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It’s better this way

It’s better this way

Exploring mental health resources in Camrose 

It’s a phrase that makes me tear up whenever I think it. It seems to be for no reason, but there’s always an underlying problem with any phrase I repeat to myself again and again. It’s always after something bad happens or I’m too deep down in my mind to think about the bright light of the sun again. I always think it right after I’ve had a fight with someone and when I hide myself away. I hate it, but it needs to be said.

I hate that I’m a crier, that I’ve always been a crier. I cry when even the littlest things happen, or when something comes on the tv that is just so sweet that it makes your heart hurt. I cry whenever I think of the very phrase that I’m trying so hard to believe. But when I think of the phrase, there are two parts of me that fight to be heard. There’s a red-hot, burning part that screams that it’s NOT fair that this is the way that should be better, it’s not fair that I can’t express my feelings. It’s just not fair that everyone else seems to be happy when they’re also dying on the inside, that they can’t talk about it either. Then there’s another part. It’s quieter but far more commanding. It’s the calm, cold, calculating part of my brain that whispers: You don’t need to bother anyone with your feelings, you shouldn’t, you waste space and manipulate others just to make yourself feel better. You lie to them.

That one always wins out in the end. And I can’t tell which one hurts more.

I should be desensitized to it now, like I am when I say “Maybe it’s just better if I didn’t exist.” I’ve been thinking about it for years and now I barely feel anything when I think it. I’ve made it into a joke, you know, one of those “relatable jokes” that everyone says that makes them seem cute and adorable. And I guess I’m not helping the problem when I say them too.

I’ve always been too dependent on others, on my parents, my friends. I’ve always known. I leave my parents house every year to come to school. Every year for 4 years. It never seems to get better. How many more years will it take for me to not be lonely, how many more years will it take until I don’t even think about things that no one should be thinking about? How much longer will it take for me to be comfortable with who I am?

When you get so hurt so easily by the people you think you love, it’s better to not trust at all. I guess I have trust issues, but when I finally do trust someone it hurts every time. I’ve already decided that I’ll get a cat, maybe a dog, and I’ll live alone.

Now I’m writing this like it’s some kind of therapy. I hate that, you know? The word therapy. It makes me feel like there’s something wrong that I need to fix. But I can’t fix it, not anymore. It’s been years, I’ve been to therapy, I’ve tried everything, nothing works. I can’t help bringing people in, sharing my stories, giving in to the part of my mind that I want to believe, burning hot, just to push them away when the cold part of my brain wins out in the end. I want to tell someone how I truly feel and not have to worry about them thinking that I’m weird or messed up. I don’t want to worry about them thinking that I’m too much to handle (even though I know I am) and then leave me when they’ve had enough.

So I don’t tell anyone, and I suffer through it.

As I’m alone again, pushing away from my family and friends, I manage to convince myself:

It’s better this way.

But it doesn’t have to be.

There is help available for anyone dealing with mental illness, all you have to do is reach out. This might seem scary, but it is crucial to healing. Many people have a mental illness, so you are not alone. Mental health affects everyone in different ways, and not two people’s stories are the same. There are lots of ways to help yourself or to help someone else struggling with mental illness. You don’t have to be alone in this, there are lots of people who can support you.

If you see someone is having a hard time, talk to them! They’ll appreciate it. You can approach them, encourage them to seek professional help, or at least get some sort of evaluation. Some warning signs could be withdrawal from or loss of interest in activities. On one end of the spectrum they can seem disconnected, but, on the other end, they may exhibit abnormal levels of anxiety. Individuals may experience changes to appetite, sleep, or especially changes to mood.

Any sort of unusual behaviour that someone is exhibiting could be an indicator of a mental illness. Whether or not someone is dealing with a mental illness, It never hurts to show someone you care about them.

Here is a list of all the resources accessible at Augustana and in Camrose:

  • The Nurse Navigator, who is located in the room 2-144 on second floor of the library (in the Learning Commons) during the week from Tuesday to Friday between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Carmen Person is Augustana’s counsellor. She’s on the second floor of the library in room 2-143 (in the Learning Commons). Her drop in times are on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for half-hour slots, but booking an appointment is recommended. You can book an appointment by email at augustana.counselling@ualberta.ca.
  • Pastoral counselling is also available with Pastor Craig Wentland, who is located on the second floor of the library in room 2-141 (in the Learning Commons).
  • Unitea connects students with trained Unitea hosts to engage in conversation over a free cup of tea or coffee. Students can sign-up online to schedule their time. Find out more here.
  • Another option is WellTrack, a mental health app for your phone. The app has an assessment feature, as well as tools (like the Zen Room and different motivation builders) and courses. The courses are based on informing students about mental health and providing them with tools to cope with their mental illness, with the goal of improving students’ thoughts, behaviours, and moods. There are currently 2 courses available, “Anxiety and Stress” and “Depression”
  • Camrose Addiction and Mental Health services, which are located just a short way from Augustana’s campus and they have counsellors for all ages. The counsellors there are understanding and supportive, and the services are completely free. You can contact them at 780-679-1241.
  • The Open Door Association, which strives to help youth in need of assistance. You can contact them at 780-679-6803, or head to their website.
  • Mental Health Helpline that is available 24 hours a day at 1-877-303-2642. But, if you or anyone else is in immediate danger, please don’t hesitate to call 911.
  • Augustana’s Wellness Week happens twice a year. The fall dates are Nov. 26 – 30. Many resources will be available during the week and you can learn more about what’s available in Camrose.

If you’re looking for more, here are some additional online resources:

Augustana Website

Canadian Mental Health Association

Center for Addiction and Mental Health

Canadian Government

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

 

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