I have struggled with depression and anxiety most of my adult life. I raised 4 children while living with my partner struggling with addiction. That caused PTSD and huge shame issues for me. Now I feel guilty that I have caused my children to all have mental health issues as well. My husband has been sober now for over 10 years but still struggles with mental health issues himself. I have finally found a counsellor that is setting me in the right direction. I am going to finally get a mental health assessment and have my medications reviewed. I will continue with the counselling as long as I can afford it. This is one of the biggest barriers. No one can afford the cost of ongoing counselling. Workplace programs never cover more that 4 or 5 sessions. That is just chipping at the tip of the iceberg. I really just want to be happy and healthy. I want my family to be happy and healthy. I worry about my children's struggles with mental health and because it is still such a taboo subject, I really struggle with making sure that they stay aware. They don't even have the resources that I have to help themselves. My eldest son has done the best by far. He has the resources in his workplace to seek the help he needs and has done wonderfully for himself. My other children like to pretend that all is well and that there are no issues for them to deal with. Aside from the anxiety, which we all struggle with. That seems to be the one issue we can all acknowledge and talk about. I am so tired of feeling like I can't tell anyone about my struggles and always feeling like a lesser person. I truly hope that this time, this counsellor, this attempt at mental wellness will be a breakthrough for me. I dream of a happy, healthy life that will allow me to be a good role model for my grandchildren. I realize that I have to take care of myself before I can possibly help anyone else. So I am determined to get the help I need and start to build a better life for all of my family. I know there are so many people out there that struggle with some sort of mental unwellness. It doesn't need to be such a taboo! If we could really talk about these things and acknowledge that even some of the most productive people we know struggle in some ways, then maybe those that don't feel as productive will be able to see that they are not alone. I truly hope that telling my story allows someone else to take another step to mental wellness because they can relate to what I have said. I know that reading these stories has made me feel more empowered. Thank you to all the brave souls out there that continue to win their wellness back and let the world know about their struggles. Every voice out there makes all of us stronger!

Lori (Vancouver)