Friday, 21 June 2013

Putting the Rumours to Rest

Good morning Regina!!!

I want to say a giant thank you to those of you in my life who have stuck by me through the good times and the bad, and being there for me through everything over the last year and a half.

Today, I decided to go public with my battle with Mental Health, as I felt it was time to finally put any nasty rumours to bed, and start getting people to talk about Mental Health in a positive way. Please understand, it was VERY hard for me to do this, but something I feel I needed to do, in order to move forward in a positive way with my life.

I would ask for your kindness towards others who face Mental Health challenges each and every day, and most importantly, do your research. What many don't understand is that Mental Health is just as serious of an illness as Cancer or any other physical illness may be. Just because you cannot see it, does not make it any less a reality. Our society continues to revolve around a horrible stigma about Mental Health, immediately thinking that anyone with a Mental Health challenge is "crazy" or "loony" and should be locked away or certainly not allowed to be a part of our every day society.

I am here today to say that, regardless of how many "awareness" days we have regarding Mental Health (Bell Let's Talk Day for example), we still have this negative stigma surrounding Mental Health in our society, and it needs to change. I have been witness to some pretty disgusting statements by folks in our community over the last several months, some even going so far as to tell me to kill myself, all before actually knowing if I did face Mental Health challenges. Many went to the extreme of saying that people should be afraid of me because "you never know what he might be capable of", referring to the horribly tragic situations in the United States of late.

What many don't understand is the darkness that can surround many Mental Health challenges. For me, I have Bipolar Disorder, and that can mean a variety of things in different people, but in my instance, it is simply two extremes in your feelings. Some days, I can feel on top of the world, and nothing can stop me, and other days, I can feel like there is no world, and I should do everything to shut the outside world out, so I can just sit and do nothing so the world can't get me more down.

I invite you to watch my Live Video Blog at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/34720629 and you should be able to understand a bit more about this situation.

Thank you for your understanding, and please, share the love!

Have a great day everyone!

2 comments:

  1. Hey Chad, good for you addressing this topic. I have some questions if you don't mind?

    How much of your criticized behaviour in the public eye is/was influenced by any mental ailment you may have? Is it possible your actions have led some people to say these things and attach the stigma to you?


    Do you not agree at some point, either due to illness or simple lack of specific character traits, that how those effect one's ability to do specific types of work is going to rightfully effect how a person can do something? For example, we're not going to knowingly hire schizophrenic people to be police officers as unfair as that may sound. The Riders are never going to start a wheel chair bound person at linebacker. A person that obviously doesn't like being around others and is shy is probably not going to make a good hire in sales. Should rational decision making be criticized so others don't have to face a reality?

    If a mental illness, or character traits, are going to negatively effect how one goes about doing their work, maybe is it understandable the view is that they simply 'cant cut the mustard' or are undesirable for that specific position.

    I don't think the link with cancer is all that applicable. Cancer doesn't control your decision making and behaviours, if it does that was an inner choice. Mental illness on the other hand can control the person afflicted. The limitations from cancer appear far less.

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  2. What you need to keep in mind, Nathan, is that up until a week or so ago, not a single soul (other than those I trusted enough to tell myself) actually knew about my mental illness. Well, I should say - they shouldn't have known about my mental illness. During the later part of the election, certain individuals became privy to this information and used it against me, assumably knowingly trying to either push me to the brink of pulling out of the election again, or hoping I would come public with it during the election, making me a virtual lost cause for any chance of winning, because of the negative public stigma attached to mental illness in general. I do not believe for one second that anyone just "assumed" I had a mental illness, especially when you know who was saying what at that time. It all does tie back to one individual who had been trying to find ANY dirt on me to go public with. The one who went public with it one infamous day when CBC grabbed it and ran with it.

    The stigma I speak of more is that of the fact that as soon as one knows that someone has a mental illness that they are somehow deemed to be unfit to act in everyday society, and should be locked up and seek immediate psychiatric treatment. The stigma comes more from the horrible acts that the media portrays like in the US, where people immediately blame mental illness for whatever horrible act happens. There's not enough stories about the positives behind those with mental health, and it is still viewed to this day as a 'crutch' and/or a 'hindrence' to one's life, rather than something that we can actually build upon to make everyone a better person. You'd be surprised to know some of the amazing people in history that suffered (in silence until their death) from mental illnesses. This is evidence that if one doesn't know you have a mental illness, they wouldn't judge your ability to do that exact same thing that you are doing WITH a mental illness.

    How much of my behaviour and actions are derivative of my personality? ALL of them. I have always been one to stand out, always been one to try to make things right, no matter how hard they seem, always been the one to help others when I can. Only since I became an adult did I gain the confidence to stand my ground and become rather abbrasive at times, in terms of standing that ground. I choose to fight battles with my mind, rather than my fists, and that certainly isn't acceptable in this society as much. My illness is certainly a cause of the days you see me with the utmost uphoria and feeling of invincibility, and those days where you see me dragged down and looking beat to death. I don't blame any of my actions on my illness, whatsoever. I do blame it for how I feel day after day, and I can only do what I can to accept it, treat it, and live with it. It's never going to go away, there is no magical cure for it. I accept that, and rather than suffer those days in silence, feeling like there is no world anymore, I choose to talk to people about it. And, thankfully, I have received great feedback from going public about it.

    In summation, I have NEVER, and will NEVER, use my mental illness as an excuse for ANY behaviour that I do. I ONLY put it out there so people become aware of just how bad my life got because of it, and to not be afraid to speak publicly about it. Also, to make an effort to talk to more people and help to raise the profile of a very misunderstood illness. What you need to realize is that there are many, many individuals out there who suffer each and every day in silence because either they don't know what's wrong, or they are embarassed to tell anyone. When they suffer in silence, their only resource is themselves. When your mind is at a point where you are considering suicide, that's not really the best resource you want to consult with.

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