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My Story: Depression

UPDATE (September 10th, 2016): Eileen sent us an update—called "Recovery"—to share with you on World Suicide Prevention Day. Read it below (along with her original post and updates from earlier this year and last year)....

"Recovery"
—by Eileen Kimmett

I would like to begin by saying Thank-you to everyone who supported me in the past year and half as I battled a disease called Depression. I could not have recovered on my own and I cannot put it in words how Thankful I am. I could not have done it without you. Thank-you. This will be my final submission but journey isn’t over, it’s never over—the journey always continues.

It was a year ago today, on September 10, 2015, that I came out publicly, that I was battling depression. It was one of the most difficult things I ever did. But one of the best things I ever did. Today I am full of all kinds of emotions all at once. And today I run for Mental Health Awareness. It also marks World Suicide Prevention Day.

And still to this day, every time I write, talk or post something about Mental Health, my journey - I still get very nervous and afraid of what people think. I am also at the same time very open and comfortable talking about it. But in the back of my head, it is still there - what will people think. There is a lot of support but not sure why I worry about that one person who might think otherwise.

I did something this year that at one point thought I would never do again - run a half-marathon (July 24, 2016). I cannot say how it felt to accomplish this - it was a year and a half to that day since I ran the YMCA Strong Kids half (February 24, 2015). The YMCA Half was not a good experience, I was at a very low point in my mental health, before the official diagnosis. The weather was terrible (yes it was winter - but winter can have nice days), it was a hard run and I had weight on me that made it more difficult. I plan on running the YMCA Half next year, as a way of telling Depression ‘where to go’ and that’s what I did with the Beaches Jazz Festival Run this past July.

It was late March 2016 I finally noticed a big improvement in how I felt, and it was a combination of factors: talking about it, family support, springtime, increasing activity and determination of beating the disease. I never want to go through that again, and like with any disease, wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s ugly. I also decided then I would not drink anymore, and I would quit my medication.

The past several months, I have been noticing many new changes, discoveries and trying to make sense of how all this started. I will never know how it all started, but I think it was a number of things all at once that what I call a "shitstorm". And it was a number of factors that helped with recovery too.

Here is the final piece of my story.

I didn’t consult my doctor about quitting medication, or with anyone actually. I just did it and it was something I needed to do. I’m not suggesting to anyone to do what I did: you are not supposed to go cold turkey as there are side effects and I did experience them. Do consult your doctor. The side effects didn’t last too long but there were there. I have no regrets doing it this way and I’m in no way a professional.

I also went back to the way I ate before, clean eating and foods that made me feel good physically - basically a paleo diet and good quality foods (yes I do enjoy ‘treats’). I also quit alcohol as it is a depressant. I’m not going to lie, I used that as self-medication and there were times when I was intoxicated it got ugly, meaning my anxiety and emotions were on the very negative side and said some hurtful things to friends and family.

I have my regrets and try not to think about it and move forward, but the memory will stay. Alcohol is wonderful to enjoy with friends, but in some it triggers a darker side. Many self medicate this way to get rid of the pain of depression or other mental illness but after the effects of alcohol wear off you feel worse or like before, and I’m not talking hangovers. The depression is still there. It makes the feelings of depression worse. And then it becomes somewhat of a habit to dull the pain of depression. I can’t have alcohol and I’m quite fine with that. I feel so much better without. I do miss it, but that’s when Perrier comes in, or lemon water. I also never want to touch alcohol as I’m afraid it would trigger a new depression episode.

With my personal trainer, I had to relearn how to eat clean - like before October 2014. You would think you would remember, and I did, but didn’t. That was a slow process, and learning and teaching myself not to emotionally eat, like I did during depression. That’s how my weight came on, medication, food and alcohol. I was still going to the gym, and thank goodness I did so I could keep my muscle but the amount of calories going in - well - one can do the math, lol.

It didn’t take long to get back on track, and I could only do so as mentally I was feeling better. But the big reason I am happy that I went to the gym is that it helped me mentally. Seeing people I know and physical activity releases endorphins - ‘happy chemicals’ to make you feel good. Without the gym, I am not sure how deep I would have been in I would have gone with this disease. Thankfully I will never know.

