“It seems fitting that I leave the game just like I came in, beaten up and beating a big bad monster – whose beaten up everyone and no one can whoop ‘em.” Well I can….’ Muhammad Ali
In exactly 24 hours, starting at 0800hrs on July 29th 2012, a small crew of dedicated (and slightly off their proverbial rockers) athletes will embark on a 57km journey – a run to break stigma, break personal barriers and support mental health. We may each be running for our own personal reasons; many of us have family, friends or loved ones battling the stigma of mental illness and for me, it is honoring my mother, Nora Donnelley (who passed when she was 57 years old in North Vancouver) and tomorrow I pay tribute to her memory. I pay tribute to her 2 decades of battling depression, bi polar and substance abuse and we celebrate the courage, strength and beauty of those who struggle with significant life challenges.
This run is also to pay our respects and honor the public service providers of the North Vancouver and West Vancouver Fire and Service Crews and RCMP North Vancouver detachment who worked my mother’s case in 2008. Many of which offered their condolences at her funeral.
The health of our mind is largely overlooked and has been a silent (yet sometimes deadly) non-discussion topic of societal conversation for most of history. Yet the statistics of mental health problems are staggering – and it is a global problem.
Did you Know?
- 1 in 3 Canadians will experience a mental health problem sometime in their life.
- 20% of all sick leaves from work are mental health related.
- 4,000 Canadians die each year from suicide (that’s every 40 secs around the world).
- Suicide is the 4th largest cause of death in ages 15-44.
- Suicide is the 2nd largest cause of death in ages 10-24.
- 86% of our population have NO IDEA the rates and stats of mental health.
- Child-drug pharmaceuticals is a $4.8 billion dollar industry.
The Facts are Personal:
- On the rise in our kids and youth – OCD, ADD, ADHD, PPD, PTSD etc etc etc etc.
- In 2005, my friend Dawn would become a statistic – depression and suicide.
- My cousin was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in my early teens and was an addict (now clean).
- My mother was diagnosed manic with concurrent diagnosis of substance addiction when I was in my early teens.
- On July 31, 2008 my mother would become a statistic – bi polar/addiction and suicide.
We need a Re-evolution NOT a Revolution:
Why, are we so pro-active about prevention and treatment of our physical ailments, yet turn a blind eye when the words “mental health” comes up? Like any other disease; it does not define the person and we need to move from this place of insecurity and shame to one of the positive face of mental illness/ mental health and learn to prevent and educate – not just treat.
The renowned technology pillar that is TED.com has an entire section dedicated to mental health talks and the exploration of the mind, one of my favorites is Joshua Walters and what he calls his “mental skillness” …in his Tedx Talk called “Just Crazy Enough.” Studies will show that every great leader, scientist, artist, even our own celebrities our kids looks up to, many of them are somewhere on the “mental illness” spectrum, not to mention the majority of our top CEO’s and entrepreneurial leaders. I attribute my own personal success to my genetic predisposition. My ability to multi task at an effective level, take on multiple projects at once, high energy levels and meticulous approach to organization and routine! Hell, I am a high functioning athlete. (aka – what some would call mimic forms of ADD, OCD and bi polar tendencies).
The fact of life is this – It’s how we choose to live – that defines who we are. It’s how we choose to use our tools – who define how we act and live. Not the disease, not stigma.
Life demands that you make a choice to lead the best life YOU set forth in front of you and that choice takes commitment, it takes a vow of action and it takes persistence in the face of fear. It takes a transformation of the tools you already have – turn sadness and rage into a vehicle for greatness. Whatever “name” or “meaning” we place on these words “depression,” “sadness,” “anger,” “shame,” – they are all just words – that’s all. But they are also energy, words that pack a punch and I say – FIGHT BACK. Turn those words into a positive, personal mantra to re-define and re-invent yourself.
Enough cannot be said about the power of the mind and mind over matter and it starts with each of use, and our relationship with “the self.” This has always been my pursuit – to defy the genetic odds and associated stigma that have been set forth against me and to process the loss of a mother I loved and cherished, but it can be done and I hope that this RUN4MOM and message will propel you or someone you know to fight back against their odds, to climb their mountains and take that next step.
Both of the organizations we are running for have exceptional programs and support systems. Please feel free to follow along on our “TWEET-ALONG” at @SarahMJamieson on twitter and on facebook. We will be uploading both photos, and video footage along with way!
- CMHA – www.cmha.ca and North Shore branches: http://northwestvancouver.cmha.bc.ca/
- Blue Wave Foundation – www.itsok2bblue.com
- Canada Helps Pledge Page – Please share on your wall and spread the word – http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=19887
The video’s below are an archive of videos that have inspired me to continue to RUN4ACAUSE, accept my past and steward a legacy for my future:
How Bad Do You Want It Part 1: http://vimeo.com/42938576
How Bad Do You Want It Part 2:http://youtu.be/XbZnCGyPneo
Game of Inches “Any Given Sunday” – http://youtu.be/myyWXKeBsNk
Batman Begins – http://youtu.be/ylpgI6HA7cs
Ted Talk – Joshua Walters: Just Crazy Enough: http://youtu.be/ruvWiXowiZ8
Ted Talk – Brene Brown: Listening to Shame: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html
Ted Talks on Mental Health – http://www.ted.com/talks/tags/mental+health
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