The Courage to Be Real

Apr 21, 2016 | Anxiety, Mental Health, Stress

I recently attended a Calgary Walrus Talks (Canada’s 7 minute version of TED Talks). The theme that evening was “The State of Health” and included mental health advocate Margaret Trudeau.  Ms. Trudeau spoke remarkably candidly about her mental health challenges including her bi-polar disorder diagnosis, drug use, erratic behaviour, hospitalization and long-term treatment.
I was taken with the courage she demonstrated to be so frank and unashamed about her journey following her marriage to Pierre Trudeau. She showed no hesitation to admit to many things that most of us would feel compelled to hide from others fearing judgement, rejection and scorn.
When I spoke to her following her talk, she commented that she had just been at the White House as a guest with her son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  Even with her high-profile public and political profile she is willing to “tell all”.  Think of how many politicians are terrified about what might be “dug up” about them.
While we might show more comfort and tolerance admitting to or discussing physical health conditions including cancer, MS, heart disease, etc., mental and emotional health dis-ease including anxiety, depression, PTSD, addictions, unrestrained anger and prolonged grief can still be treated as taboo.  In some families, social groups and businesses, showing one’s emotions can still be seen as inappropriate.
Science has confirmed the mind, body and emotions are intricately connected and that distress can manifest in any and all aspects of our mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual health.
You might ask yourself.  Am I willing to be honest about my challenges? What if anything am I hiding? If so, what am I afraid of?
I look forward to receiving your comments.

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