There are a number other things I have discovered. I am doing things again that I haven’t done is so long. There was a night in April and I had to pick up a few items from a store, and it was late. It was when I got home to organize the groceries, I realized that I haven’t done that in ages. It was an amazing feeling; it sounds silly but when you are depressed, you do not do anything. You literally can’t do anything. Even the most simplest of tasks become so difficult to do. That same night I also proceeded to trim the front bushes too. And I will not forget the moment when I realized that I had the energy and also didn’t mind doing things around the house again (except for laundry - I will never enjoy laundry).

I started to really clean the kids rooms again - much to their dislike. As much as I dislike laundry, oh I’m on top of it now. Beds are made before I go anywhere. Dishes - done. Yes I do have time to clean, how I don’t know. I am back to where I was before, house is organized and it’s a bit annoying to the family that I like it that way, lol. See this is also where I look back and wonder, how did I let it go? There was stuff everywhere. Literally everywhere. Of course no one saw this because I wouldn’t let anyone come over for a visit, for multiple reasons.

Photo by Pat TrudEau At Art School Auction

Photo by Pat TrudEau At Art School Auction

I also find it very difficult at times to look at photos of events or of myself during this time. It gets very emotional. But I also remember the first truly happy photo taken of myself. Taken April 12th, 2016 by Pat Trudeau at an Art School of Peterborough auction in support of Mental Health. It’s also difficult to listen to certain songs and some songs I used to listen to while running, as it reminds me of the dark times. But the same time I have to listen and look at the photos, not sure if it is part of healing or trying to make sense of everything.

One of my favourite parts of being back is my running and fitness. I want to go to the gym and do my 90 - 2hr a day activity. Whether running, training, cardio - I will look at schedules to make it fit with other plans. But there are days when I can’t fit gym time in - and that bugs me - and for me this is a good thing, means I’m back! I have just a bit more weight to lose and then my athletic body is back. I will add that this is my lifestyle choice. We all do something different for our mental health that is important to us. Running is also so important to my mental health. A 10K run at 5:30 am and seeing the sunrise -- there is nothing like it for me. I am back to 3 10Ks a week.

And the racing. Before depression I did a lot of races. But during depression - I did 3 in 2015. But this year, there have been several races I have run. Each one has been an accomplishment. I either didn’t run it last year, or if I did, my mental health wasn’t there. ‘I wasn’t into it.’ It makes me sad thinking about it, about last year. But then, it’s wow, I’ve beat you. I’m back. And there is always next year!! Look out! My New Year’s resolution last year was to run 14 races. It never happened so I am making up for it this year. As of tonight, I will have run 9. I have the other 5 lined up including another half marathon. The goal for next year is to run a full marathon.

I’m also back to sending in school forms on time - more like the first one handing in a complete form if I find it in the kid’s school bag. Forms were sent back usually past due during depression, another simple task that was for me physically impossible to do. I’m back to cooking, but I do like taking the kids out for dinner and treats. Not because I am lazy (ok maybe a bit.....) but I get to spend time with them being stressed out at their antics and for the social aspect. Though I socialized last year, I really enjoy it now again.

I have found I enjoy everything more and sometimes seem ‘too happy’. I’m very excited now when at events or with friends. It’s different too. Before depression, I enjoyed many activities, but it wasn’t until I was out of depression, I didn’t realize how wonderful things are. And how much positive there is out there, there are so many events going on. You also forget a lot. You forget how the little things can be so amazing. I forgot a lot of things, I wasn’t me.

Depression is a dark place. It’s really dark. A dark hole. And there were times I thought I would never get out of it.  I find myself looking at photos of myself last year and I have a hard time with it, but not really at the same time. The difference in my face. Smile. You don’t know how dark this place is until you have lived it and I don’t ever want to go back. It is at times still difficult to look at these photos from this time.

Going back to when all of this started, and yes I have put a date on it. October 19, 2014 the day after my Scotiabank Half Marathon race. I have this photo that I took before the race, I was lean and fit. I was excited to run. I was on the runner’s high after the race. It was the next day I think it all began. The shitstorm.

After a race sometimes people experience a crash. I had a big crash after this one. I also started to enjoy foods I haven’t in a long time, like pizza with a wheat crust - wheat in some triggers depression symptoms and I might be one of them (never been tested). I do love pizza -- who doesn’t -- but I just modify the recipe and I’m fine with that!

