From Part 1:
From Part 2:
This was a turning point for me. This was one of the key moments that started me on the path to where I am today. The re-discovery of not just my confidence, but my passion. It would lead me to somewhere beautiful.
Over the next couple of years, I had more opportunities to speak and share my experiences. There was an openness to hearing what I had to say, and my messages were embraced with curiousity, not judgement.
As my confidence in myself grew, I became bolder. I began reaching out – moving my virtual connections into the real world and creating opportunities to meet face to face. Having conversations I never thought I would have ever had before. Becoming more curious myself. Exploring. Opening myself up to alternative viewpoints.
At the end of August 2014, I took the very big leap of leaving my job to create Champions for Community Mental Wellness. I freely admit this was a terrifying proposition, and I had no idea of what Champions would even look like! This is a big deal for a “planner” like me. I decided to start writing and discovered that what I had to say resonated with many, many people. I took a huge risk and spoke at an Ignite session for educators called Finding My Courage, Becoming a Champion.
Champions continues to evolve as time goes on, but I am no longer afraid of this. I continue to push myself to try new things, take on new challenges. It is actually quite thrilling! I am very excited to see where Champions goes over the coming years, and at some point I will get my business plan in order (if anyone wants to help with that, I would be extremely grateful!).
But I am also becoming more mindful of my own mental health and when I am taking on too much. It is a balancing act – this marrying of my roles of wife, mother, champion, advocate, and most importantly human being. Trusting myself to know when to say “no” or when to say “go”. Taking the time to honour my limits.
If I had not re-discovered my confidence, I’m quite sure I would not be where I am today. I would perhaps be a bitter woman, convinced that we will always experience challenges and negative assumptions about our life and our family. Because when we feel like people don’t believe in us, this is what happens. Our confidence erodes and it is replaced by an ugliness that festers and rots and consumes.
I am so thankful for all the Champions who have come into my life over the years, and those who continue to join me in creating a broader understanding of how mental health challenges impact our families and communities. Each and every one of you make a difference, and you keep me strong. Much gratitude to you for pulling me out of the abyss and continuing to keep me here.
This concludes the “On Loss and Re-Discovery” series – thanks for reading!
As I wrote in this post, I must continually be mindful of what and how much I am doing. When I signed up for the Writing 101 challenge, I thought I would have the time to take this on. As I have discovered, with the launch of a new (very time consuming) project, I do not have the time to complete daily challenges. The old me would have taken this on as a failure. The new me says “it’s okay”. Good things will continue to happen and life will continue on.