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When mental illness runs in the family… A local story about battling with mental health issues

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Bell really started something great when they launched Bell Let’s Talk Day.   With the help of celebrities from across Canada and beyond, Let’s Talk Day has definitely started a conversation about mental health.  So many people have come forward to say they are suffering.  So many others have learned to be more thoughtful and to listen.

We are delighted to share this incredible post from a young mother in Red Deer who has come forward courageously with her story.  Kristen Bellows advocates for mental health and suicide prevention.  She also works as a mortgage broker.  Here’s her story…

Mental Illness unfortunately runs in my family. From the time that I was 8 or 9, I remember laying in my bed for what seemed like hours, trying to go to sleep. I worried about everything and everyone. I didn’t know it at the time, but I obviously had anxiety. What I also didn’t realize at the time, was that my Dad was dealing with severe mental health issues, which he self medicated with alcohol and prescription drugs, for all of his adult life. I worried about him, a lot.

I remember when I was 9 or 10, his next door neighbour took his own life, along with his daughter’s, on Mother’s Day. My Dad was appalled that this man not only did this to himself, but his poor little girl; he was also fascinated by it. He paced the back yard for the afternoon, waiting for the medical examiner & police to come, to see what would happen. I think that this was a pivotal point in his mental health journey. Over the next 3 years, he had 2 of his own suicide attempts, and at least one stay as psychiatric inpatient. I didn’t understand how he could be doing this; how could he know how much this was hurting his family, yet still want to “leave”? Thankfully I still don’t understand that. The year I turned 15, my Dad took his life, in the exact same way as his neighbour, a few years before. Thankfully it didn’t happen in our home, and neither my Mom or I found him, but somebody had to, and I bet he was never the same after.

??It was during this time that I learned how depression and anxiety really can eat a person up. For the next year, I simply existed. I was dead to the world. I went to school, but I wasn’t “there”, and I have the attendance records to prove it. I managed to pull myself together the following year, and barely finished high school. Thankfully, I did much better in college, but I still struggled. I took antidepressants from 18-21, and went without them for 10 years; this was mostly a pride thing. Truthfully, I should have never stopped taking them. I went through more major bouts of depression than I care to admit in that 10 year period, including 2 stints of postpartum depression. That’s a real thing too, by the way! I did all the “right things”. I went to prenatal counselling, talked with my doctor, attended postpartum support groups – and I still “got” it. It makes sense when you think about it: lets double or triple your hormones, then take them all away. Next, you’re going to be the sole source of food for this little being every 1.5-4 hours for the next year, and only leave the house weekly. It was worse the second time. I cried when I found out I was pregnant again, not because I was excited (which I was), but I was also scared shitless to possibly experience that again. I was fine for the first few months. I had a baby who finally slept, but PPD is a sneaky bugger, and it got me again. Hard.

??I got “better” and then I had the surgeries from hell a couple years later. This definitely sent me for a loop. Something about horrific pain, and spending months on end housebound, just doesn’t do it for me LOL. Then on January 28th 2016, a post surgical blood clot (that I didn’t know I had) moved into my lung, and just about killed me. By July of 2016, I knew that I was not okay, and decided to finally start taking medication again. Something about that decision is SO HARD, but its okay. If you’ve tried every other way to try and avoid it, and it turns out that you just need that little pill every morning, to keep you from being a puddle on the floor, DO IT. ??This is precisely why, when I returned to work in 2017, and the stressful work environment started affecting my mental health, I QUIT. I have worked too hard, for too long, to take care of that. Any person or job who takes that from me, is not worth it.

So friends, talk about it. Surround yourself with people who support you, and you do the same. Most importantly, tell your story, until it doesn’t make you cry anymore ??.

You can find Kristen on Facebook and Instagram @fortheloveofmortgages

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Community

Red Deer Westerner Days Parade Map

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From The City of Red Deer

Road closures/transit disruptions during Westerner Days parade

The Westerner Days Fair & Exposition parade will take place in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday, July 17 resulting in multiple road closures and traffic detours, along with transit disruptions.

Roadways on the parade route will be closed from approximately 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and parking will not be permitted along the parade route. Use the 2019 parade map (pdf) to plan your route and find the best place to watch the parade.

Westerner Days Parade Map 2019

There will also be transit disruptions during the parade:

  •   The last departure from Sorensen Station prior to the parade will be at 8:45 a.m.
  •   The last arrival into Sorensen Station prior to the parade will be at 9:10 a.m.
  •   The first departure from Sorensen Station after the parade will be at 12:15 p.m.
  •   There will be no transit service during the parade with a couple of exceptions:

o Route 12 and 2A South Connector will continue to run from Bower Mallo Bolt will depart at 9:15 a.m. from 49 Avenue and 54 Street

Transit users can visit www.reddeer.ca/MyBus to look up schedules, get up to date departure times and see where buses are in real-time with GPS tracking

For more information about transit service, visit www.reddeer.ca/transit.

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City of Red Deer

Get involved in City’s plan to house the homeless

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From the City of Red Deer

Citizens invited to participate in discussions about housing and homelessness

As part of the on-going community engagement phase of the new Community Housing and Homelessness Integrated Plan (CHHIP) development, residents are invited to participate in community conversations about housing and homelessness in Red Deer.

Starting July 15, a series of Design Labs will offer a place for creative, cross-disciplinary innovation in the development of the Community Housing and Homelessness Integrated Plan. Design Labs are an opportunity for citizens to collaborate, provide ideas and recommendations with others on their own areas of interest. These Design Labs will be hosted at a variety of times and locations across the community.

To learn more about the Design Labs and to register for a session, please visit: www.reddeer.ca/CHHIP.

Driven by a Council Ad Hoc Committee, the overall goal of the Community Housing & Homelessness Integrated Plan is to develop a strategic and innovative housing plan that will help achieve the community’s housing goals.

“These interactive, solution-focused conversations will build on what we’ve already heard through our survey and open house, and will provide us with valuable insight as the committee develops the CHHIP,” said Ryan Veldkamp, Social Planning Supervisor for The City of Red Deer. “As a community plan, it’s integral, that it is reflective of the community’s needs.”

For more information about the CHHIP, please visit our Community Housing & Homelessness Integrated Plan webpage.

 

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july, 2019

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