I also quit School Council - something I was part of for years. I was heavily involved for many years and quitting all things at the school was a huge loss to me emotionally. I was in the middle of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which I have always battled. Kids getting older and new attitudes that come with it. Raising children in general is stressful, we don’t know what we are doing or if we are raising them right. There are a few other personal things too to add to the list. So all this at once - and there is your shitstorm.

Now I wasn’t hit with depression all at once: it started slow and without realizing it. And I have talked about this before. I’m still not sure how it all started, I will never know, but I am trying to figure it out.

Recovery was the same. Openly talking about it has been the biggest help. The support from many, keeping active, medication (both the Zoloft and the Herbal medicine), no more alcohol. The more I talked about this disease openly, the better I became/felt and it became easier to talk with others. There have been many people that I spoke with, even during the night when they were and are battling and needed someone to talk to.

I have also noticed that when I see someone down, battling something - it hits me harder now and I always try to cheer them up. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve become even less judgmental of others.

We have come a long way in ending the stigma, and I see it and it’s wonderful. But it’s still out there as I’ve seen in the past few months as I have recovered. I didn’t want to touch on it but I feel I have to. Some have thought that those with depression and have come out in the open about it are seeking attention. Untrue, they do this to help others, themselves and let others know that this disease could affect anyone. I have received an email to stop posting, and telling me it’s annoying, that I’m lying and I just want attention.

And there have been some comments about running and being out there so early. True, running isn’t for everyone and getting up so early isn’t for everyone.  We all have our favourite outlet that we use to keep our mental health in check.  Running is mine, I need to run for my mental health. There is still stigma out there. It bothers me a bit, but have learned to ignore it and I’m not angry at anyone for it - because we can all change.

I am going to keep posting updates on my recovery and when I hit a milestone, I’m very happy that I’ve reached them and I - like many - who have accomplished something or their kids have, share it and as they should! I’m happy for them! I also post to show there is hope and there is recovery.

Now from here. I’m excited to be running the 10K in the September 10th, 2016 Run for Mental Health race downtown. It is going to be an emotional event. This will be the 3rd year I have run the downtown race, but this year it will hit home. It will be exactly a year when I first sent Neil Morton (Co-Founder of PTBOCanada) the piece that I was battling this disease. I do not need to say more. It is also World Suicide Prevention Day. I don’t think I need to elaborate more.

Though recovered, I will be living with this disease for the rest of my life. I will always have this. To explain it, my oldest has Asperger’s syndrome and will always have that for the rest of his life but has coping skills and learned skills to live with Asperger’s and to enjoy all the fabulous things that come with ASD.

I also have ways to keep depression at bay, learned the signs. The family has learned signs in case depression ever comes back. I try not to dwell on that and that is getting better. Depression might never come back, I don’t know - oh I will try my hardest that it doesn’t! I can’t worry about it though. I’m happy to be back. You have no idea.

There are many successful and amazing people in this city fighting this disease and other mental health diseases and doing amazing things. More and more recover and those stats will continue to increase. But sadly there are some that do not, I hope one day everyone recovers and that one day everyone can freely talk without being judged. And maybe one day this illness will cease to exist. There is so much support out there - so many avenues to try and try them all if you have to. But please if you yourself or you know or suspect a loved one is battling a mental illness, see a doctor right way - I can’t say that enough.

I would like to thank Neil Morton and PtboCanada for sharing my story, being so supportive, not only to me but to all in the community. Thank-you to the local radio stations, media and Fleming for inviting me to share my story. Sharing has helped me more than you will ever know. Thank-you to the person who left me flowers at the doorstep a year ago. I still have the card and have dried some of the flowers of which I keep in the kitchen, I see them everyday.

To the Peterborough Huskies, thank-you for all your support during this time, especially during some of my down moments - the smiles on the players faces and words of encouragement meant and continue to mean so much to me. To the many other organizations - so many to list - that I have been able to help out with, thank-you for your support. The no judgement has meant a lot to me.

My friends, thank you for listening to me when I needed someone to talk to and for being there for me. Thank-you to everyone who has shared their story, battle and healing. I have met some wonderful people this past year who have inspired me with their story. I’m not alone, no one is alone. And to Joel, Quinn, Riker and Kedron - it was a tough year and a half, but we made it. It was a tough year - not only was it difficult for me having the disease - I will never know how hard it was on you all. Thank-you for all you did, still do. Love you.

