Monday, 25 January 2016

Raelene Talks--#BellLetsTalk 2016

Someone once said, “Your life begins where your comfort zone ends.” I'm not a Bell customer, but I'm going to talk. So “Let's Talk”, because raising public awareness about something so many people are afraid to talk about is SO important and worthwhile. I should know. I've been on anxiety/depression medication for two years. I spent a great portion of that time as an introvert trapped in the body of a lifelong extrovert. Where I once kept lip gloss in my purse, I now keep Ativan. I've spent months adapting to a “new” me and a much bigger (meds caused me to gain 50 lbs) and better version of me. It was extremely awkward at times to be around people who have known me my whole life, because I didn't know how to act around them and I knew at times they felt the same strange awkwardness around me. I hated trying to explain that I just couldn't do things that in the past I took great delight in. I was embarrassed to tell people I was a gym teacher and that I, in fact, do live a healthy and active lifestyle despite my outward appearance. Often it was just easier to be in the company of strangers, or better yet, alone. At home with my extremely supportive husband and kids was my “happy” place. I could not have made it to this point without them. I quite possibly have the only 5, 6, and 8 year olds who can do their own laundry. Jeff taught them in the months following the loss of my Dad—the months where he did absolutely everything while I did what some viewed as nothing. It wasn't nothing and some days I wonder how I got from there to here. The journey hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it. I appreciate quirky things about others that in the past I just 'didn't get.' I no longer feel like I have be able to explain or be able make sense of everything I'm feeling or not feeling. I don't understand why I had to go through what I did or why other people have to go through it too. I'm not an expert on the subject, I'm just a member of the club and I like to think that, in some strange way, I'm a better person because of it. I'm currently, under the care the my doctor, tapering off my medication. I am completely prepared to spend the rest of my life on this medication if necessary, but I feel it is important and necessary to see what I am capable of handling at this point in my journey. Anxiety and depression are frustrating, complicated, and, at times, very misunderstood, but they should never be something so be embarrassed about. So “Let's Talk” because we become our stories and our stories are worth telling!

Raelene Kenney

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