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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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    Come see the planes and the cars at Props and Pistons – Part 2

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  • The Red Deer Airport is happy to once again host the Props and Pistons Show and Shine, May 26thin support of the Red Deer Food Bank. Last year, with thousands in attendance, the Red Deer Airport was able to raise $4,035.29 Cash, and 2,305 lbs of food in a short 5 hours! With Airplanes and vehicles on display, and dozens of food trucks on site, it is a fantastic way to spend the day and explore the many businesses that reside at the Red Deer Airport (including flying schools, fire suppression, general aviation, and civil air search and rescue!). This year’s event will also feature a few special aviation guests who are sure to please the crowd!

    As always, parking is free at the Red Deer Airport, and admission to this event is a cash or food donation for our Red Deer Food Bank. There will be trophies awarded for Fan Voted favorites in Aviation and Vehicle categories!

    Looking to learn more about ways the Red Deer Airport was able to give back to the community in 2018? Visit our AGM on May 9thfor more information, and your chance to win Gift Certificates from Swoop, Westjet, and Sunwing Vacations!

    For any questions regarding the Props and Pistons Show and Shine, or our AGM held May 9th, please feel free to contact Nicole Holinaty at n.holinaty@flyreddeer.com, or 403-352-1908.


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    Massive Food Bank Drive in South Red Deer this Saturday

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  • Submitted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 

    Spring Food Drive a Big Help for Red Deer Food Bank

    Red Deer families volunteer their time in massive South Red Deer food drive taking place this week.

    The cupboards are getting very bare at the Red Deer Foodbank. Alberta’s economic downturn has been challenging for Central Alberta families and many have turned to the Red Deer Food Bank for help. “This past year, the Red Deer Food Bank helped more than 20,000 people,” says Alice Kolisnyk, Deputy Director of the Red Deer Food Bank. “The food is going out as fast as it’s coming in. We always see an increase in donations at Christmas, but those donations are depleted now.”

    A spring food drive organized by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Red Deer has become an important way for the Red Deer Food Bank to stock its shelves. Bags will be delivered to the doorsteps of homes on the south side of the city this week and they will be picked up on Saturday April 27 between 10 am and 12 noon and delivered to the Red Deer Food Bank.

    The spring food drive is absolutely crucial for us,” Kolinsky says. “So many families need help to make ends meet – 35 to 40 percent of our clients are children.”

    All south-area residents are reminded to please support the food bank by leaving a food donation on their doorstep this Saturday. Anyone whodoes not get a yellow bag in their mailbox next week is more than welcome to bring donations to the Bower chapel (3002 47th Ave) between 10 am and noon on Saturday, April 27.

    We do a fall food drive in the north half of the city and a spring food drive in the south half of the city every year,” says Allison Strate, Red Deer Stake Food Drive Coordinator. “Red Deer citizens have been very generous and together the two food drives typically bring in between 18,000 -20,000 kg of food.” The Red Deer Food Bank is hoping that Red Deer residents will support this food drive, so they can continue to do the important work of assisting Central Alberta families.


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    april, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre(march 8) 5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

    fri26apr8:30 am- 4:30 pmApplied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)Canadian Mental Health Association8:30 am - 4:30 pm

    sat27apr1:00 pm- 4:00 pmMAGSaturday @ the MuseumMAGnificent Saturdays welcomes all ages and abilities to participate in a fun art project every week! 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    sat27apr7:00 pmMusical Theatre ShowcasePresented by the 2019 Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts7:00 pm

    mon29apr1:30 pm- 4:00 pmWellness Recovery Action PlanningCanadian Mental Health Association1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

    tue30apr5:30 pm- 7:00 pmLiving Life to the FullCanadian Mental Health Association5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

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