I will leave it at this. There is hope, no matter how dark it gets - there is always hope and you will get better even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. You are not alone. Ever. Thank-you.

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UPDATE (January 27th, 2016)

Eileen sent us an update—called "My Journey Continues"—to share with you on BELL LET’S TALK DAY about her ongoing battle with depression. Read it below (along with her original post and update from last year)....

"My Journey Continues"
—by Eileen Kimmett

Bell Let’s Talk Day. This year, it means more to me than in previous years. Though it is only one day, it has helped many start conversations about mental health and the start of ending the stigma of mental health challenges. It should be more than one day, and it should be discussed every day. The more conversation we have, the stigma will continue to lessen, and more people will become comfortable talking about mental health problems and get much needed help.
 
I am still battling the disease of Depression. It is a day to day fight. But, I am so much better. I do have more good days and I know the difference between having a normal bad day to a day where Depression takes over. When I started having more "good days", I thought that I was finally cured from this disease. But then a depressive day or several days happen. You kind of give up hope for awhile thinking you will never get better. But even that feeling doesn’t last long anymore. Back to fighting. When I have a good day or week, I enjoy them now and it is getting easier recognizing, either by myself or my husband Joel, when a down day is happening. And measures are in place to fight those days.
 
Backtracking a little bit here, in December 2015 Joel was noticing I was slipping back into a deeper depression. This is due to the lack of sunlight during the Fall and Winter months. Though I use the Special Light, take medication, extraitamins, and am active, something wasn’t right. So off to the doctor I went, and we increased the medication dose. And that worked.
 
OK, so what do I do on down days? Though it is incredibly tough, I make sure I am active that day. Extra gym time for one. Have coffee with a friend. If there is an event on that needs help that day, I go and help out, even for an hour. If there is a social event on, I go. Going and getting out is the hard part but once I am doing what I decided to be doing for that day, I feel much better. I also email family and friends and let them know when I am down. And they respond with encouragement. (Thank-you!!)
 
Medication helps a lot, but I also need to stay active physically and socially. I sign up for events, like the upcoming Polar Plunge and some races. I have something to look forward to and I know I will have a fabulous time. Volunteering helps immensely. I love giving back and that helps with recovery. It’s not a secret that I volunteer with the Peterborough Huskies Special Needs Hockey team and seeing the smiles on the players when they skate, priceless. Makes me smile.
 
I still cannot put in words how I feel from all the support from family, friends and the community. I have not been judged. No one looks at me any different. I have not been kicked off any committees that I volunteer for. Thank you.
 
I have also started to see more people talking. More people sharing their story on their battle, more and more in public. And it is not easy to do, it’s terrifying. But the more people share, more will get the courage to do so, more support and the judgmental aspect of the disease will lessen. I’m in awe of those who have had the courage to share their story with me in private or have shared their story with the public. Not everyone is ready to do this though, and that is OK, remember that. But we are all here and there are many you can talk to.
 
The stigma of taking medication for Depression or any mental illness has lessened as well I think. I am not afraid to say I am taking Zoloft at 50mg dosage. Medication helps me and right now I need to take it as part of my recovery journey. We take pain relief medication for physical pain and we are comfortable talking about that—it should be no different with medication prescribed for a mental illness.
 
And that is what is happening. Slowly. But more and more people are talking about their medication, side effects, how long it took to find the right dosage. Our son Riker and daughter Kedron both take medication to help with their ADHD. So we have our medications all lined up. We have made a point as a family to be open about our medication and why I need mine. And why some need to take other medication. This will help to End the Stigma even more.
 
Since September 2015 when I first shared my story publicly here on PTBOCanada [see original post and update below from last year], I have become more comfortable talking about it. I am not afraid anymore talking about it. And when I do share my story, or how I am doing with someone, that person has a story to share as well. So far everyone I know has a story, some are tragic unfortunately but many good stories! People are opening up more and more in this community.
 
Bell Let’s Talk Day is only one day, a day where the topic of Mental Illness really gets showcased. But, we need to keep talking every day, and day after day the Stigma will lessen and hopefully one day end. Peterborough has become quite the community, a very supportive community. Thank-you.
 
If you are someone who is battling a Mental Illness, and if you are afraid to talk with someone, the one thing I will say is go to your Doctor as soon as possible. Talk with your Doctor, they are here to help and will provide other sources of help, whether it's counselling, medication, etc. Make an appointment right away; you don’t have to share with anyone if you do not wish to, but the appointment is very appointment. Keep fighting.
 
