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Column: How is your mental health?

Carlyle Observer columnist Stephanie Zoer reflects on the recent mental health fundraiser in Carlyle and her own experiences on the issue.
An opinion piece on mental health.

For the first time, I attended the Mental Health Awareness supper and Fundraiser in Carlyle last Saturday.

This evening brought back a lot of emotions that I had experienced in the last year, some that were remarkably close to home.

There was a patient questionnaire on the table that I had read before, and it was also one that needed to be filled out in the past.

Our family has lived with anxiety and depression for many years, but in the last year this has increased a great deal.

Did you know that in Saskatchewan, 67 per cent of people have, at one time or another, dealt with anxiety and that 45 per cent of the people here have also dealt with depression?

Those numbers seem high to me, but the truth is, many people deal with these kinds of things and never say a word to another person, because they feel that it is silly or that they will be looked down on.

Men feel they need to be strong for their families, and often do not seek help until it becomes a significant issue. This was the case for the speaker on Saturday night.

This is not only for men, but many women also struggle with the same issues, as they think they need to be strong for their children while they have struggles.

That was the case in our house. I felt the need to continue to be strong for my daughter, who was struggling with depression and a great deal of health issues.

I needed to offer guidance and be on top of all the things we were dealing with, and I let my own selfcare go downhill in order to do this.

Putting myself on the backburner caused me a great deal of anxiety, but I would just continue like nothing was happening.

I knew I was sliding downhill, but it was not until I read the questionnaire that I realized how much I had.

I was shocked but not shocked when I answered “nearly every day” to many of the questions. How could this be. People always say to me I do not know how you do it; well, I was not.

There are nine questions on this sheet, beginning with little interest or pleasure in doing things. Yup, that was me, I felt sick a lot of the time, so I avoided riding my horse, something I should have pushed to do, as she is my therapy.

Feeling down, depressed or hopeless, this was a struggle as a mom, and I felt I was losing the battle with giving my daughter the help she needed.

Having trouble falling or staying asleep is something I have dealt with for years but have learned to use the five, which is finding five things that a person can smell, see, touch, feel or hear, and this helped me a lot. It is much harder than one might think.

I have begun to focus on my horse and push myself to go riding more often, and this has helped me enormously.

Do not put off what makes you happy. Take the time for yourself as this is important, even if it is only for a brief period of time.

There are many help lines to call as well, and they are so beneficial.

Next time you ask a person, How are you, be genuine in asking the question and be prepared for the answer, as there could be a hidden meaning in their answer, and you might be the person they are reaching out to.