Why I'll Always Support Bell Let's Talk Day
Today is Bell Let's Talk Day. If you're not familiar with this initiative, it was started by Canadian company, Bell, to encourage more open discussions about mental health.
I think this is such an incredible movement. Earlier today, I read on social media comments from people about how Bell is just using it as a platform for marketing, how sharing for awareness is pointless and people need to do more actionable things, how people are so 'sensitive' these days, and other equally demeaning comments... and honestly, those comments and the ones writing them are the reason this day is SO important.
Let me tell you a little bit about me
My name is Tracy, I'm the Director of Customer Service for Nutracelle. Since starting my journey I've lost almost 110 lbs.
The left photo was my starting weight, the right photo was taken in September 2018.
If you haven't read My 100 Pound Weightloss Journey, you should start there.
"I couldn't remember the last time I was really and truly happy with who I was because of my weight."
Before starting my journey to a happier, healthier version of myself I would have told you confidently that if I could lose the weight - I'd be happy.
I believed that with every fiber of my soul, every ounce of my being.
I was so wrong
What I didn't realize was that as much as my weight held me down, no pun intended, it wasn't the driving factor behind my unhappiness. I didn't know this because I avoided talking about mental health, I kept things hidden very deep inside of myself to avoid having the uncomfortable, vulnerable conversations.
I was so incredibly scared that if I ever opened up about my mental health, the dam that I had worked so hard to build to protect myself would crumble... and I wouldn't be able to put myself back together.
I was poisoning myself from the inside
If you would have asked me three years ago to talk publicly about my mental health, I'd have laughed at you. I was always such a private person about my struggles. Those that were close to me knew that I wasn't happy, but no one really knew the extent of my inner turmoil.
Since I refused traditional methods of getting help, I tried different avenues to improve my mental health:Escaping through video games, books, movies, tv shows.
I would listen to music for hours and hours just to try and drown out the voices that told me how worthless I was.
I tried the gym life on and off because everyone told me that exercise is the best mood booster.
I started new hobbies, each lasting a few months before I became numb to the initial interest and moved on to the next.
I became immersed in an online life. I could pretend to be the happy, confident girl I wanted to be while I was online.
... but, to my frustration and disappointment, nothing worked. This added to the problem, too. Not only could I not figure out what was wrong with me, but I also couldn't fix it.
I felt like a failure; I questioned my own existence every single day.
I would stay in bed until 3PM on my days off and blame it on staying up late, but the reality was that I just couldn't get out of bed. I would go an embarrassing amount of days without taking care of my personal hygiene. I would cut myself off from my friends and stay home for days on end.
I was lost. I felt alone. It was the first time I accepted that my mental health was in a dangerous place.
It wasn't until I started writing about my struggles that I learned just how important it is to release those feelings. Writing became my release for the thoughts and feelings I couldn't figure out how to articulate to another human. I started with writing in journals I had at home with zero plans of ever sharing. I could be real, raw, and above all... honest with myself.
Once I created the habit of writing in my private journals, I started a secret blog that - to this day - most people still don't know about. I'll share it when I'm ready, but I'm just not there yet.
As I got further into my journey I began to share more of my struggles. I started my own Facebook page for people to follow my journey, began writing public (eeek!!) blogs for our Nutracelle site, and being more open with friends and family about how I was feeling.
Once I opened up, I learned so much more about myself
- I learned that the root of my unhappiness came from a lack of self love, not an abundance of fat.
- I learned that one of the most reassuring feelings in the world is someone telling you that they understand.
- I learned that I can still support my friends while also taking care of myself.
- I learned that putting myself first doesn't make me selfish.
- But most of all, I learned that you CAN love yourself while simultaneously wanting to change.
I would never have predicted how uplifting, motivating, and inspiring it would be to share my story.
To this day, I will still get teary-eyed when someone tells me I've inspired them or helped them in any way. You'll never know how much it means to me to hear those words.
I'm three years into a life-long journey of choosing me and putting myself first, and I'm forever grateful for the people that have joined me, supported me, and encouraged me along the way.
I'm also grateful every day for Nutracelle.
When I say this the typical response from people is that Nutracelle was the tool but I put the work in, so I should be crediting myself. I agree that I did the work, but I can also tell you that without Nutracelle, the community, the mission of our company, and the versatility of the product - I would never have gotten this far.
Everyone has something that 'clicked' and helped them, Nutracelle was mine.
Nutracelle helped me fix the broken link between my relationship with food and my health success. Thanks to our product which is proudly made here in PEI, I can work through my feelings and my struggles without throwing my progress out the window. Having a product that enables me to not feel deprived, that encourages a positive relationship with food, and is made by a woman who knows what it's like to struggle with her weight... it's just the perfect product for me.
Thanks to our community, NutraTalk, I know I have a safe place full of supportive, encouraging people who are all on their own journey. If you're not a member, please join us - we'd LOVE to have you.
What does happiness mean to you?
My favourite part of this selfie comparison isn't the weightloss, funny enough. It's the difference in my overall demeanor. The left photo is the face that people rarely saw, I kept her hidden. The right is the face I wear daily now.
You're not alone
Bell Let's Talk day has become the day those of us that have felt alone can be reminded with tangible evidence: we're NOT alone. We're all in this fight together.
Let's work together to end the stigma against mental health.