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UPDATE FROM ORIGINAL POST (September 21st, 2015): An Update/Thank You note from Eileen Kimmett to community:

"I was going back and forth deciding on whether or not to post an update. So here I am and still scared to do so. So much has happened since my post [PTBOCanada note: read her original post below] and will share.

First of all, I would like to thank all of you so much for your kind words, messages, the support, information—everything. You have no idea how much this means to me. I cannot put into words how this feels and how thankful I am. I would also like to thank the stranger who left flowers at my front door [see picture below]. I do not know who left them there. They were beautiful. Thank you so much. Thank you PTBOCanada.com for your support and for posting my story. Thank you to everyone for sharing the story on social media.

I was literally ill the moment when I pressed the send button on my original story, and even more so when I was told by PTBOCanada Editor Neil Morton that the story was live. I was shaking all over. But then as the day went on, I felt a relief. A weight lifted. I needed to share my story as part of my fight to win.

I received so many emails, messages, phone calls from the community—and from all over the world. There were emails of support. There were also many stories shared, and several shared their story with me for the first time—some from people I know and some I have never met before. I have had incredible conversations with many. Thank you, I know how difficult it was to do so. You are not alone.

You are not alone.

No one is alone and I have learned how supportive this community is with many things, mental health and depression being one. I am very fortunate to live in a community that is this supportive in many areas. Some are not so fortunate and let’s hope by keeping the conversation going, this will change and the level of support here reaches all over.

A stranger left these flowers at Eileen's door as a show of support

A stranger left these flowers at Eileen's door as a show of support

Many people found that sharing my battle with this disease helped them and others. And you helped me, too. You have no idea. Like me, many depressed people are happy, love doing what they do but inside is this creature living and not wanting to leave just yet.

No one has treated me differently since the story ran. No one felt sorry for me. There were no negative comments. Not one. Lots of great advice and I will look into them! No one has been afraid to ask me questions. And when I mentioned that I was having a down day and not myself, everyone has been supportive of that too.

The scary thing I have learned in the past week and a half is how many are battling depression and mental illness in this community. Many are afraid to talk openly about their depression. It is extremely scary to talk about it! I do not think it will ever become easy to talk about depression—it becomes easier but it will never be easy. Let's keep the conversation going. You all keep me fighting.

To those living with someone with depression or have a friend with depression, keep up the support! Do not give up. And do not be afraid to send an email or 50 to me. I do respond as soon as I can. Never be afraid to send an email, remember you are helping me too! Please continue to ask questions and do not be afraid to ask away.

Remember, you are not alone and there are many by your side. Thank you."  —Eileen Kimmett

-------------------------

ORIGINAL POST

Community ambassador/social media fixture Eileen Kimmett is a huge cheerleader for all things Peterborough. She is a wife, a mother of 3 young children, and volunteers her time in countless places, including the Peterborough Huskies special needs team.

Eileen has a great smile, and she lights up a room with her energy. She always seems happy. 

But there's another side to Eileen we didn't know about until now. Eileen is battling depression.

Read her story below...

My Story: Depression

What you are about to read was very terrifying to write. And knowing it’s now out there scares me. I have no idea what many will think—especially the ones who do not know.
 
It’s been almost a year now. I have been battling this thing called "Depression". Major Depression. I have spoken to many in person about it but never have been public about it on social media or like this. Why? The answer is easy: What will people think? Am I making this up for attention or for a Pity Party? And for those that know me, why do I always seem happy—how does that work? Keep reading.
 
So how did this all start?
 
I have always suffered from SAD, and went on CHEX Daily and discussed it last year. But after that piece aired in October 2014, it slowly developed into Major Depression. I didn’t notice at first. It kind of crept up on me.

With the upcoming winter of 2014, I was determined to fight my SAD by doing all things winter: running, racing, hockey, volunteering, building snowmen... and add a polar plunge and a half marathon in the mix. It didn’t work. I took extra Vitamin D, used a SAD light and went on a quick trip to Jamaica. Still didn’t work.
 
How it all happened, I will never know. But the lowest point came in early March when my husband Joel came home early and found me just crying and lying on the stairs. But there is more: Slowly the house became a mess. I missed sending forms back to school. I dreaded going to the gym, though I still went. My body was in fight or flight mode and gained weight.

