#BellLetsTalk - break the stigma of mental illness, speak up!


I'm not one to know what hashtags are trending, but thanks to my Canadian friend, Ria, I was interested in the #BellLetsTalk trend. What is the Bell Lets Talk hashtag? "On Bell Let’s Talk Day, the entire nation spoke up. Your actions resulted in Bell committing more money to mental health and helped Canada become one step closer towards being a country that’s stigma-free." Every conversation using the #, $0.05 went to The 2018 Community Fund, which "will provide grants in the range of $5,000 to $25,000 to projects that improve access to mental health care, supports and services for people in Canada." Read more about it here.

The idea of loving myself was completely foreign until I realized I had no other option.

My depression was so bad I could barely pull myself from my wooden bedroom floor. Nothing mattered, every conversation and every day melted together. I was unfulfilled with my work as a waitress - working doubles barely getting by, living alone and in a toxic, long-distance romantic relationship. The days were long, a smiling made up facade working for tips daydreaming of how I could get out of this pointless life. The daydreams turned to plans, the plans turned into unspeakable pain that’s very hard for me to talk about.

In my moment of desperation I literally began to see a light. Some energy lifted my spirit and allowed me to understand this pain could be used for good. This depression, this eating disorder, this so-called pointless existence could be a way for me to express my experience in order to save other’s from the same sorrow. I began to film myself on my journey of healing. I began to understand the idea of light and dark, how we need both to survive - a balance that can be hard to understand but necessary in order to live with your shadow(s) and embrace your brightness.

I began to use the film project as a way to self-study, to observe my actions and thought patterns in order to become a better person and more accepting of the dis-ease in my life. Eventually that’s what empowered me to travel the globe alone and become an activist of sorts for radical self-compassion and body acceptance. I do the work I do in order to show people that they have the power to own their thoughts and their actions in order to heal.

Self-love is an ongoing battle for most of us. You have to want to heal in order to heal. You have to do the work in order to be a better person. You must accept and love your body and your being in order to accept true love from others.

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© 2019 by Kaleigh Atkinson