Every Woman Counts An initiative in Support of The Royal Ottawa
Thursday evening was my first event as the face of the Suicide Zen Forgiveness Podcast. My quick intro includes - I am not only the host, I am some of the stories therein.
I only found out about the event on Monday at another #IWW event, with Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Marketing and Communications with Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards.
It was actually Michael Tremblay, the President and CEO who mentioned the event on Thursday March 9th, suggesting it would be of interest as it had to do with mental health and the Royal Ottawa's incredible initiatives.
I was told there was a special guest… More about that later
I am a weird mix of bravado and fear.. I am in many ways an introvert… regardless of what others say. I am not comfortable with small talk, and am all ways eager to get to the meat of any discussion.
Age and observation have finally tempered that somewhat! I am ok working a room, networking.
With an eidetic memory, it can be difficult for others when I approach with stories of conversations long past. It can be awkward too as I remember things promised as well as suggestions made. I have learned that it isn’t always comfortable to remind people of things they let fall through the cracks, or said in the moment with no thought for follow-through.
An example here: I ran into a guy in my thirties and said hello… quickly followed by.. “You won't remember me as I was only in your kindergarten class for 6 weeks!” Total blank stare on his part, with a hint of fear? Concern? Pity? LOL
His name was Peter Brady and he had a number of siblings, One of whom, a sister, Diane.. A couple of years older than he and I. She didn’t know me from a hole in the ground- her parents and the whole family went to church with my Gran and Aunt. I lived in Toronto during grade school. I spent summers with my Gran and Aunt here in Ottawa.
I attended Assumption church at least a few times a year. I thought Diane was always so well dressed, very on trend.
That little detour down memory lane, was a lead into the evening which started with me seeing folks I had not seen in years.. From about 4 or 5 years to almost 20 years in one case.
We all change over time, however, not often as drastically as I have changed over the last 3 years.
I no longer use a cane to assist me to walk, my hair is usually super straight and turquoise. Oh and I have dropped over 70 lbs, which it seems makes me somewhat unrecognizable on first glance. I seem to totally forget this when I go out now.
In my discomfort, wrapped in my lack of self-confidence, which is still one of the demons with which I wrestle, I often think I’m not very memorable, and this is part of my long term awkwardness, one of the mental challenges that has been an ongoing internal conversation for decades..
It wasn't lost on me that the event had to do with mental health services and the access for all women.
Back to the event…
It was created by Women for Mental Health at The Royal who said “The reception featured some of the fierce women championing the most important work in women's mental health care and research. Attendees learned how The Royal is working to serve the women in our community through customized care and access, and why it's so important.”
The surprise speaker was the honourary patron of The Royal, Margaret Trudeau, wife of past prime minister Pierre Trudeau and mother of Canada's current prime minister Justin Trudeau.
Margaret has been open and honest with her own mental health for a long long time. To this day she brings hope, inspiration, and change to the world of mental health. And has been at the forefront of much of the best in philanthropy here in Canada and abroad.
The other speakers ranged from peer helpers, now full time employees to the chair of Women for Mental Health, Katherine Cooligan.
Getting the information out about the podcast, and being able to further my cause to end the silence, stigma and shame surrounding suicide and extending to mental health in general was the fuel that fired me up to attend and participate in this event.
This was the first, as the face of Suicide Zen Forgiveness, and now that the ice is broken, its time to make some noise…
Ending the Silence, Stigma and Shame will be beneficial to all of us. Starting the conversation early with children, about their thoughts and the veracity of those thoughts, and arming them with tools like meditation and visualization to handle their myriad emotions, both big and small in ways that allow them to remain in a position of choice.
Choice in how we react is ours. Giving each person the tools to make each choice a little easier, in times of distress, anxiety, suicidal ideation or simply an overwhelm of any emotion is key to a healthier, happier future. That future begins with you.
Let’s provide the tools for the next generation to be open to discussing all their emotions. To be open to learning that thoughts are not always true and emotions are meant to flow and go.
I believe that it was a successful event, and I am open and choose to look forward to the next one…
Let’s choose to be silent no more #SilentNoMore
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