I was showing my frustrations with frequent outbursts at home. Never did that in public. It was the family that had to see me cry, snap—take the brunt of my Depression as I was hiding it from everyone else. I preferred to stay in bed, unheard of... up early and go, go, go, go is/was always my routine. The kids asked, "Why is Mommy not happy anymore?"
 
It was that one day in early March 2015, Joel came home early and saw me crying on the stairs. I remember that moment: I was also emailing a friend going through a tough time and she had no clue that I was on the stairs crying. Minutes later, Joel made the call to a doctor for help.

I got in that afternoon. Kids in tow with iPods. Great appointment. Started medication right away. The medication was helping, but then side effects took over and I didn’t like the medication anymore. Spring came and I was hoping for the sunlight to help. I started some alternative therapy—it was helping but I’m still not out of the woods. I’m always hoping the next morning I wake up and my Depression is gone.

I did some counselling—everything is helping but I need more. I don’t have the perfect answer yet and it is different for everyone.

 So how does depression feel, exactly?

Well, I can’t pinpoint how it really feels like and say it in words. And it’s different for everyone. Basically I’m sad all the time. I feel like I am a terrible person to everyone around me, especially my family. Then I feel even worse because I know there are people battling worse things than I am. I should be grateful that I can walk on two legs, am healthy, have healthy kids, be a stay at home mom, can feed my kids and can afford things many can't. I feel guilty. I should have nothing to be sad about at all, right?
 
I am also more sensitive to others going through tough times and will ask in person or email how they are doing, and if there is anything I can do to help. I do not like others going through tough times even more so now because I am fighting this battle, and want them to get better before I do. So a lot of times I never mention that I have depression, they don’t need to know.

I am happy and involved in the community. How does this work? Well because I am Happy. Honestly, I am—I'm not sure how this all works but it’s true! I love helping others. I love volunteering and giving back. I love getting out there and trying new things. It’s not a secret that I love volunteering for the Peterborough Huskies (Special Needs Hockey Team). I love seeing the kids smile, chatting with the players and fellow volunteers. They have become great friends.

And now as I type, what will they think as they read this? Maybe they do not want me part of the team comes to mind. I have been part of several committees, met some amazing people and it is quite something to be a part of an event and seeing all the work that goes behind it—the planning and the stress (it is good stress) and seeing the event become a success!
 
But then now that all know... I think, why would anyone with depression be allowed to volunteer with anything anymore?
 
I love this community—not a secret either. I wonder, why should they continue to accept me?
 
I take the kids—the Kidlets—everywhere. I am fortunate to be a stay at home mom to be able to do so. I want them to see the community, learn about where they live and are growing up. But then I worry, am I living vicariously through them? And I think they deserve a better parent than one with depression.
 
And my husband Joel, having to deal with a wife with depression. Not easy going into work, not knowing how I feel during the day and what I am up to. It’s easy to lie in a text. Having to catch up on housework that I did not do. Groceries. And me snapping at any little comment, all the time.

So what has kept me going?
 
By wanting to stay involved. Getting on the ice with the Huskies. Taking the kids after school to a store (in hopes they do not tear it down). Everyone being accepting of my kids. The amazing family and friends around me. Joel kicking my butt. Wanting to try new things, meeting people. The gym, even if I didn’t want to go. Being active on social media. Without this drive, I do not think I would be wanting to fight this battle. That’s scary.
 
There are 3 Kidlets in this house: Quinn, age 11, has Asperger’s. Riker—ADHD, age 9. And the Little Sis that could, Kedron, age 7, going on 16—also ADHD. Riker and Kedron need medication in order to function. As a mom of 3 children with needs, and kids being busy in general, and some pre-teen moments now, things are stressful.

I’m sure that has added to the Depression, as it is said parents of children with needs have a high chance of having Depression at one point. I do talk about ASD and ADHD but not too much. I still have it easy. My 3 children are healthy otherwise, rarely get sick and have no serious medical issues. And they do well in school. They have other challenges that test the limits of parenting. I also am terrified that one day, one will suffer Depression—there is a high chance of that happening.

What else scares me?

