isolated me and never included me in anything.
So many hours and days of my life I focused on what was not working. Then I learned about gratitude. The more I practiced repeating my gratitude lists, the more natural it became for me to see the positives in people and situations, and to be grateful for all the small, wonderful things occurring in my life.
We continue to be bombarded with graphically depicted messages that either romanticize suicide in terms of simplistic Romeo and Juliet dreck, or unfairly portray those in the midst of a mental illness crisis as "mad." We start believing falsehoods that keep perpetuating negative stereotypes and stigma.
Each one of us knows a child or a teen who is struggling with either depression, anxiety, an addiction or a behavioural disorder like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Mental illness not only causes high levels of distress in children, but can also interfere in significant and real ways with their lives.
I stay on my fitness horse by reminding myself that movement is a privilege and that the future Me will ALWAYS be happier if I move. The understanding that exercise positively affects my mood has informed my entire fitness philosophy. In fact, improving my mood is typically the primary reason I train.
Shouldn't I be happy? I have three healthy children, I have a wonderful husband, I have supportive friends and family, I have a roof over my head and a vehicle to drive, yet I'm so full of anger, so much anger. Every night I am mad at myself for yelling at my children, for losing my cool for reasons that don't warrant such anger.
When it comes to Movember and men's health, the focus has typically been on prostate and testicular cancer. However, there is another common male medical condition that has been relatively overlooked: depression. Clinical depression is a costly and debilitating condition that affects approximately five per cent of the Canadian population in any given year, and 10 per cent of Canadians over the course of a lifetime.
If there is someone reading this who is in that dark place of having a plan -- a plan of how they want to exit this life and when they want to exit it. Please wait and listen to me when I tell you that these thoughts are not with you forever. I know they are excruciatingly painful, but they do pass. I promise you they pass. I promise you are worthy, and that you are not alone. You are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are brave.
The key to my mental health isn't just one thing. It's a combination of many factors all playing an important part in keeping me healthy. Contrary to popular belief, strong mental health isn't just "toughening up," "smiling more," or "staying positive." Let's give the brain a little more credit, it's a far more complex machine than something to solely run on cliché and ignorance.