Ismaili Walk for Mental Health

On Sunday, September 18th, I shared my story of recovery at the 25th Annual Ismaili Walk at Stanley Park. They raised over $280,000 toward the Segal Family Health Centre at Vancouver General Hospital and the CMHA Living Life to the Full for Youth program which teaches cognitive behavioural therapy.

There was a turnout of close to 300 by my estimate. They had wonderful food, a live band, bellydancers, and great support from the community.

Over the past five years, I've seen more courageous people sharing their story, their struggle and solutions to the problems we face. There is this movement gaining momentum in events like this, conferences and the Me Too Conversations sponsored by the VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation. There is a spark, a focus to improve the lives of people living with mental illness and reduce stigma.

I went to the Me Too Conversations Vol. 5 last Friday where I learned about coping strategies.
1) Self-regulation of physical, mental, psychological and mental health
2) Self-awareness, living in the present not the past or future
3) Self-empowerment, don't dwell on the barriers or the can'ts but be positive, take initiative and believe in yourself
4) Prepare yourself with a back-up plan if things don't work out

For years, I depended on health professionals for advice on dealing with conflicts in my life, but truthfully, I haven't been hospitalized for 18 years. I've heard the same solutions: self-care, exercise, rest and reduction of stimulation. It's time I applied the rules to myself and not depend on others to find solutions for me. I've been fortunate to have stability in my life. It's time to take the reins and move in new directions.

Life seems to get better the longer I'm around.

Me Too Conversations Vol.2