I went to the Breakfast with Babcock back in August 2015. OK, Babcock was a draw. But so was the topic of Mental Health and Suicide prevention. It was an unbelievable event. I have no words to describe it. What scares me is that 1 in 5 are suffering from some form of Mental Illness, Depression included. I do think the number is higher as there are many suffering in silence—maybe they know, maybe they do not.
 
I am one of those 5. I am suffering and fighting Depression. Battling Depression in silence and then not.
 
It scares me to think about those people who do not have a support system. Suffering alone. No one to turn to. It scares me to think of those who are too afraid to ask for help. It scares me to think of those who are looking for help and no one believes them. Or they get made fun of. How do we get these people help. Unfortunately, I do not have the answer.
 
I have been open to talking with my family and friends about my battle and how I will win it. After my piece on CHEX Daily, several opened up to me and asked questions and they themselves let me know they suffered from SAD. That kept the conversation going.
 
I have opened up to many family, friends—many in the community, either in person or via email that I have Depression. Many are shocked to know that I have it and they themselves have opened up. I had no idea that so many I know in this community and beyond are battling Depression. Some for years.

Depression isn’t always the person sad in a corner, it can affect anyone: those that very active, happy, helping others, enjoying life. But deep down inside, there is this thing wanting to take hold. There are many signs that someone is depressed, but many times the person battling Depression keep it very well hidden. One becomes very good at hiding it at times.
 
The greatest teacher in the world, the gas attendant, the Movie Star, the most physically fit person, the jovial neighbour, the person who has no history of mental health issues—they could be suffering from depression. Depression doesn’t care who you are. Sometimes Depression happens due to a loss of a family member, a friend, a health concern or a history in the family of mental illness.

Sometimes there is no reason why it happens. It just happens.
 
But depression is out there. And it needs to be talked about. The more it is talked about, the more people can get help and maybe it will go away. The stigma attached to Depression is still very real. There is the fear of what people will think. Many are active socially whether work, family or in the community and lead amazing lives while fighting Depression. Many win. Some don't.

But I have hope.
 
I always have hope. There is always hope. I am much better than I was since the lowest point of March 2015. I am a fighter. With Joel and the Kidlets behind my back—er, I mean at my side. But we are scared for the upcoming winter and trying to come up with a plan so as to not go backwards.
 
At the beginning of September, the house got cleaned up. Things are organized. I have had down days again, but have more good days than bad. And I am still going to get more counselling. I want to really get back into my fitness again. I am trying too! Baby steps, yes. And though I'm dreading winter, I want to get back on the ice!!

I want the Depression to go away. Forever.
 
There is hope.
 
So yes, Depression sucks. Coming out with it now in public officially, is absolutely terrifiying—especially as there are many close to me and know me that don’t know. And being active, in the community, social media—more so. I’m afraid that when I walk down the street, people will now have a different opinion about me. You know, judge me.

But I say this: Be yourself around me. No one needs to feel sorry for me. When I post something, you do see me, who I am—the only thing I hide or don’t post is my Depression or if I'm having a bad day. Maybe it’s my way of fighting it as well. I also have my thoughts on what one can do, but they are my thoughts. I’m not a doctor and only write what has been helping me out.
 
I also would like to thank the many out there who have listened to me, read my emails and are reading this. If I helped one person in anyway to get help, that is amazing. You are not alone. It’s OK to get medication, it’s OK to try new avenues to help, it’s OK to get counselling.
 
I would also like to thank my family, the kids who have had to live with a mom with depression and who would come up to me a million times at night with a hug. Thank-you Joel, for always kicking my butt out of bed, making me go to the gym, doing the laundry and having to go to work knowing there is someone at home fighting this.

Can’t fight it alone.
 
I will beat this.

—By Elleen Kimmett

You can email Eileen here.

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Refugee Sponsorship Workshop At New Canadians Centre In Peterborough September 10th

Wondering how to respond to the Syrian crisis? The New Canadians Centre is hosting a special Refugee Sponsorship Workshop this Thursday, September 10th.

The New Canadians Centre has received many inquiries from members of the Peterborough community expressing concern at the ongoing crisis in Syria and wondering how they can help. Many of these inquiries focused on how to sponsor a refugee family to come to Canada.

In response to these inquires, the New Canadians Centre will be hosting this refugee sponsorship workshop on Thursday, September 10th at 7 pm at the New Canadians Centre in Peterborough (221 Romaine St.). Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP the Centre by calling 705.743.0882 or emailing info@nccpeterborough.ca.

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PTBOCanada Featured Post: PARN's Live.Out.Loud Fundraising Walk At Millennium Park

PTBOCanada Featured Post: PARN's Live.Out.Loud Fundraising Walk At Millennium Park

Sponsored post by PARN

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Lansdowne Place Receives 3 Reports Of Dogs Being Left In Cars

Police, the Humane Society and the media—including us—have been sending out constant messages to not leave your pets in hot cars. Because your pet could die. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to be getting the message.

file photo image

file photo image

We received this email below from Helen Edwards, Marketing Director, at Lansdowne Place Mall, today (September 4th):

"We need your help!  This morning we have had 3 reports of dogs being left in cars in our parking lot, and while thankfully each one has been resolved without serious damage to the pet, we are concerned that this may be happening in other places without the same positive outcome.

Our Security Team believes that right now we may be dealing with people from out of town who in an effort to run a few errands before they make it to their destination are leaving their pets in the car.
 
If possible, can you please help us spread the word throughout the region in whatever outlet you have at your disposal?  It is my hope that collectively we can potentially help save some loving pets from being permanently damaged."

Great reminder to everyone Helen!

Here is what to do if you see a pet in a hot car.

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An 18-Year-Old Peterborough Transgender Male Launches Crowdfunding Surgery Campaign

An 18-year-old Peterborough transgender male named Kieran Kelly is female to male, pre-op. Kieran started testosterone on March 28th, 2013, marking the start of his physical transition.

Being on testosterone has increased Kieran's quality of life monumentally. Kieran is more confident, and happier all-around.

Picture of Kieran via GoFundMe campaign

Picture of Kieran via GoFundMe campaign

The next step for Kieran in physical transition is top surgery to remove any extra breast tissue. The surgery and associated fees come to be about $10,000—something Kieran simply can't afford.

So Kieran has launched a GoFundMe campaign called "Kieran's Top Surgery Fund" in order to make this surgery possible. 

Yes, Kieran says, this surgery may seem like something he can go without. But there are many important reasons he wants to make this surgery happen...

Binding (wearing a chest-compression vest in order to hide any extra breast tissue) is incredibly dangerous and can result in respiratory problems, as well as back problems. Not to mention the fact that it just causes really awful back pain.

• Not having had top surgery means that Kieran can't participate in a lot of things that other people can. For example: Kieran can't go swimming, because wet binders aren't fun to wear and he has yet to find any effective trans-friendly swimwear.

• There is a male role in a musical in Peterborough that Kieran would absolutely love to audition for, but he has to be shirtless on stage at one point.

Most important, he says on the GoFundMe page, "it has a really negative effect on my mental health. Being this unhappy/uncomfortable with your body, and being held back from participating in things takes a really huge toll on your mental health. My happiness is compromised big time by it, and it's all just because I was given two X chromosomes instead of and X and a Y."

Learn more about Kieran's campaign here.

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71 Teams To Participate In 15th Annual Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival On Saturday

71 Teams To Participate In 15th Annual Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival On Saturday

PTBOCanada is honoured to be Bronze Sponsor of this amazing event

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PTBOCanada Featured Post: 21 Reasons Mudmoiselle (Formerly Devil's Run) Rocks

PTBOCanada Featured Post: 21 Reasons Mudmoiselle (Formerly Devil's Run) Rocks

Sponsored post by Canadian Cancer Society Peterborough

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Help A Peterborough Woman's Little Brother With His Spinal Surgery Fund

Sean is an 11-year-old who was born with a severe chromosome disorder, as well as autism...

Sean

Sean

Sean has gone through countless surgeries and procedures each year of his life to help his health. He is currently recovering at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto from his latest and most serious surgical procedure—unteathering his spinal cords.

Despite his serious condition, Sean remains positive—full of strength and hope.

His older sister Jordan Slavik—who lives in Peterborough and is married to friend of PTBOCanada Brandon Slavik—is trying to get the word out about a GoFundMe campaign that has been started to help with the expensive cost of Sean's home care in Newmarket that will be needed for months after he gets home from the hospital.

The money raised will go towards assisting with hospital bills, medication costs, and nurses that will be required nearly around the clock when Sean returns home.

Spread the word on your social media channels, and give what you can here. The campaign is attempting to raise $5,000, and almost $1,000 has been raised so far.

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